FILE - Louisiana State Capitol

The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La.

(The Center Square) – A bill to ease the licensing process for new Louisiana residents who hold a current occupational license in another state was deferred until next week during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Sponsored by Sen. Stewart Cathey, R-Monroe, Senate Bill 483 is a universal reciprocity bill that would allow those with occupational licenses or government certifications in other states to be recognized as licensed professionals in Louisiana, as long as both states have licenses for the profession

“If someone has already done the things that they need to do in another state and they’re willing to move here and take up a residency, then I’m all for giving them an easier path to getting to work,” Cathey said.

Cathey also clarified that his proposal would allow spouses of military members with licenses from other states to be approved for operation in Louisiana.

Whether the out-of-state license is comparable to a Louisiana license of the same profession would be left to the discretion of the licensing board, as well as whether any extra testing or training would be required.

“It provides a fast-track to acquire the license, but once you have the license you still have to maintain all of the continuing education training,” said Daniel Erspamer, a supported of the bill and chief executive officer of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy.

Representatives from Louisiana's licensing boards testified in opposition to SB 483, citing concerns over the lack of uniform qualifications among professions in different states.

“What would be better is to take action in the areas in Louisiana that are actually an outlier,” said Chance McNeely, with the American Council of Engineering Companies. “With this kind of shotgun approach to affecting all licensing boards, all professions, I don’t think it’s the laser-focused attention to the problems that are associated with a lot of the rhetoric.”

In response to concerns from the opposition, the committee agreed to defer a decision on the SB 483 until next week. Cathey has agreed to work with the board representatives on the bill until then.