New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has added her state to the list of states working to restore the right to earn a living to their citizens. Earlier this month Martinez signed an executive order requiring an internal review by state agencies of their licenses and licensing requirements.

The goal of this review is “determining opportunities for potential consolidation of functions, increased efficiency, cost-savings, and the elimination of unnecessary regulatory burdens and processes.”

Martinez’s rationale and reforms will sound familiar to readers of John Locke Foundation’s work advocating occupational licensing reform in North Carolina. They include:

  • “onerous licensing requirements, excessive fees, and redundant testing requirements are counterproductive”
  • “research shows licensing requirements and fees limit economic mobility, entrepreneurship and innovation, disproportionately affecting low- and middle- income Americans”
  • “occupational criminal licensure reform has yielded positive benefits both for industry and the previously convicted individual in decreasing unemployment and reducing recidivism”
  • “expedited licensure and licensure reciprocity across state lines is particularly vital for New Mexico’s military service members, their spouses, and their dependents’ ability to obtain jobs and sustain careers”

Each license review would include lists of licensing fees, education requirements, testing requirements, the national averages of those things across other states with a similar license, number of states with a similar license, whether the license includes a disqualification for a conviction record and how that is handled, how long it takes to get a license approved, what kind of alternatives to the license there could be, and how expedited licensing for military spouses may be done.

Here are some intriguing features of the license review:

  • The licensing board would have to provide written justification any time it finds a licensing requirement that exceeds the national average.
  • The licensing board would also have to justify why its license is necessary specifically for New Mexico if the same profession is licensed in only 24 or fewer states.
  • The licensing board would have to attest that a future license is “essential to protecting the health, safety, or welfare of New Mexico’s residents,” that an “enumerated cost-benefit analysis has been conducted,” that less restrictive alternatives were found to be less desirable than licensing, that the regulation is objective and evidence-based, and that it would not unduly burden the people or competition.
  • A board or commission must eliminate at least one preexisting regulation for any new one it adopts.

The de-licensing revolution is spreading. When will North Carolina join it?