US federal government seeks to harmonize cybersecurity regulations: 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. This week in regulatory news, the U.S. government requests information on conflicting cybersecurity regulations at the federal, state, and local levels, China announces broad regulations for the use of generative AI, and more.

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Regulating generative AI in China: Week in Brief
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US federal government seeks to harmonize cybersecurity regulations 

The Biden administration is pushing for increased coherence between cybersecurity regulations at the federal, local, and state levels, as evidenced by its request for information last month that calls upon state and local governments to point out “opportunities for and obstacles to harmonizing cybersecurity regulations.” The administration also released its National Cybersecurity Strategy earlier this year, which called for “harmonizing and streamlining new and existing regulations.” 

According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), navigating the patchwork of regulations issued by different federal agencies can increase costs and time expenditures for organizations in both the private and public sectors. The request for information from the federal government serves as a response to what IT industry stakeholders have been calling for over the past several years. 

Specifically, the request from the Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) asks respondents to provide examples of conflicting or inconsistent cybersecurity regulations as well as information regarding the cost of compliance with these rules. It also asks for insight on state and local regulations, including whether these rules are coherent between different states, and information about international regulations from which other conflicts arise. Read more at Route Fifty.

Nebraska enters interstate compact for teacher licensing 

Thanks to Nebraska’s recent enactment of the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, legislation has now been adopted in 10 states and the compact is now active. The legislation in Nebraska was proposed by state Senator Carol Blood, who expressed hopes that the interstate licensing agreement will bring highly qualified talent to the state and help to address its ongoing teacher shortage.  

The state joins Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah as the compact’s initial participating jurisdictions, though Nebraska’s implementation is not expected to take effect until the summer of 2024. Stakeholders from the Council of State Governments (CSG) believe the compact will encourage teachers who have moved to Nebraska with out-of-state licenses to return to the classroom. 

The CSG, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), has been responsible for the proliferation of interstate compacts in several different professions, with the impetus behind many of these compacts being to help military families, who are frequently subject to relocation. Under the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, military spouses will be eligible for reciprocity with temporary or provisional licenses, while non-military teachers will still need to hold full, unencumbered licenses. Read more at KLKN-TV and Education Week.

New legislation intends to help internationally trained health workers in Illinois 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed into law a new piece of legislation intended to expand licensing opportunities for internationally licensed health care professionals. Under the new legislation, sponsored by State Senator Omar Aquino, a new regulatory office within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) will provide a licensing liaison for international applicants to answer questions and provide information on licensing requirements. 

The new Office of the Ombudsman for International Applicants is intended to streamline the licensing process for health care workers who have been credentialed outside the country in an effort to grow the state’s health care workforce, says Aquino. The senator had previously supported the creation of the state’s Task Force on Internationally Licensed Health Care Professionals, which sought to explore strategies to simplify licensure for these applicants.  

The creation of the IDFPR’s new office follows suggestions by the task force, which identified the need for a full-time position dedicated to assisting foreign-trained health professionals. According to Aquino, many of these international graduates worked on the front lines of the health care industry under temporary arrangements during the peak of COVID-19, and the passage of House Bill 2948 represents a way to pay respect to these professionals and integrate them back into the state’s workforce. Read more at Illinois Senate Democrats. 

SEC seeks to investigate socially conscious investing 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may be preparing to crack down on the sustainable fund world, as its enforcement division recently sent document requests, including subpoenas, to several asset managers regarding their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment marketing. Lawyers from the asset management industry said the SEC is looking in particular at conventional funds that have been repurposed as ESG funds. 

This comes as the latest action following the creation of a task force by the SEC in early 2021 – during an ESG investment boom that saw global assets under management reach $3 trillion – to investigate potential misconduct in these investment disclosures. This resulted in settlements between the commission and several large companies, including Goldman Sachs and BNY Mellon, in 2022, but no ESG cases have been filed yet this year.  

