A House committee approved a bill that Gov. Doug Ducey touted in his State of the State address that would allow professionals who are certified in other states to practice their trades in Arizona without a new license.
House Bill 2569 states that any person who has an occupational license from another state is automatically eligible for the same license in Arizona, as long as that person doesn’t have a criminal history that would disqualify him or her. The agency or entity that regulates a profession would still be permitted to require someone to pass a test on relevant Arizona laws.
If the bill passes, Arizona will be the first state in the country to recognize occupational licenses from other states. The House Regulatory Affairs Committee approved HB 2569 on Monday.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, predicted that people will flock to Arizona if the state passes what he referred to as universal licensing. He noted that Arizona has long recognized out-of-state licenses for the spouses of military members who are based in Arizona.
“So, we’ve already shown it can work, at least on a small scale,” Petersen said. “Let’s speed up the process for qualified people and let’s get them to work.”
Several of the committee’s Democratic members, who voted unanimously against the bill, expressed concerns. Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, said the bill is “overly generous” and questioned whether the new licensing requirements would be too lax. She also expressed concerns that the bill could allow people who have gotten in trouble in other states to set up shop in Arizona. Supporters of HB 2569 said the bill addresses that issue.
Rep. Amish Shah, D-Phoenix, said he was favorable toward the idea, but was wary of accepting occupational licenses from states that won’t do the same for Arizona. Shah proposed that the bill be amended to apply only to states that reciprocated with Arizona.
“Would that not encourage other states to then open up their markets to Arizona residents?” he asked.
Rep. Ben Toma, R-Peoria, said HB 2569 could encourage other states to follow suit.
“I think what we can do is set a precedent and example. And to some extent, I think this bill will do exactly that,” he said.
Ducey, a longtime advocate of licensing reform, has thrown his support behind Petersen’s bill. In his State of the State address, the governor lamented that qualified professionals from other states are sometimes barred from working in Arizona by “our own licensing boards and their cronies.”
More recently, in a press statement from the Governor’s Office, Ducey championed Petersen’s legislation.
“If you’ve been licensed to work in another state and want to move here, let it be known: Arizona will not stand in your way,” Ducey said in the press statement. “Our state is growing and we now have more jobs than people to fill them. As people move here, we want them to be able to work from day one. This bill helps ensure that, and I look forward to working with members of the legislature to pass it as soon as possible.”
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