Inconsistent Licensing Requirements

State needs fewer regulations, more jobs

Rather than being based on safety, licensing requirements for people to work are often imposed merely for the protection of existing businesses and to raise the barrier to entry for competitors, thereby driving up prices for consumers.

However, that could change if a bill introduced by State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester HIlls, were passed and signed into law. House Bill 4641 would prohibit governments from imposing occupational licensure without valid concerns for public health and safety, and allow workers to sue if a regulation excessively burdens their right to earn a living. This proposed state law would go a long way to solve the problem of burdensome and inconsistent requirements.

Michigan licenses painters, barbers, landscape architects and many other fields that are unlikely to harm people if performed incorrectly (not that there is evidence that most state mandates help prevent harm anyways). While these are silly and not needed, there are also many examples where the state licenses some things, and not others that are similar or even more complex.

Consider windows: It was pointed out to me recently by a friend that the state of Michigan requires a license to install a storm window (“screens and storm sash”), yet does not require a license to change out an entire window (though installing a totally new window does require a license).

The state also mandates licenses for painting and decorating, but not drywall hanging. Installing wood floors and tile, but not carpeting and vinyl. Putting up gutters, but not fences. Laying concrete, but not asphalt paving. House wrecking, but not house moving.

It should also be noted that each of the above licenses require 60 hours of approved courses, whereas an amateur pilot’s license requires only 40 hours of training and will allow you to fly anywhere in the country.

This doesn’t mean legislators should tack on more requirements for the areas not licensed. Rather, the evidence shows that people live and earn a living in many occupations that are not licensed and have had little or no safety concerns.