2023 Bills

SB 35: Further Expanding Occupational Licensing Portability

This bill passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously. Review our tracker for more information.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

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

Utah has seen immense growth in recent years. People have flooded to the state hoping to experience beautiful Utah, take advantage of the amazing recreational opportunities it offers, and participate in the state’s vibrant economy.

Unfortunately, Utah’s restrictive occupational licensing laws may be keeping individuals who are moving to Utah — both internationally and from other states — from using their current skills and experience in the Utah workforce. Currently, some of these individuals coming to Utah must gain recertification for a job they were just performing weeks ago in another state or country. This could result in additional time and money spent on obtaining a certification they are already qualified to hold and less time being spent practicing their profession.

Senator Curtis Bramble is sponsoring Senate Bill 35 to address this issue. This bill would reduce barriers to obtain an occupational license.

Specifically, this legislation will allow for the issuance of an occupational license to a person who has come to Utah internationally or from a different state. Issuing a license to these persons will occur if (1) they have at least one year of experience practicing the licensed occupation and their education experience and skills demonstrate competency, or(2) if their previous jurisdictions licensing requirements were substantively similar to those in Utah when their previous license was issued.

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.

Now, this legislative idea may sound familiar. That is because during Utah’s previous general legislative session, legislation that allowed the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to issue occupational licenses in this manner passed.

If this legislation passes, the following departments will have access to this way of licensing: 

  • The Department of Commerce
  • The Department of Environmental Quality
  • The Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation within the Department of Workforce Services
  • The Labor Commission
  • The Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division within the State Tax Commission
  • The Department of Public Safety
  • The State Board of Education
  • The Department of Transportation

This new piece of legislation expands on last year’s and will continue opening the door for qualified individuals to participate in the state’s workforce, and companies across the state can see an influx of new workers.