As Utah seeks to continue being an economic leader, to have a labor market free of shortages, and to be abundant in consumer choices, it is imperative that occupational licensing laws are thoughtfully crafted to reduce barriers and ensure equality.
During the 2023 legislative session, major positive strides were made in the form of occupational licensure regulations. Specifically, Libertas supported and assisted in passing over half a dozen bills focused on this area.
Some of these bills include:
- House Bill 264, sponsored by Representative Cory Maloy. This bill would expand where certified nursing assistants can gain experiential requirements needed for certification.
- House Bill 250, sponsored by Representative Marsha Judkins. This legislation would remove some social worker licensure examination requirements that have statistically been shown to be racially biased.
- House Bill 181, sponsored by Representative Ashlee Matthews, requires the Department of Workforce Services to create and maintain the portal, through which businesses and state or local entities can post job opportunities and related employment information that individuals with criminal histories can access.
- House Bill 166, sponsored by Representative Stephanie Gricius, would allow out-of-state providers to temporarily provide telehealth services to a Utah patient for a period of nine months. This should be enough time for that patient to get off a waitlist in Utah and begin seeing an in-state provider. This bill also appropriately deregulates the licensing requirements for multiple behavioral and mental health professionals.
- House Bill 159, sponsored by Representative Norman Thurston, would allow nonresidents who hold a healthcare license issued by another state to provide telehealth services to patients in Utah, as long as they hold a temporary Utah license. This allows healthcare providers not yet licensed in Utah, but licensed in another state, to offer telehealth services while waiting for licensure by endorsement.
- Senate Bill 42, sponsored by Senator Curtis Bramble, aims to create new classifications for massage professionals known as “massage assistants” and “massage assistants in-training.” These individuals would be able to provide limited massage services in ways that allow them to serve clients and gain practical experience while working towards full licensure. The bill establishes the qualifications and scope of practice for these new classifications of massage professionals, as well as amends the examination and background check requirements for massage therapists. It also addresses the supervision of massage assistants and assistants in-training, requiring certain signage and disclosures to be provided when these individuals provide massage services.
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 the government when deciding if someone is qualified enough to work.