In order to allow people with criminal records to find work, and lower the recidivism rate, the state should also roll back its rules regarding the licensing of ex-offenders. Unless a person is trying to get a license for a job directly related to a crime they have been convicted of — say, a person who committed a sex crime who wants to work in a daycare — the state should not stand in their way.
Finally, local licensing regimes are in need of reform as well and the state should create a pre-emption restriction. If the state licenses the occupation, local municipalities should be prohibited from creating their own licensing requirement for that job. There is no good reason why someone who is qualified to do plumbing in Oakland County should not be legally able to do the same work in Detroit.
The state of Michigan should only mandate a license if it is to directly protect health and safety and there are no other alternatives. A license is a type of government-imposed monopoly and it should only be done as a public interest regulation. Today, much of licensing is better described as special interest regulation — and the “solution” is more harmful than the problem.
With help from the Institute for Justice, we have drafted model legislation that would codify many of these suggestions into law. Bill language specific to Michigan has been added to the appendix of this report.