ALEC Leads on Regulatory Reform

At the 47th ALEC Annual Meeting this week, Missouri Governor Mike Parson championed ALEC’s efforts to educate governors on the merits of eliminating burdensome regulations:

I want to thank ALEC for everything they do. You’re the think tank that comes up with a lot of great ideas for us to take and run with, and we get to implement them in our states.

Governor Parson went on to highlight some of Missouri’s work on this front:

We probably waived over 600 regulations in the state of Missouri during this time. Do you know what you really realize once you got that out of the way? Businesses can do a better job. People can do a better job once you get the regulatory environment out of there.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds also offered her thoughts on reform at the Annual Meeting:

We want to ensure that all Iowans have access to rewarding careers, and access to opportunities that living in this great state provides. So, were going to continue removing barriers to high-paying jobs, and some of the legislation we just passed is a key component of that.

Governor Parson and Governor Reynolds’ powerful remarks echo the regulatory reform efforts by ALEC and its membership of state legislators throughout the country. While the COVID-19 shutdowns have highlighted the urgent need for reform in recent months, ALEC has long been a leader on this front.

Adopted in 2017, the ALEC model policy, An Act to Establish a Cap on Government Red Tape, places a cap on state regulations and ensures that for every new regulatory requirement enacted, two old regulatory requirements are sunset – much like the Trump Administration’s efforts to eliminate red tape. States that have adopted all or some of the recommendations in the ALEC model policy via executive order include North Carolina, North Dakota, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Arizona.

When it comes to occupational licensing reform, ALEC adopted a universal recognition model policy in 2019, the Interstate-Mobility and Universal Recognition Occupational Licensing Act – that allows states to recognize work experience, private certification or an occupational license from another state. ALEC also has model policy called the Natural Hair Braiding Protection Act (adopted in 2016), which exempts natural hair braiding from occupational licensure.

Last year, Arizona enacted House Bill 2569, which allows individuals who are licensed plumbers, barbers, nurses, and other professionals in one state to be granted the same license in Arizona. The ALEC model policy on universal licensing recognition contains several of the provisions and principles that were included in the Arizona bill.

The pandemic has prompted numerous states and governors to follow suit. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an executive order temporarily dropping unique state licensure requirements, allowing professionals—particularly those in healthcare professions – to temporarily practice without North Dakota licensure if they are duly licensed in another state. Prior to the executive order, North Dakota had been working on professional licensure reciprocity, noting the success of the Arizona law.

Thanks to educational efforts by ALEC and its members, Iowa will now recognize an individual’s work experience from another state when he or she applies to obtain an occupational license, thanks to a bill recently signed by Governor Reynolds. This spring, Missouri became the first state in the Midwest to pass legislation to universally recognize out-of-state occupational licenses.

Consistent with ALEC principles and model policy, many other states have eliminated healthcare barriers during the COVID-19 crisis. Following the ALEC Policy Prescriptions to Address COVID-19, preliminary tracking indicates that 17 states expanded their allowance of or reimbursement for telemedicine. Twenty-one states allowed some version cross-state licensing, and 22 states suspended at least some of their Certificate of Need Laws.

At the federal level, ALEC continues to laud the Trump Administration’s regulatory efforts, like the recently finalized modernization of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Just this week, ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson offered the following statement:

As America begins to reopen the economy, President Trump’s modernization of the NEPA review process will jump start infrastructure projects all over the country and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. From shipyards and airports to roads and bridges, America needs to update its infrastructure for the 21st century. For too long, the NEPA review process stalled the construction of new infrastructure projects that power modern life. Let’s cut red tape and build the infrastructure that makes America great.

The ALEC staff and membership remain committed to pursuing additional reforms at the state and federal level. In our March 2020 op-ed in The Hill, ALEC Executive Vice President of Policy and Chief Economist Jonathan Williams and I outlined numerous opportunities to roll back burdensome regulations at the federal level, including suspension of both the Jones Act and the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act. The U.S. economy has thrived in the past few years, and ALEC will continue to provide support and ideas for policymakers seeking to undo damaging regulations to benefit all Americans.