Government Worker Licensing Act

NEW SECTION.  Section 1.  Legislative findings.  To preserve and protect the health, safety, welfare, culture, and liberties of the people of the state, the legislature finds:

a.  Practitioners of some vocations could cause harm to people if practitioners provide service that is of substandard quality or if the practitioner is not well informed;

b.  Licensing has long been accepted as a method to insure that vocational practitioners provide a minimum quality service with specified education for practitioners, and as a method to hold practitioners accountable to a standard quality of service provided to consumers;

c.  One considerable pool of vocational practitioners in the state that is currently unregulated by the state and therefore unaccountable to the state is the vocational category of government workers;

d.  Any substandard provision of service provided by this vocational category of workers has the potential to cause harm or irreparable harm to the health, safety, welfare, culture, or liberty of the people of the state;

e.  It is wholly in the public interest to create a system of licensing for government workers; and

f.  Montana has reserved to itself the police powers, including the power to regulate vocations in this state.

NEW SECTION.  Section 2.  Definitions.  As used in [this Act], the following definitions apply:

a.  A “government worker” is any person who derives half or more of the person's income from, or is employed for 20 hours per week or more by, any government, any subdivision of any government, any nation, any organization of nations, or any contractor for any of these when an employee of such contractor is carrying out the mission of or providing service for a governmental entity.

b.  A “temporary or seasonal worker” is any government worker who is employed in or assigned to the state for less than 90 calendar days.

c.  An “office worker” is any government worker who spends more than half of the worker's working hours indoors and who is not a member of any other class of defined government workers.

d.  An “outdoors worker” is any government worker who spends more than half of the worker's working hours outdoors and who is not a member of any other defined class of government workers.

e.  A “military worker” is any government worker who is employed by any branch of any military.

f.  A “law enforcement worker” is any government worker who has powers of arrest.

g.  A “consular worker” is any government worker who is a bona fide, overt employee of any nation that maintains an official, permanent and public presence in the state.

h.  An “administrative worker” is any government worker who has supervisory authority, directly or indirectly, over five (5) or more other employees or government workers.

NEW SECTION.  Section 3.  Exemptions.  Those government workers exempt from the effects of [this Act] include:

a.  Any person employed by the State of Montana or any political subdivision of the state;

b.  Any person employed by one of the seven Native American tribes recognized in the state;

c.  Any consular worker; or

d.  Any temporary or seasonal worker.

NEW SECTION.  Section 4.  License required.  Except for those exempted, every defined government worker must be currently licensed with a valid license to practice the vocation of government worker.

NEW SECTION.  Section 5.  Initial license - duration.  A government worker must obtain the proper license or licenses within 100 days of the first day of work in the state.  It is not a valid exception that a government worker applied for the required license or licenses within 100 days but did not receive a valid license before the 100-day deadline because of processing time delay.  An initial license is valid for one calendar year from date of issue.

NEW SECTION.  Section 6.  License renewal – duration.  A government worker must apply for license renewal 90 to 30 days before expiration of the initial license.  Each renewal of an initial license is valid for three calendar years from date of issue.

NEW SECTION.  Section 7.  Cost of license.  The fee for initial application of a license is $150, except for military workers which is $50.  The fee for any renewal is $100 except for military workers which is $25.

NEW SECTION.  Section 8.  License application.  An application for a license under [this Act] must contain the true name of the applicant, a correct address at which the applicant will receive U.S. Mail, confirmation of completion of education required under [this Act] for the type of license sought, and a complete description of the specific location or locations where the applicant wishes the license to apply.

NEW SECTION.  Section 9.  Licensing agency.  Government workers' licenses shall be issued by the Department of Labor and Industry.  The department must conduct a criminal records background check for every license applicant.  The department must reject any application if:

a.  The application is incomplete;

b.  The appropriate fee is not paid;

c.  The applicant does not document completion of required training;

d.  The criminal records background check of the applicant demonstrates that the applicant is not eligible to buy or possess firearms under federal law.

NEW SECTION.  Section 10.  Electronic license application.  The department must provide a method for applicants to apply for licenses electronically, in addition to any other method offered.

NEW SECTION.  Section 11.  Required education.  To be eligible to apply for a license, an applicant must have completed training within 60 days prior to application, as follows:

a.  All government workers must complete basic training of at least four hours that includes instruction at least concerning:

i.  The Constitution and laws of Montana, including the right to privacy;

ii.  The culture of Montana people and their expectations of service providers, including ethics; and

iii.  The oath of office.

b.  Administrative, military, outdoors and law enforcement workers must complete advanced training of at least four hours that includes instruction concerning:

i.  Knowledge about and respect for the natural environment, and about the benefits of natural resource development to the citizens of the state;

ii.  The effects of weather, distances, population dispersion and other conditions on delivery of services to the state's citizens; and

iii.  Individual rights that the state's citizens have reserved to themselves from interference by government workers.

NEW SECTION.  Section 12.  Education providers.  The education required by this section may be provided by any knowledgeable individual elector or organization of knowledgeable electors of the state.  Such education providers may charge whatever they wish for the education.  Any education providers providing education in compliance with [this Act] must certify to the department the identifiable names of any government workers who have successfully completed the required education, together with the date the education was completed.  Any education provider who provides certification for training which does not meet the specifications of [this Act] is in violation of [this Act] and may be fined an amount not to exceed $1,000 per violation.  For purposes of enforcement, every individual government worker certified by an education provider in violation of, or not up to the standards of, [this Act] is a separate offense.

NEW SECTION.  Section 13.  Enforcement, penalties.  Any government worker who performs a service defined by [this Act] without a valid license must be fined $1,000 for violation of [this Act].  For purposes of enforcement, every day in violation is a separate offense.  The department may seek orders of a justice or district court, as needed, to enforce the terms of [this Act].

NEW SECTION.  Section 14.  The department must assemble an advisory committee, made up of one state elector appointed by each of the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, and superintendent of public instruction.  The advisory committee must review and approve or reject any regulations proposed by the department to implement [this Act].  The advisory committee must review and approve or reject any requests for revocations of a license issued by the department.

NEW SECTION.  Section 15.  License revocation – requests - effect.  The department may revoke any license if a licensee no longer meets the initial qualifications, including for work performed in places not specified in the licensee's application.  If any five electors forward to the department a signed statement asserting that a licensee has exhibited conduct or performed in a way hostile or adversarial to citizens serviced, or hostile or adversarial to the interests of the state's citizens at large, the department must refer that complaint to the advisory committee for review and possible revocation of the license involved.  If the advisory committee revokes a license, that revocation must be in writing and delivered to the address on record for the licensee.  A government worker whose license is revoked is unlicensed from the date of revocation.

NEW SECTION.  Section 16.  Effective date.  [This Act] becomes effective on January 1, 2016.

NEW SECTION.  Section 17.  (Standard severability clause.)