By Jannelle Calderon, The Nevada Independent, July 1st, 2023
Although Gov. Joe Lombardo had ordered state occupational licensing boards to recommend eliminating licensing requirements for professions that are not licensed in a majority of states, his office said on the eve of the deadline to do so that it doesn’t have a specific list of occupations that will no longer require a license in Nevada, and the question will be discussed more before the 2025 legislative session.
July 1 marks a key deadline of Lombardo’s January executive order which said that licensure requirements should be presumed to be unnecessary if the profession does not require a license in 26 or more states. It also said if license reciprocity is allowed in a majority of states, it should be presumed to be possible and appropriate in Nevada.
The boards cover more than 265,000 licensees or businesses in occupations such as dentistry, optometry and podiatry, as well as contractors, accountants, private investigators, massage therapists and landscape architecture. Boards were required to make recommendations by July 1 on phasing out licensure requirements that met the criteria, and on participating in reciprocity programs if appropriate.
Lombardo spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray said Friday that licenses that should be eliminated “will be reviewed in the interim. Since most boards and commissions are statutory, there will be likely recommended legislation for next regular session for eliminating and/or consolidation of certain boards. Our office will be using the responses from [the executive order] and other information to make those determinations.”
The executive order required all Nevada occupational and professional licensing boards to submit a report to the governor’s office by April 1 of all regulations that “restrict entry into any occupation or profession,” including fees and exams required, as well as justification for those, and the number of states that currently license each profession or occupation regulated by the board.
“Numerous entities affected by Executive Order 2023-004 indicated their immediate desire to ease the path to licensure for Nevadans seeking work previously overburdened industries,” the governor’s office said in a Friday statement.
According to a summary of the findings provided to The Nevada Independent by the governor’s office, 36 of the 37 boards responded to the executive order’s request.
The governor’s office has not yet provided copies of the reports as requested by The Nevada Independent.
The Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors and the State Barber’s Health and Sanitation Board were considered “previous non-responders” but based on their response to a separate executive order on regulations, they were determined to have “complied with the spirit” of the licensure executive order.
Green light back on for licensing regulations
Six months after Lombardo signed a separate executive order suspending agencies, commissions and boards from creating new regulations, a new executive order issued Friday lifts the freeze and allows the agencies to promulgate any new regulations that stem from the 2023 legislative session.
The executive order, 2023-008, also gives the entities the green light to begin “repealing, streamlining, clarifying, reducing, or otherwise improving” regulations the agencies and boards reviewed and made recommendations about as part of executive orders 2023-003 and 2023-004. Lombardo had asked all state departments and agencies to propose at least 10 regulations that should be rescinded, with the goal of “minimizing barriers to economic efficiency”.
All new regulations adopted or implemented “shall be concise and easily understandable to ensure greater access and transparency in the regulatory process,” the Friday executive order states.
Boards were also allowed to request an exemption from the executive orders, especially on regulations for public health, safety and compliance with federal law. Some boards may be exempt because they might only have 10 or fewer regulations.
The governor’s office said that, in general, most of the exemptions were granted early in the year.
In April, the Nevada Gaming Commission designated 16 regulations for elimination involving the regulatory subsections on video surveillance of loose change booths (which have become extinct in the last two decades as cash slot machines were phased out), along with another eight regulation subsections identified for language changes.
One example of an exempt entity was the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), which responded by stating that it does not govern any occupations or professions, although it oversees Nevada’s guides and outfitters. And when it comes to its regulations, NDOW is required to have certain hunting season regulations, so it said none could be cut.
In the case of the Nevada Department of Indigent Defense Services (DIDS), which provides education, training and resources to public defenders, the board discussed the executive order in a February meeting and members unanimously agreed to request an exemption.
Members of DIDS argued that because the agency was created in 2019 and only has 40 regulations, that are all necessary and required by statute and the department does not have 10 to cut.