How hard is occupational licensing reform? This hard. In May 2015 the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics published a review of the previous four decades’ worth of de-licensing efforts, and here’s what they found:

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.

But it seems the ice jam of state occupational licensing is beginning to break.

icy river flowing

After only eight successful attempts at de-licensing in 40 years, look what’s happened very recently:

  • Michigan: Gov. Rick Snyder’s Office of Regulatory Reinvention — created by Executive Order in 2011 — identified 18 occupational licenses for elimination in 2012; so far 7 have ended (in 2014)
  • Rhode Island: Gov. Gina M. Raimondo eliminated 27 licenses identified by the Office of Regulatory Reform in collaboration with state licensing agencies as part of the 2016 budget
  • Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam signed the Right to Earn a Living Act in 2016, which limits entry regulations into an occupation (i.e., licensing) to only those that are legitimately necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare, and when those objectives could not be met with less burdensome means, including certification, bonding, insurance, inspections, etc.