Free Market

Occupational Licensing State of Affairs May 2022

Occupational licensing is becoming a hot topic in state governments across the United States. To see where Utah can make progress in this field, it is important to understand what is being done elsewhere. Below, the most recent happenings in the realm of occupational licensing for May 2022 are detailed.  

  • In Louisiana, The House Commerce Committee approved occupational licensing reform designed to help previously incarcerated individuals and improve the licensing process. House Bill 639 allows previously incarcerated individuals the opportunity to petition licensing boards to see if their conviction disqualifies them from obtaining a license before beginning the steps of licensure. House Bill (HB) 597 allows citizens to petition licensing boards to review the necessity of individual licenses if they feel the requirements are not the least restrictive method of regulating the occupation.
  • New Hampshire is seeking to fill a shortage of workers able to provide low-cost legal assistance by attempting to pass House Bill (HB) 1343. If this legislation passes, paralegals would be able to provide limited legal representation to lower-income individuals. 
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 1691 into law. This legislation is intended to make it easier for people with a criminal history to get licensed in a field of their choice. Specifically, SB 1691 will ban boards from denying licenses based on convictions that happened more than five years ago, though this time limit will not apply to violent or sexual offenses; prevent boards from using arrests that didn’t result in a conviction, as well as sealed or expunged records; block boards from denying applicants based on vague and arbitrary “good character” requirements; guarantee the right to appeal a denied license; and enact new reporting requirements to track the number of applicants and licenses issued and denied to people with criminal records. Previously, Oklahoma had poor protections for ex-offenders seeking licenses to work, receiving a C in a recent report by the Institute for Justice (IJ). But with Stitt’s signature, the grade will rise to an A-. 
  • In Mississippi, the necessity of being licensed to work as a dietician is being done away with. This change comes as Mississippi hopes to combat high rates of statewide obesity. 

These recent legislative initiatives represent promising changes to the field of licensing that can help both economies and individuals’ economic mobility.