Iowa licensing reform law will be game changer for workers, small business owners

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This week, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa signed into law legislation, H.F. 2627, that reforms professional licensing in the state. This is yet another way that Gov. Reynolds has led the nation with commonsense solutions that remove barriers to employment.

“Getting America back to work” is a popular catchphrase in the political world these days with millions unemployed due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Some governors take this phrase to heart, and Gov. Reynolds is one of them. Even before the pandemic, she was laying the foundation for a strong economy in her state—one that could weather a crisis and still be strong. Now more than ever, this leadership is needed to help families navigate uncertain times.

This legislation will make it easier for Iowans to find work because it streamlines the process of obtaining a license and recognizes the professional licenses of qualified workers who relocate to Iowa from a different state as long as they’re in good standing and pass requisite background checks. Included is a fresh start provision for individuals with prior criminal offenses. One of the best ways to help these individuals become part of their community and avoid reoffending is help them find work. H.F. 2627 ensures that applicants aren’t denied the opportunity of having an occupational license unless their criminal offense is related to the job they’re attempting to have.

Getting Americans back to work often means simply getting out of their way. By taking this big step in licensing reform, opportunity lives in Iowa. Other states can—and should—learn from their example.