WV Business & Industry Council Opposes Occupational Licensure Legislation – HB 2007

CHARLESTON, W.Va. ─ The West Virginia Business & Industry Council (BIC), representing West Virginia trade associations and businesses accounting for hundreds of thousands of employees across the state, announces its opposition to HB 2007, legislation which would provide state occupational licensure designations to potentially unqualified out-of-state workers.

“The West Virginia Business & Industry Council is opposed to HB 2007 because it places West Virginians at a huge disadvantage,” said Mike Clowser, Chairman of BIC.  “We are concerned the bill will result in a loss of jobs and opportunities for our business community and encourage the State Senate to defeat this legislation.”

House Bill 2007 permits professionals and occupations which are licensed in other states to be licensed in West Virginia if they meet minimum standards, even if the state they are currently licensed in has standards that are lower than provided in West Virginia code. The legislation affects scores of professions including architects, engineers, surveyors, real estate agents, accountants, foresters, physical therapists, nurses and many more. 

Clowser stated the business community has numerous concerns with the legislation, to include:

  • Out-of-state applicants could have significantly less experience and qualifications than the West Virginia professionals that have met the thresholds established in state code (chapters 21, 29 and 30). 
  • Out-of-state applicants do not have to reside in West Virginia to receive their West Virginia professional designation. The bill states that the applicant “intends” to move to West Virginia, a clearly unenforceable proposition.
  • Accepting out-of-state applicants could damage reciprocity with other states since West Virginia would have reduced its qualifications threshold. In essence, the legislation delegates the responsibility to establish minimum standards to protect the public to other states. 
  • Accepting these reduced standards places the public health and safety at a substantial risk and will cause insurance premiums to increase and will create an environment for potential lawsuits due to substandard work.   

The West Virginia Business and Industry Council is adamantly against this bill and encourages the Senate to vote the bill down. 

The West Virginia Business & Industry Council’s goal is to enhance the business climate in West Virginia, and its members have been working to that end for more than four decades. 

For additional information, contact Mike Clowser at (304) 342-1166.