Ohio looking to recognize occupational licenses received in other states


By Todd DeFeo - The Center Square



COLUMBUS — Ohio could soon recognize occupational licenses residents received in other states under a bill state lawmakers are considering.

State Reps. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, and George Lang, R-West Chester, are sponsoring House Bill 432, the License Reciprocity Act, which would require state agencies to grant licenses to applicants who hold comparable certifications from other states.

The bill, which is pending in the House State and Local Government Committee, has drawn support from local and out-of-state business-friendly organizations, including the Goldwater Institute, Americans for Prosperity-Ohio and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“Ohio is poised to improve upon their position as a national leader on work-friendly licensing reforms with the introduction of a bill meant to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses,” Sam Adolphsen, policy director for the Naples, Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), said in a statement.

“This bill allows workers moving to Ohio to get a license at the same level in the same industry in which they already have experience or qualifications in their previous home state,” Adolphsen added. The bill “removes barriers to work, and would turn Ohio into one of the most welcoming states in the union to workers on the move. This will be another boost to Ohio’s already vibrant economy.”

If approved, state agencies and boards could see a loss of revenue, according to a Legislative Service Commission (LSC) analysis. Additionally, municipalities that administer licenses or certifications could also experience a loss of revenue, according to the Ohio Municipal League.

The bill, introduced in December, could also increase costs for the Department of Administrative Services to update the state’s eLicensing system. These costs would likely be passed on to the boards that use the system in the form of increased user charges.

“HB 432 does not challenge licensing or delicense any profession in Ohio,” Christina Sandefur, executive vice president of the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, said in prepared testimony to the Ohio House State & Local Government Committee. “Rather, this bill removes the unnecessary redundancy that comes with requiring professionals to repeat testing and duplicate training in order to continue doing a job they’ve already been doing safely and productively elsewhere.”

State Sens. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, and Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, are sponsoring similar legislation, Senate Bill 246, in the state Senate. The Senate and House bills are similar to Arizona House Bill 2569, which Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law in April 2019, and several other legislatures nationwide are considering similar proposals.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a similar bill into law aimed at helping military husbands and wives who relocate to the Buckeye State with their active-duty spouses.

Senate Bill 7 requires occupational licensing boards to recognize licenses the spouses of servicemen and women who are stationed in Ohio received in other states. It allows agencies to issue certificates for up to six years, giving license-holders time to become licensed under Ohio law.

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By Todd DeFeo

The Center Square

Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square

Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square