Oklahoma universal licensing bill takes effect
The Week in Brief is your weekly snapshot of regulatory news and what's happening in the world of professional licensing, government technology, and public policy. In this week's news, Oklahoma joins states offering more universal occupational licensing recognition, New Mexico moves to modernize its regulatory system, and British Columbia health care workers remain unvaccinated.

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Oklahoma will join a growing list of states offering more universal occupational licensing recognition as a new bill comes into effect this week. Signed into law last spring, the Universal Licensing Recognition Act will allow licensed professionals from other states to work in Oklahoma without initiating a new licensing process. Workers moving to Oklahoma will be able to apply for licensing or certification for an occupation with a similar scope of practice by supplying proof of residency in the state or proof of marriage to an active duty member of the military being relocated to the state, according to the bill.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an order that she says could help the state modernize its regulatory system in part by easing the burden on professional licensing. The executive order entitled “Eliminating and Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens and Costs” calls for a review of the Regulation and Licensing Department’s rules and the production of a report outlining how the state can further streamline processes and reduce costs associated with licensing.

Occupational licensing laws affecting cosmetology instructors and hair school owners in North Carolina could be changed if efforts to rally support around a bipartisan bill are successful. As it stands, instructors of cosmetologists, estheticians, natural hair care specialists, and manicurists have to take an 800-hour course before being licensed in a state that continues to face considerable post-pandemic labor shortages, according to The North State Journal. Supporters say the bill will allow public and private schools to take in more students.

In spite of a vaccination mandate that came into place in British Columbia last week, over 4,000 health-care workers in the province remain unvaccinated. The province’s health minister said that those who aren’t vaccinated will be put on unpaid leave and need to get a first dose by Nov. 15 or face termination, with the exception of those with legitimate medical exemptions. 

The head of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GEOD) in Nevada says he would like to see lawmakers make more changes to occupational licensing. Michael Brown told The Nevada Appeal that changes to licensing could help the health care sector, which he says is lagging as the state booms.

Also noteworthy:

• Transformation Office modernizes how IT works with agencies in Minnesota (Government Technology)

• Americans should be more upset about infrastructure inefficiency (National Review)

• Outdated government tech increases cyber threats (Open Access Government)

Got a news tip? Write us at editor@ascend.thentia.com.

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Paul Leavoy
Written byPaul Leavoy
Paul Leavoy is Editor of Ascend Magazine and writes on occupational licensing, regulation, digital government, and public policy.

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