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Goldwater Urges Ohio Lawmakers to Adopt Universal Occupational License Recognition

December 7, 2022

The Goldwater Institute has joined The Buckeye InstituteAmericans for Prosperity-OhioAmericans for Tax Reform, and National Taxpayers Union in calling on the Ohio General Assembly to quickly adopt the universal recognition of out-of-state occupational licenses. This reform would streamline the licensing process for thousands of qualified applicants, allowing skilled professionals to get to work quickly when they relocate into the state.

In a letter released this week, the coalition wrote:

“Ohio has a golden opportunity to build upon its proud manufacturing history to make the products of tomorrow. From high-tech computer chips to innovative cars, major manufacturing companies want to do business in Ohio and will hire thousands of workers when they do. But outmoded state regulations put those gains and other economic growth opportunities at risk.

“The current occupational licensing system too often requires already-licensed out-of-state professionals to spend time and money to be licensed in Ohio. Trained, licensed professionals do not lose their skills or forget their training when they cross the state line. But Ohio treats them like they do, making it harder for businesses to hire them and for skilled professionals to move here. That discouraging system must change—and quickly.”

Designed and championed by the Goldwater Institute, which first enacted its Breaking Down Barriers to Work reform in Arizona in 2019, universal recognition allows a licensed professional to apply for and be quickly granted a license to work based on the training or testing he or she has already completed. So long as an applicant has held a valid out-of-state license in good standing for at least one year and does not have any disqualifying criminal history or open complaints, he or she is eligible to receive a similar license under recognition. Since the law went into effect in 2019, over 5,000 professionals have been granted an Arizona license to work under universal recognition. In addition to removing the regulatory hurdles that frequently stand between workers and their right to earn a living, a recent economic analysis of Arizona’s universal recognition law found that the reform is likely to increase the state’s GDP by $1.5 billion and increase Arizona’s workforce by nearly 16,000 workers over the next 10 years.

The letter continues:

“Trained, skilled professionals who have already shown themselves competent across the Ohio border should not have to ask for more permission here before offering their services to our businesses and communities. State policymakers should pursue and enact licensing rules like universal licensing recognition that make it easier—not harder— for employers and license holders to call Ohio home.”

Over 20 states have already followed Arizona’s lead, enacting their own versions of universal recognition to benefit tens of thousands of professionals. Ohio should join them in taking this important step to break down barriers to work.

Heather Curry is the Director of Strategic Engagement at the Goldwater Institute.



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