ESG investment has been under scrutiny as of late by other financial regulators as well. In late July, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleged that Vanguard, a U.S. company, had said its “ethically conscious” global bond fund excluded fossil fuel issuers while holding debt from Chevron and several major oil companies. Jina Choi, a former leader in the SEC’s San Fransisco office, said the commission intends to continue investigating the world of socially conscious investing, and that more enforcement cases may be filed before the end of the agency’s fiscal year in September. Read more at Financial Times. 

China announces regulations for generative AI 

New regulations from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) regarding the use of generative AI in the country have taken effect after several months of deliberation and revision. The Interim Measures for Administration of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services, which are more relaxed than the CAC’s initial draft measures, seek to impose some general and broad obligations for the use and provision of generative AI services.  

Under the Interim Measures, generative AI service providers and users are obligated to uphold the country’s socialist core values and avoid disseminating fake and harmful information. More specifically, providers of these services are expected to: 

  • Conduct data training with AI models in a legal manner. 
  • Annotate data properly and assess annotations for quality. 
  • Sign contracts with end users that outline the parties’ rights and obligations. 
  • Guide users to use AI services legally. 
  • Protect input information from users and avoid collecting unnecessary information. 
  • Use complaint mechanisms to deal with public complaints, and  
  • Report all generation and transmission of illegal content to the proper authorities.  

The Interim Measures also require AI service providers to carry out security assessments and algorithm filings if their services are found to be capable of influencing public opinion. The PRC government said it intends to directly promote the development and application of generative AI tech throughout the country while also regulating it. Read more about the measures at Lexology. 

New Ontario regulations face criticism from recruiting firms 

New regulations intended to reign in mistreatment of workers by temporary help agencies (THAs) in Ontario have come under fire from some small recruitment agencies, who allege the licensing standards create undue burdens for organizations whose business models do not resemble those of temp agencies. Stakeholders from these recruiting firms say there is no obvious reason the new rules should apply to them. 

The new standards, which require businesses in the recruiting and staffing industry to apply for licenses by the beginning of 2024, include mandatory application fees and $25,000 letters of credit to be drawn upon if agencies are found to have taken financial advantage of employees. The Ontario Ministry of Labour created the rules after finding instances of labor trafficking by THAs in 2020 and 2021 that added up to $4.2 million in unpaid wages. 

But these regulations apply to all recruiting and staffing agencies in the province – not just THAs. And critics like Jason Noble, founder of the Noble Search Group, say there are businesses like his under this umbrella that have nothing to do with the provision and payment of temporary employees.  

These critics believe the new regulations should only cover staffing companies that pay workers directly, while the Ontario government argues the rules are intentionally broad to make it more difficult for bad actors to work around them. Read more at The Globe and Mail. 

More news:

  • Georgia’s Senate Study Committee on Occupational Licensing is looking to address barriers to licensure in the state. The committee recently held its first meeting of 2023 and discussed potential measures to foster healthy business growth in the state, including removing lengthy experience requirements from certain license categories. 
  • The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is investigating Ralph Lauren’s Canada unit regarding allegations the retailer benefited from the use of Uyghur forced labor in China. CORE said it started the investigation after 28 civil society organizations filed complaints against the company in June 2022. The watchdog is also investigating similar allegations against GobiMin, a Canada-based mining and property investment firm. 
  • A new program in Prince Edward Island will help residents looking to pursue a career in health care by subsidizing tuition costs for nursing and paramedicine students in exchange for an agreement to work in the province for at least two years. The province’s Department of Workforce, Advanced Learning, and Population will also be working with Holland College by adding more seats to its licensed practical nursing program and continuing to subsidize tuition for resident care worker students.

Also noteworthy:

Interesting opinion, commentary, and analysis from the web:

Disclaimer: The thoughts, opinions, and commentary of the articles we share links to in Week in Brief do not necessarily reflect those of Ascend Magazine or Thentia. 

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Jordan Milian
Written byJordan Milian
Jordan Milian is a writer covering government regulation and occupational licensing for Ascend, with a professional background in journalism and marketing.

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Review commission identifies barriers to entry for Virginia teachers: 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.
This week in regulatory news, a review commission identifies barriers to licensure amidst Virginia’s statewide teacher shortage, a U.K. architecture board recommends reforming educational requirements, and more.