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Minutes for SB366 - Committee on Commerce

Short Title

Expanding the expedited occupational licensure provisions for military servicemembers and spouses to all license applicants.

Minutes Content for Wed, Feb 19, 2020

Vice Chairperson Alley recognized Larry Karns, Kansas State Board of Technical Professions, who continued the testimony he began on February 18, 2020, in opposition to the bill.  (Attachment 3)

Vice Chairperson Alley recognized Rachelle Colombo, Kansas Medical Society (KMS), who presented testimony in opposition to the bill.  The KMS has been supportive of previous legislation that has expedited licensure for veterans and military spouses, so long as such efforts have been crafted to uphold state licensing standards and provide a reasonable time frame for processing.  While KMS appreciates the intent of SB 366, it has concerns that the changes included in the bill could have serious unintended consequences which jeopardize the core duty of the Board of Healing Arts to protect the public.  (Attachment 4)

The bill both expands expedited processing to all non-residents and significantly shortens the period of time a licensing agency has to issue a license to applicants from 60 days to 10 business days.  Under the bill, a licensing agency would be required to issue a temporary permit at the time of application to any applicant whose license from another state is found to not be substantially equivalent to the licensure requirements in Kansas.  This undermines the purpose of state licensure laws and requirements.  In such instance, the licensing agency would have to make a specific finding that issuing a temporary permit would jeopardize the safety of the public.  However, there are already laws which stipulate the circumstances and qualifications required for temporary medical licenses that would be rendered moot for non-resident applicants. 

The bill fails to contemplate that by mandating an expedited process for all non-residents with established licensure in another state, non-residents are essentially prioritized over resident applicants and granted licensure more quickly than any other applicant.  Finally, the bill applies to all occupations and professions licensed by the state of Kansas, except attorneys, who are specifically exempted from the expedited licensure process provisions.  This is inconsistent with the otherwise broadly applied requirements of this bill.  As written, the bill is not applied to all professions and prioritizes non-residents over all other duties of the Board of Healing Arts by setting such a short time frame for processing and granting. 

Ms. Columbo said KMS has been working with the bill's sponsor on proposed amended language.

Vice Chairperson Alley recognized Michelle Meier, Kansas Commission on Peace Officer's Standards and Training (KSCPOST), who presented testimony in opposition to the bill.  Ms. Meier reviewed the reasons why KSCPOST was requesting that law enforcement and KSCPOST be added to the exempted professions listed in the bill.  (Attachment 5) 

Vice Chairperson Alley recognized Terry Humphrey, speaking for Michael Grogan, American Institute of Architects (AIA), who presented testimony in opposition to the bill.  The bill serves to undermine the ability of the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions (who regulate architects among others) to protect the public's health, safety and welfare.  It is directed toward speed rather than the health, safety and welfare of Kansans.  The expedited timeline for issuing a license in 10 business days is too short to make a meaningful review of an application, let alone an analysis of all the other jurisdictions' licensing requirements.  After the 10th day if an issue has not yet been identified, a temporary license shall be issued.  This does not protect Kansans.  This proposal attempts to solve a problem that does not exist.  An architect who is not yet licensed in Kansas can practice under direct supervision of a licensed architect immediately upon relocation to Kansas while pursuing their own license.  The AIA requested architects be exempted from the bill.  (Attachment 6) 

Vice Chairperson Alley recognized Tucker Poling, Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA), who presented testimony in opposition to the bill.   The agency respectfully requests the Committee consider:  1) the effect on KSBHA's ability to meet its mission to protect patient safety; 2) the feasibility of implementation; 3) the effect on recently initiated efforts to improve processing speed without compromising patient safety; and 4) the increase in administrative and civil litigation.  In the event the Committee chooses to move forward with this bill in its current form, KSBHA requests the Committee consider exempting licensees of the KSBHA from this bill, just as the bill exempts attorneys.  (Attachment 7) (Attachment 8) (Attachment 9) (Attachment 10)  (Attachment 11)  (Attachment 12)

Senator Sykes requested a copy of the Missouri legislation being considered on this subject. 

Senator Thompson asked the opponents if the primary concern was with the temporary licensing requirement.  Mr. Poland responded affirmatively.  Safety aspects come first.  The 10 day time limit, from his perspective, was not workable.  Ms. Humphrey, representing the architectural profession, said the primary concern was issuing a license, even on a temporary basis, to anyone who does not meet Kansas standards.   

Senator Baumgardner said she had not seen addressed in the testimony why the process can not be completed in 10 days.  Mr. Poling responded some applications could be completed in the 10 days, but more complicated applications, or ones lacking information, could not be processed in that time frame.  

Senator Baumgardner asked whether the House version of the bill had passed out of Committee.  Representative Croft said he was expecting final language soon and the bill to be worked in the House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee this week.  Senator Baumgardner said in today's world people expect requests to be addressed quickly and thoroughly.  It would seem agencies could notify applicants whether additional information is needed to process their application within the 10 day time frame. 

Senator Rucker asked, when an application is rejected, how specific are the agencies in their communication with the applicant concerning the reason(s) for the rejection.  Mr. Poland responded the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts is required by law to provide specific information to the applicant.  Senator Rucker said he would be interested in knowing whether other agencies have similar requirements.            

Written only testimony in opposition to the bill was submitted by:

Vicki Rajewski, Private Citizen  (Attachment 13)

Todd Fleischer, CAE, Executive Director, Kansas Optometric Association  (Attachment 14)

Ron Hansen, O.D., President, Kansas State Board of Examiners in Optometry  (Attachment 15)

Ed Klumpp, Legislative Liaison, Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Kansas Sheriffs Association, Kansas Peace Officers Association  (Attachment 16)

Eddie Penner, Legislative Research, provided a copy of the Missouri bill requested by Senator Sykes following the meeting. (Attachment 17)

Chairperson Lynn said the hearing would continue February 20, 2020.

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 a.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for February 20, 2020.