Assemblyman pushing bill to create more CPAs in Nevada

The first bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Andrew Martin is opposed by both the Nevada Board of Accountancy and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.

For a CPA like Martin, this isn’t a great start.

The board and the society oppose Assembly Bill 119 because they contend it lowers education and experience standards and isn’t in the public’s best interest.

Martin disagrees. “Over the past 20 years, it has become abundantly clear to me that experience is far more vital to client service than which particular courses you take in college.”

Another reason for the bill: Martin wants to change the education and experience requirements to help his registered domestic partner Dana Barooshian — and others — become CPAs.

In other words, he may be trying to help a larger group of people, but the only bill he has introduced so far will help his spouse. Anybody have any ethical concerns besides me?

On Valentine’s Day, he introduced his bill, which would help those, like his partner, who have extensive experience working for public accounting firms but cannot take the Uniform CPA exam because they didn’t earn accounting or finance degrees.

“My spouse, Dana, fits into this category as do many others across the state who have contacted me,” Martin wrote in an email.

Martin’s bill would allow someone with a baccalaureate degree who has worked for 10 years under the direct supervision of a CPA to become a licensed CPA.

It sounds akin to allowing a paralegal who worked for a lawyer for 10 years to become a licensed attorney.

The CPA society’s President Nikki Kirkhouse said the organization sought comments on the bill, and not one member supported the bill. One concern is that with the proposed changes, Nevada CPAs wouldn’t receive license reciprocity in other states.

The state board’s executive director, Viki Windfeldt, wrote, “As proposed, AB119 would lower the standards in Nevada for certification compared to the majority of other states and jurisdictions.”

Windfeldt continued, “Currently there are no other states that allow experience in lieu of education or education in lieu of experience to be able to sit for the CPA examination.”

Martin disagreed, saying California and other states have created “alternative pathways to licensure,” and Nevada should “promote a more forward thinking experience-based mentality in the CPA profession.”

AB119 sits in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee.

With the opposition of both the regulatory board and the society, the bill seems to be looking at challenges, without even considering any possible ethical qualms.

But because the chairman of the committee, Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno, signed on as one of 11 co-sponsors to the bill, I could be wrong. Bobzien told me he hadn’t made any scheduling decisions on the bill.

I’m one of those who believes Martin shouldn’t even be in the Legislature. He’s the candidate who had a home outside District 9 and obtained one inside the district to run for office, a ruse that is becoming wearisome.

A judge ruled Martin didn’t really live in the district, partly because he plugged his electric car into the home outside the district, and thus was not eligible to run. But the ruling came on the eve of the election, too late to remove him from the ballot.

Personable and endorsed by a slew of groups, he defeated the Republican candidate and the Legislature seated him without any qualms.

As far as Valentine’s Day gifts go, Martin’s partner surely got one of the most unusual — a legislative bill with the potential to boost his career.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at or call 702-383-0275. She also blogs at