Occupational Licensing Reform Across the United States

Occupational Licensing Reform Across the United States

Political leadership from the governor was one of the strongest factors influencing whether or not licensing was reformed. Governors accomplished this in a myriad of ways. Both Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made licensing reform a priority as soon as they came into office, and they went to the public, educating them and convincing the public why reforming licensing is important. Some states saw their governors act unilaterally, such as when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallon used executive orders and established a task force. On the other hand, a lack of leadership from the top can be detrimental to reform efforts. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott did not make reform of licensing a priority, although it was made a priority by members of the Florida House of Representatives. The result was a failed attempt at reforming licensing.

The establishment of commissions with clear guidelines was also an important step for many states. Many interest groups will come together to argue against licensing reform. However, having a report come from a thoughtful, reputable commission allows legislators to have a full range of expertise and research already finished before the legislative session even begins. One good example comes from Michigan, where Governor Rick Snyder created a commission to study Michigan’s licensing laws and make recommendations to the legislature on possible reform. This resulted in the delicensing of several occupations.

Marc Kilmer

Arkansas Center for Research in Economics

October 2018

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