by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Our Jon Sanders is a recognized expert in the field of regulatory reform, particularly when it comes to research and analysis of ways to make it easier for North Carolinians to earn a living. It’s called occupational licensing reform, and he’s been writing about it for years. Imagine our delight when the Wall Street Journal editorial board picked up on the need for occupational licensing reform, echoing some of the ideas Jon has been espousing:
On April 3 The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board praised a Nebraska bill to reform its occupational licensing system. This bill, the editors noted, would bring about “wholesale reform.”
The editors found several aspects of the bill praiseworthy. So do I. They include several ideas we at the John Locke Foundation have been promoting to reform occupational licensing in North Carolina.
Enter the proposed Occupational Board Reform Act that says the state should “use the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers.” This means, for example, that the state could use alternatives like periodic inspections to guarantee clean and safe hair salons and barber shops. That would spare cosmetologists and barbers some 16 months of training.
That is the wisdom of the Right to Earn a Living Act, which is now law in Arizona and Tennessee. My recent report on Modernizing North Carolina’s Outdated Occupational Licensing Practices concluded by urging policymakers to adopt a Right to Earn a Living approach here. I have a series on our Locker Room blog examining the Right to Earn a Living Act, piece by piece.
It’s all about ensuring that people who want to earn a living by using their skills in a particular trade or craft aren’t overly burdened by the occupational licensing system. There are a number of less burdensome ways to ensure safety and quality. Let’s follow Jon’s analysis and support the freedom to earn a living.