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And in four of these cases, attempts to relicense the occupations followed soon afterward. However, as discussed in the following subsections, several multiple-occupation de-licensing proposals have recently occurred at the state legislative level, which have so far been unsuccessful. These de-licensing proposals have not gone through the sunset review process. Instead, the proposals have been made in the context of legislative concern that excessive government regulation of which occupational licensing is one example may have inhibited job growth.

The bill referred to no specific occupations. Although portions of the bill were later incorporated into a Senate bill that was passed Regulatory Reform Act of , 50 the terms related to occupational de-licensing were dropped. In , the Florida House approved a bill that would deregulate 14 licensed occupations, including auctioneers, athlete agents, hair braiders, interior designers, and professional fundraising consultants and solicitors.

Support for the bill stemmed from the belief that excessive regulation, such as unnecessary licensing, had hindered the growth of jobs in the state. The bill ultimately failed after it was rejected in the Senate. The next year, however, a new bill, House bill , was introduced that would establish criteria for boards and commissions to regulate occupations as authorized by law.

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The language of the bill appears to criticize licensing, as sections I and II of House bill state:. In late , a legislative study committee recommended against advancing the bill for consideration. However, the sponsor of the bill indicated that, at some future time, he will again advance the bill for legislative consideration. In January , House bill was introduced in the Indiana General Assembly that would eliminate mandatory licensing for barbers and cosmetologists, as well as for dieticians, hearing aid dealers, PIs, and security guards.

Many licensing regimes generate surpluses for state coffers, which may be another obstacle for those seeking deregulation. Finally, the criticism was raised that, without licensing, many beauty schools would move out of state, thereby eliminating teaching jobs and reducing profits for beauty school operators.

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I decided to withdraw the bill because we can do better. The Indiana state senate passed a similar bill Senate bill in February It would also automatically eliminate licensing requirements for some 14 occupations e. However, the bill failed to receive a hearing in the state house. The Michigan Office of Regulatory Reinvention ORR released a report to the public in April recommending the complete deregulation of 18 occupations about half of them licensed , among them acupuncturist, auctioneer, interior designer, dietician, nutritionist, and speech pathologist.

The Michigan legislature has considered a number of bills that would deregulate several of the occupations just listed, but not one is a licensed occupation. Specifically, the act effective in September requires that when the commission reviews an agency that licenses an occupation, the commission will consider the following:. The Department is responsible for issuing licenses for a number of health occupations.

The six licensed occupations recommended for de-licensing were dietitians, dyslexia therapists and practitioners, medical physicists, radiologic technologists, perfusionists, and respiratory care practitioners. A Senate bill , 84th legislative, — that would make several of the recommended changes is currently in committee. The reason was to relieve individuals and small businesses by eliminating unnecessary regulatory burdens. At the time of this writing, the bill had not been voted on.

In February , the Missouri House introduced a bill House bill that would allow persons to practice the occupation of interior design, barbering, or cosmetology without having to secure a license. The bill was not put forward for a vote. Instead, it was referred to the Committee on Downsizing State Government, whose charge is to consider matters on reducing the size of state government and its programs. It has since died in Committee. In early , a similar bill House bill was introduced that would allow persons engaged in a greater number of specified occupations than the number listed in House bill to practice without a license, again as long as the persons do not claim to be licensed.

As of the time of this writing, House bill has not been put forward for a vote. Finally, in February , a bill House bill was introduced that would restrict the imposition of licensing requirements on occupations not regulated as of January 1, In April , House bill failed to pass a vote by the Rules Committee.

Not surprisingly, the Missouri chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, as well as by other affected professional groups, strongly opposed both House bill and House bill However, the committee did not vote on or consider the bill in the months following its referral. The committee has not met since then. In addition, the chief authors of the bill were not reelected for the following legislative term, most likely killing the bill.

In nearly every instance that we analyzed, de-licensing and de-licensing attempts have been met not only with stiff resistance but also usually when successful with a movement to reinstitute licensing. Clearly, these results reflect the lobbying power of the occupations in question and their professional associations.

