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Restrictions On Professional Licensing Advance In Iowa House

Iowa’a Capitol after a late after noon spring rain.
John Pemble
IPR file
The proposal would allow for new or expanded licenses only to protect public health and safety.

Creating new professional licensing programs, or expanding existing ones, would be more difficult under a bill passed out of an Iowa House subcommittee Wednesday.

The proposal (SF 487), which has already passed in the Senate, allows for new or expanded licenses only to protect public health and safety. The legislature would be required to consider less restrictive options first, such as professional certificates.

Any existing professional board would undergo reviews more frequently, and would be asked to demonstrate “public need for its continued existence.”

Supporters of the bill told the subcommittee it would remove barriers to expand the state’s workforce.

“The whole purpose of the bill is to make sure that any regulation coming forward is put under a microscope,” said Taylor Raygor, deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity Iowa. “If we’re going to regulate, let’s make sure that we’re not imposing undue or unnecessary barriers to accomplish the goals or the problems we’re trying to solve.”

Lobbyists for several trade groups objected to sections of the bill directing the legislature to adopt the “least restrictive” professional regulations possible in order to protect consumers. They said that could allow untrained and unqualified workers to do business in the state.

“We are a field where they do have a hard time finding new employees, but I’ve never heard one of our members ever say the way they should be recruiting people into their field is to make it easier for untrained people to enter it,” said Sandra Conlin of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa, which is registered undecided on the bill. “The answer isn’t always to allow lesser-trained people into the field.”

The bill now goes to the full House State Government Committee, which plans to meet Thursday. It must advance out of committee this week to remain eligible for a floor vote during this session.

Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa