Read the latest edition of NASBA's Legislative E-news
Read the latest edition of NASBA's Legislative E-news
February 2018
Blockchain, Bitcoin & Artificial Intelligence Added to Legislation by Topics
A number of states have jumped into the fray by enacting legislation or issuing guidance regarding new technologies and digital currencies. The latest of these technology-forward states is Nevada. Following the example set by Arizona, Nevada recently passed a bill clarifying blockchain’s legal status under state law. The law, Senate Bill 398, was signed by the governor June 5 and prohibits local governments from imposing taxes or fees on the use of a blockchain; requiring a certificate, license, or permit to use a blockchain; or imposing any other requirement relating to the use of blockchain. Additionally, the Nevada law states “if a law requires a record to be in writing, submission of a blockchain, which electronically contains the record, satisfies the law.” Arizona passed a similar law, House Bill 2417, in March 2017, also requiring smart contracts and blockchain signatures be given legal binding status.
With all of the coverage, debate and questions surrounding these areas, NASBA has added Blockchain, Bitcoin and Artificial Intelligence as topics of legislation to identify and track.  To view this legislation, click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the“Artificial Intelligence” or “Bitcoin” or “Blockchain” buttons to view the legislation being tracked in these areas.  
FTC Weighs in on Nebraska's Proposed Occupational Board Reform Act
On January 17, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued comments on a pending Nebraska bill in response to the bills sponsor’s request. The bill (LB 299) includes a variation of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Institute for Justice-advanced “Occupational Board Reform Act.” The bill is an attempt to advance a deregulation agenda under the guise of antitrust compliance via active state supervision. At its core, the bill requires that the Legislative Office of Occupational Regulations evaluate existing and proposed licensing regulations to determine whether they promote competition by using “the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers from present, significant, and substantiated harms.” In addition, the Office of Supervision of Occupational Boards shall review and approve or reject any proposed rule, regulation, policy, enforcement action, or other regulatory action prior to its adoption, promulgation, or implementation” to ensure it complies with the same least restrictive means hierarchy. 
In their comments, the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning and its Bureaus of Competition and Economics expressed support for the bill’s attempt to “foster pro-competitive and pro-consumer regulatory reform.” However, for the first time, the FTC’s staff appears to take issue with some of the policies promoted by ALEC and the Institute for Justice. Specifically, the FTC’s staff challenges the least restrictive means hierarchy when analyzing licensing regulations and enforcement actions:
[T]he Bill would require identification of the “least restrictive” means available to achieve legitimate policy goals. We question whether this will always be practical or possible. We do, however, support the idea of asking whether occupational restrictions are narrowly-tailored to achieve legitimate policy goals and whether less restrictive regulatory alternatives are available. On a related note, we question whether the detailed 13-level hierarchy of increasingly restrictive categories of regulation is justified by economic learning, or whether it might be too rigid when applied to certain occupations. A simpler hierarchy might be preferable, with a focus on demonstrable costs and benefits of regulations.
The FTC’s staff goes further to challenge whether the new Legislative Office of Occupational Regulations will have the staffing and resources to perform the envisioned “comprehensive and resource-intensive statutory and regulatory review.” Finally, FTC staff expressly question whether the supervision contemplated under the Occupational Board Reform Act would actually achieve the intended state action immunity: “FTC staff do not believe  that the regulatory review contemplated under the Bill would be adequate to support claims of state action immunity.”
Prior E-news and NASBA presentations have explained and evaluated the Occupational Board Reform Act. If you would like more information on this model bill or its implications, please contact John Johnson, NASBA’s Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs, at jjohnson@nasba.org or 615.880.4832.  
Marijuana and the Accounting Profession
Although marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, a significant number of states over the last decade have passed laws allowing it to be used as a medical treatment and for recreational use.
Because of the flurry of activity at the state level involved in implementing recreational and medical marijuana laws, several Boards of Accountancy have provided guidance on issues relating to CPAs providing services to marijuana-related business and individuals.
VIEW CURRENT BOARD POSITIONS
Virginia Governor Northam and Speaker Cox Announce Bipartisan Agreement on Regulatory Reform
House Bill 883 establishes a regulatory reform pilot program with a goal to reduce or streamline regulatory requirements by 25% over the next three years. 

