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Michigan Legislator Tries Again for State to Join the Nurse Licensure Compact

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   September 06, 2023

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a previous attempt in 2020.

Legislation to allow Michigan RNs and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to hold multistate licenses through the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) has been reintroduced after a previous attempt nearly three years ago was vetoed by the governor.

The legislation calls for Michigan to enter into the compact allowing RNs and LPNs to practice in person or via telehealth, in both Michigan and the other 39 states and two U.S. territories—Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—that have joined the compact.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a previous bill in 2020 because it violated the state constitution, she wrote at the time in a veto letter to the state legislature.

"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.

State Rep. Phil Green, who introduced the new legislation, said he plans to work across the aisle during this go-round to ensure a different outcome, according to the Michigan Public Radio Network.

One of the most recent to join the compact is Pennsylvania, which allowed NLC RNs and LPNs to begin practicing in Pennsylvania September 5, 2023. Pennsylvania nurses must wait, however, to practice in NLC regions until certain preconditions are met, one of which is certifying to other compact states that Pennsylvania's State Board of Nursing has performed an FBI criminal background check on Pennsylvania applicants. That move is pending.

Rhode Island also recently enacted the compact when Gov. Daniel J. McKee signed the legislation. The state is awaiting implementation with no determined start date.

A multistate license eases cross-border practice for many types of nurses who routinely practice with patients in other states, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school nurses, hospice nurses, and more. Military spouses who experience moves every few years also benefit from the multistate license.

The NLC also benefits facilities that might have an acute shortage in one of their units to recruit a nurse for that unit or shift around their resources if they're an interstate facility and moves nurses between different states, according to Nicole Livanos, director of state affairs at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

Each addition to the NLC helps to strengthen the nursing workforce, she said.

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


Michigan tried to enact the NLC in 2020 but the governor vetoed it.

Michigan is one of 11 states that have not joined the compact.


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