Testimony: Educational Licensing Reciprocity (LD 67)


Testimony in Support of LD 67:
“An Act to Increase the Number of Educational Professionals by Accepting Out-of-state Certification”

Senator Rafferty, Representative Brennan, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 67.

This bill would require the Maine Department of Education to accept certifications held by administrators, teachers, educational technicians and educational specialists issued by other states, U.S. territories and other countries as an equivalent in Maine. The bill would help schools find adequate staff to fill vacant positions, an issue with which many have struggled since the pandemic.

This problem is not specific to schools, however. Maine Policy has consistently advocated for reducing unnecessary barriers for Mainers to work in their preferred field for many years. Five years ago, we documented the costs of the many state occupational licensing regimes. These range from fees, to paperwork, educational requirements, to wasted time waiting for the bureaucracy to catch up with one’s application, all to simply work in one’s field of expertise.

Source: Institute for Justice

So, why stop at teachers and other school employees–shouldn’t this same logic be expanded to most occupational licenses and certifications? If someone has already obtained licensure or certification in another state, it makes little economic sense to force them to jump through arbitrary and duplicative hoops here in Maine simply to obtain the government permission slip they had already obtained elsewhere. . 

This principle is known as universal reciprocity and is helping to substantially lower barriers for hardworking people all over the nation. Nineteen states–including New Hampshire and Vermont–have adopted it since 2018.

We commend Rep. Doudera for sponsoring this piece of legislation and urge this committee and others to apply this mindset to other regulated professions. Please deem LD 67 “Ought To Pass.” Thank you for your time and consideration.