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Georgia Committee recommends adequately funding medical board

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(The Center Square) — The Georgia Senate Study Committee on Occupational Licensing has signed off on a series of recommendations, including adequately funding the state’s Composite Medical Board.

The move follows a Center Square analysis last year that found the agency routinely dismisses many of the complaints it receives, but unreliable data makes it difficult to say precisely how many. In response, the head of the Medical Association of Georgia told The Center Square lawmakers should properly fund the board, saying the underfunding of the agency doesn’t benefit anyone in the state.

In the fiscal 2024 budget, state lawmakers included an additional $431,836 “for personnel to support increased licensure application volume.” GCMB officials said the funding could help address the findings of an audit earlier this year, which found the agency had addressed some shortcomings uncovered in a November 2020 audit but had not progressed on others.

The committee’s 10 recommendations include sunsetting licensing requirements in line with a state Supreme Court ruling in a case striking down the state’s licensing mandate for lactation care providers. Additionally, the committee recommends sunsetting licensing requirements for occupations that have not proven necessary for public health or safety, including librarians, low-voltage contractors, makeup artists and manicurists.

The committee also wants the state to advance universal Recognition of out-of-state licenses “where reasonable.”

“By embracing innovation and efficiency, we are shaping a regulatory landscape that safeguards public interests and fosters economic growth,” Georgia Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R–Dallas, said in a statement.

The committee’s recommendation of reforming licensing requirements drew praise from the state director of Americans for Prosperity-Georgia.

“Eliminating unnecessary licenses, universal reciprocity, and removing barriers for people with past criminal records are substantive reforms that will lower the regulatory burden in a real way for real people,” AFP-GA State Director Tony West told The Center Square via email. “If legislation passes along the lines of the committee’s recommendations, Georgia will be on track to become the #1 state to work, as well as #1 for business.”

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