The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations was held on Friday, November 17, 2006, at 10:00 AM, at Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. Senator Gary Tapp, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Gary Tapp, Co-Chair; Representative Denver Butler, Co-Chair; Senators Tom Buford, Julian M Carroll, Perry B Clark, Julie Denton, Carroll Gibson, Ray S Jones II, Robert J (Bob) Leeper, Dan Seum, and Damon Thayer; and Representatives James Carr, Larry Clark, Ron Crimm, Dennis Horlander, Dennis Keene, Stan Lee, Paul H Marcotte, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Jon David Reinhardt, Ron Weston, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Becky Dedman, Woodford Reserve Distillery; Representative Tommy Thompson; Claude Wagner, Director of the Division of Occupations and Professions; Rick Hessig, private investigator, Kentucky Special Investigative Unit; and LRC staff.
LRC Staff: Vida Murray, Bryce Amburgey, Tom Hewlett, and Susan Cunningham.
Becky Dedman, representing Woodford Reserve Distillery, welcomed the committee members. Ms. Dedman said that Woodford Reserve Distillery was in its 10th year of operation and was distributing approximately 88,000 cases of bourbon per year. She said that Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was now available in all 50 states and Brown-Foreman, the distillery's parent company, was developing strategies to broaden its market. Ms. Dedman invited members to stay for lunch and a tour of the distillery after the meeting.
Senator Tapp called the meeting to order and asked that the roll be called. There being a quorum, Senator Tapp called for a motion to adopt the minutes of the October meeting. The minutes were adopted by voice vote.
Next on the agenda, Representative Tommy Thompson told committee members about 2007 BR 76, AN ACT relating to engineers. He said that during the last session similar legislation, Senate Bill 34, passed in the Senate but was stalled in the House. Representative Thompson said that BR 76 requires licensed engineers in Kentucky to receive 15 hours of continuing education each year. He said that engineers are one of the few professions in Kentucky that are not required to obtain continuing education. He said that there are some engineers who participate in continuing education classes on their own, adding that 34 states require continuing education, including Kentucky's seven border states. Representative Thompson concluded by saying that Kentucky engineer associations and societies endorsed the bill. Angela Akridge, Regulatory Policy Manager with the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District and 2006 National Young Engineer of the Year, told members that in her position as a regulatory policy manager for the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District it would be impossible for her to rely solely on the education she received while earning her bachelors and masters degrees. She told members that she needed to stay current on new technologies, proposed and pending federal regulations, particularly those passed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and all compliance case studies similar to Louisville's. Ms. Akridge told members that she already complies with the intent of the bill and that every civil engineer takes an oath to protect the public health, welfare, and safety of the Commonwealth. She said that she feels strongly that all engineers should comply with the intent of the bill.
Aubrey May, University of Kentucky College of Engineering Hall of Distinction member, with over 40 years of engineering experience, indicated to committee members that technology, engineering and design standards, and regulations are constantly changing. Mr. May added that all seven states bordering Kentucky have requirements for continuing education for engineers. Richard Sutherland, Chairman of the Board of Licensure for Engineers and Surveyors, told committee members the board supports required continuing education for engineers. He said that the professional land surveyors have had mandatory continuing education for a number of years. He said that the board currently regulates the licensed practice of about 10,000 engineers, many from out-of-state. Mr. Sutherland said that most of the board members were volunteers and that this legislation would not generate income for the board. Mr. Sutherland said it is the boards responsibility to guarantee the safety of the public by ensuring that licensed engineers are competent to practice and he stated that continuing education assists in meeting that purpose. He told members that the program being utilized by the other 34 states includes in-house training and seminars which most practicing professionals already attend. Mr. Sutherland pointed out that the industry was constantly changing with new techniques and practices as well as new regulations. Mr. Sutherland closed by saying that he appreciated the support of the General Assembly.
Representative Clark asked who would pay for the continuing education classes and who would certify the CLE courses. Mr. Sutherland said that some training could be in-house or company training that would be done on the honor system, adding that the Transportation Cabinet had a similar program for highway engineers that requires 15 hours. He said fees would be paid by the trainee and that there would be no examination. Mr. Sutherland said there was also a concern that reciprocity could be an issue if mandatory continuing education was not implemented. Senator Denton asked if there would be criteria for the entities who provided the training. Mr. Sutherland said the practitioner would be able to choose the training that would be most beneficial to him or her, adding that the board would audit the classes were taken. Representative Crimm stated that he was opposed to the grandfather clause, adding that operating a business for a number of years did not mean that one could not learn something new. Representative Lee asked if the board had any statistics on public complaints that would justify the need for requiring continuing education. Mr. Sutherland said that the board has an investigative staff that keeps records of all investigations that have been made for several years and that he would be glad to provide that information. Senator Seum asked if the board had the ability to revoke an engineer's license and how many were revoked in a given year. Mr. Sutherland said that very few investigations reached the level of revocation.
