ASAE delivered a letter yesterday to Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson urging him to veto two bills that would negatively impact holders of voluntary certifications.

The two bills, HB 1719 and HB 1500, have already been passed by the Missouri Legislature, and include similar language intended to modify the state’s approach to the licensing of occupations and professional employer organizations. While neither bill prohibits private certification, the bill text defines certification as a “program in which the government grants nontransferable recognition to an individual.”

By redefining “certification” as an exclusively government function, the bills as drafted push Missouri to start supplanting private certification programs. ASAE has contacted Lieutenant Governor Parson because he will automatically ascend to governor on Friday following Governor Eric Greitens’ resignation.

ASAE also opposed a bill in Louisiana that would have restricted individuals holding a voluntary certification from using the term “certified” in their title. After significant opposition, the bill was amended by the state legislature to simply call for a review of all occupational licensing regulations over a five-year period. That bill is currently awaiting Gov. John Bel Edwards’ signature.

The Missouri bills are different than Louisiana, but pose a similar threat to both credentialing programs that are incorporated into state licensure laws (such as medical fields, CPAs, etc.) and voluntary certifications that are not required to practice an occupation in any state but demonstrate an individual’s professional knowledge and competence in a field (such as ASAE’s CAE credential).

“Nongovernmental professional credentialing is vital to America’s workforce,” ASAE said in its letter this week. “The purpose of these credentialing programs is not to burden skilled workers, but rather to allow them to demonstrate their professional capability and understanding of their field. It would be severely detrimental to devalue credentials held by Missouri workers.”