Sen. Mike Lee aims to deregulate licensing requirements for jobs like dog walking, hair braiding

Braid photo by yacobchuk and certificate image by Marvin / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee assisted in drafting a bill designed to help states reform their occupational licensing regulations that was introduced in Washington, D.C., Thursday, seeking to make it easier for professionals like dog walkers and flower arrangers to operate their businesses.

Lee joined Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska along with Rep. Darrell Issa. R-California, to introduce the “Restoring Board Immunity Act.”

Occupational licensing costs consumers $200 billion in higher costs every year and deprives an estimated three million prospective professionals of job opportunities,” Lee said in a news release. “This bill creates an incentive for states to implement much needed occupational licensing reforms.”

The bill incentivizes states to roll back and reform what Cruz called “job-killing regulations” in the news release, adding that deregulation would help create better paying jobs.

Some professions, like pilots and dentists, require government sanctioned licensing requirements for public safety reasons.

“Today roughly one in three American workers is required to obtain some sort of occupational license, often requiring hundreds in fees and months in training just to be able to do their job,” Issa said in the news release. “While many licenses are to ensure safety, these requirements are often for jobs no more risky than braiding hair, dog-watching, or flower arranging.

“These overly burdensome requirements have become an often-overlooked inhibitor of economic growth and made it difficult for honest Americans to get ahead. This bill makes long-overdue reforms that will encourage states make changes in order to create jobs and promote opportunity for all.”

The news release notes that the Federal Trade Commission has been fighting some of these laws on antitrust grounds. In 2015, the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC questioned the legality of state occupational licensing boards.

State occupational licensing boards would retain the antitrust protection they need to continue operating as long as the state enacts the legislation’s proposed occupational licensing reforms.

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  • Caveat_Emptor July 29, 2017 at 8:00 am

    While we would expect certain occupations to have a licensing requirement, reflecting the potential consequences of a “botched” treatment/service, there are plenty of examples of overreach by certain states.
    Utah’s DOPL has a transparent process, and I think most folks would agree that there is a good balance.
    Frankly, most consumers of the less demanding occupational services are more interested in a background check of the person. Even your Uber driver has been checked out, and shown to have insurance.
    I am sure between CA, NY, and NJ, we could find lots of examples of state overreach, collecting licensing fees and requiring some form of sham “vocational education” before they can practice. Creates artificial barriers to entry.

  • jaybird July 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

    I also see they have undone regulations for “cottage foods” operations. Wait til someone gets sick, or a dog gets abused, or worse yet a child gets hurt because these people are not checked out before selling their wears. Maybe the regulations are overburdening? Why not just drill them back instead of dropping them altogether. I’m sure this cutback deregulates where it should be regulated and as soon as people start getting ripped off, sick, or worse die, those same regulates/fees, etc. will be put back on.

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