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Occupational Licensing a Hazard to States: Nebraska passes landmark reform!

We’ve written extensively about the overabundance of expensive and unnecessary licensing in the states.

With that in mind, we were excited to see an e-mail release come to us from the Institute of Justice at about 5:30 P.M. on April 23, 2018. We thought we’d pass the gist of it along, edited for space:

“Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed the Occupational Board Reform Act on Monday afternoon, a landmark law that will systematically reduce the state’s burdensome and arbitrary licenses. Today, Nebraska has more than 170 different occupational licenses, which cover almost a quarter of the state’s workforce.

“‘Far too many workers are spending their time earning a license when they should be earning a living,’ said Lee McGrath, senior legislative counsel at the Institute for Justice. ‘With this new law, Gov. Ricketts and the Nebraska Unicameral have transformed Nebraska into a national leader for slashing red tape and expanding economic opportunity. The Occupational Board Reform Act sets a landmark model for other states to follow.’

“As part of the new law’s rigorous “sunset review” process, every year, legislative standing committees will examine one-fifth of the state’s occupational regulations to identify any rules or laws that should be repealed or modified so that they are the least restrictive. Similar bills are also under consideration in Colorado, Louisiana, and Ohio.

“’Regulation does not have to be a binary choice between licensing and no licensing,’ McGrath explained. ‘ least restrictive framework grants policymakers a wider array of regulatory options including private certification, inspections, bonding, and registration. Occupational licensing should only be a policy of last resort.'”

It’s important to understand that licensing has its place in states, in order to protect the citizenry. No one would particularly want to see surgeons wielding a scalpel without the appropriate licensure. But when it comes to licensing for florists — well, there’s a bit difference between cutting a heart and cutting a bunch of red roses.


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