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Interstate nurse licensing compact bill reintroduced

nurse holding patient's hand
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Michigan could join a multi-state nurse licensing agreement. That’s under a recent bill introduced in the state Legislature.

The legislation would add Michigan to the “nurse licensing compact.”

It’s an agreement of over 40 states and territories to recognize one multi-state nursing license.

State Representative Phil Green (R-Millington) said Michigan needs to join too.

“It allows an easy transition of those who might live within a certain distance from the border. Like if they live in Ohio, they can come across the border and practice in Michigan without going through … more hoops,” Green said.

The representative also mentioned joining could help address a healthcare worker shortage in Michigan.

“Whatever we can do to cut the red tape, to cut the barriers to allowing people to work in the healthcare field and get jobs where we need them and where it’s convenient for the employees is very important,” Green said.

Similar legislation has come up in previous years. In 2020, a bill made it to the governor’s desk before being vetoed.

In her explanation, Governor Gretchen Whitmer wrote the compact would require Michigan to give up its regulatory authority. She reasoned that would, in turn, violate the state Constitution.

“While I value interstate cooperation, especially around issues that are peculiarly interstate in nature, these compacts require Michigan to cede its sovereign interest in regulating health professions to an outside body,” Whitmer wrote in her veto letter.

During the 2021-2022 legislative session, nurse compact legislation didn’t receive a hearing.

Green said he hopes to work across the aisle to make sure things are different this time around.

He said some have raised concerns about what would happen to licensing fees currently paid to the state, if Michigan were to join.

“That’s going to be one of the things we look at, is inside that compact licensure, how can we make sure that the finances are still there,” Green said.

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