Oklahoma advances licensing reform to help citizens with criminal records
Oklahoma licensing reform and more in this week's 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. In this week’s news, licensing backlogs in several states are preventing health care workers from practicing, Oklahoma advances bill to help citizens with criminal records obtain licenses, and an Illinois city debates installing licensing requirement for landlords.

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License backlogs preventing health care workers from seeing patients

As the pandemic wears on, license backlogs in states across the U.S. are preventing health care workers from obtaining the licenses they need to practice, NBC News reports. The delays are putting additional strain on the country’s already battered health care system. Licensing agencies, which have been grappling with an increased volume of applications and fewer staff members throughout the pandemic, say that manual licensing processes and outdated technology are contributing to the backlog, and that more resources are needed to address the crisis.

Oklahoma advances licensing reform to help citizens with criminal records

The Oklahoma Senate has advanced an occupational licensing reform bill that would make it easier for Oklahomans with a criminal record to obtain a license. Senate Bill 1691, which builds on a previously passed House bill, stipulates that a criminal record could only be grounds for license denial if the offense substantially relates to the duties and responsibilities of the occupation and poses a reasonable threat to public safety. The law also requires licensing boards to a conduct a review of the applicant’s circumstances before denying their application. SB 1691 next heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Read more about it here.

Colorado advances bipartisan bill to expedite licensure process

Colorado’s Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill that would add to previous legislative efforts to expedite the occupational licensure process. Senate Bill 22-116 would allow professionals licensed in another state to operate in Colorado as long as their license is in good standing with the regulatory authority in their originating state. The bill also seeks to add a military occupational specialty designation, meaning that certain military veterans would be able to use their experience to qualify for occupational licensing. SB 22-116 now needs approval by the full Senate before heading to the House for debate. Read more about it here.

New York labor unions call for ‘Clean Slate’ passage

A coalition of labor unions in New York recently called for the passage of the Clean Slate Act, endorsing a criminal justice law change that has been a priority for advocates and Gov. Kathy Hochul. The bill aims to reduce barriers to housing, education, employment, and occupational licensing faced by the more than 2.3 million New York residents with criminal convictions. Read more about the bill here.

Probe against Halifax dentist will take time, says board registrar

In a recent op-ed, Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia Registrar Dr. Doug Mackey updated the public on the investigation of Halifax-based dentist Dr. Errol Gaum, which has been ongoing since November 2020. Dr. Gaum faces eight police charges for assaults against patients committed between the 1970s and 2020. He has had multiple complaints filed against him, which Dr. Mackey says the board is investigating thoroughly but will take time to resolve given the complexity of the case. Dr. Gaum’s license remains suspended as the investigation continues. Read the full op-ed here.

Illinois city debates licensing requirement for landlords

City council members in Evanston, Illinois are debating installing a licensing requirement for the city’s landlords. Evanston currently uses a rental registration system that requires landlords to register all of their rental properties every year. Advocates for the move to licensing argue that the new system would improve the enforcement of property maintenance requirements and force more landlords into compliance with local codes, while opponents say that the current registration system can be reformed without imposing a “draconic” licensing requirement. Read more about the debate from the Evanston RoundTable.

Also noteworthy:  

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


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