Representative Becky Currie

The House Workforce Development Committee has advanced legislation that would recognize occupational licenses obtained in another state.

Under House Bill 1263, sponsored by Rep. Becky Currie, individuals who move to Mississippi will be able to essentially “transfer” their occupational license from another state if they meet certain requirements and their license is in good standing.

Identical legislation was also introduced by Reps. Steve Hopkins and Jansen Owen.

Right now, when an individual moves to Mississippi, they have to spend considerable time and money just to be re-taught what they have already learned. Even in occupations that claim to offer reciprocity, it is often a time-consuming process and may require additional training.

We know an individual does not forget how to do a job just because they cross state lines. They should not have to jump through the same bureaucratic hoops that they did in their former state just to work in Mississippi, a state that has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country.

Two years ago, Arizona became the first state in the nation to provide universal recognition of occupational licenses. In the first year of the program, 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 all followed Arizona.

Last year, Mississippi passed a similar law exclusively for military families. That was needed and a good first step, but it should be expanded to everyone who moves to Mississippi.

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

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Release from Empower MS.