June 25, 2020 Print

As West Virginians get back to work, The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, an Atlas Network partner, is helping to make the transition easier with reforms designed to ease occupational licensing restrictions. Cardinal teamed up with the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation (CSOR) for research and outreach that has resulted in the passage of new legislation to energize the economy by reshaping occupational licensing policies.

“These bills make it easier for West Virginians to find work, earn a living, and provide for their families,” explained Cardinal Institute’s development director, Dr. Jessi Troyan. “They do this by eliminating some of the arbitrary rules and requirements for licensure in particular occupations.” 

Along with CSOR, Cardinal performed an in-depth review and analysis of West Virginia’s licensed occupations and licensing, calling out failed policies and offering reform recommendations. The report was made public and sent to state lawmakers to encourage them to act and quickly garnered local, state, and national media coverage. The director of CSOR, Ed Timmons, was invited to Charleston to present the research and report to an audience of legislatures, as well as the broader capital community. 

“Lawmakers in West Virginia have been especially focused on reforms that boost the economy over the past six years,” continued Troyan. “This research provided them with a relatively straightforward way to continue that work.”

As successful as Cardinal Institute has been at rolling back occupational licensing requirements, Troyan points out that the COVID-19 crisis has made it difficult to pass reform, but also sees a potential silver lining. “As lawmakers look toward the menu of options available for streamlining and accelerating the economic recovery, occupational licensing reform is a key policy area they should maintain focus on so that more West Virginians can find the work and pursue the professions that allow them to provide for their families.”

Read the text of the bills below.

Senate Bill 12: related to corporate lobbying.

Senate Bill 313: related to waiver of occupational fees and fees from licensing requirements for certain low-income individuals, military families, and young workers.

Senate Bill 318: related to Medicaid Fraud Control.

Senate Bill 548: related to recognition for qualified applicants from out of state.

Senate Bill 646: related to reviewing proposals for new and existing occupational regulation provisions and defining regulation terms.

Atlas Network supported this initiative with a Poverty & Freedom grant.