Unfortunately, many Utahns have become aware of the state’s less than ideal occupational licensing laws as of late. Whether you were unable to find a contractor to assist in your building project or have had to sit on a waitlist for months to see a mental health provider, occupational licensure laws in Utah have had a detrimental effect on both consumers and those eager to enter the workforce.
As Utah looks to continue to be an economic leader and return to normalcy after the pandemic, occupational laws in the state had to be fixed.
During the 2022 legislative session, major positive strides were made in the form of occupational licensure regulations. Specifically, Libertas supported and assisted in passing half a dozen bills focused on this area.
These bills include:
- Senate Bill 16, sponsored by Senator Curtis Bramble. This bill will create the Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Office. This office will work to ensure that unnecessary occupational licenses are not put on the books and that existing occupational licenses are reviewed.
- Senate Bill 43, also sponsored by Senator Bramble. This legislation makes it easier to work within Utah. This bill would allow an occupational license to be issued to a person who has come to Utah internationally or from a different state. Issuing a license to these persons will occur if they have at least one year of experience practicing the occupation they are seeking licensing for, it has been determined that their education experience and skills demonstrate competency, or if their previous jurisdictions licensing requirements were similar to those in Utah. Additionally, this legislation creates a pathway for a person who did not previously hold an occupational license to receive one. A person in this scenario could become licensed if it is determined that their education and experience are substantively similar to what is required for that profession in Utah.
- House Bill 195, sponsored by Representative Suzanne Harrison, allows certain health care providers to perform auricular detoxification. Auricular Detoxification is a well-established method of acupuncture that targets specific points on the ear involving detox and craving pathways.
- Senate Bill 121, sponsored by Senator Michael McKell. This bill would allow anesthesiologist assistants to practice within Utah, which in turn would help reduce economic protectionism in the state’s healthcare system.
- Senate Bill 180, once again sponsored by Senator Bramble. This bill lowers the occupational licensure burden for massage therapists who want to perform simple, light-touch massages.
- House Bill 154, sponsored by Representative Joel Ferry. House Bill 154 will establish the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (OT Compact). This compact is an interstate compact, or a formal agreement among states, to facilitate the interstate practice of occupational therapy. Under the OT Compact, Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants who are licensed in good standing in a Compact member state may practice in other Compact member states via a “compact privilege,” which is equivalent to a license.
- House Bill 283, sponsored by Representative Norman Thurston. Representative Thurston’s bill will help increase access to mental health services across the state. This legislation reduces the number of clinical hours required for licensure as a social worker, a therapist, or a clinical mental health counselor.
Reforming these burdensome and extremely restrictive economic handicaps will allow those who want to work in Utah to do so, allow those qualified to perform a profession to do so, and allow consumers who need a variety of services and choices to have them.
We commend Utah’s Legislature for working towards giving the power back to the market, where it belongs, and not large government when deciding if someone is qualified enough to work within a specific occupation.