Rio Grande Foundation applauds Gov. Martinez’s executive order on licensing reform

Today, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez issued an executive order that instructs the state’s boards, commissions and agencies to implement reforms that will make it easier for New Mexicans to become licensed and find jobs, reduce the burden of occupational licensing on military families and job-seekers who move to New Mexico and aid those with a criminal records in finding gainful employment.

Occupational licensing reform has long been a bi-partisan reform idea of the Rio Grande Foundation which has received support across the country including from former President Obama.

Among other provisions, when implemented, the executive order will:

  • Make it easier for people to enter the workforce or find new jobs by reducing artificial barriers to enter the workforce such as testing, experience and education for entry-level positions
  • Allow people who move here from other states, such as military families, to transfer their licenses to New Mexico or substitute professional experience if they come from a state that does not license the occupation
  • Waive initial license and testing fees for New Mexicans who are eligible for welfare programs such as SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid
  • Waive fees for National Guardsmen and members of the Armed Forces who require an occupational license to carry out their official duties
  • Reduce fees for licensure to 75 percent of the national average or less
  • Make it easier for those with criminal histories to obtain licenses, find jobs, and help prevent them from returning to crime
  • Expand the acceptance of online continuing education credits.

Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, said of the executive order, “In her waning time in office Gov. Martinez has issued some much-needed reforms to occupational licensure. These reforms will go a long way to making it easier for New Mexicans to find work, especially those in the military or National Guards, those with criminal histories, and those who have recently moved to the Land of Enchantment. We encourage the next governor and the Legislature to take up the mantle of occupational licensing reform by removing unnecessary obstacles to work wherever possible.”

According to the Institute for Justice report “License to Work,” New Mexico’s licensing requirements were 9th-most onerous in the nation.