Occupational Licensing Policy Brief - RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity

But in addition to lobbying power, what other reasons can be offered for the paucity of examples of successful de-licensing? Another contributing factor is that, in an accounting sense, licensing and licensing boards are generally expected to and usually do pay for themselves. Some may even create small yearly surpluses in their operations.

Especially in times of fiscal stress on state budgets, legislatures may be understandably reluctant to eliminate a revenue-producing agency. As noted earlier, over the past several decades, sunset laws have been passed in several states—about 36 since the s. These laws require the periodic review of certain programs and agencies such as occupational licensing and licensing boards.

The periodic reviews are commonly called performance audits or legislative audits, and they result in a recommendation to either continue or discontinue the licensing of the occupation under review. About half the states that had passed sunset laws later repealed or suspended them, while many others have limited the frequency of the audits. But in fact, these reviews rarely recommend de-licensing. Rather, from our study of performance audits across the states, they usually recommend that the licensing of the occupation be continued. In those rare instances when a performance audit does recommend de-licensing, we have found that the legislature usually ignores the recommendation and votes to continue to license the occupation.

Hawaii is an example. On at least three occasions since the s, the Hawaii Legislative Auditor Office has recommended the complete deregulation of the barbering and beauty worker occupations. However, the Hawaii legislature voted each time to continue licensing the two occupations. The experiences in other states have been similar to that of Hawaii. For example, DORA of Colorado released a sunset report in recommending the complete deregulation of manicurists and cosmeticians aestheticians , but the legislature did not act on the recommendation.

Maryland is another state with a history of sunset reviews that recommended de-licensing only to have the legislature not act on the recommendations. The occupations in question were foresters with reviews recommending terminating forester licensing made in , , and , interior designers , and environmental sanitarians Sunset reviews are also time-consuming and costly. As a result, many of these laws and the sunset review committees that were created have been subsequently limited, suspended, or repealed. A major reason is that the process demands much time of legislators and review committees.

The result is that wages may not rise immediately with the onset of licensing requirements, since the supply of workers will not fall until those who are grandfathered leave the occupation. The reverse is not true, however. Should de-licensing occur, wages may be expected to fall immediately with the inflow of new workers with lower qualifications into the occupation. The net result is that the immediate losses to practitioners from de-licensing are likely to be greater than the gains from licensing. Hence, the resistance to de-licensing is likely to be greater as well.

Finally, as we have seen, a number of recent attempts have occurred at the state level—nine as of —to de-license collectively certain groups of occupations. Although these attempts were unsuccessful, the occupational groups proposed for deregulation share some common characteristics. They usually number about one or two dozen, they generally are occupations that require relatively low levels of education, and their deregulation is not likely to sacrifice public health or safety.

In most cases, hair workers barbers, cosmetologists, and hair braiders are among the occupations proposed for de-licensing. One reason often given is that excessive government regulation, such as occupational licensing, hinders job creation and growth, especially for those with lower levels of education and incomes. Nevertheless, these de-licensing bills have generally been met with stiff opposition and have consequently been withdrawn, defeated, or sent back to committee.

We believe this article is the first to uncover and analyze instances of the successful de-licensing of occupations at the state level. Of course, some cases may have been overlooked. The reasons are many, including that no central clearinghouse exists that collects records of de-licensing as well as that some state legislative audits are incomplete and not always available. Furthermore, often what appear to be occupational licenses are in fact simply business licenses.

Occupational licenses are issued to individuals giving them the right to practice, whereas business licenses are issued to companies. Still, the de-licensing of an occupation no doubt rarely occurs. Recent attempts in nine states to collectively de-license groups of occupations have shown more potential, but as of yet, they have been almost uniformly unsuccessful. Finally, we believe the several instances of de-licensing that we uncovered give researchers an unusual opportunity to analyze the effects that de-licensing has had on the numbers of practitioners and on earnings levels.

As such, they constitute interesting natural experiments. A small but growing number of studies have found that licensing reduces practitioner numbers while it raises earnings. But what about the reverse effects of de-licensing on numbers and earnings? How sizable are these effects and how rapidly do they occur? Robert J. Thornton and Edward J. Kleiner and Alan B. But some have argued that licensing can be a way to improve the reputation and credibility of a particular occupation.

