SANTA FE – In an attempt to create more economic opportunities for military spouses and other New Mexico job seekers, Gov. Susana Martinez signed an order Tuesday requiring 35 state boards and commissions to review their fees and requirements for obtaining occupational licenses.
The order might be a first step toward lowering the testing, educational and training requirements for a wide range of state-regulated occupations. The list of jobs covered could include nurses, cosmetologists, architects and real estate appraisers.
Martinez, the state’s two-term Republican governor, announced the executive order at Cannon Air Force Base outside Clovis, where she was joined by top Air Force officials.
“Our men and women in uniform serve our country while stationed abroad or on base in the United States, but their spouses also perform an important service by holding their families together through unique challenges,” Martinez said in a statement. “This executive order recognizes that service by increasing economic opportunities for those families, and for all New Mexicans who want to work.”
Specifically, the order requires the 35 state boards and commissions submit reports to the Governor’s Office by Aug. 30 about the fees and the amount of time it takes to get occupational licenses and the requirements necessary to obtain and keep the licenses.
The order also stipulates that other states’ requirements be studied, that possible ways to expedite licensing for active military members and their relatives be identified and that information be provided about whether applicants with criminal records can get licenses.
“This executive order is aimed at lowering requirements and costs for licensure, without compromising public safety or welfare, so that New Mexicans have access to employment opportunities – including those with criminal histories,” Martinez spokesman Ben Cloutier said Tuesday.
There are roughly 250,000 active occupational licenses in New Mexico.
Meanwhile, Martinez previously vetoed 2017 legislation that would have expanded New Mexico’s “ban-the-box” law to private employers.
The current law prohibits government agencies from asking on an initial employment application whether a job seeker has been convicted of a felony.