Louisiana Bill Takes Aim at Professional Credentials

The Occupational Licensing Review Act, whose proponents say they want to curb “over-regulation” of professional licensure, would severely restrict the use of nongovernmental certifications in the state. ASAE is urging associations to inform their Louisiana members that their credentials are at risk.

A measure that appears to be moving quickly toward passage in the Louisiana legislature poses a significant threat to association credentialing programs, ASAE warned in an alert emailed to members Tuesday.

If enacted, Louisiana House Bill 748, the Occupational Licensing Review Act, “could potentially prohibit many professionals in Louisiana from identifying themselves as holding a professional certification,” ASAE Senior Vice President for Public Policy Jim Clarke, CAE, wrote in the message. He added that the measure would restrict the use of credentials as prerequisites for licensing of many professionals in the state.

Proponents of the bill say that state licensure requirements have grown too burdensome. “We’re at a point now where I believe it’s necessary to determine whether we are over-regulating and whether we are providing the best environment we can to attract and retain businesses,” Rep. Chad Brown (D) said at recent committee hearing, according to the Baton Rouge news outlet The Advocate.

But associations and other credentialing organizations are concerned that provisions in the legislation would effectively ban nongovernmental professional credentialing. ASAE noted that:

  • The bill would prohibit the use of the terms “certification” and “registration” for nongovernmental professional credentialing unless state law requires certification or registration to work in the profession (as in the medical field, for example).
  • State licensing programs that require association certification would be reviewed by the governor’s office every five years for possible sunsetting.
  • No licensure law could include a certification requirement unless the governor’s office finds “empirically substantiated harms to consumers” if certification is not required.

Andrea Rutledge, CAE, president and CEO of CMAA—whose members manage complex construction projects like transportation infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, and commercial real estate—said 41 construction managers in Louisiana have earned the organization’s Certified Construction Manager designation. Under the bill, they could no longer use the certification in the state.

The CCM “is the only CM certification accredited by the American National Standards Institute under the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO-17024 standard,” Rutledge said. “CCMs have voluntarily met the prescribed criteria of the CCM program with regard to formal education, field experience, and demonstrated capability and understanding of the CM body of knowledge.”

She added that project “owners” —the organizations that commission and fund capital construction projects—often seek out CCMs. “An increasing number of owners, including the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, indicate a preference for CCMs in their requests for proposals for CM services. GSA has included the preference for nearly 15 years,” she said. “This legislation would require changes to those RFPs.”

“CMAA’s commitment to capital project success would be severely compromised by this legislation,”  Rutledge said.

The bill has passed the Louisiana House and is likely to see a vote in the Senate soon. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) supports the measure.

“This legislation does not seem like a forward-thinking approach,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. “We believe strongly in professional certification, much like our Certified Association Executive (CAE) program. We know many other organizations feel the same. We have been getting the word out and will continue to make our case known to the Louisiana State Senate.”

ASAE is urging associations to contact their members in Louisiana to keep them informed on the bill and noted that it could become law by mid-May, when the legislature is expected to adjourn.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the legislature may adjourn earlier than originally expected.

(gnagel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Julie Shoop

By Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. MORE

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