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.”


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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.

One reply on “Governor veto expansion heads to Senate”

  1. Putting the governor of any state in this line of vetoing any effort of occupational licensing boards is just like Obamacare giving unlicensed insurance writers power over what doctors can and cannot do for their patients and with a ton of paperwork per action of the doctor, questioning their technical expertise constantly over every move they make. Occupational licensing boards already have put in safeguards and procedures to protect the public in their licensing actions. They also require continuing education and reviews of licensed professionals when their actions raise questions of their competency. So this is just a power grab. Stop it.

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