PA 14-65—HB 5028

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION STATUTES AND MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING DATA

SUMMARY: This act amends PA 14-131, which requires various governmental licensing authorities to certify, waive, grant, or award certain licenses, registrations, examinations, training, or credit to veterans or armed forces or National Guard members (i. e. , service members) with military experience or qualifications similar to those otherwise required.

The act limits the (1) circumstances under which licensing authorities must inquire about applicants' service member status and (2) information authorities must annually report to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Veterans' Affairs Committee. It requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) and the UConn Board of Trustees (BOT) to submit separate reports containing information that differs from the other licensing authorities' and extends their first annual reporting deadline.

The act changes reporting requirements for the Planning Commission for Higher Education, which by law must develop and ensure the implementation of a strategic master plan for higher education in the state (see BACKGROUND).

The act also makes (1) changes to higher education statutes to conform with name and definition changes enacted in 2013 and (2) several technical changes to other statutes relating to higher education and licensing of veterans and service members.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2014, except the licensing authority provisions take effect upon passage.

14 — LICENSING AUTHORITIES' USE OF MILITARY EXPERIENCE INFORMATION

Requirements for Licensing Authorities

PA 14-131 requires various licensing authorities to ask each applicant for a license, certificate, registration, or an educational credit if he or she is a veteran or a service member. This act amends PA 14-131 by requiring the authorities to ask only when evidence of military training or experience is relevant and could be applied to a credential or credit under the authority's oversight.

The act also limits the contents of the licensing authorities' annual reports to DOL and the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Under PA 14-131, the reports must include:

1. the number of service members who applied for a military training evaluation, license, certificate, registration, or an educational credit;

2. the number of service members whose applications were (a) approved and (b) denied, along with the reasons for the denials; and

3. the licensing authority's processing time for applications submitted by service members compared with the average processing time for all applications.

Under the act, however, they must include this information only (1) if it falls under the licensing authority's oversight and (2) where military training or experience is relevant and could be applied.

Under PA 14-131, the licensing authorities include the (1) Department of Consumer Protection, (2) Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, (3) DOL, (4) Department of Motor Vehicles, (5) Department of Public Health, (6) BOR, (7) Office of Higher Education, (8) UConn BOT, and (9) Police Officer Standards and Training Council.

BOR and UConn BOT Reporting Requirements

The act changes BOR's and UConn BOT's reporting requirements to DOL and the Veterans' Affairs Committee. PA 14-131 requires these higher education entities' reports to meet the same requirements as the other licensing authorities' reports. The act eliminates the requirements to report on the:

1. number of service members whose application for a license, certificate, registration, or an educational credit was denied, and reasons for the denials and

2. processing time for applications submitted by service members compared with the average processing time for all applications.

The act also adds a new reporting requirement unique to the higher education authorities. BOR and UConn BOT must, in the aggregate, detail the types of (1) military training presented, (2) education credit awarded to enrolled service members for such training, and (3) military training for which credit was not awarded to enrolled service members.

The act retains the requirements to report:

1. information on (a) the number of service members who applied for a military training evaluation, license, certificate, registration, or an educational credit and (b) the number of service members whose applications were approved (the act limits this to information about credentials that fall under the licensing entity's authority and where military training or experience is relevant and could be applied);

2. information on their efforts to inform and assist service members in accessing programs that provide the education and training necessary for meeting licensure, certification, registration, or educational credit requirements;

3. information on whether existing law effectively addresses the challenges service members face when applying for an occupational or professional license, certificate, registration, or an educational credit upon discharge from military service or relocating to the state; and

4. recommendations on improving their ability to meet the occupational needs of service members, including the issuance of temporary or provisional licenses, certificates, or registrations.

Also, the act extends BOR's and UConn BOT's first annual reporting deadline from January 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016.

13 — PLANNING COMMISSION ANNUAL REPORT

The act changes, from October 1, 2016 to January 1, 2016, the deadline by which the Planning Commission for Higher Education must submit its first annual report on the strategic master plan's implementation to the governor. The law already requires the commission to submit this report by this date to the Higher Education, Education, Commerce, Labor, and Appropriations committees. The act also removes the requirement that BOR prepare the annual report on behalf of the commission.

BACKGROUND

Planning Commission for Higher Education

The commission develops and ensures the implementation of a strategic master plan for higher education. The plan must address degree attainment, the number of people entering the workforce, and the achievement gap. It also must establish numerical goals for 2015 and 2020 that (1) eliminate the postsecondary achievement gap between minority students and the general student population and (2) increase the number of people (a) earning a bachelor degree, associate degree, or certificate; (b) completing coursework at community colleges; and (c) entering the state's workforce. The plan must provide specific strategies for meeting these goals and consider the impact of education trends on higher education in Connecticut (CGS 10a-11b).

OLR Tracking: MGS: LH: JKL: am