DEPARTMENTS
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PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
Protecting Certification
Coalition of Professional Organizations Fights Louisiana Bill
BY BENJAMIN JELIN
It all started with a social media post from the AIHA Deep South Local Section President titled, “Louisiana Takes Aim at Professional Credentials.” As a new diplomate of the American Board of Industrial Hygiene who lives in New Orleans, I was instantly intrigued.

As I dug a little deeper, I reviewed the actual legislation to see what was really going on. According to my interpretation of Louisiana House Bill 748 §42.1.a, anyone possessing a certification from a voluntary program and not from the state would be barred from using “certified” as a title. I also discovered that there wasn’t much information on the legislation, including who the interested parties were or why such a provision would be included. This legislation would affect nearly all high-earning professions, as professional certifications are not only a way to stand out among peers but also a legal or professional requirement to conduct business in certain sectors. I felt that if the bill was passed as written, there would have been severe consequences for professionals living and working in the state I call home. Likely, the state would have experienced a “brain drain,” as highly qualified professionals left to pursue lawful occupations elsewhere. The knock-on effect would be lower quality services to the residents of Louisiana and a decrease in the state income tax base. Personally and professionally, §42.1.a made no sense to me and served no purpose nor a real constituency. 
BENJAMIN JELIN, MPH, PhD, CIH, is a project manager in the Industrial Hygiene and Health and Safety Services Group at Partner Engineering and Science Inc. A graduate of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, he has almost 10 years of experience working in government and consulting. He can be reached via email.
If the bill was passed as written, there would have been severe consequences for professionals living and working in the state I call home.