Senate advances universal recognition bill

The Senate has advanced legislation that will require the state to recognize occupational licenses obtained in another state, making it easier for licensed professionals moving to Mississippi.

House Bill 1263, sponsored by Rep. Becky Currie, is now headed back to the House.

“If signed into law, Mississippi would become the first state in the south to adopt universal recognition, making it easier for professionals to move into our state and immediately begin providing services to their neighbors,” said Empower Mississippi President Russ Latino. “House Bill 1263 is an important step toward making Mississippi more competitive, providing a welcoming environment for people looking to relocate, and ultimately expanding opportunity for everyone.”

Occupational licenses, which are government regulated, are intended to recognize the qualifications of a worker to provide certain services. Over the years, licensing requirements have been extended to nearly a quarter of all jobs, including many low to mid-income professions. In recent years, studies done across the country have cast doubt on the efficacy of licensure to protect the public and have raised serious concerns that licensing stops people from finding work and dramatically increases prices for consumers.

Two years ago, Arizona became the first state in the nation to provide universal recognition of occupational licenses. In the first year, more than 1,100 new Arizonans applied for and were granted a license to work in the Grand Canyon State. Since that time, Montana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, and Missouri have followed Arizona.

Last year, Mississippi passed a similar law exclusively for military families last year. If this bill becomes law, that law would be expanded to all who move to Mississippi.

If House Bill 1263 becomes law, Mississippi would become the first state in the south to ease burdensome licensing restrictions for those moving to the Magnolia State.