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Pennsylvania Legislation Threatens Private Certification, ASAE Says

By / May 17, 2019 (EdBrennan/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature is the latest in a series of state-level measures that threaten certifications offered by associations and other private organizations, according to ASAE and the Professional Certification Coalition.

Echoing concerns it has raised over the past year about similar legislation in other states, ASAE is seeking amended language in a bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House that it says poses a threat to private certifications, including those offered by associations.

In its current form, House Bill 811 could interfere with the right of many private credentialing organizations to adopt and enforce their own ethics codes and procedures, ASAE said. It added that, depending on the reading of the legislation, the measure may restrict use of the title “certified” in Pennsylvania to those holding government-issued credentials. This would deny state residents the right to use professional titles they have lawfully earned from private organizations and also raises potential constitutional questions, according to ASAE.

“Given the important role of private certification organizations both in providing assurances to the public and in the commonwealth’s own regulation of licensed professions, we request that you modify the bill to avoid these negative impacts,” ASAE CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, wrote in a letter [PDF] to Reps. Jim Cox and David Hickernell, the prime sponsors of the legislation.

Last year, ASAE and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence cofounded the Professional Certification Coalition after bills limiting private credentialing emerged in Louisiana, Missouri, and several other states. Now with more than 115 members, PCC has monitored and engaged in advocacy on over 80 similar bills in 30 states.

“Through the PCC and ASAE members on the ground, we have been able to neutralize or stop the majority of the most onerous legislation,” ASAE said in an advocacy report on Thursday.  In Louisiana, for example, the measure passed only after language that would have affected association credentialing had been removed.

ASAE called the Pennsylvania legislation “the most concerning bill that has the momentum to pass this year.”  In the letter to Cox and Hickernell, Graham asked that the bill be amended “to avoid creating barriers to state recognition of private certification in licensure requirements.”

Mary Kate Cunningham

Mary Kate Cunningham is vice president, public policy at ASAE. More »

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