Economists call for stricter licensing oversight in West Virginia
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, economists call for more regulatory licensing oversight, dated rules prevent Canadian nurses from working, and more cyberattacks amid Ukraine tensions.

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Economists call for more oversight over West Virginia occupational licensing boards

A new paper by the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy provides a number of licensing reform recommendations that would affect more than a fifth of the state’s labor force. The paper suggests licensing boards in West Virginia lack independent oversight. It cites a North Carolina Supreme Court case involving the Board of Dental Examiners’ attempt to mandate licensure for teeth whitening, later deemed an anti-competitive move. Ed Timmons, Director of West Virginia University’s Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation, says the number of workers that require a license has increased from five percent in 1950 to 22 percent, citing studies that show more licensing requirements means reduced employment. Read more here.

Licensing rules restrict trained nurses from working in Manitoba

Critics are calling for the Manitoba government to revisit its licensing rules after another nurse licensed in Ontario and Quebec was sent back to school in order to work in Manitoba. Like many provinces and states, Manitoba is dealing with a shortage of health care workers. A member of the province’s opposition, NDP MLA Malaya Marcelino, says there are currently over 2,000 nursing vacancies in Manitoba and is pushing the Progressive Conservative government to take action, namely by eliminating or recalibrating competency tests. Manitoba’s health minister says the province has created a working group “to look at how we can streamline the process for internationally educated nurses to be licensed here in the province.” Learn more at CBC News.

Sources say Global Affairs Canada suffers cyberattack amid Russia-Ukraine tensions

Global News sources say a recent cyberattack on Global Affairs Canada was the work of Russia or Russian-backed hackers. Neither Global Affairs nor Canada’s cybersecurity agency, the Communications Security Establishment, commented further on the matter, but Canada’s Liberal government has offered vocal support to Ukraine as Russia masses troops on the former Soviet state’s borders. Ottawa supplied a $120 million loan to the Ukrainian government and re-committed Canadian soldiers to train Kyiv’s security forces. Read more on the developing story at Global News.

Bill would allow West Virginians to legally make liquor at home

West Virginia lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow people to make liquor at home for themselves and for family members. According to West Virginia state law, it is already legal for people to make beer and wine at home. House Bill 2972 would allow people over the age of 21 to make up to 50 gallons of liquor at home in a year. If there are two or more people over 21 living in a household, families can make up to 100 gallons of liquor per year. The proposal bans the sale of any liquor made at home. It passed the West Virginia House of Delegates on Monday and is now headed to the state Senate. A similar piece of legislation was introduced last year during the state’s legislative session, but it failed. It passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Learn more at WTAP.

Province’s vaccine and testing mandate is unenforced

More than two months after implementing a new COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate, Saskatchewan has failed to enforce it, critics allege. Unions representing tens of thousands of staff say they do not know of a single incident of members being disciplined for failure to comply. Officials could not say how many of the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s 43,000 staff and associated physicians haven’t presented proof of the jab or enrolled in its mandatory testing program, or “why none have faced any consequence for flouting a policy described as an important safety measure for staff and patients alike,” the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reports.

Mississippi’s Secretary of State announces licensing review plan

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson announced plans to review the state’s occupational licensing regulations, saying the plan, titled 29 by 29, aims to review every regulation for all 29 occupational licensing boards and commissions by the year 2029. “By taking an in-depth look at three to four occupational licensing boards a year, we’ll have a clear understanding of which harmful and unnecessary regulations we need to cut,” Watson stated. Read the full plan here.

New telehealth rules in Ohio cover exams for medical marijuana

A recently signed HB122 law, which goes into effect at the end of March, enacts a number of telehealth rules that were eased during the pandemic. The expanded telehealth law includes provisions to allow physicians authorized to recommend medical marijuana to conduct the required in-person patient exams via telehealth. Current rules dictate that a physician authorized to recommend medical marijuana needs to conduct in-person physical examinations “to establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship.” Physicians must also conduct in-person examinations before renewing recommendations for medical marijuana, according to JD Supra.

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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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