Two bills passed by the Missouri legislature define certification as a government function, threatening voluntary certifications offered by associations and other credentialing organizations. ASAE is pressing the incoming governor to veto the measures.
Update, 6/7/18: On June 1, just before leaving office, former Gov. Eric Greitens signed the Professional Employer Organization Act. ASAE said it “has had productive discussions with staff from Missouri Senator Jeanie Riddle’s office and will continue to pursue a legislative fix,” adding that it “will be working with a coalition of like-minded organizations concerned about state certification/licensing legislation around the country and will keep the association community informed when there are developments that warrant attention.”
On the heels of a successful effort to protect the use of professional certifications in Louisiana, ASAE delivered a letter Wednesday to Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson urging him to veto two bills that would negatively affect holders of voluntary certifications in that state.
The two bills, HB 1719 and HB 1500, have already been passed by the Missouri legislature and include similar language intended to modify the state’s approach to the licensing of occupations and professional employer organizations. While neither bill prohibits private certification, the text defines certification as a “program in which the government grants nontransferable recognition to an individual.”
By redefining “certification” as an exclusively government function, the bills as drafted push Missouri to start supplanting private certification programs. ASAE has contacted Parson because he will automatically ascend to governor on Friday following Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation.
ASAE also opposed a bill in Louisiana that would have restricted individuals holding a voluntary certification from using the term “certified” in their title. After significant opposition, the bill was amended by the state legislature to simply call for a review of all occupational licensing regulations over a five-year period. That bill is currently awaiting Gov. John Bel Edwards’ signature.
The Missouri bills differ from Louisiana’s but pose a similar threat to both credentialing programs that are incorporated into state licensure laws (such as in the medical and accounting fields) and voluntary certifications that are not required to practice an occupation in any state but demonstrate an individual’s professional knowledge and competence in a field (such as ASAE’s CAE credential).
“Nongovernmental professional credentialing is vital to America’s workforce,” ASAE said in its letter this week. “The purpose of these credentialing programs is not to burden skilled workers, but rather to allow them to demonstrate their professional capability and understanding of their field. It would be severely detrimental to devalue credentials held by Missouri workers.”