President Trump’s Occupational Licensing EO Will Create Jobs Across the Country | Citizens Against Government Waste

President Trump’s Occupational Licensing EO Will Create Jobs Across the Country

The WasteWatcher

The coronavirus pandemic has led states to review and reform their occupational licensing laws temporarily and permanently.  While some states had been undergoing this process before the pandemic, nearly all states took some steps to reduce regulations and suspend or eliminate statutory requirements for licensing.

On December 14, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on “Increasing Economic and Geographic Mobility” that built on his February 24, 2017 EO 13777 to alleviate regulatory burdens on occupational licensing.   The EO would require a state, territorial, or tribal government to issue a license to those who are in good standing and hold a license for their area of discipline.  The EO cited reforms recently enacted in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota's examples that should be followed in other states. 

The EO stated, “The purpose of this order is to reduce the burden of occupational regulations in order to promote the free practice of commerce, lower consumer costs, and increase economic and geographic mobility, including for military spouses.” 

The EO listed six principles for state, local, and tribal governments, including accommodations for applicants who are spouses of active-duty members who are relocating; “active supervision of a designated governmental agency or office;” overseeing the qualifications and adopting regulations that protect consumers but are also the least restrictive; and issuing licenses to those who hold a license elsewhere in the United States have met the government’s requirements, and paid the fees.

The EO also reflects the recommendations made in Citizens Against Government Waste’s November 2020 report, “Reducing Licensing Barriers Will Get Millions Back to Work,” which noted, “the need for new licenses as Americans move to new states has long had a significant economic impact on military families in which a non-military spouse has a professional license.  In far too many cases, the time it would take to obtain a license when the family moves to a new state is longer than the time the post will last. 

The CAGW report also cited a May 26, 2020 University of Minnesota (UM) report that found, “According to the Department of Defense (DoD), the military spouse unemployment rate is at 24 percent and frequent military moves can make it more difficult for spouses to hold down a career.”  The department began in 2011 to increase portability for the 35 percent of military spouses who require a license or certification to work.  The EO takes this concept much further.

The CAGW report noted, “Military families move more than civilian families, therefore military spouses are far more likely to have to be relicensed each time the service member is reassigned to another state.  This creates an unusual hardship on military families, particularly in states like HawaiiNevada, and California which require 988, 860, and 827 days in education on average, respectively, for licensed positions. Military families move every two to three years on average which, given the time required in these states for licensing, often prevents a military spouse from obtaining gainful employment.”

The EO is will be beneficial to both military spouses and civilians.  The reforms will help create jobs and enable workers to maximize their potential for personal and economic growth.  More work still needs to be done, but the Trump administration and the states that have been active in reducing regulations and eliminating statutory barriers deserve credit for the occupational licensing reforms they have achieved to date.

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