Arizona becomes first state to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses

Arizona is the first state to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses and certificates.

Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) on Wednesday signed House Bill 2569 into law after it passed with bipartisan support through both the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate.

H.B. 2569, sponsored by Representative Warren Petersen (LD-12), will allow anyone with an out-of-state occupational license or certificate in good standing for at least one year to obtain an equivalent license in Arizona without taking an exam.

“With this bill, Arizona’s sending a clear message to people across the country: if you’re moving to Arizona, there’s opportunity waiting for you here,” said Governor Ducey. “There’s dignity in all work. And we know that whether you make your living as a plumber, a barber, a nurse or anything else, you don’t lose your skills simply because you moved here. The bill we signed today protects public health and safety while eliminating unnecessary and costly red tape. It’s an Arizona original and should be a model for other states for how to work together and do the things that matter. My thanks to Representative Petersen for sponsoring this important legislation and to the many people who helped make this first-in-the-nation reform possible.”

Thirty percent of jobs require a state-issued license, and not having universal recognition of licensing puts a significant barrier on a worker’s ability to move to another state.

“I’m grateful to Governor Ducey and my colleagues in the Legislature for making Arizona the first state in the country to offer universal occupational licensing recognition,” said Representative Petersen. “By getting government out of the way and letting qualified professionals get right to work, HB 2569 will increase economic opportunity, create jobs, and grow Arizona’s economy.”

From July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, more than 122,000 people moved to Arizona. The state also saw a variety of businesses moving in or expanding operations last year because of the business-friendly climate.

H.B. 2569 expands a 2011 law that allowed military spouses to more easily receive an Arizona occupational license or certificate if they demonstrated expertise in that profession in another state.

While the bill received bipartisan support, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (LD-9) voted against the bill saying it is “overly broad because it expands licensing reciprocity to anyone who establishes residency in the state. We should be judicious and strategic with any workforce incentives.”

According to Petersen, there are guardrails in place to keep unqualified workers from obtaining positions. Those moving to Arizona must have an up-to-date license and have been working for at least one year in the state they are moving from.

“Just because you move from one state to another, the invisible border does not invalidate your experience, it does not invalidate your education, your knowledge and your skill,” Petersen said. “You still have all of those things. We shouldn’t require you to start all over.”

The passage of H.B. 2569 is getting national attention and accolades from the White House. Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President, praised Gov. Ducey and the Arizona Legislature for their efforts to cut red tape.

“Awesome leadership by Gov. Doug Ducey and state lawmakers for passing a bill that grants universal recognition for all occupational licenses in the state of Arizona,” she tweeted. “Excessive occupational licensing harms economic mobility and hurts low-income workers. I hope other states follow!”

Emily Richardson

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