by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
North Carolina is partly responsible for the de-licensing revolution going on in other states. But oddly enough, so far we’ve been sitting it out.
Here are snippets from the WSJ:
The new legislation applies to more than 40 professions, from cosmetologists and court reporters to psychologists and surgeons. Newcomers often had to pay hundreds of dollars and spend thousands of hours in training before they could practice their occupation in Arizona—even if they had done the same job safely for years elsewhere.
They’ll now receive an Arizona license as long as they’ve held a comparable one in another state for at least a year. …
Arizona has long required hair stylists to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of training, even if they never handle chemicals or scissors. … Now Arizona will allow salon workers to do blowouts, straightening, curling or other basic styling after they complete a simple course from the state Board of Cosmetology on sanitation and preventing infectious disease. The reform opens up an appealing job option for low-skilled workers who otherwise would have had to pay between $8,000 and $15,000 for schooling to do the same work, says Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita.
The WSJ list of Arizona reforms includes a new one:
On April 1, Gov. Ducey signed the Ice Cream Freedom Bill, which loosens licensing for mom-and-pop restaurants and vendors that make their own small-batch ice cream for customers to eat on-site. The old rules drew no distinction between these small outfits and major ice-cream manufacturers. Establishments like Churn—a Phoenix shop whose largest ice-cream batch is eight gallons—could be ordered to buy industrial repasturization equipment that costs tens of thousands of dollars and consumes enormous amounts of electricity.
Under the new rules, they have to pass a simple inspection. The legislation affects a handful of small businesses, but GOP state Rep. Jeff Weninger, says it’s part of a larger message: “We are open for business, and we’re trying to cut back on red tape here in the state of Arizona.”
Requiring inspections in lieu of licensing when an inspection is all that’s needed to address the safety concern? How liberating. And it’s directly in line with what we’ve been promoting in North Carolina for years.
From my report on “Modernizing North Carolina’s Outdated Occupational Licensing Practices“:
Placing state entry regulations on some people’s chosen fields of labor should be a regulation of last resort, reserved only for the most extreme regulatory concerns. A state that recognizes its people have a constitutional right to “the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor” should be extra careful its laws don’t tread on that right.
The state’s involvement in an occupation should be conformed to the legitimate issue at hand, and then go no further. What would that mean?
Matching regulation to concern
It means if there’s a significant concern about protecting consumers from fraud, then enhance the powers of the attorney general and the deceptive trade practices act.
If the significant concern is over cleanliness, then require inspections.
If it’s damage to third parties, require bonding.
If it’s shady, fly-by-night providers, require registration.
And if it’s insurance reimbursement or a knowledge imbalance, require certification.
Unlike licensing, none of those policies would preclude North Carolinians from enjoying their self-evident right to the enjoyment of their own labor.