by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Here in North Carolina, a provision in House Bill 554 would allow for a provisional license for funeral director. To get the provisional license, an applicant would have to pay the fee, be at least 18, be of “good moral character,” have an undergraduate degree, and have some experience (either have or be eligible to have a certified residential traineeship or five years’ experience under a licensed funeral director). It could be renewed twice, giving a provisional licensee three years’ time to satisfy the requirements for a funeral director’s license.
The bill attracted no concern in the House, passing unanimously (107-0), but as Carolina Journal reports, currently licensed providers and the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service are upset over that provision. That’s well in keeping with the anticompetitive nature of occupational licensing.
It’s generally the case that an occupation falls under this restrictive entry regulation at the request of people already in the profession. Limiting entry and reducing competition benefits them by artificially restricting the supply of services and inflating the prices. As labor economist Morris Kleiner, the nation’s foremost expert on occupational licensing, noted:
The most generally held view on the economics of occupational licensing is that it restricts the supply of labor to the occupation and thereby drives up the price of labor as well as the services rendered.
provides for licensure by endorsement from the boards and commissions under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs in the Department of State. The license could be issued on an individual basis if the licensure requirements in the other state, territory or country are determined to be substantially similar to Pennsylvania’s requirements.
By way of comparison, North Carolina has a “substantially similar” clause for obtaining a funeral director’s license by reciprocity. But not only has Pennsylvania brought this kind of reciprocity to all its licenses; the new law lets licensing boards issue provisional licenses as well “while the applicant is satisfying remaining requirements for the licensure,” so that the applicant can work in the meantime.
As Gov. Wolf said, “We are encouraging more skilled workers and their families to move to Pennsylvania. This enhances our workforce, provides more talent for businesses, and helps to grow our economy.”