Chairman Williams and members of the Committee. My name is Laura Ebke, and I am the Senior Fellow for Job Licensing Reform at the Platte Institute.
LB 299, the Occupational Board Reform Act created a framework for the regular review—by the Legislature—of all occupational licenses created by the state.
Under that framework, the expectation was that not only would legislators have the opportunity to gain new information about the workings of the licensing bodies, but that the licensing bodies would have an opportunity to propose changes that they believed needed to be made to their practice acts on a regular basis, as part of that review process.
It is with that in mind, that I ask you to consider holding this bill in committee, and placing Real Estate Licenses at the top of the list of licenses for your committee to review during the first round of reviews, which are scheduled to begin July 1—or during the interim period.
While changes in education and experience requirements may very well be prudent actions to take, those actions may be better taken in the 2020 session, once the committee has received more information from the Real Estate Commission in connection with the review process.
During the interim of 2018, then-Judiciary Committee legal counsel Dick Clark, and then- Government Committee counsel (now Senator) Andrew La Grone spent a significant amount of time--as part of the Executive Board’s LR 401 study--working toward a smooth transition into the LB 299 process. They have proposed a list of important questions for the licensing boards to answer as part of the review’s data gathering process. It is my understanding that those questions are being developed by I.T. into an online form that will help streamline the data gathering process.
The Legislature has expressed its belief on multiple occasions—including with the creation of the so-called 407 process for health care credentialing, and now with the 299 effort from last year—that state regulation of occupations should be done carefully, and only when the evidence indicates that it’s necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of Nebraskans. The 5 year review process will allow licensing agencies to present their case for more--or less--regulation on a predictable timeframe, and will allow legislators to have as much information as possible to make a more thoughtful decision on any expansions or contractions of licensing authority.
Again, I urge you to hold this bill in committee for this year and place real estate licenses at the top of your list of licenses to review during the coming interim. If, after full analysis, this bill still seems important, there is no reason why it couldn’t be pushed out of committee in the early days of the session, and be advanced efficiently.