For example, currently, massage therapists are not licensed in all states. For example, New York first passed a barber licensing law in and repealed it in Nebraska, California, Kentucky, and Kansas each repealed their early barber licensing laws only to reenact them later. See W. We have also mentioned that the courts struck down most watchmaker licensing laws. Since the s, however, few federal, state, or local economic laws or regulations have been struck down on substantive due process grounds. Therefore, the decisions of the courts in the cases involving hair braiders and as we note later in the article the Louisiana monks mark a sharp departure from the past.

Thornton and George Lambert, July 18, Not all of these occupations are licensed, however. Some are subject to certification or registration requirements. The sponsor of the bill was state Representative William Callegari. The bill later became Pub.

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But what finally happened was that, as the termination dates drew near, the legislature passed bills to halt the termination. For example, in , Georgia scheduled the licensing board for dieticians to end in , but the Georgia legislature then halted the ending the year before it was to occur. Thornton rjt1 lehigh. Edward J.

Timmons etimmons francis. Life, limbs, and licensing: occupational regulation, wages, and workplace safety of electricians, — , Monthly Labor Review , January State labor legislation enacted in , Monthly Labor Review , January Background Each year, hundreds of petitions are filed with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union decertification election. De-licensed occupations at the state level As we discuss in the following subsections, our research of state legislative audit committee records, CLEAR reports, and various other sources has revealed only eight instances of the de-licensing of occupations over the past 40 years.

Barbers in Alabama The National Association of Barber Schools NABS which no longer exists formerly published annual reports listing the various barber licensing requirements for all states. The Colorado statute states the following: 12 A person shall not advertise, represent, or hold oneself out as or use the title of a funeral director unless the applicant has at least 2, hours practicing or interning as a funeral director and has at least fifty funerals or graveside services.

Interior designers in Alabama Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and attractive for most types of buildings e. Restricting the scope of licensing In addition to the examples of complete de-licensing just mentioned, a number of cases have occurred in which the scope of licensing has been either reduced or prevented from expanding. Florida In , the Florida House approved a bill that would deregulate 14 licensed occupations, including auctioneers, athlete agents, hair braiders, interior designers, and professional fundraising consultants and solicitors. Licensing requirements create barriers to entry and decrease competition, which increase prices, although there is little evidence that there is an offsetting increase in consumer protection.

This requirement closes doors and reduces upward mobility for those who do not pursue higher education. When licensing requirements are not based on demonstrated skills, they close off opportunities to advance for persons who learn on the job or pick up skills on their own without formal education. Michigan The Michigan Office of Regulatory Reinvention ORR released a report to the public in April recommending the complete deregulation of 18 occupations about half of them licensed , among them acupuncturist, auctioneer, interior designer, dietician, nutritionist, and speech pathologist.

The Texas statute also creates a sunrise process for proposed new licensing of occupations, with criteria similar to those just stated. Missouri In February , the Missouri House introduced a bill House bill that would allow persons to practice the occupation of interior design, barbering, or cosmetology without having to secure a license. If the legislature finds that the state has a compelling interest in regulating a previously unregulated occupation, the least restrictive type of regulation should be implemented.

Conclusion We believe this article is the first to uncover and analyze instances of the successful de-licensing of occupations at the state level. Suggested citation: Robert J. Making something more costly results in fewer people availing themselves of it. Licensing saddles the occupation with real economics costs in time, money, and hassles.

This study shows that states can take making something more costly and make it even costlier. Still, there are ways to do the wrong thing worse.


  • Paradoxism and Postmodernism (criticism)?
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How does North Carolina compare? What if North Carolina were to reduce its licensing requirements to the requirements of the least burdensome state for these fields, it was Hawaii? Just by doing that, Flanders and Roth estimated that those ten occupations in North Carolina could see job growth increased by 5. We could have faster job growth by eliminating unnecessary licenses. We could also see more employment by trimming back undue licensing requirements.

The time for occupational licensing reform is now | Opinion

Close Search. These factors comprised their Red Tape Index: Minimum age required Qualifying exams required Experience required Fees requires Criminal background prohibitions These are a few of the many hurdles that end up disproportionately blocking poorer would-be professionals from pursuing work in licensed professions. The more red tape, the harder it is for local workers to make it Back to the study. Up Next. Other Amount.