House bill would strip power of small business licensing boards

House Bill 952, assigned to the Small Business Development Committee, stands to strip rulemaking power of state licensing boards and harm business professionals around the state should it makes its way through the General Assembly this session.

Sponsored by the Governor’s Floor Leaders, Representatives Chad Nimmer, Christian Coomer, Robert Dickey, Terry Rogers, and Amy Carter, the ‘Georgia Professional Regulation Reform Act‘ is particularly troublesome because it would allow the Governor to veto any rule proposed by the licensing boards if the rule is one that will be submitted to and recognized by the Secretary of State. Essentially, the Governor would have oversight over significant decision making and operational processes of these state licensing boards. ┬áThe bill dictates that the Governor will “actively supervise” professional licensing boards and “review and, in writing, approve or veto any rule before it is filed in the office of the Secretary of State.”

The problem with this legislation is four-fold:

  1. It’s obvious, because of who sponsored the legislation, that this bill is “an idea” or a desire of the Governor. While Republicans may be of the belief that Governor Deal would not ever betray The People with an executive overreach, consideration needs to be given that Georgia will not always be governed by the red powers that currently preside. Down the road, decisions like these could lead to substantial regret.
  2. The Governor, like most people, is not an all-knowing messiah. There is no way he can possibly be well-versed on the issues facing any of these licensing boards, and therefore, is not the most educated person to making decisions on whether or not something is good for the industry.
  3. HB 952 grants the executive branch an enormous amount of power into an aspect of government that affects numerous professionals across the state. Worse, the language dictates that the power lies with the Governor “or his designee.”
  4. Even worse, the bill explicitly permits the use of executive orders to carry out the desires of HB 952.

Think about all of the professionals across the state that could be subjected to direct oversight by the Governor:

  • Architects & Interior Designers
  • Athlete Agents
  • Athletic & Entertainment Commission
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Auctioneers
  • Cemeteries
  • Chiropractors
  • Condition Air Contractors
  • Cosmetologists & Barbers
  • Dietitians
  • Dispensing Opticians
  • Electrical Contractors
  • Engineers & Land Surveyors
  • Foresters
  • Funeral Directors & Embalmers
  • Geologists
  • Hearing Aid Dealers & Dispensers
  • Immigration Assistance
  • Landscape Architects
  • Librarians
  • Low Voltage Contractors
  • Massage Therapists
  • Music Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometry
  • Physical Therapists
  • Plumbers
  • Podiatrists
  • Private Detectives & Security Agencies
  • Professional Counselors & Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Residential & General Contractors
  • Speech Pathologists & Audiologists
  • Used Motor Vehicle Dealers
  • Utility Contractors
  • Veterinarians
  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators

The bill was heard before committee on Thursday, but because of the substantial dissent, no vote was taken. The concern now lies with whether or not the bill will be inserted elsewhere or crammed through closer to Crossover Day.

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chefdavidgcpWill DurantCalypsoJessica Szilagyi Recent comment authors
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What problem is this intended to solve?


In February of last year, SCOTUS ruled in NC vs FTC that an elected official must have the final say over appointed licensing board decisions in order for them to be actions of the state. This bill is designed to get Georgia’s licensing boards back into proper legal standing after the SCOTUS ruling.


In the NC case, the board members were elected by their peers and had the power to create a unti-trust and effect their market place. The Georgia boards that cover my profession and additional creditals are each Governor appointed boards. If a governor controls who is on the board, would that not already be government oversight?

It should be noted that the only board except by the bill is the state bar.


Jessica, under your reason #2 above, you may want to consult a dictionary and reconsider your use of the word ‘pariah’ in reference to the governor. Unless, of course, you really think he is a pariah.


Are these licensing boards a paid gig? That would be shweet- a salary with no actual responsibility!

Will Durant
Will Durant

It’s good to be da King.


“The professional licensing boards division provides administrative and investigative support for thirty-four occupational and professional regulatory boards in sixty-four trades and professions, regulating more than 700,000 active and inactive licensees to provide consumer protection”

Slight thread jack here but why does sos regulate so many folks and professions? Several such as some medical and real estate self-regulate but I don’t understand why sos regulates so many other professions.


Even if an associate regulates it’s profession, like doctors, dentist, engineers, nurses etc… That does not mean that every one who practices in that profession belongs to the associate. or could belong to more then one association for that profession. I personal belong to 4 professional associates which have professional licensing requirements in this state. I carry only 1 license out of the 4. I have another license, but I am not a member of their related association. Just because you have a MD behind your name doesn’t mean have to be a member of the AMA. You could be… Read more »


Sos licensing is no guarantee of competence. If I hire a professional I do my own research to ensure he belongs and/or is licensed by the various professional organizations and that he has a reputation for competence. There is enough available info that any consumer can do his own research if he desires. Sos oversight just adds an unnecessary layer of government.


The S of S is not doing any oversight of the licenses. The Governor appointed professional boards are doing the oversight and ruling on licensing. The S of S is confirming citizenship, checking documentation of education and testing, and holding the records. They are issuing out the license at the approval of the professional licensing board. Again, professional organizations do not hand out licenses. They certify, accredit, test, set standards, oversee college degree requirements and keep track of continuing education hours for their profession. They can tell you if they are a member in good standing, which in most cases… Read more »


Your short answer is that some professions have too small of a number to have their own line item in the budget, do not have powerful lobbyist, or are not doctors, dentist or lawyers or involved in insurance.


My answer is I will do my own research on the individual or if the individual is employed by a company, I will check the company also. And who the heck cares if their barber is “unlicensed.”


So if passed we will have boards more worried about what the Governor says than regulating the profession. I am against it.


Not to mention the time. If this passes, the governor or his rep has to personally sign off on every decision, including new, transferred and renewed licensing. That’s almost a 200,000 a year. Say you’re a spouse of a military member transferred to this state. It already takes 2 to 5 months to have a license transfer, depending on type and timing of board meetings. Now add a governor’s approval to that time. The thing that scares me is overruling a board’s revocation. If a medical field professional is stripped of it license by it’s governing board, under this rule,… Read more »