Occupational Hazard: State Licensing Laws in Michigan
Issues & Ideas Forum
About 1 million Michiganders are required to obtain an occupational license or certification from the state of Michigan in order to legally work — everything from acupuncturist to window installer. These laws typically require fees, education and training hours, tests and continuing education. They limit who is eligible to work, often blocking those with criminal backgrounds or who moved from other states.
Every occupational license limits the supply of workers, resulting in fewer jobs and higher prices paid by consumers. Proponents typically argue that these requirements establish a baseline of competency, protecting public health and safety.
But is that the case? This panel will discuss the proliferation of occupational licensing laws in Michigan and across the nation and what state lawmakers should consider to ensure that jobs are properly regulated and not simply a drain on the economy.
Jaimie Cavanaugh is an attorney with the Institute for Justice. Her practice focuses on economic liberty and private property. Her views have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, Bloomberg and other media outlets. Growing up outside Detroit, Jaimie learned that individuals, not the government, know what is best for themselves and their families. Jaimie studied Linguistics and German at the University of Michigan and earned her J.D. from the University of Colorado. Following law school, she completed a judicial fellowship with Justice Monica M. Márquez of the Colorado Supreme Court and interned for Exxon Mobil in Hanover, Germany.
Conor Norris is a research analyst for the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at the John Chambers School of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. His research has been published in scholarly journals, including The Journal of Regulatory Economics, Health Policy, Seminars in Dialysis, Quarterly Journal of Finance and Accounting, Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, and Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice. He has provided expert testimony in state legislatures on occupational licensing reform and the practice of telemedicine.
Mike Zimmer has a distinguished career in state government, serving as Cabinet Director for former Governor Rick Snyder, as well as the Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctorate from George Washington University.