Indiana lawmakers on Thursday significantly amended a bill designed to help out-of-state professionals become easily licensed in the state after relocating here.
House Bill 1008 initially would have allowed professional licenses from other states to be honored in Indiana. It would have applied to professions regulated by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, including architects, engineers and dentists, to name a few.
But an amendment approved by the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee on Thursday morning changed the language so it only applies to some of those of professions instead of the entire list.
Now the bill would only apply to auctioneers, chiropractors, cosmetologists, health facility administrators, hearing aid dealer examiners, home inspectors, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physician assistants, psychologists, massage therapists, podiatrists, manufactured home installers and those who report to the Medical Licensing Board.
House Republicans had made the bill one of their top priorities for the year, saying talent attraction has become a major concern for businesses and the change would help make it easier.
But some professional groups, including those for architects, engineers, realtors and dentists, opposed the legislation, because some of those organizations already have a national system in place that allows for reciprocity between states.
The House previously amended the bill to clarify that it would not impact those systems, but still referenced the list of professions overseen by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.
“Going through the all encompassing list, that included a lot of professions that have a very streamlined process,” Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, said. “A lot of them you just come in and pay your fee and you’ve got the license. That’s what most of them that were removed are.”
Messmer, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said it would still accomplish the goal of streamlining the process and helping to attract people to work here.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been pushing for the bill and continued to support it after the amendment.
“We need to make it easier for people who want to live and work in Indiana,” said Adam Berry, vice president of economic development and technology for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
House Speaker Brian Bosma said the issue “has been controversial from the start,” and he understands the House amendment may not have gone far enough to address concerns. He said he’s OK with a shorter list of professions being covered by it.
“I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” Bosma said. “We’ll probably have a healthy debate at the end over who should be in and who should be out.”
The session is expected to adjourn March 11.