Last summer, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson began removing barriers to employment by signing a bill that expanded licensing reciprocity in the state. House Bill 2046 allows workers licensed in others states to be licensed in Missouri and work in the state.
Before the bill’s signing, Missouri only allowed license reciprocity if the license was awarded in a state with substantially similar or greater requirements for licensure. Now, license reciprocity is granted based on a minimum educational standard requirement. The legislation also removes exemptions for health care professions, engineers, land surveyors, and other professions that currently have separate license reciprocity standards.
Additionally, HB 2046 removes the requirement that only Missouri residents are eligible for license reciprocity. Specifically, the bill expands reciprocity to any individual holding a current, valid license who has been licensed for at least one year at the same practice level as Missouri in any profession regulated by a state board, department or office of a jurisdiction.
“By expanding license reciprocity, HB 2046 will eliminate governmental barriers to employment and allow citizens to become licensed faster when moving or needing to find work in Missouri,” said Gov. Parson. “This will not only help fill critical jobs in our economy but also highlight Missouri as an ideal state to live and work.”
On top of these provisions, HB 2046 establishes the Fresh Start Act and Expanded Workforce Act. The Fresh Start Act bans occupational licensing boards from denying individuals a license strictly due to their criminal history unless the individual has committed a crime directly related to the occupation or a crime that is violent or sexual in nature. The Expanded Workforce Act creates a pathway to occupational licensure through apprenticeship for any occupational license regulated by the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Military Experience to Occupational Licensing
In June 2021, Gov. Parson signed another bill, HB 476, into law that allows military and veterans members to use their relevant military training toward an occupational license. Missouri has a sizable military population with three military bases, including Whiteman Air Force Base, Rosecrans Air National Guard Base and Fort Leonard Wood Army Base.
Both bills were sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier, who has become a national expert on licensing reciprocity and appeared on a White House call about the subject last year. In a May 13, 2021, Missouri Times interview, Grier explained the latest licensing bill was aimed to assist members of the armed forces who had expressed difficulty finding work after their service.
“It can often be very challenging for them to find jobs after they come out of the military, and one of the specific reasons for that was their specialty training isn’t always recognized, or they have to do a lot of duplicative training,” Grier told The Missouri Times in May. “We passed the most comprehensive regulatory reform in the country last year, so we thought it would make sense to recognize the training from the military if it correlates to a professional license.”
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.