I, Mike Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution, order the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development and the Director of the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing, and encourage the 21 regulatory boards (the “Boards”) established under Title 8 of the Alaska Statutes, to exercise to the fullest extent allowed by law the administrative and regulatory powers, including the power to adopt emergency regulations, necessary to expedite professional licensure in Alaska.
The coronavirus pandemic triggered unprecedented resignations and recruitment challenges across the State and nation. These impacts have been keenly felt in Alaska, and in some sectors, employment vacancies are extended and exacerbated due to delayed issuance of professional licenses. For Alaska’s economy to continue to grow, the State’s workforce needs must be met expediently.
In response to the pandemic, the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (the “Department”) and certain regulatory boards responsible for the licensure of health care professionals adopted regulations establishing emergency courtesy access to licensure. The State of Alaska has not seen any increase in investigations, malfeasance, or patient harm in relation to these emergency license types.
Alaska Statutes provide authority for the Department and Boards to offer temporary courtesy licenses to admit new and non-resident professionals to practice in Alaska. However, due to longstanding staffing shortages within the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing (the “Division”), in conjunction with job vacancies in professional sectors across the State, the State’s workforce is growing more slowly than demand, which creates a drag on the economy.
From mental health practitioners to real estate appraisers to construction contractors, Alaska is in need of an expanded and trained workforce. Delays in licensure result in trained and qualified individuals opting to relocate to other states, healthcare facilities failing to maintain minimum staffing levels, slippage on critical infrastructure and construction timelines, and reduced opportunities for economic growth.
The intent of this Administrative Order is to direct the Department and request that the Boards review and adjust the regulatory structure of professional licensing to ensure that Alaska’s regulatory framework maintains critical consumer protections without unnecessary burden, cost, or delay for new and transferring licensees. Alaska is open for business, and the State’s administrative, regulatory, and statutory licensing structures should be evaluated and updated as necessary to align with that overarching principle. This effort is necessary to equip Alaskans with the workforce, job
opportunities, and administrative flexibility necessary to meet business needs and encourage growth in all sectors of Alaska’s economy.
I, Mike Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, hereby order:
- The Department shall evaluate the need for emergency expansion of expedited temporary licensure and proceed with emergency regulations as necessary and allowable under Alaska law. Boards are requested to proceed with the same evaluation in each board’s respective area of jurisdiction. Expansion of expedited temporary licensure contemplated by this Order would include, but not be limited to:
- Require proof of licensure in the same category in another state or an Alaska license that expired while in good standing no more than 5 years prior to the date of application.
- Prohibit license issuance to applicants who are currently under investigation or subject to discipline, who are on probation, or who have had their license revoked in any jurisdiction.
- Allow the Department and Boards to revoke an expedited temporary license if an applicant’s credentials are determined to be falsified or noncompliant with state requirements.
- Provide successful applicants with expedited temporary licenses that are valid for six months.
- Evaluate for any risk to public safety prior to being applied to licensure of medical practitioners including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, or optometrists.
- The Director of the Division shall:
- Suspend administrative activities that are not required by statute, or which do not support the core licensing and enforcement activities of the Division and Boards.
- Create a list of the suspended activities and evaluate the impact of discontinuing the same after this Order expires.
- The Department is required to identify outdated or ineffective regulations by June 30, 2022 and draft revisions for public notice by August 1, 2022. Boards are requested to identify outdated or ineffective regulations by July 31, 2022 and draft revisions to outdated or ineffective regulations by September 30, 2022.
This Order takes effect immediately and expires September 30, 2022.
DATED this 20th day of May, 2022.