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House Bill 393 — Counseling compact, fingerprinting

House Bill 393 — Counseling compact, fingerprinting

Parrish Miller
January 16, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 393 would enter Idaho into an interstate counseling compact, create a joint public agency known as the counseling compact commission, require a coordinated database and reporting system, and impose fingerprint-based background checks on licensed professional counselors. 

Rating: -2

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 393 would create Section 54-3406A, Idaho Code, defining and entering the state of Idaho into an interstate counseling compact. While interstate licensing compacts can make it easier for licensed individuals to practice in multiple states, the compact itself is full of regulations, which are antithetical to a free market. Occupational licensure, at its core, violates the rights of individuals — both providers and consumers — to engage in voluntary interactions and transactions without intrusion by the state.

Specifically troubling in this compact is a provision that would "create and establish a joint public agency known as the counseling compact commission" among the compact member states.

The bill would task this commission with "the development, maintenance, operation, and utilization of a coordinated database and reporting system containing licensure, adverse action, and investigative information on all licensed individuals in member states."

Simply put, this bill would expand government. The better approach would be to simply extend "full faith and credit" to licensees in member states without creating a new commission or database and reporting system.


Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

House Bill 393 would require that any licensed professional counselor in a state belonging to the compact complete "a federal bureau of investigation fingerprint-based criminal background check if not previously performed or updated pursuant to applicable rules adopted by the [joint counseling compact] commission.”

Requiring an FBI background check creates a barrier to entry into the market that is not currently required of professional counselors under Idaho law.


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