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Senate Bill 1297 — Occupational licenses, records

Senate Bill 1297 — Occupational licenses, records

by
Parrish Miller
February 13, 2022
Parrish Miller
February 13, 2022

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1297 would make it easier for the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses and other boards and commissions to share personal information about applicants among themselves.  

Rating: 0

Analyst Note: Senate Bill 1297 is similar to Senate Bill 1233, introduced earlier this year. 

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?

Senate Bill 1297 creates Section 67-2615, Idaho Code, to make it easier for various regulatory boards and commissions within the state to share with each other the personal information provided by citizens who seek permits and other forms of official permission. 

It says, "A division board or commission may participate with any other division board or commission in joint investigations of licenses, permits, registrations, and certificates. The division and its boards and commissions may share any investigative, litigation, or compliance materials in furtherance of any joint or individual investigation initiated by a division board or commission."

It also says, "A subpoena issued by a division board or commission shall be enforceable by any other division board or commission."

There are numerous problems and concerns with this proposal. To begin with, government licensure is inherently contradictory to the principles of a free market. Beyond this, there is a significant loss of privacy when one board's investigation into someone's life, background, and work performance can be shared (and potentially used against him) by other boards and commissions. 

Division boards and commissions can even issue subpoenas — already a very concerning matter — and this bill would make these subpoenas enforceable by any other division board or commission.

All in all, Senate Bill 1297 increases the power of units of government that should not exist, compromises individual privacy, and significantly expands the subpoena power of unelected bureaucrats.

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Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

The new section added by Senate Bill 1297 includes a provision stating, "Complaints, investigations, and informal proceeding records are the property of the division of occupational and professional licenses and are exempt from disclosure under the public records act pursuant to section 74-106(9), Idaho Code."

This exemption should protect license holders from having complaints against them revealed publicly prior to a determination. This protection is particularly important given that complaints can sometimes be illegitimate or retaliatory in nature. Protecting the privacy of license holders is consistent with the principle of innocent until proven guilty.

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