Daugaard, Acosta announce partnership on licensing in Wall Street Journal article

Jan. 10, 2018

In a jointly authored piece this week in The Wall Street Journal, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced they’re working together to address excessive licensing.

According to the piece, South Dakota legislation being introduced this week would establish a compact for the temporary licensure of professionals — a multistate agreement that would change the presumption of occupational licensing from a roadblock to an open door. The compact would allow individuals who have been licensed in any profession or occupation in other participating states to receive, upon request within 30 days, an in-state temporary license.

“Each state decides how best to protect the health and safety of its citizens, and professional licensure plays an important role. No one wants to be operated on by an unlicensed doctor or share the road with an unlicensed truck driver. But too often, overly burdensome licensure requirements weaken competition without benefiting the public,” they wrote.

Daugaard announced in his State of the State address Jan. 9 that he had reached an agreement with governors in North Dakota, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming to offer reciprocity for 18 months before workers are required to be newly licensed. The hope is to expand it to other states, he said.

In 1950, only one in 20 jobs required an occupational license. By the latest count, more than 1,100 occupations require a license in at least one state, Daugaard and Acosta said. More than one in four Americans need a license to work.

“Occupational licensing is primarily a state issue, and states should work together,” they wrote. “Meaningful reform has been difficult, in part because states have taken a fragmented approach, making decisions based on their own needs without fully considering national needs. In other cases, reform has been limited to individual industries. Setting standards on a state-by-state and industry-by-industry basis holds back progress — and workers.”

The current system can create barriers to job mobility, they said, requiring new licensing when people move, increasing the cost of entry into certain occupations and at times creating barriers to using technology in cases such as telemedicine.

The new approach “would allow professionals from compacting states to start working immediately and to pursue a permanent license while already employed,” they said. “We have approached several governors of states neighboring South Dakota about the compact, and their reaction has been universally favorable.”

Daugaard, Acosta announce partnership on licensing in Wall Street Journal article

In a jointly authored piece this week in The Wall Street Journal, Gov. Dennis Daugaard and U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced they’re working together to address excessive licensing.

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