Another Small Step for Occupational Licensing Reform
With an economy that is still lagging behind the rest of the country, one of the largest barriers to economic success in Louisiana is the state’s burdensome occupational licensing laws. Occupational licenses are government issued permission slips that allow you to work in a certain profession. Louisiana’s occupational licensing laws are some of the most burdensome in the nation. These laws not only make it harder for Louisianans to find work, they also make it harder for those wanting to move to Louisiana since licenses don’t transfer from state to state.
To address the issue of moving states while having an occupational license, states like Arizona and Mississippi have introduced a concept known as reciprocity. This means if you are licensed in one state to work in a licensed occupation, you can work in states that have reciprocity without having to go through all the steps of obtaining a new license. In Arizona, more than 3,100 individuals have had their licenses recognized through reciprocity.
Legislation passed by Representative Chuck Owen took a small step towards full reciprocity by granting the dependents and spouses of medical professionals’ reciprocity. This builds on his bill passed last year that granted reciprocity to the dependents and spouses of military personnel.
While reciprocity is a step forward, it doesn’t solve the underlying issue. Louisiana’s problem doesn’t stem from the fact that it’s hard to move in with a license, it’s that Louisiana licenses too many professions in the first place. If Louisiana wants to tackle the issue outright, it will have to reform the system at its root, rather than simply making the system easier to comply with.