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Science Technology and Environment

Oklahoma’s Licensing Boards Agree To More Attorney General Oversight

Randy Ross is executive director of the Oklahoma Accountancy Board.q
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record
Randy Ross is executive director of the Oklahoma Accountancy Board.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that dentists on North Carolina's licensing board illegally suppressed competitors.

In Oklahoma, licensing board members are appointed by government officials, and state agencies have to get legislative approval to change their rules.

Officials in Oklahoma were worried about one thing – discipline – when they responded to the North Carolina ruling. Last year Gov. Mary Fallin ordered state boards to run non-rulemaking decisions through the attorney general’s office, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

Officials said the new process seems to have worked well, for the most part. State Sen. Dan Newberry said he wants to make sure the governor’s executive order meets criteria laid out by the federal government following the court decision. He will lead an interim study this year to find out. “Is the AG solution viable?” Newberry said. “Does it meet the conditions set forth in that case? And does it protect Oklahoma’s sovereignty over boards and commissions? There’s a pretty good thought process that it does.” Newberry said that when the governor issued her order, several administrators were concerned about it. “I’ve not heard very many boards and commissions complaining about it (since then),” he said. “If we were to have to change this system from how it is now, we’d have to create some sort of additional oversight committee or panel.”

It takes a little more time to get decisions approved by the attorney general, but one board director told the newspaper if it avoids a million-dollar lawsuit, it’s worth it. An interim study later this year will examine the state’s response more carefully.

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