2021 Year in Review: Arizona’s Occupational Licensing Reform Continues to be a National Model

PHOENIX – As 2021 comes to a close, two more states – South Dakota and Wyoming – followed Arizona’s lead in adopting universal licensing recognition.

Under the leadership of Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona was the first state in the nation to pass bipartisan legislation that helps more Arizonans who are new to the state get to work without having to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops. 

“Under this pro-growth, no-cost licensing reform, applicants are eligible to receive a license to work so long they have held an out-of-state license at a similar scope-of-practice for at least one year, are in good standing, and have met the testing or training requirements of their initial licensing state,” Heather Curry of the Goldwater Institute wrote last month in The Orange County Register.

Since 2019, Arizona has issued over 4,000 licenses through universal recognition. This has allowed professionals to transfer their license from out of state to Arizona and get to work right away. The state saves new residents time, money and effort toward getting re-licensed.

The historic law has inspired others on both sides of the aisle to follow suit. Eleven states have enacted their own occupational licensing policies, while others states are currently looking to pass similar legislation.

In February, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon passed legislation requiring the state’s boards to recognize out-of-state licenses so new residents don’t have to repeat training or get recertified.

Shortly after, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed into law a similar bill which allows those with a certain occupational licenses to practice in South Dakota as long as they hold a license in good standing in another state, territory or country with substantially equivalent licensing requirements. 

Here’s what others are saying about Arizona’s universal licensing:

Americans For Prosperity Arizona
“Rather than retraining for hundreds of days to learn what they already know, and spending hundreds of dollars, new Arizona residents will be able to use the skills they have already acquired to bring economic growth and greater consumer choice to our state. As we work with everyone to prioritize reducing the remaining occupational licensing barriers that long-time Arizona residents continue to face, we applaud Arizona legislators and Gov. Ducey for taking a step forward in helping people come to Arizona and earn a living more easily.” (LINK)

CATO Institute
“Arizona ignited a national bipartisan movement to reform occupational licensing laws.” (LINK)

Colorado Governor Jared Polis
“Thanks for your leadership in Arizona on this. It’s a great national model that we can learn from.” (LINK)

Foundation For Government Accountability
“States Should Follow Arizona’s Occupational Licensing Reform #jobs ‘More than 750 people now have jobs in Arizona because of universal occupational licensing.’” (LINK)

Governing 
“The new law is arguably the most sweeping rollback in the country.” (LINK)

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly
“Well if I could, I would walk out of this room right now and fly back home and talk to our Legislature about passing the exact same law because I’m very concerned about losing Kansans to Arizona. Because I agree with you, I think it is a very smart thing to do.” (LINK)

Mississippi Center For Public Policy
“Arizona has led the way on occupational licensing reforms that make it easier to work. We can do the same here in Mississippi by passing HB1263 and recognizing the value of licenses from other states!” (LINK)

R Street Institute, Western Region Director Steven Greenhut
“Analyzing and unraveling the long list of licensing rules required by each state government is a tough and time-consuming process. Nevertheless, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and state Representative Warren Petersen have come up with a simple way to address this issue in a manner that should be noncontroversial because it does not eliminate any real (or perceived) protections. Legislators in capitals across the country should emulate this new bill.” (LINK)

 

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