Kentucky eyes improving licensing help for ex-criminals
The Week in Brief is your weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what's happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy. In this week's news, Kentucky moves to support better licensing for ex-criminals, a think tank calls for less occupational licensing regulation in Ohio, and Pennsylvania moves to improve the lives of veterans.

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In its 2022 Legislative Agenda, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce said it supported efforts to improve access to professional licensing and educational opportunities for those with non-violent, non-sexual criminal histories. “We know other states have passed, or are considering passing, controversial legislation in the name of religious freedom that will negatively impact their economic activity, both short- and long-term,” the report states. “We oppose and discourage any discriminatory legislation that would hinder any individual’s or organization’s desire to do business in or with the commonwealth.” For more on this and the chamber’s other priorities, head to The Messenger-Inquirer.

Ohio’s Buckeye Institute released a report naming over 60 occupational licenses it says the state should modify or eliminate altogether, The Center Square reports. Ohio, which trails only New York and California as the third-most regulated state, is going through a licensure review following calls to cut business regulations by 30%. “To assist lawmakers in their work, The Buckeye Institute has examined the same licenses being reviewed by the Ohio House and has identified 63 licenses that should be eliminated or reformed to make Ohio more economically competitive,” the report’s author stated.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed a package of legislation meant to improve the lives of veterans. The bill, which now heads to the senate, eases the professional licensing process for veterans and calls for naming more veterans and their spouses to licensure boards, mandating specific guidelines, speeding up the application review process, and waiving initial licensure fee waivers for military spouses relocating to the state, among other measures. Learn more at WENY News.

Also in Pennsylvania, it looks like Jake Wheatley, who currently serves as the Democratic Chairman of the House Professional Licensing Committee, will soon become deputy mayor of Pittsburgh, opening up both his seat at the State Capitol and his leadership of the licensure committee.

Lawmakers in Montana told state regulators to reconsider certain potential rules around recreational marijuana sales, Montana Public Radio reports. The Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division Chief said the Revenue Interim Committee told her department to re-evaluate the proposal to ban those with criminal convictions from the past three years from working in the industry.

Six new bills that resist federal vaccine mandates have been introduced in the Alabama Senate, though their futures are uncertain. Senate Bill 12 and Senate Bill 13 prohibit employers and occupational licensing boards from discriminating against individuals on the basis on immunization status and also authorize the state to defend those subject to federal fines. Read more at Alabama Daily News.

Also noteworthy:

• Vermont has an opportunity to rebrand itself as a workforce destination (Rutland Herald)
• New California licensing reform should go further for workers (Los Angeles Daily News)
• Nurses, social workers say implicit bias training can help combat health disparities (News Channel 3)
• Permanent audio-only telehealth, licensure flexibility key to virtual care (mHealth Intelligence)

Got a news tip? Write us at editor@ascend.thentia.com.

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Paul Leavoy
Written byPaul Leavoy
Paul Leavoy is Editor of Ascend Magazine and writes on occupational licensing, regulation, digital government, and public policy.

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