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The Federal Trade Commission today released a staff report examining ways to reduce the burden on licensed workers moving to new states or wishing to market services across state lines. 

The Report, entitled, Options to Enhance Occupational License Portability, is part of the FTC’s Economic Liberty Task Force initiative. This initiative, begun last year, aims to reduce hurdles to job growth and labor mobility by encouraging states to reduce unnecessary and overbroad occupational licensing regulation. Occupational licensing, when not necessary to further legitimate public health and safety concerns, can impose real and lasting costs on both American workers and American consumers. These burdens often fall disproportionately on lower income Americans trying to break into the workforce and on military families who must move frequently. In recent decades, the number of occupations subject to state licensing requirements has increased dramatically, increasing the burdens on workers. 

The Report released today builds on a roundtable held by the Task Force last year that examined ways to mitigate the negative effects of state-based occupational licensing requirements. The Report looks at interstate compacts and model laws that states can use to improve the portability of occupational licenses. It examines procedures that might be adopted to facilitate multistate practice by those who already hold a valid license in one state. It also considers specific initiatives to reduce the burden of state relicensing on military spouses.

Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen has long championed reform in this area. She stated, “Most occupations are licensed state-by-state, meaning that a valid license in one state often will not easily transfer to a new state. This can create real hardships for those who cannot easily bear the costs of being relicensed, and can also reduce public access to trained professionals in rural areas who might otherwise be served by telehealth services or multistate practitioners. Today’s FTC staff report provides important, useful guidance to help state policymakers find ways of reducing these burdens.”

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Contact Information

Peter Kaplan
Office of Public Affairs

Karen A. Goldman
Office of Policy Planning