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New law allows out-of-state professionals to easily get licensed in New Hampshire

 Governor Chris Sununu sits at a table in the State House signing a pair of bills. Several state officials and policy advocates stand behind him.
Paul Cuno-Booth
Gov. Chris Sununu signed a pair of bills Wednesday, including one that establishes universal license recognition for professionals moving from other states.

Licensed professionals from other states will be able to transfer their credentials to New Hampshire more easily, under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Chris Sununu.

The new law requires the state to issue an occupational license to anyone who holds the same license somewhere else, provided that state has similar requirements to New Hampshire and the license holder remains in good standing.

During a signing ceremony at the State House, Sununu said the change will make it easier for out-of-state workers to come to New Hampshire, and help businesses struggling to hire, by eliminating an unnecessary barrier.

“None of it really aligns itself with the ‘live free or die’ spirit of this state, which is supposed to be easy access, easy opportunities for people to use their skills to help the community, to help the state,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Joe Schapiro of Keene was the main sponsor of the bill. It contained one provision that Sununu had included as part of a larger overhaul of occupational licensing rules he proposed earlier this year.

That proposal also would have eliminated more than 30 occupational licenses, reorganized a number of the state’s professional boards and made changes meant to streamline administrative processes related to licensing. Lawmakers mostly rejected those changes.

Members of some professions had pushed back on the idea of eliminating certain licenses, arguing it would lower standards without doing much to increase the size of New Hampshire’s workforce.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Sununu called the reciprocal licensing law a major improvement. He said he’d like to see further licensing reforms, including administrative changes and eliminating what he says are outdated licenses.

“I've learned that you can't get everything you want, especially in something as challenging as licensure reform,” he said. “I think the Legislature still has to push themselves to take on some of these issues and not just fall back to some of the constituencies who fight for their own fiefdoms.”

The law takes effect after 60 days.

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Paul Cuno-Booth covers health and equity for NHPR. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for The Keene Sentinel, where he wrote about police accountability, local government and a range of other topics. He can be reached at
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