CPA mobility legislation update: Outlook for 2009

Four states - Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming - enacted a CPA mobility provision in the 2009 legislative session in February, bringing the total number of states that have passed mobility legislation to 35. Legislatures in eight other states - Alabama, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont, where legislation was pending in 2008, and Kansas and Oklahoma, which have just introduced mobility bills - are currently reviewing mobility laws, the AICPA has told AccountingWEB. Mobility legislation is moving forward in other states, while in California, substantial equivalency legislation has just been introduced.

States where legislation has recently been introduced include:

Kansas

The Kansas House approved CPA mobility legislation by a vote of 102 to 17 and "after a hearing by the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, if the committee approves, the law will be brought up for a vote by the Senate as a whole," says Tony Scott, executive director of the Kansas Society of CPAs. "We don't sense aggressive opposition to the bill," Scott says. "This bill contains the 'three E's.' It is substantially equivalent, and includes education experience requirements, to which I would add a fourth E, enforcement. Kansas has a firm regulatory environment. We regulate our own and others in protection of the public."

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Society of CPAs House Bill 1779, the mobility bill, passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives by a vote of 98-0 on February 23 with no changes. The bill will be assigned to a Senate committee for their deliberation and if the results are favorable, will be brought to the full Senate.

States where legislation is in draft but has not been assigned a bill number include:

Florida

Florida's CPA mobility legislation has been drafted but not filed, says Kathy Anderson, CEO and Executive director of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA). "We are still talking and we will keep coming back," she says, "but we have been told that a bill that could have even a hint of a fiscal impact will not be considered this year."

"We are in a holding pattern right now," says John Johnson, FICPA's director of governmental affairs. "Of the 30,000 licenses granted by the State of Florida, 5,000 are from out-of-state CPAs and firms and mobility legislation could have a fiscal impact. It is more likely that we will introduce a bill next year."

Massachusetts

A spokesperson for the MSCPAs said that they are hopeful that mobility legislation will move forward in 2009.

Nevada

"Nevada's mobility legislation, which was introduced by the Nevada State Board of Accountancy, is still in bill draft," says Sharon Uithoven, Executive Director of the Nevada Society of CPAs. "However, it is expected to be introduced into the Nevada Assembly in the near future. Once the legislation is assigned a bill number, it will be examined in hearings and submitted to the legislature for a vote."

North Carolina

CPA mobility legislation is out of bill draft in North Carolina. "We expect that it will be introduced in the near future, with hearings to begin by mid March, when the bill will be assigned to a committee," says Jim Ahler, CEO of the North Carolina Association of CPAs.

California – Substantial Equivalency Legislation

A bill to align California with national licensing standards, SB 691, was introduced in the State Senate by Senator Yee on February 27th. "We expect the bill to be amended with a start date of Jan. 1, 2014," said Bill Spaniel, Public Relations Manager, California Society of CPAs.

"Essentially, the legislation is to help California licensees who are experiencing difficulty providing services to clients in other states," Spaniel says, "because California licensing laws are not considered substantially equivalent to those of other states." CPA candidates may currently present 120 hours for the education requirement and two years experience, or 150 hours for the education requirement and one year of experience. The new bill will eliminate the 120 hour pathway to licensing.

Immediately upon passing the legislation, California would be considered a substantially equivalent state.

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