News Story

Michigan population council wants licensing reform, Whitmer doesn’t

Governor vetoed reform similar to the one her own council is recommending

Among the reforms recommended by the Growing Michigan Together Council in its 86-page final report: “Create a process to ensure licensed/credentialed professionals from outside the United States can have their relevant documentation translated and applied to Michigan’s standards.”

The idea is that red tape can be a barrier to entry to otherwise qualified professionals, the type Michigan is trying to attract.

But three years ago, when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was presented with a chance to allow for faster licensing of credentialed nurses and psychologists licensed outside of Michigan, she vetoed it.

The 2020 measure did not account for people licensed outside of America, as the growth council recommends. It only covered people licensed in other states.

As Crain’s Grand Rapids Business reported on Whitmer’s December 2020 veto:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed two bills that would have had Michigan join other states in licensing compacts for nurses and psychologists.

In her veto letter to lawmakers, the governor said both bills would violate sections of the Michigan Constitution by “forfeiting our prerogative as a state to set the standard of care required of nurses and psychologists practicing in our state.”

“While I value interstate cooperation, especially around issues that are peculiarly interstate in nature, these compacts require Michigan to cede its sovereign interest in regulating health professions to an outside body,” Whitmer wrote.

The Michigan Legislature has closed for business for 2023, so it will be a while before we know whether occupational licensing reform has a champion among lawmakers.

Whitmer appointed the council to recommend strategies and ideas that would help Michigan grow. Its work was finished earlier this month.

Read it for yourself: Growing Michigan Together Council final report

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.