Most of the ideas from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s population growth council report are either bad, ineffective or have little to do with population growth. But give credit where it is due: The council did have some good ideas on labor regulation laws.
The council recommended making it easier for people to come to Michigan and more likely to want to move here. It called for lawmakers to “conduct a full review of professional licensing requirements to identify which can be maintained, improved, updated or eliminated.” Lawmakers, the report said, should “remove unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to workforce entry without sacrificing workplace/consumer safety or the quality of work provided to Michiganders.”
Michigan’s licensing process is arbitrary and often nonsensical. It is hard to justify, say, barbers needing three times the training hours that police officers need. The state’s 180-plus licenses should be reviewed and, at the very least, the state should immediately recognize the certification and experience of people in other states and let them work in Michigan.
The federal immigration system is also convoluted. Attracting more immigrants to Michigan is a worthy goal. The report calls for Michigan policymakers to work with federal officials to “simplify the route by which H-1B visa holders and international students can achieve citizenship and transition to permanent Michigan residency.”
The governor and state lawmakers should implement some parts of the population commission’s recommendations. Making it easier for people to move and work in our state is the lowest fruit and represents the most obvious reforms.
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