In a first, Arizona recognizes out-of-state professional licenses

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Arizona landscapeArizona is the first state to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses for new residents, including veterinarians.

The new law, enacted by Gov. Doug Ducey in April, allows a person who has held an out-of-state occupational license for at least one year to practice their profession in Arizona as long as they abide by certain stipulations. These include being a current certified or licensed professional in good standing, and not having any pending complaints, allegations, or investigations relating to unprofessional conduct.

The signing of HB 2569 fulfills one of Gov. Ducey's top policy priorities, which is removing perceived barriers to employment for an estimated 100,000 people expected to relocate to Arizona in 2019. "With this bill, Arizona's sending a clear message to people across the country: if you're moving to Arizona, there's opportunity waiting for you here," the governor said in a press release.

Opponents of the law claim licenses guarantee that professionals are trained to do their jobs safely, and they worry that new residents in some fields may come from states with easier licensing requirements. Critics also say the law is a one-way deal, creating issues of reciprocity.

Victoria Whitmore, executive director of the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board, said the board doesn't know yet exactly how the law will affect applicants for veterinary licenses in Arizona, nor the details of the law's implementation.

"We are working with the attorney general's office, the governor's office, and other health licensing boards to work through the interpretation of the new law," Whitmore said.

The Arizona VMA declined to comment for this story.