People who already have an occupational license in another state often face mandatory fees or redundant training requirements to continue their profession when they move to Louisiana. At least 12 states have adopted universal recognition policies to streamline this process and recognize licenses granted by licensing bodies in other states. Since other states have begun recognizing licenses, we have created a one-way street for jobseekers to leave our state. Louisiana has been losing population for years and universal recognition can start the process of bringing our friends and family members home.

Universal recognition is spreading like a wildfire. Arizona was the first to adopt universal recognition in 2019 and in less than 4 years almost a quarter of the country has adopted some form of recognition for out-of-state licenses that are consistent in scope of practice. By allowing talent to more easily flow into our state, we are creating a risk-free and simple way to get skilled professionals moving back to our state. The benefits of recognition are clearly seen in Arizona. A year after Arizona implemented universal recognition, over 4,000 professionals moved in from other states.

Our neighbors have also begun to take advantage of universal recognition. Last year, Mississippi and Florida both passed these laws. Mississippi State Representative Becky Currie, author of Mississippi’s Universal recognition law said, “We want to make sure that if you want to come to Mississippi that you are welcome, and we’re not going to put roadblocks or red tape up for you to do that.”

If Louisiana fails to enact similar legislation, we will effectively create multiple one-way streets for talent to leave our state while blocking them from coming in. Enough of our friends and family members have left this state for work. It’s time we make it easy and burden-free for them to come home.