PHOENIX — Furthering Arizona’s efforts to eliminate barriers to work, Governor Ducey today called for additional reforms to reduce regulatory burdens and bring more accountability to state boards and commissions. Arizona has led the nation with reforms to help people get to work faster, including passing legislation to make Arizona the first state in the nation to provide universal recognition of occupational licenses.
During today’s State of the State address, Governor Ducey focused on three areas of additional reform:
Reducing the influence of special interests:
We’ve sought to chip away at the deep-rooted cronyism. But there’s still too many insiders and industry good ol’ boys. It’s time to clean this up. Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita has a bill that puts real people -- unbiased people -- on these boards. Let’s pass it.
Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita’s bill will require that regulatory boards and commissions transition to having public members as majority membership. This will ensure that industry experts remain on the board, but that unbiased public members have more influence on the outcome of board decisions.
The legislation is intended to address the ruling in North Carolina v. Dental, the United States Supreme Court decision that ruled that state licensing boards primarily comprised of industry professionals create an inherent conflict of interest. In making decisions about granting licenses and disciplining licensees, industry professionals currently have significant influence over these decisions. This bill helps ensure that will no longer be the case.
Suspending fees for boards stockpiling cash:
...Senate Democratic Leader David Bradley alerted us to something new: boards stock-piling cash and sitting on bank accounts of millions in reserves — all while continuing to burden real people with fees. It’s time for that to end. Let’s freeze the fees and free the people.
Representative Travis Grantham’s bill will ensure that regulatory boards aren’t collecting more fees than is necessary for the operation of their board. To accomplish this, there will now be a limit on excess funds for boards and commissions. When a board or commission cash balance reaches 50% of its total appropriation, an automatic freeze on fees will go into effect - for both new licenses and license renewals.
With this reform, boards will retain the ability to save for larger capital expenditures, including IT investments, without being able to amass excessive balances at the expense of the licensed community.
Eliminating fees for veterans and military spouses:
You heard me say I want Arizona to be the national leader for veterans. Well, Representative Joanne Osborne’s got the bill. For our heroes and military spouses — polish your resumes. We’re getting rid of your fees.
Representative Joanne Osborne’s bill will ensure that military service members, their spouses and Arizona veterans aren’t burdened with occupational licensing fees. These individuals relocate frequently, and the burden of licensing fees can be a barrier that precludes them from getting to work. We want to make the transition to living in Arizona as easy as possible for these individuals who have sacrificed so much.
Arizona’s leadership to reduce barriers to work include policies such as:
Universal Licensing Recognition. Arizona became the first state in the nation to grant universal recognition of out-of-state occupational licenses for new residents in April 2019, making it easier for new Arizonans to get to work. A year later, more than 641 Arizonans have received waivers to put their skills to good use.
Licensing Fee Waivers. In 2017, Arizona passed a law waiving licensing fees for individuals earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, reducing a key workforce barrier for those in need. The new law has resulted in 881 fees waived for low-income applicants since September 2017.
Blowdry Freedom Bill. In April, Arizona removed burdensome and unnecessary occupational licensing requirements for those who only blow dry, shampoo and style hair by exempting them from cosmetology regulations meant for more technical salon services.
Eliminating Unnecessary Licensing Requirements. Since 2015, Arizona has eliminated occupational licensing requirements for assayers, citrus, fruit and vegetable packers, yoga instructors and driving school instructors in addition to making licensing requirements optional for geologists and cremationists.