Badger Institute: Streamlined licensing process becomes law

Contact: Michael Jahr, senior vice president: or (262) 442-5208

Professionals should be able to secure state-required credentials in days, not months

Dec. 8, 2021 – Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill yesterday that will make it easier for professionals seeking a state license to receive one in an expedited fashion. It’s currently not uncommon for applicants to wait months or longer to receive the credential that the state requires them to secure in order to practice their occupation. Assembly Bill 218, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 118, is designed to streamline that process.

“This is a significant victory for workers,” said Michael Jahr, senior vice president of the Badger Institute. “We hear far too many stories about qualified professionals, some who have been practicing for years in other states, having to go without work and income while waiting for credentialing boards to review their applications.

“In a state that requires 280 different occupational credentials affecting one million workers, such delays hurt not only the workers but their families, the customers and clients they could be serving, and the overall economy.”

In a 2020 report titled Absence and Violation, the Badger Institute found that most of Wisconsin’s licensing boards rarely meet, sometimes on a quarterly basis or even less frequently. These delays can leave applicants languishing for months without the ability to legally practice their profession. Streamlining the process should eliminate these delays.

The bipartisan measure – introduced by Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Sen. Latonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and championed by the Badger Institute – allows a credentialing board to delegate authority to the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to make an immediate determination regarding an application.

If a licensing board chooses not to grant that authority to DSPS, the department would be authorized to make a recommendation regarding a licensing application to that board. If DSPS recommends approving the application, the board has 10 days to conduct a “passive review,” or the application is automatically approved.