Imagine There’s No License

Imagine There’s No License

Sometimes, circumstances remind me of songs, and the John Lennon song "Imagine" came to mind as I was reading the articles I link to below.

This article popped up in my Google alerts yesterday.  It appears that a couple of legislators in Tennessee have decided to float a very bold idea:

Tennessee lawmakers introduced two bills that would allow certain services to be practiced in the state without a license as long as customers are aware….

…According to the bills, a person may perform cosmetology without a license if the customer is aware that the person is not licensed and waives claims against them.

he bill applies to:

(1) Accountants;
(2) Architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers;
(3) Barbers;
(4) Cosmetologists;
(5) Funeral directors and embalmers;
(6) Contractors;
(7) Home inspectors;
(8) Plumbers;
(9) Home improvement contractors;
(10) Locksmiths;
(11) Real estate brokers;
(12) Land surveyors;
(13) Soil scientists;
(14) Auctioneers;
(15) Individuals engaged in the application of pesticides;
(16) Rental location agents;
(17) Private investigators;
(18) Polygraph examiners;
(19) Individuals engaged with fire protection sprinkler systems;
(20) Servicers of fire extinguishers and related equipment;
(21) Alarm contractors;
(22) Private protective services;
(23) Geologists;
(24) Tattoo artists;
(25) Body piercing artist;
(26) Real estate appraisers; and
(27) Professional employer organizations.

In light of our posts yesterday regarding protectionist efforts by occupations to keep others out, I was pretty sure that if I dug a little, I'd find that there were people not happy about this. 

But I didn't have to dig. This afternoon, another article showed up in my Google alerts.  It appears that cosmetology schools are quite concerned about this. 

Adam Brown, owner of Tennessee School of Beauty, said the bill would be a serious violation of consumer protection…

…As a person who owns a school that prepares a cosmetologist to get their license, Brown said his business would be impacted, but that wasn’t his main concern.

“Besides the fact that (hairstylists) are using very sharp implements, there’s a lot of chemicals that are being out there, and then just the sanitation. It’s not like you’re putting Lysol on a comb after you do someone’s hair,” Brown said.

One often finds when they study occupational licensing and occupational boards that those responsible for granting licensing have some inherent self-interest in seeing to it that more education is required, etc.

It appears that this bill has been "effectively killed" in the Tennessee Senate, but I like the sound of State Representative Martin Daniel who has sponsored it in the house:

State Rep. Martin Daniel, the sponsor of HB 1945, said his reasoning for filing the bill is because licenses prevent someone from entering their career of choice and raises prices for the consumer.

“In many cases, these licenses are not really related to public health, safety or welfare. They’re simply the product of special interest lobbying trying to erect barriers to entry into these occupations,” Daniel said.

He also said that licensing for the same occupations listed in his bill wouldn’t vanish.

People would still be able to apply for a cosmetology license, and customers can still choose to use a licensed professional.

He said that the bill would allow more choices for customers, especially cheaper options.

Occupational licensing is a big deal, even though most of us never think about it. Creating more occupational licenses may be advantageous to groups of workers who are already engaged in the occupation, but they inherently limit opportunity for those who would like to enter into the occupation. 

More and more, policymakers are starting to see that more regulation might not be optimal and that regulating less gives people more opportunities.

You should go and read this whole article.  Some of the comments by folks are really kind of humorous from my perspective. 



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