Presidential executive order calls for more licensing reform efforts

Presidential executive order calls for more licensing reform efforts

On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order which urges the continued work of states and localities in the area of occupational licensing. This would include states like Nebraska and Iowa, who have been toiling for several years in this arena.

While most occupational licensing takes place at the state level (and, so, problems with the structure must be addressed by the states), the encouragement by the executive branch of the federal government has nudged along much of our occupational licensing reform in the country.

In 2015, President Obama’s administration issued its occupational licensing report, which encouraged states to address the issue of over-licensing.

Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has worked with state legislators and executives to continue the effort to change the occupational licensing paradigm, and this latest executive order sends a powerful message that this effort should continue in the new year. It lists six basic principles which states should consider:

  1. All recognized occupational licensure boards should be subject to active supervision of a designated governmental agency or office.
  2. All occupational licensure boards recognized by a State…should adopt and maintain the criteria and methods of occupational regulation that are least restrictive to competition sufficient to protect consumers from significant and demonstrable harm to their health and safety.
  3. ….[G]overnments should review existing occupational regulations, including associated scope-of-practice provisions, to ensure that their requirements are the least restrictive to competition sufficient to protect consumers from significant and demonstrable harm.
  4. Individuals with criminal records should be encouraged to submit to the appropriate licensure board a preliminary application for an occupational license for a determination as to whether the criminal record would preclude their attainment of the appropriate occupational license.
  5. A State…should issue an occupational license to a person in the discipline applied for and at the same level of practice if the person satisfies certain requirements [typically the requirements in most universal recognition bills].
  6. Accommodations should be made for any applicant for an occupational license who is the spouse of an active duty member of the uniformed services and who is relocating with the member due to the member’s official permanent change of station orders.

The good news for Nebraskans and Iowans:

  • Nebraska’s LB299 (2018), which provided the oversight and transparency functions found in numbers 1-4, above.
  • Iowa’s House File 2627 (2020) covered those things needed in 4-6, above.
  • It appears that BOTH of the states will have legislation introduced in the next legislative sessions which will address those items not covered already.

The executive order also requires that regular reports be made to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget as to the progress that states are making to reduce the barriers to employment through reduction of occupational licensing and to have executive branch officials make further recommendations to the states based on their findings.

The document, signed by the president on the 14th, includes language that will be very familiar to those who have read licensing reform bills, and is very much in line with the goals of the Platte Institute and other organizations seeking to cut red tape in occupations.

Photo by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash

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