FILE - Gov. Mike DeWine State of Ohio

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

(The Center Square) – An Ohio bill originally aimed at giving flexibility to students to take the state’s CPA examine turned into an effort to reduce government regulation in terms of occupational licensing and was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine.

While keeping provisions to ease requirements for the CPA examine, the new law also reforms licenses in the areas of education, environmental protection, natural resource conservation and various types of medical practice.

“Occupational licensing reform is much needed in Ohio and across the country,” Ohio State Rep. Bill Roemer, R-Richfield, said. “In far too many career fields, onerous barriers and regulations are placed on workers that just want to earn an honest living. I was proud to carry these reforms as part of House Bill 442.”

The bill, which goes into effect April 8, was sponsored by both Roemer and Rep. Thomas West, D-Canton.

“I am grateful that the governor recognizes the importance of HB 442 for aspiring CPAs in Ohio and for other folks navigating the state’s occupational licensure processes,” West said. “These changes will make Ohio a more competitive state and a better place to study and work.”

In 2019, with support from The Buckeye Institute – an independent research and educational group – the General Assembly required all licenses be regularly reviewed by the legislature. That review legislation, which The Buckeye Insititute helped craft, resulted in a wide-ranging set of recommendations that were codified after being amended into House Bill 442.

“We generally like some of the policies that were in House Bill 442. There were several licenses, in particular some things dealing with dual licensures in schools that we like in general, that were eliminated,” Greg Lawson, Buckeye Institute research fellow, said. “We feel really good about it. We think there is a lot more that could have been done, but time kind of ran out at the end of the General Assembly for more comprehensive work on some of the licensing. But, that review process is continuing in this General Assembly, so we anticipate additional licenses and additional reforms being done.”

The Buckeye Institute, along with Americans for Prosperity-Ohio and the Goldwater Institute, have called on Ohio to adopt universal occupational licensing recognition. In a letter to DeWine and Ohio lawmakers, the groups urged temporary medical licensing reforms made during the COVID-19 pandemic be made permanent.

“Ohio should adopt similar, but permanent, occupational licensing reforms that recognize out-of-state licenses for other licensed professionals,” the letter said. “Reducing or eliminating unnecessary licensing barriers and recognizing existing licenses from other states will attract licensed, professional workers to Ohio and help more Ohioans get back to work serving our communities.”

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.