April 10, 2019

If you’ve put in the time and effort to obtain a government license so you can work in your field of choice, that license should really mean something, since it’s a reflection of hours upon hours of study and training. But if you hold an occupational license in one state and then move to a new state, you’re required to put in more time and spend more money on training—just to practice your profession in your new home.

That was true in every state—until today. Governor Doug Ducey has signed HB 2569 into law, which makes Arizona the first state to adopt universal recognition for occupational licenses. Sponsored by Representative Warren Peterson, the bill passed both houses of the Arizona Legislature with bipartisan support.

Arizona is welcoming many new residents every day, and this new law will help many of them to continue their careers more seamlessly without having to wait for a new license. Back in January, Gov. Doug Ducey said in his State of the State address:

If people want to work, let’s let them work! 100,000 people will move here this year. There’s a job available for every one of them. Lots of them are trained and certified in other states. Standing in their way of earning a living in Arizona, our own licensing boards, and their cronies who tell them—“You can’t work here. You haven’t paid the piper.”

But today’s signing changes that: Now, 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.

At the Goldwater Institute, we’ve long advocated for occupational licensing reform, including universal recognition. In 2017, we took on the case of behavioral health counselor Annette Stanley, who sought an Arizona license when she moved there from Kansas in 2014. Because Stanley had owned her own practice, the state of Arizona would not recognize hours accumulated for her Kansas license. Stanley was able to ask the state Board of Behavioral Health Examiners to review the regulations keeping her from getting her Arizona license, and the Board granted her petition to allow her to practice in Arizona.

“Starting today, because of Arizona’s new occupational licensing law, no occupational license holder will have to jump through the same hoops Annette Stanley was forced to go through,” said Goldwater Institute Director of Government Affairs Jenna Bentley. “New Arizonans who hold licenses will no longer be punished for trying to make their career in the Grand Canyon State—and that’s an important sign that Arizona is a place that truly recognizes the importance of hard work.”

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