GOP lawmakers target what they say is 'excessive licensing'
- GOP lawmakers have introduced a bill they say would stop over-licensing, reports Time. The Restoring Board Immunity Act would give states either oversight over licensing boards or the right to establish a system that allows citizens to challenge the necessity of licensing for an occupation. The proposed legislation stems from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that licensing boards, whose members usually are volunteers representing the vocation, could be liable for creating an unfair barrier-to-entry against unlicensed competition.
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in a column that state licensing is unnecessary for some occupations, keeps out low wage-earners who can't afford the training and licensing fees, and prevents others from opening up businesses.
- Licensed workers rose in number from fewer than 5% in 1950 to one-in-three today, they say. Research by the nonprofit law firm Institute for Justice shows that California and Utah, Issa and Lee's respective states, have among the highest number of licensed workers in the country. Another study shows that licensing costs the U.S. economy 2.85 million jobs at a cost of $203 billion annually.
Republicans have long supported the general deregulation of business and industry, and that includes the de-licensing of occupations they consider outside the league of those that pose a risk to the public.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was out in front of lawmakers' proposed legislation. While on a trip to Denver to promote the Trump administration's apprenticeship initiative, he also plugged de-licensing as part of deregulation before the American Legislative Executive Council’s annual meeting in July. It's clear this is a priority for members of current leadership.
GOP leaders have made some inroads in deregulation by managing to delay the enactment of some requirements, such as the fiduciary rule. Additionally, Trump's U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently ended the defense of the Obama era overtime rule. DOL released an RFI on the rule at the end of July, asking about methodology and the salary test, in particular.
But because states control a lot of licensing and many, along with the District of Columbia, are passing their own legislation on paid parental leave, minimum wage, ban-the-box ordinances, predictive scheduling and pay equity, Republicans may face an uphill battle on this.