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ABC State Licensure Handbook

January 2015


The Regulatory Process

Assume that you have been effective and the state legislature passes and the governor signs your bill into law. It’s time to celebrate because you are finished, right? WRONG! Your spokesperson(s) must be willing to continue to work with the State to create the regulations and be involved with any licensure board/committee created by the bill.

Enacting legislation is only the beginning of a process that will literally never end. The most common mistake made in enacting a state licensure is quitting before the regulations are written. As noted above, much of your vision will only be fulfilled at the regulatory level. But hopefully you have chosen your agency well and have created a good working relationship with them during the legislative process.

In the best case, a regulatory agency will be sympathetic to your cause and will have strict instructions in the law as to how to go about achieving the vision that you have set forth. In the worst case, you will have a hostile agency that has a mandate from the legislature to simply Regulate the O&P profession and can do however it sees fit.

Reality usually falls somewhere in between. Regulators are hardworking individuals whose job it is to enforce the law. They do this oftentimes by interpreting the will of the legislature and molding the regulations to the tools that they have available. So again, the suggestion that you understand the agency that will eventually regulate the profession is critical.

Regulation, more than legislation, is your opportunity to get into specific issues and create the detailed framework for regulation of the profession. Most states have a set regulatory process that involves rule-making with opportunities for public comment. You should have a clear understanding of the regulatory process and the steps that regulation goes through on its path to codification.

You should know the individuals who work for and are in charge of the agency you have chosen. Most importantly, you need to have a clear plan as to how your vision will be realized through the regulatory process, keeping in mind that good law makes for good regulation. An excellent guide is the ABC Model Administrative Rules. The ABC model rules is a template of what elements the regulations should include.