Free Market

New Occupational Licensing Reforms Come to Utah

Utah’s government has generally strict licensing requirements, most requiring classroom and clinic hours as well as a comprehensive test. One problem with this system is that it does not adequately account for people who are already licensed in other states that are moving to Utah.

This year, Senator Curt Bramble sponsored Senate Bill 23, legislation focused on easing restrictions preventing people moving to Utah from practicing their profession right away. Now all a person needs to do is simply demonstrate that their license is currently in good standing.

Another issue with the system is the bureaucracy it creates through unreasonable licensing requirements and unnecessary licensing boards. One tool for reform is to use less stringent regulation like permits and registration, rather than an onerous license. 

That’s exactly what Representative Norm Thurston decided to do in a couple different industries.  He ran House Bill 290, legislation focusing on replacing the license requirement in the industry dealing with products related to bedding, upholstered furniture and quilted clothing, with a  permit. 

The bill also replaced the license for hunting guides and outfitters with a registration process, while getting rid of that industry’s licensing board completely.The reductions reduce bureaucracy and remove needless red tape lowering the barrier to entry in these industries.

One more bill that passed brought occupational licensure reform together with criminal justice reform. Senator Jake Anderegg sponsored Senate Bill 201 to help people with criminal histories obtain an occupational license, rather than facing automatic rejections while trying to earn a living. This kind of policy change will help to reduce recidivism rates and inter-generational poverty, while still allowing for public health and safety to be protected.  

Of course, there still remains a lot of work to be done to reform Utah’s occupational licensure laws, but we applaud these changes while continuing to explore ways to expand reforms to make Utah a more attractive destination for workers.

For more information on occupational licensing reform, read our policy brief.