ASSE Legislative Alert:  Michigan Sanitarian Licensing Bills Threaten SH&E Practice

To ASSE Michigan Members –

Legislation (SB 1407/HB 6205)has been introduced in Michigan to license sanitarians that would result, as now written, in giving sanitarians the exclusive right to practice what the bill terms “environmental health” and keep others from practicing such work.  The definitions are so broadly written in the bill that sanitarians would be given the exclusive right over practice areas like occupational safety and health, environmental epidemiology, solid and hazardous waste, hazardous materials, radiation protection, air quality and noise, and emergency planning, not to mention pest control.  No doubt if allowed to pass into law this measure would keep our members and other SH&E professionals members from doing their work.  Whether the sanitarians intended for this result or not, the bill still presents a threat to safety, health and environmental practice in Michigan.  The Senate version of the bill is available here.

On Friday, July 30, a conference call was held to discuss how ASSE members in Michigan want to respond to this legislation.  Each Michigan ASSE chapter was represented – Drake Drobnick from Greater Detroit, Steve Monet from Lansing, and Linda Hudson from Western Michigan.  Pat Fisher, Region 5 ARVP for Government Affairs also participated.  The conclusion of the call was that

  1. ASSE member Steve Monet will meet with the Michigan sanitarian leading this effort for licensure.  This individual has already expressed a willingness to work with ASSE to gain our support for the bill.  AIHA has apparently achieved agreement that the bill would exempt CIHs.  Such an exemption could not work for ASSE members, since our members are CSPs, CIHs, CHMMs and often not certified but fully capable of the work targeted by this bill.  An exemption also does not address the overall scope of the bill’s impact on safety, health and environmental practice in Michigan.  If significant changes are not made in the legislation, ASSE would be forced to oppose the legislation.
  2. ASSE will wait to send a draft letters already prepared opposing the bill until an attempt to work with the sanitarians is made.  Members on the call are sensitive not to end up in conflict with colleague sanitarians unnecessarily.
  3. We will reach out to CHMMs, other environmental groups and the business community who we believe should share ASSE’s concerns about the legislation.

If needed, we will send out legislative alerts asking you to contact the sponsors of the bill, but in case you want to contact them now, I’ve included their emails below.  A simply message expressing your opposition as the following would be more than enough:

Dear _____________:

I am an occupational safety and health professional and American Society of Safety Engineers member who lives and works in __________________.  I am alarmed that your bill, (SB 1407 or HB 6205), to license sanitarians would wrongly give sanitarians the exclusive right to do work that I have been doing successfully for my employer in Michigan for ___ years.  Sanitarians typically address public health risks, not environmental or occupational safety and health risks as I do.  If the definitions in the bill cannot be rewritten to limit licensure to what sanitarians are qualified to do, (SB 1407 or HB 6205) cannot be allowed to pass into law.  Thank you for your attention to my concern.    

SB 1407’s sponsors are Senator Jason Edward Allen from the Charlevoix, Grand Traverse to Mackinac area at senjallen@senate.michigan.gov and Sen. Nofs from Calhoun and Jackson Counties at senmnofs@senate.michigan.gov.

HB 6205’s main sponsor is Representative Woodrow Stanley from Genesee County at woodrowstanley@house.mi.gov

You can find your own Michigan state senator or representative at  http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(oan1t0f0c53iko55zy3h5w45))/mileg.aspx?page=SponsorSearch

Also, please share this email with your employer, whose government affairs staff and Michigan business group should be interested in opposing this licensure effort.  Other environmental and safety and health practitioners or groups should also be concerned.

If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know at dheidorn@asse.org or 847/768-3406.


Dave Heidorn, JD
Manager, Gov’t Affairs and Policy
American Society of Safety Engineers
(o) 847/768-3406
(m) 847/909-4558 





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