Legislation protecting state accountancy boards from damage awards introduced in Senate

November 28, 2018

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U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has introduced Senate legislation that would help ensure that members of state regulatory boards are not deterred from serving because of the potential for legal damages related to their public service.

Another Texan, and a CPA, U.S. Representative Mike Conaway (R-Texas), introduced the Occupational Licensing Board Antitrust Damages Relief and Reform Act (H.R. 6515) in the House on July 25.

Cornyn’s companion bill, S. 3598, was introduced on October 11 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Both bills are intended to protect state boards – including accountancy boards – board members and their staff from damage awards.

In 2015, in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the North Carolina Dental Board was not entitled to “state action” immunity from antitrust laws because its actions were not actively supervised by the state. The AICPA’s goal is to remove the potential for personal financial liability of appointed state board members under antitrust laws – including those who serve on state boards of accountancy.