N.L. doctors oppose proposed government say in licensing: Weekly regulatory news 
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. N.L. doctors oppose proposed government say in licensing, New Mexico licensing department hit by cyberattack, Virginia moves to lower barriers to teacher licensure, and more in our weekly look at regulatory news.

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N.L. doctors oppose change that would give government a say in licensing

The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association is pushing back against the provincial government’s proposed legislative changes that would give its health minister a say in the licensing process for out-of-province physicians. The change – which is one of several proposed amendments to the province’s Medical Act – would empower the health minister to determine what qualifications were needed and which jurisdictions and schools would be accepted for an out-of-province doctor to be granted a provisional license by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador. The association says the move amounts to “overreach” and would compromise the profession’s basic tenet of self-regulation, noting that no other province allows its government such power. But Health Minister Tom Osborne defended the change as necessary to shore up the province’s health workforce, saying that the ongoing physician shortage – which has forced intermittent closures of rural emergency rooms throughout the summer and fall and left approximately 525,000 residents currently without a family doctor – has created “unprecedented times.” Read more from CTV News.

New Mexico licensing department target of cyberattack

The New Mexico agency that oversees professional licenses for thousands of businesses across the state has been the target of a cyberattack. The Regulation and Licensing Department regulates more than 500,000 individuals and businesses in 35 industries, professions, and trades. The agency said that some organizations and individuals have had their information compromised as a result of the attack, and those whose personal information was accessed will receive data breach assistance and credit monitoring. However, it hasn’t disclosed how many people and businesses have been impacted or if only certain areas of the department were targeted. The cybersecurity office is investigating the incident, and state officials say they are confident it was an isolated attack. Read more at Insurance Journal.

Virginia moves to lower barriers to licensure for teachers amid school staffing crisis

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration has launched a social media and advertising campaign aimed at encouraging Virginians to “Become a Teacher” amid an ongoing teacher shortage in the state. At the center of the campaign is a website designed to help those interested in becoming teachers find a path to a job – without necessarily going through the traditional degree and licensing process. The campaign launch comes one month after Youngkin issued an executive directive calling for barriers to teacher licensure to be lowered and for increased targeting of grants to help people become teachers. The order directed State Superintendent Jillian Balow to “develop additional legislative proposals to reduce red tape associated with teacher licensure, while ensuring high standards.” So far, proposals include making it easier for military veterans, those with non-teaching degrees, and teachers licensed in other states to get licensure in Virginia. However, the administration’s efforts have not addressed the issue of teacher pay. Virginia has consistently been rated one of the worst states in the union for teacher pay, and while many localities have made efforts to improve pay to attract more candidates, they’ve been hampered by a lack of state funding. Read more at WAVY News.

California regulators approve desalination plant as historic drought continues

California regulators have approved a $140 million desalination plant as the state grapples with a historic megadrought and plummeting water supplies. The state’s Coastal Commission voted 11-0 to approve the Doheny Ocean Desalination Plant in Orange County, which when fully operational, could convert up to 5 million gallons of seawater each day into drinking water for thousands of people in the South Coast Water District. The approval comes as record temperatures and drought conditions continue to threaten the state’s future water supply, which could see a 10% loss of its current levels by 2040. In May, state regulators unanimously rejected a much larger $1.4 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach, citing concerns over the costs, potential risks to marine life, and hazards associated with sea level rise and flooding. However, officials say that the smaller Doheny plant will have an environmental design that better addresses potential damage to marine life. The new plant, which will join 12 existing desalination facilities throughout California, could be functioning within the next five years. Read more at CNBC News.

More than half of people are frustrated by digital government services, survey finds

A new report by Accenture found that when it comes to digital government, people want an easy-to-use, simple, secure experience with a human element. The report was based on a survey of 5,500 consumers and 3,000 public workers from North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific conducted between March and April of this year. More than half of respondents found it difficult and complicated to access government services currently, with only 36% saying that government agency processes and interactions are intuitive and 41% saying that government processes are clear and understandable. Notably, 46% of respondents said they would be more likely to use digital technology to access government services if the technology was easier to use. Personal data was another top concern for respondents, particularly regarding government agencies’ abilities to secure their information and appropriately use it. Read more in Nextgov.

More news:

  • Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota will be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana during the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Legalization failed to make it on the ballot in time in Oklahoma, but If the measures in all five other states pass, recreational cannabis will be legal in almost half of the U.S.
  • State regulators said that Enbridge Energy will pay more than $11 million after investigations identified water quality violations and three aquifer breaches related to the company’s Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota.

Also noteworthy:

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BC expands licensure pathway for international doctors: Weekly regulatory news 

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.
British Columbia expands licensure pathway for internationally educated doctors, Ohio amendment could change the future of social work, proposal to reduce cosmetology licensure hours in Virginia sparks backlash, and more in our weekly look at regulatory news.

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Ariel Visconti
Written byAriel Visconti
Ariel Visconti researches and writes on government and politics, regulation, occupational licensing, and emerging technologies.

IN BRIEF

Doctors handshaking.
British Columbia
BC expands licensure pathway for international doctors: Weekly regulatory news 

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.
British Columbia expands licensure pathway for internationally educated doctors, Ohio amendment could change the future of social work, proposal to reduce cosmetology licensure hours in Virginia sparks backlash, and more in our weekly look at regulatory news.

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