A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Michigan Legislature is considering two bills: One that would repeal the licensing of forensic polygraph examiners,  and another that would impose new licensing mandates on pharmacy technicians.

Since 1972, forensic polygraph workers in Michigan have been required to have a four-year degree with at least 15 credit hours in social or behavioral sciences, have completed an internship approved by the state board that involves administering 200 polygraph tests, passed an exam, and paid licensing fees to the state.

A 2012 state report from the Office of Regulator Reinvention recommended that the occupation of forensic polygraph workers be de-regulated. There are currently 117 licensees in the state and few complaints about their work.

"Due to the low number of licensees, the low number of consumer complaints, and the cost burden to administer the license, it would appear as if the regulatory burdens outweigh any public safety that may be achieved through licensing forensic polygraph examiners," the report noted.

Neil Myres, president of the Michigan Association of Polygraph Examiners, said the group is "unequivocally opposed" to the removal of licensing requirements.

"There is law that if someone is accused, they have a right to request a polygraph," Myres said. "At the bare minimum, you would hope the state would … require a minimum of the examiners."

Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, sponsored House Bill 4689, which would repeal the license, per the recommendation.

"The bill is being worked on with [the] Michigan State Police to resolve some issues that have come up regarding the elimination of the licensing," Rep. Kelly said. "They were originally licensed per Act 295 of 1972 so that the tests that are often used in court are administered by professionals with accredited degrees and proper equipment. Due to the nature of the information received it is imperative that the integrity of the profession is preserved." 

House Bill 4689 has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee.

Meanwhile, Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, believes licensing of pharmacy technicians will help protect public safety. Pharmacy technicians are assistants to licensed pharmacists.

"There is a growing trend of reported drug diversion (taking prescription drugs for recreational use), particularly with controlled substance, with the Michigan Board of Pharmacy reporting that 75 percent of the cases of reported drug diversion occurring from pharmacies is by unlicensed individuals," said Jennifer Kiser, legislative assistant to Sen. Green. "Licensure providers a mechanism for the state to take actions on individuals who have diverted drugs from a pharmacy and prevent them from doing this at another pharmacy."

Kiser said there are five states that do not license pharmacy technicians and that licensing has resulted in lower rates of drug diversion and less complaints to the state's Boards of Pharmacy.

Sen. Green's bill, Senate Bill 92 has passed the Senate and was referred to the House Health Policy Committee.

Michigan requires many non-dangerous areas of work to have a special license. Some examples are paintersbarbersfloor sanderslandscape architects, and a variety of low-level carpentersThere is a slate of bipartisan legislation that would get rid of some of the licensing mandates in the state,. which Michigan Capitol Confidential is covering. 

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See also:

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