2021 Bills

HB 183: Occupational Licenses for Experienced Workers

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

Last year, the Legislature changed the laws around recognizing occupational licenses from other states, increasing their portability so that workers from other states could more easily move to, and continue working in, Utah. The law now requires a license be provided to the worker if:

  • The person has at least one year of experience in the other state where they were licensed;
  • Their license is in good standing; and
  • The license in the other state involves a similar scope of practice as the one in Utah.

But what happens when a person moves from another state where their profession did not require a license, but Utah does require licensure to legally work in that field?

To address this problem, Representative Kera Birkeland is sponsoring House Bill 183. This bill expands upon the previous law to close this loophole and ensure Utah reduces barriers to work—the subject of Governor Spencer Cox’s recent, first executive order.

HB 183 would require the state to issue a license to the person newly residing in Utah if they have at least three years of experience in the state that did not require a license. This would not occur, however, if the person has a previous or pending criminal indictment or civil action filed against them related to that occupation for which they are seeking a license.

For example, only about half of the states require licensure for construction trades. Someone working in a license-free state who has acquired sufficient experience and education should not be compelled, as a condition of legally working in Utah, to give up their livelihood and start from scratch as if they were inexperienced.