US moves to relax licensing rules for school bus drivers
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, BC seeks feedback on new asbestos rules, DOT relaxes rules for bus drivers, and Canada's top Mountie violated legal obligations with slow complaint response.

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Judge rules top Mountie violated legal obligations with slow complaint response record

Canada’s Federal Court ruled that the time it took for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to respond to investigations into claims of Mountie misconduct violated her legal obligations. Critics say the duration the force can take to respond to Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) findings — delays of months or years — undermines police accountability, according to the CBC. The ruling is considered a victory for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which argued a culture of complacency in the RCMP caused inexcusable foot-dragging on complaint files. Read more at CTV News.

U.S. DOE, DOT announce relaxed rules for bus drivers amid omicron surge, labor shortage

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have announced a joint temporary action that allows states to waive a portion of the skills test required to get a commercial driver’s license. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is giving states the option to waive the portion of the test requiring applicants to identify “under the hood” engine components. Some communities in Maine experienced school bus shortages as schools reopened in fall 2021. Read more at The Maine Wire.

Georgia Justice Project plans to break down barriers for formerly incarcerated individuals

The Georgia Justice Project (GJP) has announced new policy goals to help reduce barriers to reentering communities and support Georgians affected by the state’s criminal legal system. GJP will launch this year’s advocacy campaign with a Virtual Legislative Kickoff Event on Jan. 20. GJP argues that the primary determinant of whether people successfully reenter their communities is employment and that formerly incarcerated individuals face barriers to employment everywhere. The group seeks to open more employment opportunities by building upon momentum from the successful passage of Senate Bill 288 (expanding expungement) and Senate Bill 105 (early termination of felony probation). Read more and sign up for the event at Atlanta Daily World.

Texas abortion providers rebut judge’s ‘business as usual’ claim

Abortion providers in Texas resisted a Fifth Circuit judge’s statement that state-court orders have allowed them to return to doing “business as usual” in spite of a law prohibiting abortions after nearly six weeks of pregnancy. Despite the judge’s suggestion, Texas state courts have not issued broad orders that block enforcement of the law, an attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Planned Parenthood clinics challenging the law are operating in compliance with S.B. 8, a letter advising the court of additional information reported. Since the law took effect in September, abortion hasn’t been available throughout Texas once cardiac activity is detected, the letter said. Read more at Bloomberg Law.

BC seeks feedback on new asbestos rule proposals

British Columbia is inviting citizens to share their feedback on new proposed health and safety requirements that affect contractors, employers and workers tasked with asbestos abatement work. Asbestos-related diseases lead the causes of workplace deaths in B.C. where workers and others are still exposed to this extremely hazardous substance. The provincial government is proposing new standards under the Workers Compensation Act that would require asbestos abatement contractors to be licensed by WorkSafeBC to operate in B.C. and employers, workers and contractors who perform asbestos abatement work to be certified through a mandatory safety training process that would be authorized by WorkSafeBC. Read the release here.

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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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