LITTLE ROCK — Governor Asa Hutchinson has created a working group to continue the study of the state’s occupational licensing rules and regulations that began with a working group he created in February 2018.

The Occupational Licensure Reform Sustainability Group will continue the work of the Red Tape Reduction Working Group to recommend ways to streamline the state’s licensing and certification process without compromising public safety. The group also will consider reciprocal licensing agreements to allow Arkansas to recognize licenses and certificates of tradesmen who move to Arkansas from other states. The group will recommend additional reforms to be considered during the 2021 regular legislative session.

The new working group includes three members each from the Senate and House, and seven members appointed by Governor Hutchinson.

“During the 2019 Regular Session, the legislature passed 45 bills that affect licensure,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I want to capitalize on that momentum and find more ways to improve the licensing process, especially for members of the military, and low-income or dislocated workers.”

The Occupational Licensure Reform Sustainability Group will work with the Occupational Licensure Advisory Group, a group of representatives from state licensing boards and outside stakeholders that include the Arkansas Veterans Coalition and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the working group are:

Senator John Cooper (co-chair)

Senator Ricky Hill

Senator Keith Ingram

Representative Bruce Cozart (co-chair)

Representative Michelle Gray

Representative Roger Lynch

Karen Whatley, the governor’s Director of Legislative and Agency Affairs

Dr. Charisse Childers, Director of Arkansas Division of Workforce Service

Darryl Bassett, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Licensing

Steven Porch, Chief Legal Counsel, Arkansas Department of Commerce

Connie Melton, Director of the Center for Health Protection, Arkansas Department of Health

Brad Nye, Senior Assistant Attorney General

Gary Isom, Consumer Representative

The task force will present its recommendations to the Governor in the fall of 2020. The group will disband at the close of the regular session of the General Assembly in 2021.

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