The Goldwater Institute was in Ohio last week working with the Buckeye Institute and state lawmakers as they took a major step toward becoming the first state in the Midwest to break down barriers to work by calling for a law that would recognize occupational licenses of new residents to their state. Watch video of the press conference here.

On Tuesday, The Buckeye Institute joined Ohio State Representative Jena Powell, Representative George Lang, Senator Kristina Roegner, Senator Rob McColley, the Goldwater Institute, and others in calling for Ohio to adopt full occupational licensing reciprocity, which will remove needless occupational licensing barriers for Ohioans. Earlier this year, Arizona became the first state in the country to adopt the Goldwater Institute’s model, setting an example for the nation to follow. Most recently, Pennsylvania became the second state to enact a version of occupational licensing reciprocity; both states passed their respective laws with strong bipartisan support.

An occupational license is a permission slip state governments require before someone can practice their profession. Americans face these government-imposed barriers to work in a wide range of professions, including barbers, plumbers, real estate agents, sign language interpreters, florists, landscapers, coaches, interior designers, and many others. No matter how qualified someone is, Americans must re-apply for permission to work when they move to a new state. That’s a costly and unnecessary barrier for countless Americans to earn a living.

Instead of asking licensed professionals to jump through expensive, time-consuming, and redundant hoops, the Goldwater Institute has developed a law that directs state government to issue licenses to new residents who apply for a license and meet simple, commonsense criteria. By breaking down barriers to work, licensed professionals, members of the military, veterans, and their family members will be free to pursue their American dream.

“In Arizona, we recognized that occupational licensing reciprocity was a critical economic development tool that would not only attract businesses but would remove needless bureaucratic burdens from the shoulders of Arizonans,” said Victor Riches, president and chief executive officer of the Goldwater Institute. “With the leadership that The Buckeye Institute has shown on occupational licensing reform, it is no surprise that Ohio is looking to join Arizona as a national leader in adopting full license reciprocity.”

The House bill, sponsored by representatives Powell and Lang, and the Senate bill, sponsored by senators Roegner and McColley, will ensure that an occupational license a worker has earned in another state will be fully recognized by the state of Ohio regardless of whether Ohio has a reciprocity agreement with the other state. The bills will also ensure that work experience in another state will count towards earning an occupational license in Ohio. 

“If somebody from another state holds a cosmetology license or an esthetician license or an embalmer’s license, we want to say, ‘Hey, we recognize that you will not forget how to do your job, you’re not going to lose those skills as soon as you cross state lines.’ So we want to welcome them with open arms,” Roegner said. “This would help spur economic growth in the state of Ohio because we’d be welcoming workers that otherwise might not be able to move here.”

Mike Brownfield, communications director for the Goldwater Institute, spoke about the impact of this policy in Arizona, and the opportunity for Ohio.

“Breaking down these barriers to work just makes good sense. The Arizona bill was championed by the Goldwater Institute and the Institute for Justice. It passed with bipartisan support and went into effect on September 1. Already, we’re seeing great results. Applications have cleared through quickly and efficiently. Arizonans are getting to work. For licensed professionals, Arizona is now the most welcoming state in the country,” Brownfield said. “But other states are getting the message, and that’s good news for workers. Pennsylvania is following Arizona’s lead. It became the second state in the nation to adopt a form of universal recognition, also with bipartisan support. Now, Ohio can be the first state in the Midwest to break down these barriers to work. “

Read more about how the Goldwater Institute is breaking down barriers to work here

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