Governor Ralph Northam and House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox today announced bipartisan legislation that will implement a regulatory reduction pilot program to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulatory requirements facing hard working Virginians. 

READ THE FULL RELEASE
New Hampshire, New Jersey and Kentucky Join Michigan as States to File Firm Mobility Legislation in 2018
Prior to the inclusion of firm mobility in the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) in 2014, 14 states had previously adopted the principle. Today, 22 jurisdictions have full firm mobility.  The Massachusetts Firm Mobility legislation filed in 2017 is still active and has been carried over to its 2018 legislative session.  To date, five state legislatures have active firm mobility legislation - Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 

To view all Firm Mobility legislation, click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the “Firm Mobility” button; you may also click on “LEGISLATION BY JURISDICTION” and then click on the jurisdiction within the map to see a list of legislative bills from the state. 

New Hampshire, New Jersey and Hawaii become first States to File Attest Legislation in 2018
In May 2014, the Uniform Accountancy Act revised the definition of attest to include any examination, review or agreed-upon procedure performed using the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE). 
By the end of 2017, 47 jurisdictions had adopted the updated, comprehensive definition of attest, which included seven jurisdictions in 2017. In 2017, seven state legislatures have active attest legislation, with Arkansas having signed it into law.  The Alaska Attest legislation filed in 2017 is still active, and has been carried over to its 2018 legislative session. To date, four state legislatures have active Attest legislation – Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and New Jersey.  
To view all Attest legislation, click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the “Attest” button; you may also click on “LEGISLATION BY JURISDICTION” and then click on the jurisdiction within the map to see a list of legislative bills from the state. 
CPE Reciprocity Filed in New Jersey
In addition to Firm Mobility and Attest being included in Assembly Bill 935 (Revised “Accountancy Act of 1997”), CPE Reciprocity was also included in this legislation.  UAA Model Rule 6-5(c), states that a CPA who maintains multiple licenses would only need to meet the CPE requirements in his/her home state – and would not have to maintain or report in those other states where also licensed.  
To view NJ AB 935, click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the “Firm Mobility” or “Attest” or “CPE Related” buttons; you may also click on “LEGISLATION BY JURISDICTION” and then click on the jurisdiction within the map to see a list of legislative bills from the state.
Hawaii Files Individual Mobility Legislation
There are 53 U.S. jurisdictions that have individual mobility based on acknowledging each other’s being substantial equivalent – Hawaii and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are the only two jurisdictions that have yet adopted individual mobility.  Legislation was recently introduced that would give Hawaii individual mobility, the updated definition of Attest, and other conforming amendments.   
To view HI HB 1870 (SB 2059), click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the “Individual Mobility” or “Attest” buttons; you may also click on “LEGISLATION BY JURISDICTION” and then click on the jurisdiction within the map to see a list of legislative bills from the state.
CPA Firm Ownership Legislation Filed in New York
Section 7(c) (1) of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) outlines the guidelines for non-CPA firm ownership. The UAA requires CPAs to retain a majority stake of at least 51 percent in a firm, allowing for non-CPAs to own a minority stake.  As of today, with 2016 legislation signed into law in Delaware allowing for non-CPA ownership, 52 jurisdictions allow non-CPAs to own a minority state in CPA firms. In addition to New York, Hawaii and CNMI are the other jurisdictions that have not adopted the UAA language allowing for non-CPAs to own a minority stake in a CPA firm.

To view the legislation filed in New York, click on the above “LEGISLATION BY TOPIC” link and then on the “Firm Ownership” button; you may also click on “LEGISLATION BY JURISDICTION” and then click on the jurisdiction within the map to see a list of legislative bills from that state or territory.

Follow us on our social media channels.
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube
SPOTLIGHT
The continuous improvement of the Uniform CPA Examination (Exam) is necessary to ensure the Exam continues to align with professional practice, reflect the needs of today’s profession and the work of newly licensed CPAs, and support the regulatory responsibility of the Boards of Accountancy to license CPAs.
RESOURCES
IN THE NEWS
Congress should curb this costly scheme that imposes barriers