By: Kristen Hile and Alexis Schumacher, MHRM
The current Texas power outage and freezing temperatures from a winter storm left millions of Texans without electricity and clean water. The electrical grid, operated by licensed journeyman lineman, wasn’t able to be quickly restored.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how occupational licensing can create barriers across state lines. When healthcare shortages began, states implemented temporary executive orders to recognize out-of-state licenses.
The current situation in Texas is similar. If Texas adopted a universal recognition law, it would allow for out-of-state skilled workers to come to Texas and aid in repairing utility poles damaged by the storm, restoring power at a faster and more efficient rate.
Streamlining occupational licensing laws can help the state attract new residents, improve employment opportunities, and allow working Americans to help the state recover from any future tragedies. Texas would not be going out on a limb: Arizona, Iowa, and Missouri have already implemented similar reforms and several more states are considering reform this year.
President Biden declared Texas a state-of-emergency, offering various options of relief. But that alone won’t be enough to help restore the frozen pipelines and the electric blackout. Reforming the current occupational licensing laws would be the real power Texas needs.
Kristi Hile is a junior at Saint Francis University and lives in Boalsburg, PA. Alexis Schumacher is outreach and public relations coordinator for the Knee Center for the Study of Regulation and resides in Altoona, PA.