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Ohio bills seek universal occupational license reciprocity

“As long as you have a license in good standing from another state, you should be able to practice your profession here in Ohio,” Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said in a news conference.
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The Capitol Building for the state of Ohio. (Getty Images)

COLUMBUS — Legislators in the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives have introduced identical bills that would make occupational licenses issued in any state valid in Ohio.

A license holder would still be required to meet the state’s requirements for license renewal and continued education if he or she stays in Ohio, which may be stricter than other states.

“As long as you have a license in good standing from another state, you should be able to practice your profession here in Ohio,” Rep. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, said in a news conference. Powell is one of the sponsors for the House’s version of the bill.

Ohio currently has reciprocity agreements with some states, which means that a person’s license granted in that state will be valid in Ohio, but people moving from other states might have to meet stricter requirements to continue their profession. In Ohio, about 18 percent of jobs require a license.

Powell said that Ohio should signal that it is “open for business” and that it will welcome newcomers. She said that this will uniquely benefit her district because it borders Indiana. If a person has a license in Indiana, but wants to move to Ohio, she said that cutting red tape would encourage them to do so, which would boost growth and jobs.

Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, who is co-sponsoring the Senate’s version of the bill, said the lack of reciprocity could give a potential worker a lot of hoops to jump through.

“In many places, before one can become an embalmer or a manicurist or even a hearing aid dealer, you have to first jump through a set of hoops, and these hoops are not only time consuming, but they are expensive," she said. "From training and classes and exams and all of the fees you have to pay and most of these of course are set at the state level.”

Arizona was the first state to pass universal reciprocity for occupational licenses. In the news conference, the president and CEO of the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, Victor Riches, said that the legislation helped with economic development.

"In Arizona, we recognized that occupational licensing reciprocity was a critical economic development tool that would not only attract businesses but would remove needless bureaucratic burdens from the shoulders of Arizonans," Riches said.