US cities recognized for digital government excellence: Weekly regulatory news 
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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. U.S. cities recognized for digital government excellence, Manitoba unveils $200M plan to add 2,000 health care workers, and more in our weekly look at regulatory news.

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US cities recognized with awards for digital government excellence

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) announced the winners of its 2022 Digital Cities survey awards, which recognize U.S. cities that have radically improved service delivery for citizens by deploying innovative technologies. Awards were given to the top 10 ranking cities in five population categories, with San Diego, CA taking the top spot in the largest population category (500,000 or more citizens) for its digital equity program, “SD Access 4 All,” which uses technology to drive decision-making and focus resources in the highest priority areas. Long Beach, CA, Bellevue, WA, Avondale, AZ, and Schaumburg, IL rounded out the first-place winners in the other four population categories. CDG’s annual Future Ready Award went to Allen, TX for its implementation of numerous technologies that have improved public safety, including drones, SMS citizen interaction, 9-1-1 text and video capability, and auto-dispatching of fire units. The winners were honored at an awards event at the National League of Cities “City Summit” on November 17 in Kansas City, MI. Read more about the winners and insights from CDG’s annual survey here.

$200M plan will add 2,000 workers to Manitoba’s health care system

The Government of Manitoba recently unveiled a $200 million action plan that will help the province add 2,000 workers to the health care system and improve access to care for Manitobans, which has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a high turnover of health care workers. Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson said that the plan will focus on staff retention, training more professionals by expanding Manitoba health care programs, and recruiting new workers through immigration and graduation by reducing barriers to entry. Among the initiatives are a commitment to ending mandated overtime for nurses, offering financial incentives for workers, and providing more support for mental health counselling to address high levels of burnout. The government says it will also cover the licensing fees of all licensed health professionals for two years as well as testing and remedial training costs for nurses who have left the system if they choose to return to the workforce. On the recruitment side, the province will offer up to $23,000 each to international nurses working to get licensed to practice in Manitoba. Read more from CBC News.

Judge blocks licenses for some cannabis dispensaries in New York

A federal judge has temporarily barred the state of New York from issuing the first batch of retail licenses for recreational cannabis in five regions (Brooklyn, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mid-Hudson area and Western New York) pending resolution of a lawsuit filed by a Michigan-based company challenging the program’s licensing requirements. The decision affects 63 of the 150 licenses that the state planned to issue to businesses and individuals who met the narrow criteria. After New York legalized recreational cannabis in March 2021, lawmakers introduced some of the strongest social equity regulations in the nation to build an inclusive market that addresses past harms brought by the decades-long War on Drugs. But the case, brought by Variscite NY One, argues that requiring applicants to have a cannabis-related conviction under New York state law and significant ties to the state violate constitutional protections of interstate commerce. Variscite claims that the state could achieve its goals by other means, such as establishing business incubators and job training programs, but said the company would face irreparable harm if it was forced to wait for the next wave of licenses while other businesses got a head start. Judge Gary L. Sharpe said the state had not made a convincing case for how the legalization law and regulations were narrowly tailored to serve a legitimate purpose. Read more in the New York Times.

US-trained nurse practitioner from NL wants province to cut licensing red tape

Julie Kane, a nurse originally from Newfoundland and Labrador who wants to move home from Alaska and work in the province, is calling on the government to cut red tape as she encounters “barrier after barrier” in the process to become licensed as a nurse practitioner. Kane studied and became a registered nurse in N.L. before moving to the United States in 1998, where she eventually completed an online master’s of nursing program and earned a nurse practitioner license in 2017. In order to work as a nurse practitioner in her home province, Kane first had to get licensed as a registered nurse — a process she said took six months to a year. But because Kane studied to become a nurse practitioner outside Canada, the College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador must assess her education before they can authorize her to write the Canadian nurse practitioner exam. The college says that although it’s trying to cut red tape in the licensing process, ensuring that international nurse practitioner programs match Canadian standards is challenging because it is a relatively new branch of nursing and its development stage, scope, and even terminology can vary widely according to jurisdiction. However, the college said it is working on a solution that would standardize the small but growing field in Atlantic Canada. Read more from CBC News.

Mississippi boards issue joint statement on controlled substance permits

The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure (MSBML) and Mississippi Board of Pharmacy (MBP) recently issued an important joint statement regarding the procurement of controlled substances by health care providers practicing at Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs). ASCs in Mississippi that currently use a single practitioner’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) permit to procure controlled substances for multiple providers must discontinue this practice and obtain an outpatient surgery centers/clinic pharmacy permit from the MBP as well as a hospital/clinic registration from the DEA. According to the statement, the DEA has agreed to delay inspections for noncompliance and enforcement of violations until April 1, 2023. Read more from JD Supra.

More news:

  • The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is investigating a Circle K in west El Paso after several customers complained that the gas station is ignoring their calls following a fuel mix-up that caused damage to their vehicles. The state agency will look at how the gas station is handling the situation with customers and could decide to issue a warning or fine – or even revoke the gas station’s license – if they find it ignored customers’ complaints.
  • North Carolina’s Board of Education will consider a new plan to revamp teacher licensure and pay next month after its Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission recently voted to forward recommendations. The plan would shift teacher pay from the current system based primarily on years of experience to one that incorporates levels of licensure and demonstrated effectiveness.

Also noteworthy:

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

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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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