Coalition Backs Universal License Recognition in Ohio

A coalition of free-market associations sent an open letter on Tuesday to Ohio’s state lawmakers encouraging them to enact universal occupational license recognition, meaning the Buckeye State would honor professional certifications issued in other states. 

Message signers included leaders of Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, the Buckeye Institute, the Goldwater Institute, the National Taxpayers Union, and Americans for Tax Reform. The organizations observed that the state’s population is declining and will continue if pro-market reforms aren’t made to attract new workers, including universal license recognition. Numerous states, including Arizona and North Carolina, accept credentials obtained elsewhere by people moving into those states. 

“The current occupational licensing system too often requires already-licensed out-of-state professionals to spend time and money to be licensed in Ohio,” the organizations wrote. “Trained, licensed professionals do not lose their skills or forget their training when they cross the state line. But Ohio treats them like they do, making it harder for businesses to hire them and for skilled professionals to move here. That discouraging system must change — and quickly.”

While the coalition members all espouse center-right perspectives, they cited research by Morris Kleiner, the University of Minnesota’s AFL-CIO chair of labor policy, suggesting that onerous occupational licensing requirements have cost Ohioans approximately 70,000 jobs. They further noted statistics from United Van Lines indicating that Ohio is among the ten states with the most residents moving elsewhere in America. 

The coalition predicts that Arizona’s licensing reforms could bring in 45,000 new workers and $1.5 billion in economic growth to that state over the next 10 years. Ohio, they insisted, should strive to realize such gains itself by emulating states like Arizona that have pursued licensing reforms. 

“Ohio has a golden opportunity to build upon its proud manufacturing history to make the products of tomorrow,” the coalition wrote. “From high-tech computer chips to innovative cars, major manufacturing companies want to do business in Ohio and will hire thousands of workers when they do. But outmoded state regulations put those gains and other economic growth opportunities at risk.”

Occupational-licensure reform has been a major project for the Buckeye Institute over the last several years. The institute’s researchers are advocating for the near-term passage of a bill to lighten the certification requirements on various professionals including pharmacists, school psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and hearing professionals and vision specialists.

That legislation passed the state House of Representatives nearly unanimously in March and must pass the Senate and receive Governor Mike DeWine’s (R) signature this month in order to become law this year. 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Ohio Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].



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