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Supreme Court decision could impact FREC, FREAB

WASHINGTON – Nov. 5, 2015 – Florida has a system in place to oversee real estate licensees, but a U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning dentists in North Carolina could spark some changes.
In Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) oversees the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). FREC, in turn, oversees the state’s real estate licensees. FREC is made up of five real estate licensees and two consumer members.
In the North Carolina case, the key question was whether the state board was exempt from federal antitrust laws. The dentist board claimed it was, but the Supreme Court ruled against it.
Under the Supreme Court decision, boards that are controlled by active market participants – people who practice the profession that the board regulates – are immune from federal antitrust laws only if two requirements are satisfied:
1. The challenged restraint is clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed as state policy.2. The policy is actively supervised by the state.
In the North Carolina case, for example, the dentists’ board ruled that only dentists could whiten teeth, which effectively banned non-dentists from offering the service. However, that was not considered state policy, and North Carolina did not have a system in place to override the dentist board’s decision. As a result, the teeth-whitening limitation was considered an antitrust violation.
How should state regulatory boards work?
As a result of the Supreme Court decision, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put together guidelines for states to follow. While violations are determined on a case-by-case basis, the guidelines outline the FTC’s advice regarding antitrust compliance.
Most states have regulatory agencies to oversee licensed industries, and the Supreme Court decision about North Carolina dentists has inspired many to take a closer look at the way they operate – and if their current system invites antitrust issues, whether they should make a change.
© 2015 Florida Realtors®  
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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