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Pence vetoes occupational-licensing bills

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence took a hard line against occupational licensing in Indiana Wednesday when he issued his first two vetoes.

He spiked House Enrolled Act 1242 requiring licenses for diabetes educators and Senate Enrolled Act 273, which created a license requirement for anesthesiologist assistants and dietitians, as well as state certification for music therapists.

“Lower taxes and less regulation, including fewer licensing requirements, will mean more jobs for Hoosiers,” Pence said. “I am vetoing these licensing bills because I believe they create barriers to the marketplace for Hoosiers and restrict competition.”

Separately, as expected, he also signed into law a new two-year state budget.

A news release said licensing has exploded in Indiana during the last 10 years. In 2004 about 340,000 Hoosiers held a professional license. Today there are more than 470,000, representing a 38 percent increase. Indiana’s population has increased 7 percent in that same period.

“I have been willing to sign licensing legislation that opens new opportunities for employment or streamlines existing practices and procedures, and I will continue to do so,” Pence said. “However, the bills that I am vetoing today do not meet that standard.”

During the session, he pushed to change licensing in Indiana by performing a review of new occupational license legislation, including automatically repealing unnecessary licenses, permits and certifications. Lawmakers blocked his proposal.

Pence still needs to act on about 90 remaining bills by Saturday. His options are to sign them into law, veto them or let them become law without his signature. He said he is still seriously considering bills making changes to Marion County government and giving a $100 million “loan” to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for upgrades.

During former Gov. Mitch Daniels’ eight-year term, he vetoed just 13 bills. The most he ever nixed in one year was four in 2007. And there were several years when he didn’t veto any bills.

The General Assembly can override vetoes with a simple majority vote. A day has been set aside to possibly act on vetoes June 12, or lawmakers can wait until next year.

The legislature only overrode two of Daniels’ vetoes.