The governor is a step closer to having veto power over dozens of state boards and commissions.
The House voted 63-56 to send a bill — sponsored by Rep. Cory Wilson, R-Madison, and backed by Gov. Phil Bryant — that would require the governor to sign off on regulations of any state “occupational licensing board” controlled by “active market participants.”
These boards regulate who gets into the respective professions and what that person can do once a member of the profession.
Friday, 85 members declined to release a procedural hold on the bill. One of the measure’s critics, Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, called the bill potentially corrupting and urged his colleagues to defeat the legislation on Monday.
“Over the weekend, I know there have been a lot of phone calls from the usual suspects. I know there have been phone calls from the governor’s staff,” Barker said.
“Understand that it’s not about this governor, who I think we all kind of like,” Barker said. “It’s about the next gov and the gov after that. What happens when the governor is not of your political party?”
Rep. Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc, who is a veterinarian, also spoke against the bill.
“I think occupation boards need an opportunity for a place at the table. I think they need to be asking questions,” Huddleston told his colleagues.
Supporters said the bill was drafted in response to a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held the state of North Carolina’s dental licensing board, which was made up mainly of persons active in the dental industry, had immunity from antitrust laws only when it was supervised by the state government.
The Senate version – almost word-for-word as the House bill – died last week after Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed concerns over giving the governor power over these boards. In that committee meeting, Bryant’s attorney Whitney Lipscomb said the Senate version would include “between 80-100 boards.”