James Brown, retired engineer, said that he was opposed to the legislation. Mr. Brown said that the basic science has not changed that much, and the only reason for licensing was to protect the public. He said that the public was not asking for this legislation. He said that the bill was not fiscally neutral, estimating that it would cost the profession $11million per year, and that it was not necessary for reciprocity. Mr. Brown said that continuing education would create a parasite industry to take money from the engineers' pockets. He said that there was no study that pinpointed the need for continuing education. Mr. Brown concluded by saying that he was not against true education with tests, but going to conferences to get continuing education was not a great help. Senator Tapp asked Mr. Brown if he would be grand-fathered under the legislation. Mr. Brown said that he would; however, he opposed requiring continuing education for engineers on principle and that there were hundreds of engineers in the state who depended on him coming and speaking at the meeting. Senator Tapp said any professional who felt that continuing education was unnecessary was falling short because there was something to be learned every day. Mr. Brown responded that engineers learned in the course of their daily work. Senator Jones said that there were some continuing education classes that were not as good as others; however, he felt that he was a better attorney because of continuing education, adding that the average person probably did not know that engineers were not required to take continuing education classes.
Next on the agenda Claude Wagner, director of Occupations and Professions, gave the committee an update on the status of the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapists and the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Investigators. Mr. Wagner said that the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapists is working on drafts of administrative regulations for final approval at its December board meeting that clarify renewal fees, allow the board to grant reciprocity, and establish an inactive license and corresponding fee. Representative Clark asked that a list of all boards who have subpoena power be sent to staff.
Rick Hessig introduced himself to the committee as a private investigator, adding that he was currently a member of the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Investigators. Mr. Wagner said that the board is drafting administrative regulations to change fees and that the board is interested in addressing the need for an apprentice license. Senator Tapp asked if the board would be asking the General Assembly to increase its license fees. Mr. Wagner said the board is looking at company fees versus individual fees and had asked for an Attorney General opinion on whether a licensee who is a sole proprietor would be required to hold both an individual and a company license. Senator Denton asked if fees could be streamlined rather than adjusting the fee rate on individual classes of licensure. Mr. Wagner said that the fee structure was confusing and the board was trying to write new administrative regulations that would potentially reduce fees. Mr. Hessig said that speaking on his own behalf, rather than as a member of the board, he was concerned that Kentucky did not have an employee or apprentice license. Mr. Hessig said that other states had provisions for individual licenses, a company license, as well as a provision for an employee license with a reduced fee for that employee to work solely for that company. He said it would be similar to a person working as a real estate agent under a broker. Mr. Hessig said that current law allows a person to work for 240 hours in a year's time unbeknownst to the board. The board does not have the means to track employees working for different companies. Senator Denton asked if the apprentice license gave an individual the full scope of practice as a private investigator and if there could be a collaborative agreement with a private investigator. Mr. Hessig said the apprentice or employee would be working directly under a licensed company and that the company would be held liable for the apprentice. Also, the board could make a provision to have a background check done and keep track of individual private investigators. Representative Clark asked how long a person would be an apprentice before becoming a journeyman. He added that the employer may not have an incentive to move the employee from apprentice to journeyman unless the law provided some guarantee. Senator Tapp said a new, 240-hour license would have to be done legislatively.
Next, Mr. Wagner told committee members that funding comes from individual boards with no money from the general fund. Mr. Wagner said that the Division of Occupations and Professions was adequately funded by the boards with enough money for board administrators and for the operation of individual boards. Representative Clark asked who determines what percentage of a board's budget goes to the division. He noticed that some boards were paying a larger percentage to the division than other boards. Mr. Wagner said all costs were estimated from fees, collected from the prior year. He said that after the division takes out administrative fees there is adequate money for the board to operate. Senator Denton asked if each board's allotment was an estimate of fees taken in. Mr. Wagner said that there were funds held in reserve for each board to allow for contingencies.
Mr. Wagner said that the top nine boards within the division are growing and that there is adequate money to support a new board if one were established and is able to sustain itself. Mr. Wagner added that 66 percent of the boards' money comes from renewal fees. Representative Lee asked why the division paid money to the Attorney General's office. Mr. Wagner said that the boards do not have private attorneys, therefore they depend on the Attorney General's office for legal advice. Mr. Wagner said that the start up cost of a board is about $47,600; however, most board administrators handle two boards. Mr. Wagner said that records retention was a concern for the division and that he is currently working on an imaging system to electronically store data. He is hopeful that a system will be in place in January 2007, to reduce storage cost, as well as the cost of paper. Mr. Wagner said that his final concern was to establish a process by which temporary licenses could be issued in a state of emergency. Senator Denton asked if the smaller boards could be attached to a larger board, as an affiliate. Mr. Wagner said that he has tried to merge boards; however, there is a fear that the smaller profession would be diminished by the larger profession. Representative Marcotte asked if Kentucky is overly regulated in comparison with other states. Mr. Wagner said that to the best of his knowledge Kentucky is not overly regulated. Senator Tapp said that he appreciated the committee being given such detailed information.
The next item on the agenda, was a status report on SB 175, LRC Study on Anesthesiologist Assistants. Senator Tapp decided to ask staff to wait until the study was completed to report to the committee.
Next on the agenda, Senator Tapp asked Representative Crimm to present Representative James Carr with a Committee Resolution recognizing his service to the committee on his departure from the General Assembly. Representative Stan Lee presented Representative Paul Marcotte with a Committee Resolution recognizing his service to the committee on his retirement from the General Assembly. Representative Denver Butler presented Representative Jon David Reinhardt with a Committee Resolution recognizing his service to the committee on his retirement from the General Assembly. Senator Tapp presented Representative Denver Butler with a Committee Resolution recognizing his service to the committee on his retirement from the General Assembly.
There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m.