Earlier this month, Iowa passed occupational licensing reform legislation granting universal recognition of out-of-state licenses. Idaho lawmakers have been working towards similar goals and effective today, Idaho will also recognize out-of-state licenses for applicants who meet most of the requirements of the Idaho license. 

Both of these states join the growing ranks of states that recognize how different licensing requirements between states can make it difficult for individuals to move. Particularly affected are military spouses as they move between states according to their spouse’s military orders. 

While these reforms are a step forward, more must be done. Many states have arbitrary requirements for licenses, placing barriers of money and training time in front of individuals who are looking to enter a new profession. Instead of serving their purported aim of protecting public health and safety, such requirements simply limit the competition and allow board members representing businesses already operating in the state to enjoy a monopoly over the specific market. 

After passing universal license recognition, states must continue to push for further occupational licensing reform, removing unnecessary requirements and perhaps even eliminating the need for certain licenses altogether. While licensing is important for some occupations, especially those in the medical profession such as doctors and nurses, some states require licenses for occupations which clearly do not pose a risk to public health and safety. 

IWF has been highlighting the stories of individuals who have faced unnecessary challenges due to occupational licensing as well as many medical professionals who were able to cross state lines and provide relief to areas ravaged by coronavirus outbreaks thanks to the temporary suspension of some occupational licensing laws. Through our Chasing Work campaign, we’re telling the stories of Americans who know, first hand, the barriers that occupational license requirements can pose to their careers. 

We should applaud any steps that states take to help reduce the barriers to work for their citizens and continue to push for more common-sense reforms across the country.