A recent Gazette column, “Iowa must go big on licensing reform,” Oct. 11, calls for a reset in the stalled debate on licensing reform in Des Moines. The author cautions against “straw-man arguments” in the debate, writing “surely, there is some middle ground between no licenses and dozens of them.”
Indeed, we agree there is a middle ground, and lawmakers should actively seek it as they gear up for session in January. Any reforms to state licensing laws should be carefully considered, and narrowly tailored, with the foremost goal of protecting the public’s health, safety, and welfare. One-size deregulation does not fit all when it comes to licensing.
For example, Iowans need professional engineers to be licensed at the highest level because we are responsible for designing facilities and systems such as roads, bridges, buildings, autonomous vehicles, and biotechnology. Because of this tremendous responsibility, an engineer’s license is rigorous for good reason. Iowans would be put at needless risk if the state professional engineers’ license is eliminated or weakened. The middle ground consensus in the licensing debate should start with an acknowledgment that professional licensing is — and must remain — rigorous, and licensing done right works.
David Martini, president
National Society of Professional Engineers