There are about 180 occupational licenses on Michigan’s books. Many of them also exist in other states, but some are unique to Michigan. Some entail reasonable requirements and ensure a basic level of proficiency for licensed workers. But others require training and costs that far exceed what workers face in other states.
The state should establish a “sunrise” and “sunset” review process. A sunrise review would analyze newly proposed occupational licenses, while a sunset process would require periodic reviews of existing ones. An independent board should assess these regulations, considering their stringency and likelihood of improving public health and safety. A committee in 2012 analyzed occupational licensing and called for eliminating licenses covering two dozen jobs. It also called for loosening rules for many other occupations. The Legislature adopted some of these recommendations, but a review of this kind should be a regular event.
A 2020 Mackinac Center report proposed a process for how these reviews could work, including what factors to evaluate when determining whether a license was necessary and effective. Listed below are some key factors these reviews should consider.
- The definition of the occupation and scope of practice.
- The number of people licensed and practice of enforcement.
- The number of states that require the license and the requirements for obtaining a license in these states.
- The type and frequency of complaints related to the occupation.
- A comparison of the licensing requirements to similar occupations.
- The difference in the price of liability insurance between the occupation and similar occupations that are not subject to licensing.