Governor’s signature ensures safe harbor for CPAs

OSCPA staff report

Gov. John Kasich on Jan. 4 signed Senate Bill 255, which provides a safe harbor for the accounting profession from a new policy intended to reduce workforce barriers.

As we reported in December, the law was a major win for CPAs and for The Ohio Society of CPAs’ governmental relations efforts; without it, certified public accountants could have been forced to again obtain multiple state licenses. At the urging of OSCPA, CPAs became the lone profession earning a safe harbor from changes to the profession’s laws and regulations.

Senate Bill 255 requires that, over a six-year cycle, the Ohio General Assembly review all occupational licensing boards to see if their continued existence – and related continued licensure of professionals – is necessary to protect the public interest. The bill gives legislators the power to recommend changes – ranging from more limited licensure requirements to no licensure at all – when they think licensure requirements go beyond the least restrictive means to protect the health, safety or welfare of the public. All licensing bodies must receive a vote by the full Legislature once every six years to continue.

OSCPA also worked with bill sponsors to ensure that state government would not take over private-sector voluntary professional certification programs, such as Certified Fraud Examiners, Business Valuation Specialists, Certified Financial Planners and many more.

Organizations representing CPAs, insurance agents, professional engineers, educators, auctioneers and more expressed concerns that the bill could open the door for essential occupational licensing boards to be disbanded, in turn hurting consumers. A drafting error in the original bill that was later revised in the House also raised concerns of many non-profit organizations.

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