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Kanode Discusses Automatic Licensure With Senate Committee

By Caleb Taylor

Should new Arkansans with occupational licenses in their previous residence be given automatic licensure in the Natural State?

Senate Bill 78 by State Sen. Ricky Hill R-District 29 would do just that for some Arkansans.

The bill expands automatic licensure to military members, military spouses and widows who move to Arkansas who have an occupational license in a different state, territory or district of the United States with a “similar scope of practice.”

Currently, Arkansas law has a much steeper hurdle requiring a “substantially equivalent license” from military members and spouses wishing to obtain an occupational license in Arkansas. 

The bill makes no changes to the occupational licensing hurdles non-military Arkansans face.

ACRE Economic Policy Analyst Alex Kanode said the previous language was “muddy” and the change would make it easier for military members, military spouses and military widows to apply for automatic licensure from state licensing boards.

Kanode said:

Occupational licenses reduce interstate mobility. It makes it harder for people to get jobs from one state to another. There’s no reason why people going across state borders would lose their training or education.”

SB 78 passed unanimously and will be considered by the Senate at 1 p.m. on February 1.

You can watch Kanode’s entire testimony here (starts at 2:06:50).

You can read Kanode’s policy statement, “Occupational Licensing and Arkansas’s Act 600”, here which contains more suggestions for occupational licensing reforms for Arkansas. 

For more on this topic, check out our labor market regulation research page

Kanode and ACRE Scholar and UCA Associate Professor of Economics Dr. Thomas Snyder discussed in “Show-Me the way” (published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on October 22, 2020) a recent occupational licensing reform bill passed by the Missouri legislature, known as universal licensure recognition.

Arkansas’s occupational licensing burdens are measured in this research paper entitled “The Effects of Arkansas Occupational Licensure Regulations” by Snyder. 

Snyder was a co-author of “The State of Occupational Licensing: Arkansas” with researchers from the Mercatus Center. This report gives an overview of occupational licensing in Arkansas and makes suggestions for reform.