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Executive Order

Executive Order No. 593: To Promote Timely And Efficient Reciprocal Licensing For Military Families Licensed In Certain Occupations And Professions

Date: 02/16/2021
Issuer: Governor Charlie Baker
Mass Register: No. 1438

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the General Laws of the Commonwealth provide for the licensing of certain occupations and professions to ensure both that the public is served by highly qualified practitioners and that consumers have access to information about the qualifications of service providers;

WHEREAS, the prevalence of occupational licensing has grown steadily across the United States and within the Commonwealth, with an estimated 25 percent of workers across the nation now subject to professional licensing requirements, compared to approximately 18 percent of workers requiring a license in 1990;

WHEREAS, professional licensing requirements are established primarily at the state level, with the result that differing licensing requirements or other incongruities among state licensing regimes can create labor market frictions, dissuade individuals from relocating to another state for a new job, and make it less likely that a worker will commute for work across state lines due to the costs of licensure;

WHEREAS, service members in the United States military expect as a part of their service to change duty stations multiple times during the course of their career, and military service members who move to new duty stations are routinely accompanied by their families;

WHEREAS, military family members are entitled to the reasonable expectation that they will be able to establish and re-establish their professional and occupational careers wherever their spouse’s service takes them to maintain and enhance their family’s quality of life;

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has enacted the Valor Act I (Chapter 108 of the Acts of 2012) and the Valor Act II (Chapter 62 of the Acts of 2014), which codify measures to assist military families, including provisions specifically related to expedited licensure and license portability for military families arriving for military duty in the Commonwealth, as codified at section 1B of chapter 112 of the General Laws; 

WHEREAS, certain professional licensing authorities in Massachusetts issue licenses in accordance with standards established by interstate compacts, and I have encouraged expanded reliance on such compacts; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in order to support the United States military, the well-being of our service members and their families, and the prosperity of its residents, seeks to ensure to the greatest degree possible that a spouse who accompanies a service member assigned to a duty station in Massachusetts may continue his or her civilian professional career without interruption during the period of service in Massachusetts;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHARLES D. BAKER, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § 1, Art. 1, do hereby order as follows:

  1. Reciprocal Licensing

(a) The Division of Public Licensure (“DPL”) shall work with boards under its supervision to identify improved measures to facilitate interstate licensure portability for professionals.  DPL shall focus its work on the occupational and professional licenses issued by the following boards:

  1. the board on allied health professions, established by section 11A of chapter 13 of the General Laws;
  2. the board of public accountancy, established by section 33 of said chapter 13;
  3. the board of registration of cosmetology and barbering, established by section 42 of said chapter 13;
  4. the board of registration of professional engineers and of land surveyors, established by section 45 of said chapter 13;
  5. the board of registration of psychologists, established by section 76 of said chapter 13.

The boards listed in subsections (i) through (v) above are hereinafter referred to as the “Covered Boards.”  The occupations and professions subject to licensing by the Covered Boards are hereinafter referred to as the “Covered Professions.”

(b) In undertaking the work described in paragraph (a), DPL shall consult with staff of the military asset and security strategy task force, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, and liaisons representing the different branches of the United States military and the Massachusetts National Guard.  In addition, DPL shall convene and consult with experts on professional licensing and representatives of industries and stakeholders included within or regularly engaged with the Covered Professions as necessary to implement this Order. 

2. Interstate Compacts 

DPL shall determine whether participation by the Covered Boards in one or more interstate compacts or similar agreements would reduce or eliminate the challenges of navigating interstate licensing requirements, rules, regulations, and fee structures for professionals licensed by other states who seek to continue their professional work in the Commonwealth.  DPL shall consider whether and to what extent joining such compacts or similar agreements would simplify and improve the reciprocal professional licensing practices of the Covered Boards while ensuring the quality and safety of the Covered Professions.  In making its determinations, DPL shall give particular consideration to the needs of military personnel and military spouses.

3. Expedited Licensing for Military Personnel and Spouses

DPL shall review the existing reciprocal licensing rules and procedures of each of the Covered Boards to ensure that each Board’s procedures properly prioritize and expedite the licensing of military personnel and military spouses practicing in any of the Covered Professions who are transferred to a duty station within the Commonwealth while continuing to ensure the safety of the public and appropriate standards of practice for the Covered Professions. 

DPL shall work with each of the Covered Boards to complete the processing of applications submitted by transferring military personnel and military spouses no later than 30 days after the receipt of a complete application.  Each Covered Board shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that within 30 days of receiving any such application, the board will act to: (a) issue a permanent or temporary license; (b) notify an applicant that the applicant’s training or experience does not satisfy the requirements for licensure and the basis for that determination, including the specific criteria or requirements that the applicant failed to meet; or (c) notify an applicant that the applicant’s background check requires further review by the Covered Board.  DPL shall work with each of the Covered Boards to collect data on licensing time for military personnel and military families for each of the Covered Professions to ensure prompt issuance of licensure.

 4. Report

DPL shall report on its implementation of the directives set forth in this Order on or before July 1, 2021.  In its report DPL shall include recommendations regarding the advantages and feasibility of increased participation in interstate compacts to address the objectives in section 2 of this Order; a summary of the actions taken by, or planned to be taken by, the Covered Boards to expedite licensing for military families consistent with section 3 of this Order; and any other matters relevant to the purposes and objectives of this Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 16th day of February in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred forty-four

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