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Government Affairs

As part of the overall ICE mission, the ICE Government Affairs committee has been hard at work monitoring a variety of issues at the federal and state level related to credentialing and advocating for best practices for certification and certificate programs. 

Use the resources below to stay up-to-date with discussions and issues at the federal and state level related to credentialing. ICE will be adding a function to this page soon that will allow you to submit issues you are following that might be of interest to other ICE member organizations. In the meantime, please email ICE with federal, state or regulatory issues you are currently following (droosendaal@credentialingexcellence.org). 

What's Happening in the World of Government Affairs?

Review updates and highlights from the ICE Government Affairs Committee.

Department of Labor Opinion Letter

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued an Opinion Letter endorsing the decision of a nonprofit credentialing organization to classify the graders of its examinations as volunteers, rather than as employees or independent contractors. (Read the article written by Jerry Jacobs and Julia Judish, Pillsbury Law Firm).

FTC Staff Guidance on Active Supervision of State Regulatory Boards Controlled by Market Participants.

California Studies Occupational Licensing Impacts  

UPDATED: Copyright Issues

Copyright Office Rulemaking

On May 8, 2020, the federal Copyright Office published an interim rule for comment which included a new definition for “secure test.”

If you are interested in submitting individual comments, the deadline for comment submission on this definition is June 8, 2020.

The new, proposed definition is as follows:

A non-marketed test administered under supervision at specified centers where test takers are assembled on scheduled dates, and where all copies of the test are accounted for and either destroyed or returned to restricted locked storage following each administration.

ICE Government Affairs Committee and the Professional Certification Coalition are following this issue as well and will issue additional guidance specifically for certification organizations, if necessary. For more information or to comment, go to the Copyright Office website: https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/securetests/

ICE member Joshua Aldort, McAndrews Held & Malloy, Ltd., kindly wrote this brief update on the issue. 

Criminal Justice Reform Act Research Project

Criminal Justice Reform acts have been gaining in popularity over the past year with federal legislation passing with bipartisan support in December 2018 and many states enacted similar legislation. So far, the approach has been to address the issue with measures to limit the state from using criminal convictions as a means to reject a licensure application from an ex-offender. While not yet a reality, there is growing concern that the state could eventually extend those restrictions to private certification bodies. This study would prepare ICE and its members to have informed conversations about this topic by being armed with evidence on how certification bodies are (or aren’t) currently using consideration of criminal convictions in the application process for certificants. This evidence might include: 1) descriptions of the variety of policy approaches used when considering criminal conviction (blanket prohibition for specific, profession-related convictions; case-by-case consideration; etc.) 2) the number of rejections of a certification (or recertification) application based on criminal convictions 3) legal precedent being used for crafting policies 4) practices for disclosing criminal conviction before application or while certified.

ICE is developing a new task force to enhance our understanding of Criminal Justice Reform in order to speak authoritatively on the topic. If you are interested in joining this task force, please contact info@credentialingexcellence.org.

California's Little Hoover Commission

The CA Little Hoover Commission on State Government Organization and Economy is an independent state oversight agency investigating the impact of occupational licensing on upward mobility and opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation for Californians, particularly those of modest means. The Commission will also examine the result of occupational licensing on the cost and availability of services provided by licensed practitioners to consumers. The Commission also will assess the connection between occupational licensing regulations and the underground economy. The Commission will explore the balance between protecting consumers and enabling Californians to enter the occupation of their choice. 

White House Licensing Report 

"This report outlines the growth of licensing over the past several decades, its costs and benefits, and its impacts on workers and work arrangements. The report recommends several best practices to ensure that licensing protects consumers without placing unnecessary restrictions on employment, innovation, or access to important goods and services." -Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers

The Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers report was prepared by the Department of the Treasury Office of Economic Policy, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Department of Labor. 

Download the Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers report

The Hamilton Project Discussion Paper: Reforming Occupational Licensing

"Occupational licensing has been among the fastest growing labor market institutions in the United States since World War II. The evidence from the economics literature suggests that licensing has had an important influence on wage determination, benefits, employment, and prices in ways that impose net costs on society with little improvement to service quality, health, and safety. To improve occupational licensing practices, I propose four specific reforms." - Reforming Occupational Licensing Policies, 2015

This discussion paper is a proposal from the author, Morris M. Kleiner. As emphasized in The Hamilton Project’s original strategy paper, the Project was designed in part to provide a forum for leading thinkers across the nation to put forward innovative and potentially important economic policy ideas that share the Project’s broad goals of promoting economic growth, broad-based participation in growth, and economic security. The author(s) are invited to express their own ideas in discussion papers, whether or not the Project’s staff or advisory council agrees with the specific proposals. This discussion paper is offered in that spirit.

Download discussion paperReforming Occupational Licensing Policies.

Service Members/Veterans Activities 

ICE is monitoring a variety of initiatives to assist military service members and veterans with credentialing issues. Through communication with the American Legion and other veterans organizations, ICE is monitoring all activities including:

American Legion State of Credentialing Service Members and Veterans ReportThe Executive Summary for the report was released in conjunction with the credentialing round table the Legion held last February. The Legion has been a tremendous supporter of facilitating credentialing for our Nation’s heroes for over 20 years now and this report demonstrates their continued commitment to the important issue.  

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2016): The National Defense Appropriations Act approved for FY 2016 contains a specific, new provision on the subject of certification accreditation entitled, "Quality Assurance of Certification Programs and Standards for Professional Credentials Obtained by Members of the Armed Forces" which could impact certification bodies which applicability to the military/veterans. Excerpt

Career-Ready Student Veterans Act of 2015. S.1938 (House Companion Bill HR 2360): This bill adds the following new criteria for state approval, for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational assistance, of applications of educational institutions providing veterans with non-accredited courses:

  1. Any program designed to prepare an individual for state licensure or certification must meet state instructional curriculum licensure or certification requirements, and
  2. Any program designed to prepare an individual for employment pursuant to standards developed by a state board or agency in an occupation requiring approval or licensure must be approved or licensed by that state board or agency

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