Principles for Professional Licensing Reform

Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced plans to reform professional licensing in Michigan, writes Mackinac Center for Public Policy policy analyst Jarrett Skorup.

Gov. Snyder has proposed a set of principles to guide reform:

  1. There must be a substantial harm or danger to the public health, safety, or welfare as a result of unregulated practice, which will be abated through licensure.
  2. The practice of the occupation must require highly specialized education or training.
  3. The cost to state government of regulating the occupation must be revenue neutral.
  4. There must be no alternatives to state regulation of the occupation (such as national or third-party accreditation) which adequately protect the public.
  5. The scope of practice must be clearly distinguishable from other licensed, certified, and registered occupations.
  6. Regulation through registration or listing (as opposed to licensure) does little to protect public health and welfare, and is not an appropriate use of government resources.

Skorup cites new research on the need for licensing refrom from the Brookings Institute, the Mercatus Center and the Pew Charitable Trusts, as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbot’s proposal for reform, which the National Center for Policy Analysis noted, “Of all the proposals designed to help poor and lower-income people, this one deserves major kudos. It does not involve expansion of a massive government program, and it reduces the cost to those who wish to profit from their knowledge and skills. It will also boost economic growth and tax revenue, since studies indicate that such licensing reduces job growth by 20 percent.”

Perhaps Georgia can follow the lead of Michigan and Texas in the next legislative session.

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