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Over a Dozen States Follow Arizona's Lead in Breaking Down Barriers to Work

February 10, 2020

February 10, 2020

If you’re a licensed worker and you move to a new state, you shouldn’t have to cut through yet more regulatory red tape just to be able to keep doing your job—a job to which you’ve already devoted significant training and time. This year, more than a dozen states are considering ways to break down barriers to work—and the Goldwater Institute is helping to lead this charge for licensing reciprocity among states.

Bloomberg Law reports that state legislators “have filed at least 15 bills in as many states seeking to follow Arizona, which passed the first such reciprocity law last year.” In April 2019, Arizona became the first state in the nation to recognize occupational licenses from other states. That means today, if you already hold an occupational license in another state and have been practicing in good standing there for at least one year, Arizona will now recognize your license if you move there.

Soon after, Pennsylvania passed a similar reform, and with many state legislative sessions now in full swing, other states are working on making it easier for people to get to work after they move. Most recently, Ohio passed a law breaking down barriers to work for military families in January, and the Buckeye State is looking at how to extend this reform to all Ohioans. As Bloomberg Law reports, the Goldwater Institute has been a driving force behind many of these efforts—you can read more about our work on breaking down barriers to work, including our model legislation that’s inspiring many states to act, here.

Holli Christensen owns a blow dry bar salon and is an expert at blow drying and styling hair. But Arizona regulations kept her from doing what she loves — until she teamed up with the Goldwater Institute to take action.

Occupational licensing reform is garnering bipartisan support across the country, because making it easier for Americans to get to work just makes sense. “As society becomes more mobile, there’s a broader recognition that we want to welcome professionals that move across states,” Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches said in an interview for the Bloomberg Law article. “It’s really hard when the rubber meets the road for people to come up with reasoned explanations for why these reciprocity laws aren’t in place.” Indeed, if a person has already gone through the time and training they need to earn a license in one state, they have the skills, knowledge, and know-how to keep working in their new home without having to go through more costly and time-consuming efforts just to do the same job.

You can read the full Bloomberg Law article here. To learn more about the Goldwater Institute’s work on universal recognition or to connect on opportunities for reform in your state, please contact Heather Curry (



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