Thousands of Americans move to North Carolina each year. Many of those new residents hold an occupational license in their former state of residence. However, as of present, those working professionals would not be authorized to do their job in North Carolina unless they obtain state-specific licensure. In a recent research brief by JLF’s Jon Sanders, he explains the issues with this arrangement:

Our process is difficult to navigate, the licensing doesn’t adequately account for experience or credentials, the licenses take too long to get, and families get stuck in licensing limbo losing income while the government loses tax revenue.

There is a bill in the General Assembly that would change this. Sanders writes:

Senate Bill 773, introduced by Sens. Chuck Edwards (R-Buncombe), Andy Wells (R-Alexander), and Norman Sanderson (R-Catawba), would bring universal license recognition to North Carolina.

The bill would require an occupational licensing board to issue a license to someone who has moved into North Carolina and applied for the license in his or her field of work if that person, among other things:

  • has a current license in another state
  • has been licensed for at least a year
  • is in good standing
  • has met all licensing requirements in that state
  • is not under disciplinary action
  • doesn’t have a disqualifying criminal record
  • pays all licensing fees

If North Carolina were to pass this law, it would make it the third state in the country to adopt universal licensure. This change could be particularly beneficial in the wake of coronavirus. Sanders explains:

In the face of the coronavirus, one of the first responses in North Carolina and other states to prepare for the expected need for doctors and nurses was to waive licensure requirements for health care and behavioral health care professionals licensed in other states. After COVID-19, the state’s economy will need people to get back to work as soon as possible to speed recovery along. Universal license recognition served our medical needs then, and it should serve our economic needs going forward.

Read the full brief here. Read more about occupational licensing reform here.