December 23, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, the Goldwater Institute is looking back at some of the efforts we’ve been most proud of this year—and looking ahead to where we’re going in 2020.

In his 2019 State of the State address, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said, “One hundred thousand people will move here this year. There’s a job available for every single one of them. Lots of people 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.’ Let’s stop this foolishness…” Indeed, onerous occupational licensing laws were making it difficult for many new Arizonans to keep earning a living in their chosen field.

But at the Goldwater Institute, we led the charge to make Gov. Ducey’s call for worker freedom a reality.

Our efforts helped Arizona become the nation’s leader on creating a friendly environment for licensed workers looking to continue their careers. In April, Arizona passed a Goldwater Institute law that made it the first state in the country to recognize occupational licenses obtained out of state. 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. Pennsylvania soon followed suit in passing universal recognition, and we look forward to the passage of additional state laws helping workers more easily continue their careers when they move across state lines.

Also in April, through a bipartisan, Goldwater-backed law, Arizona removed the requirement that blow-dry salon workers—stylists who dry and style hair, but do not cut, perm, or permanently alter hair—must obtain a cosmetology license in order to do their job. This made Arizona just the second state in the nation—after Virginia—not to require a costly, time-consuming license for blow-dry stylists. Goldwater had been vocal about the need to cut the regulatory red tape holding these stylists back: In the weeks leading up to the passage of the legislation, we released a report uncovering the regulatory mismatch these workers faced—regulations that made it more difficult to become a blow-dry stylist in Arizona than to become a police officer or firefighter.

But too many workers across the country continue to face high hurdles when it comes to continuing with their careers once they relocate. That’s why earlier this month, the Goldwater Institute announced a new effort to break down barriers to work for military families, releasing two reports tackling the issue. This project is focused on military families, since the burdens of licensing requirements fall particularly hard on them, but we want to break down barriers for everyone. As we move into 2020, we’ll be working in states across the country to pass laws modeled after Arizona’s—streamlining the processes that keep men and women from working after they move.

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