Two Rep. Brandon Vick bills to improve occupational licensing standards unanimously pass the House

HB 2356 would create a logical and simple process for individuals convicted of a crime to apply for and receive a professional license

A bill that could help people convicted of a crime get back into the workforce after paying their debt to society unanimously passed the state House of Representatives today. Rep. Brandon Vick, who sponsored House Bill 2356, said the goal is to help people get back to work.

“Anyone who has fulfilled the terms of their sentence should be able to work again,” said Vick, R-Vancouver.

Two Rep. Brandon Vick bills to improve occupational licensing standards unanimously passed the House Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republicans
Two Rep. Brandon Vick bills to improve occupational licensing standards unanimously passed the House Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Washington State House Republicans

This bill would create a logical and simple process for individuals convicted of a crime to apply for and receive a professional license. It would also let them know before paying any fees or filling out any forms, whether or not they would be eligible to receive the license they’re seeking.

“Obviously, someone who has committed a financial crime would not be able to get a license in the financial sector,” noted Vick. “But if someone wanted to become a plumber, for example, a past, non-related conviction shouldn’t prevent him or her from getting licensed in Washington.”

Vick said he wants to make it easier for people to get back into the workforce, instead of putting up barriers that keep them from moving forward.

The House also unanimously passed House Bill 2477 today. This bill would require any professional licensing policy or practice, created after July 31, 2020, to be for the exclusive purpose of protecting the public interest.

According to Vick, there are currently 26 regulatory agencies in Washington, and each year these agencies add hundreds, or even thousands, of new rules, policies, and penalties.

“These policies and practices make it extremely difficult for many individuals to pursue their chosen career path, even when they already have the proven skills to perform the job,” said Vick. “We already have more policies than we need. Let’s make sure any new policies put in place are for legitimate reasons and not to stifle competition.”

Both bills are part of several occupational licensing policies Vick has been working on designed to make it easier for individuals to pursue their desired careers and get licensed in Washington if their chosen field requires them to.

The bills now await to be heard in the Senate.

The 60-day 2020 session is scheduled to conclude March 12.

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