Retired U.S. Army Col. Chris Croft is convinced a 5-year-old Kansas law removing barriers to occupational licensing, certification and registration for military spouses and service members should be broadened to cover anyone moving to the state.
"We need to do the same for all professionals that want to move to Kansas and become Kansas residents," he said. "It acknowledges that these professionals don’t lose their skills and experience when they move to Kansas."
While a coalition of business lobbying organizations endorse the reform, an alphabet soup of professional licensing boards and occupational associations in Kansas raised questions about the concept endorsed by Croft, a Republican House member from Overland Park. The credentialing mandate that would cut time allotted for a licensing agency’s review from two months to 10 days was considered Monday by the Senate Commerce Committee.
"We have concerns that the changes included in this bill could have serious unintended consequences, which jeopardize the core duty of the Board of Healing Arts to protect the public," said Rachelle Colombo, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society.
She said Senate Bill 366 would create a licensure system for all professions in Kansas that prioritized nonresident applicants over resident applicants. The bill also was inconsistent because it would exempt attorneys from the new standard, she said.
Michael Grogan, president-elect of the American Institute of Architects and an assistant professor at Kansas State University, said the expedited timeline for issuing a license in 10 business days was "impossibly short."
A trio of law enforcement organizations and the Kansas State Department of Education opposed the licensing reciprocity reform.
Andrew Wiens, who works for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, said changing the licensing system in Kansas would help attract more skilled workers.
"Instead of more brain drain," Wiens said, "it’s time for Kansas to be the beneficiary of some brain gain."