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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3:01am

Outcry Over Licensing Changes

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is defending his plan to overhaul the state's procedure for professional licensing after representatives from several licensing boards voiced their opposition to the proposal in a Senate committee hearing.

The Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee stopped short of voting on the 831-page legislation, filed less than a week ago. Kemp said the changes are needed to streamline an overburdened system and would not change current standards. He vowed to work with the groups to address their concerns.

During a two-hour hearing, pharmacists, landscapers and architects said the existing process has improved under changes implemented in recent years.

They said the new proposal doesn't address inefficiency and could make it harder for people in some professions to find work in other states with different licensing guidelines.