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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 Thu, Feb 20, 2020

Chairperson Lynn continued the hearing on SB 366 and recognized Mischel Miller, Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), who presented testimony neutral to the bill. (Attachment 2)  The agency already complies with most provisions of the bill, but believes the current language of the bill carries the risk of the following unintended consequences:

 - KSA 48-3406 gave military service members and their spouses preferential treatment and moved them to the front of the line of those applicants waiting to receive their license.  The new definition of "applicant" actually eliminates this preferential treatment.

 - The definition of "private certification" is too broad.  There is no minimum standard as to what constitutes a credential-granting "private organization."

 - The 10-day processing time is too restrictive.  The KSDE requires every applicant for licensure to submit to a fingerpint-based background check through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).  SB 366 would require the agency to issue at least a temporary license even if the agency has not received information from the KBI.  The agency prefers, and believes it is much safer, to fully review an applicant's criminal history prior to issuing a license rather than revoking it after the person is in the classroom.

 - SB 366 allows the agency to not issue a temporary permit if "the licensing body determines ... that issuing a temporary permit would jeopardize the safety of the public."  However, the bill also requires the agency to provide that determination in writing within 10 days of a complete application.  The KSDE makes such determinations through a statutorily created process which can never be completed in 10 days.

For these reasons, the KSDE requests a reconsideration of the term "applicant" and the 10-day time limit. 

Chairperson Lynn recognized Alexandra Blasi, Kansas State Board of Pharmacy (Board), who presented testimony neutral to the bill.  In reviewing an application, the Board does not rely on subjective opinions or arbitrary factors, but looks to the Pharmacy Act and Kansas precedent to objectively and consistently review each application.  (Attachment 3)

This bill expands the current language of KSA 48-3406 to apply to any individual applicant for licensure, reciprocity, or reinstatement.  With respect to pharmacy, the bill impacts applicants for a pharmacist license, pharmacy intern/student permit, and pharmacy technician registration.  The Board received approximately 2,650 applications in these categories last year.  The proposed amendments to KSA 48-3406 are concerning to the Board for one key reason:  the timeline of 10 business days.

The Board does its best to thoroughly and competently review each application within 30 days.  In fact, and as reported in the Board's 2019 performance-based budget measures, the Board processes 97.9 percent of applications within 30 days of receipt of a completed application.  The remaining 2.1 percent of applications are often complex, indicate misrepresentation on an application, disclose a lengthy disciplinary or criminal history, or fail to provide sufficient detail.

In instances where an applicant has a criminal or disciplinary history, the Board gives the applicant ample opportunity and leeway to provide statements, documents, and other evidence of their rehabilitation to support their application.  This always requires more than 10 days.  In addition, the 10-business day timeline is further abbreviated by the agency waiting for the KBI background check and check deposits to return for agency review and confirmation.  If the Board finds concerning information in an application, such matters must be reviewed by senior staff and then a Board member, which lengthens the timeline.

While the Board recognizes the authority to decline issuance of a temporary license if issuance would jeopardize the safety of the public, this may create the opportunity for litigation against the Board.  The bill also raises questions about when an application is considered complete and who is responsible for making that determination.  The Board would appreciate clarity on these questions.  Ms. Blasi reviewed information concerning the fiscal impact of the bill.

Senator Rucker asked for an example of standards which other states employ in allowing people to do things which would be precluded in Kansas.  Ms. Blasi gave the example of New Jersey which allows a pharmacist to take the national examination as many times as they want. 

Chairperson Lynn recognized Larrie Ann Brown, who spoke on behalf of Ty Townsend, and presented testimony neutral to the bill.  This bill is a clear recognition that professional licensing barriers can prevent quality professionals from coming to the great state of Kansas.  (Attachment 4)

Chairperson Lynn recognized David Soffer, Kansas Department of Commerce (DOC), who presented testimony neutral to the bill.  The bill would grant occupational licensing reciprocity in the Kansas.  As each state has developed its own set of guidelines for each license, transferability of licensing has become expensive and time consuming unless a reciprocity program exists.  The DOC is neutral on the bill because there are concerns from boards and other agencies with some of the language on implementation.  Since the DOC does not issue any licenses, it would be inappropriate to address these concerns. (Attachment 5) 

Representative Croft provided an update on concepts under consideration on the bill.   No written testimony was provided.

Senator Suellentrop noted his support of the compromise work being done by Representative Croft.

Senator Sykes asked Representative Croft to address the issue of intent to establish residency. 

Senator Rucker asked the law enforcement community representatives attending the meeting if their concerns have been addressed.  Michelle Meier, Kansas Commission on Peace Officer's Standards and Training, responded affirmatively.

Written only testimony neutral to the bill was submitted by:

Erik Wisner, Executive Director, Kansas Real Estate Commission  (Attachment 6)

Travis Oller, DC, Executive Director, Kansas Chiropractic Association  (Attachment 7)

John Helms, CPA, Chair, Kansas Board of Accountancy  (Attachment 8)

Carol Moreland, MSN, RN, Executive Administrator, Kansas State Board of Nursing (Attachment 9) (Attachment 10)

David Yocum, Kansas Board of Cosmetology  (Attachment 11)

Vicki Whitaker, Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine  (Attachment 12)

Joseph House, Paramedic, Executive Director, Kansas Emergency Medical Services Board  (Attachment 13)

In addition, a memo was received by Committee members from Travis Lowe, Kansas Society of Professional Engineers, with comments concerning the drafting of the substitute bill.  (Attachment 14)

Chairperson Lynn closed the hearing on SB 366.

Chairperson Lynn yielded the chair to Senator Alley who turned the Committee's attention to SB 424 for possible final action.  Because the Committee did not have a final copy of the proposed amendment to SB 424 from the Revisor's Office, a decision was made to postpone final action until the Senate Commerce Committee meeting on February 21, 2020.

The meeting adjourned at 9:19 a.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for February 21, 2020.