For Immediate Release - August 06, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS LEGISLATION STREAMLINING OPERATIONS AT THE DIVISION OF PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE

Bill Continues Administration's Record of Improving Way Government Does Business Through Reforms and Efficiencies

BOSTON – Wednesday, August 6, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today signed H. 4254, “An Act Modernizing Licensing Operations At The Division of Professional Licensure,” streamlining and improving the licensing process for thousands of professional licensees throughout Massachusetts.

“This legislation is a win for regulatory reform in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “Not only are we weeding out antiquated and burdensome regulations that no longer serve a purpose and create barriers to a strong workforce, we are creating an easier path to professional growth and development.” 

Specifically, the bill eliminates the Board of Registration of Barbers and the Board of Registration of Electrologists, and will create a consolidated Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering that will reduce redundancy and improve administrative efficiency in shared areas such as licensing, investigation and consumer outreach. Currently, these three boards license more than 88,000 individuals across the Commonwealth. Other key reforms in the bill include the elimination of the Board of Registration of Radio and Television Technicians and the modification of quorum requirements to allow a majority-vote, which will enable boards to operate more efficiently.

“Through this sweeping regulatory reform initiative we are making it easier to do business in Massachusetts,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Enhancing efficiencies in government operations is not only good practice but it also promotes growth and opportunity in the Commonwealth.”

“Congratulations to Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) for their hard work and commitment to seeing this legislation through,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony. “These reforms will make it not only easier for the agency to perform its day to day operations, but for professionals and consumers in the Commonwealth to conduct their business as well.”

"We look forward to implementing these statutory reforms, which build on the administrative improvements that we have already made, and will further streamline agency and board operations for the benefit of licensees and consumers,” said Mark Kmetz, Director of DPL.

The legislation also makes a number of internal changes to DPL operations that will lower costs and allow the agency to run more efficiently.

Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Eliminate some fixed-number quorum and appointment requirements for boards, which will make it easier for boards to conduct business and recruit members;
  • Strike out laws for several boards that purports to authorize the boards to hire staff and receive compensation. Currently, DPL provides boards with necessary support staff and the obsolete language causes confusion; and
  • Eliminate a mandatory review of the Hearing Instrument Specialist Board every three years by the State Auditor, taking out a unique and unnecessary provision.

The legislation also eliminates the Board of Registration of Radio and Television Technicians, which was established in 1961 and has outlived its purpose. As technology has advanced, televisions and audio devices are lasting longer or being replaced with new innovations and advancements, thus, making obsolete the need to repair old devices. As a result, the board has issued only 16 new licenses in the last 10 years, and currently licensees fewer than 640 individuals. Moreover, in the last five years there have been only 14 complaints filed with the Board against licenses, issues which can be addressed by other state agencies such the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. By eliminating this board, DPL staff will be able to focus on more critical matters and will free remaining businesses in this field from annual license renewal requirements.

The new law will go into effect in 90 days, with the exception of the board consolidation provision, which will take effect in six months. 

"This legislation improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the licensure process for the Division of Professional Licensure and for thousands of professionals," said Representative John W. Scibak. "While this legislation will affect the individuals licensed to practice in various disciplines, these changes will also help to better protect consumers utilizing the services of licensed professionals across a broad spectrum of services."

The legislation builds on the Patrick Administration’s regulatory reform effort that has already made doing business in Massachusetts easier for thousands of businesses. Last month, Governor Patrick announced that 255 executive branch regulations have been amended or eliminated, streamlining and improving the licensing process and business climate for thousands of professional licensees throughout Massachusetts.

As part of Governor Patrick’s regulatory reform initiative over 1,700 executive branch regulations in existence as of January 2012 have been reviewed for efficiencies and effectiveness. In October 2011, Governor Patrick announced the Administration’s thorough process of reviewing rules and regulations, focusing on finding regulations that are duplicative, out-of-date or in need of update and creating the changes necessary to improve or eliminate those regulations. This review is the first comprehensive effort of its kind in Massachusetts history, and one of the first completed reviews in the Nation, allowing the Patrick Administration to make substantial strides to ease the cost of doing business in Massachusetts. With this comprehensive review of regulations across state government complete, nearly 15 percent of all regulations have had some action taken.

The initiative included a comprehensive review and re-evaluation of existing regulations, a systematic and coordinated process for regulators to consider economic impacts for newly-proposed regulations, public reporting of small business impacts for all regulatory changes to improve transparency during the public rule-making process and partnerships with the regulated community to share responsibility for creating a balanced regulatory environment.

Significant regulatory reforms by the Patrick Administration since January 2012 include:

  • MassDOT has standardized permitting and police escort fees for oversized loads on Interstate 93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, a move that allows for freer transit of trucks while still maintaining public safety parameters; permits online filing for permits; makes it easier to approve request for access to MassDOT property, including curb cuts and other construction access permits; and allows online filing for permits.|
  • Some of the most significant changes have come through the repeal of certain Massachusetts Health Connector’s regulations, including the elimination of the Fair Share Contribution requirement, the elimination of the Employer Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form and the elimination of the requirement that employers offer section 125 plans to pay for coverage through their group health plan or through the Health Connector on a pre-tax basis or be subjected to a surcharge. Each of these regulations burdened employers of all sizes.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection has repealed a duplicative approval process for certain Title V septic systems. The amendments streamline state oversight by ending the requirement that local approving authorities consult with DEP before determining whether facilities asserted to be in separate ownership are in fact a single facility. These changes clarify and modernize regulatory language and reduce costs for residential construction.
  • The Division of Professional Licensure Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors adopted model national professional standards of practice. Regulatory changes reflect technological advances in the licensed professions, such as the use of digitized seals and signatures. These changes will translate into reduce costs and shortened project time frames.
  • The Department of Public Health adopted a model National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) examination and certification; reduced licensure fees; allowed online licensure filing; made changes to EMT scope of practice and training standards; required accreditation of paramedic-level training institutions through Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program; and extended hospital affiliation agreement requirements to Basic Life Support ambulance services. Private ambulance companies and hospitals will benefit from the adoption of national accreditation standards and online filing.
  • The Department of Public Safety (DPS) amended regulations overseeing ice cream truck operators. Previously, any truck operating in more than one municipality had to obtain a license from each city or town. Now, a driver may apply for a single DPS license which will permit the sale of ice cream in any municipality in the Commonwealth.

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