Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman.

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

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Two measures that would reduce occupational red tape in Oklahoma have cleared a Senate committee, including a measure to make Oklahoma the second state in the nation to offer “universal” recognition of other states’ licenses.

Senate Bill 1891, by Sen. Adam Pugh, creates the “the “Universal Occupational License Recognition Act.” Under the bill, an occupational license or certificate issued in another state would be recognized as valid in Oklahoma if the holder moves to Oklahoma and is not facing any disciplinary action related to the profession in another state.

“You’ve moved into the state and we’re recognizing an out-of-state credential that you gained in another state,” said Pugh, R-Edmond.

Pugh noted the effort has the support of Gov. Kevin Stitt and is modeled after a similar law in Arizona.

The main benefit of universal licensure recognition is that individuals would not be required to pay for another round of training in order to get a license after moving to Oklahoma. Those benefiting from the law would still be required to abide by other professional regulations, including licensing fees.

“You’ll still have to register with your boards. You’ll still have to be a member of any of the agencies that require that, so it’s not usurping their authority,” Pugh said. “It’s just recognizing the license and your ability to practice in the state of Oklahoma without having to jump through additional regulations. But you’re still subject to your reporting, your registration, continuing education, etc.”

“Do you have any concerns that maybe a license in a different state or even a certification or something won’t have the validity that we require here in Oklahoma?” asked Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow.

Pugh said that issue has come up, particularly with licensing of lawyers where each state’s bar association may operate in a “completely different statutory environment.”

“If there’s really disparate requirements state to state, we’re going to have to figure out how to work that,” Pugh said.

SB 1891 passed the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee on a 7-1 vote. Only Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, opposed the measure.

Following the meeting, Pugh said there is no good estimate on how many people might benefit from universal licensing recognition, but that there is much anecdotal evidence suggesting it would help many people continue working in a profession after moving to Oklahoma.

“I certainly have plenty of emails from folks, both anecdotal stories as well as actual meetings with different agencies and boards, where I could name a number of people by name who this would help,” Pugh said.

In the same meeting, lawmakers also considered Senate Bill 1166 by Sen. Stephanie Bice. That legislation amends the Oklahoma Cosmetology and Barbering Act so a cosmetology license is no longer required for people who are simply “applying cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, powders, oils, clays, or lotions” or shampooing hair.

Bice said the legislation would primarily affect individuals working in “blowout bars” and people who braid hair.

“There are new salons that are popping up across the state that all they do is style hair,” Bice said. “So if you have a big event that you are going to you can go and they will give you this amazing hairdo and you pay $30, $40 or so for it. But it doesn’t involve chemicals or coloring, anything like that. It’s just literally shampooing and styling.”

She said issues have arisen with the Cosmetology Board trying to require individuals working at “blowout bars” to have a cosmetology license, which requires a significant financial investment in cosmetology training.

SB 1166 passed the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism committee on a 7-1 vote. Young was also the only lawmaker to oppose that bill.

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

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