Occupational licenses should be fully portable

Occupational licenses should be fully portable

Those of us who work with occupational licensing sometimes operate in a bit of an endless loop. You see, we’re not entirely sure that there are very many occupations for which the state should be licensing (granting permission to work). At the same time, we often promote things like “universal recognition” legislation, which would say that if you’re licensed in another state, we recognize your license as adequate to work in our state. The problem is that by doing that, we feel a little like we’re legitimizing the licensing scheme that exists–which puts us in conflict with our own views that licensing is (in most cases) wrong…

All that said, many of us are realists. We want to see people able to work in the occupation of their choice, and we also know that we aren’t likely to eliminate all licenses tomorrow. So we take what we can get and try to make it easier for people to work in the occupation they choose, where they choose.

This story talks about what Ohio is doing, and the new efforts they have underway for universal recognition.  As a couple of their legislators say:

“You don’t forget how to cut hair or embalm people or sell hearing aids when you move,” Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, said at a press conference.

And the change would send a message, said Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum: “Ohio is open for business, and we welcome you with open arms.”

The Platte Institute is exploring options for universal recognition in the next legislative session. We hope that one of Nebraska’s legislators will be willing to introduce it–if not in the 2020 session, certainly in the longer 2021 session. We’ve made a great start with the passage of LB 299 in 2018, but there is much more for us to do if we want to be sure that people know that “NEBRASKA is open for business, and we welcome you with open arms.”

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