Despite Litigation, Bevin Planning to Reorganize Additional State Boards
Updated June 26, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.:
The Public Protection Cabinet had previously told board leaders that Governor Bevin planned to issue an executive order as early as July 1 that would alter how the medical and professional boards operate. However, the restructuring will not occur July 1, according to Cabinet Spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn who issued the following statement:
"The Public Protection Cabinet continues to work with each licensing board, stakeholders, and legislators to receive feedback regarding the proposed reorganization. The Cabinet is working to fine tune the proposed reorganization based on the feedback we have received, and we look forward to proceeding with the reorganization plan, which will benefit licensed professionals throughout the Commonwealth."
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is planning to reorganize dozens of medical and professional oversight boards.
The panels control the licensing of thousands of professionals in Kentucky and investigate complaints filed against them. The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet says those boards currently operate without sufficient state oversight.
Cabinet officials declined to be interviewed, but pointed out that in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in North Carolina Dental Board v. Federal Trade Commission that professional licensing boards comprised of market participants (board members who hold active licenses in the profession they regulate) must be supervised by the state to avoid anti-trust liability.
“Without necessary state supervision, many of Kentucky’s professional licensing boards are vulnerable to potential anti-trust liability," the Cabinet said in a emailed statement. "These 39 boards make crucial decisions for our state’s professionals, and we must eliminate this vulnerability, ensuring that Kentucky can maintain a competitive marketplace for licensed professionals.”
In a presentation on June 7 before the General Assembly's Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations, the Public Protection Cabinet laid out the case for reorganization, saying it would improve compliance and achieve cost-savings, among other things.
Governor Bevin is expected to issue an executive order that would reduce the number of members on most boards. Also, executive directors appointed by the governor would have final say on regulations and could overturn licensure and disciplinary decisions.
The Herald-Leader reports that Attorney General Andy Beshear has already expressed concerns saying the executive directors would answer to the executive branch and would lose their independence.
Beshear has filed lawsuits against Bevin’s restructuring of other panels, including the Kentucky Board of Education, as well as boards governing the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Retirement Systems.