June 13 Progress Report: Job Licensing Reform in Nebraska Is Just Beginning

June 13 Progress Report: Job Licensing Reform in Nebraska Is Just Beginning

NEWS CONFERENCE CALL with the Platte Institute 

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737

June 13 Progress Report: Job Licensing Reform in Nebraska Is Just Beginning
Legislature Must Now Implement New Occupational Board Reform Act

OMAHA, NE – State senators in Lincoln recently completed a legislative session in which the reform of excessive job licensing laws became a major policy priority. Since 2017, lawmakers have adopted over 30 new bills or amendments that address state requirements for Nebraskans to start a job or a business.

While piecemeal reforms have been made to numerous job licensing requirements, the Unicameral deepened the state’s investment in the issue by enacting a comprehensive reform with Legislative Bill 299, the Occupational Board Reform Act.
A new report by the Platte Institute’s Sarah Curry and Nicole Fox provides a review of what happened this session, and the tools policymakers will have at their disposal moving forward, as they prepare to implement a five-year review of all of Nebraska’s job licensing laws.

A video interview with Sarah Curry that may be used for rebroadcast is available for download here, and author photos are available at this link.

A news conference call on the report will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. Central Time. Curry, Platte Institute Policy Director, and Fox, the Platte Institute’s Government Relations Director, will be introduced by Adam Weinberg.

To call in or participate in the news conference call, dial (605) 475-4000, Access Code: 106202#. The call may be recorded for broadcast and will include Q&A.

The report will be published Wednesday at PlatteInstitute.org/Jobs.

“Under the Occupational Board Reform Act, legislative committees will need to review 20 percent of licenses under their jurisdiction annually in a continuous five-year cycle,” said Curry.

“This process creates a framework for identifying less restrictive occupational regulations, such as private certification, registration, insurance or bonding, inspections, open market competition, or a combination of these approaches,” said Curry.

Here are highlights from the report:

  • In the 1950s, less than five percent of the U.S. workforce required a license. Today, almost 30 percent of jobs require a license, and in Nebraska, nearly 200 different jobs require licensing. These occupations are not regulated consistently across the country either, with 1,100 occupations requiring licensing in at least one state, but only 60 of those occupations are regulated in all 50 states.
  • A national report by the Institute for Justice finds that while many lower-income job licenses in Nebraska are the country’s least burdensome to acquire, the state does license a higher than average amount of occupations, and is the 27th most broadly and onerously licensed. The report also found that Nebraska’s licensing requirements for some occupations are excessive when compared to other states.
  • In addition to creating a process for reviewing existing job licensing laws, LB299’s Occupational Board Reform Act enables workers with a conviction history to petition state licensing boards for an advisory opinion on their eligibility for licensing prior to beginning industry training for licensure.
  • Polling in eight state legislative districts showed that the policy behind LB299 enjoyed strong support from Nebraska voters. An average of 62 percent of likely voters supported a regular review of job licensing laws. Support varied only slightly by party affiliation, with 67 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents agreeing. Only 19 percent of voters said they opposed the policy, which was approximately the same share as those who were unsure.
  • In 2018, bills addressing licensure issues were enacted into law for title examiners, school bus drivers, county highway and city street superintendents, public adjusters, psychologists, Emergency Medical Technicians, animal massage therapists, and a host of personal care professions, including cosmetologists, electrologists, estheticians, nail technologists and body artists.
  • The process of adopting LB596, the repeal of licensing for equine, cat, and dog massage, demonstrated the value of a comprehensive job licensing review. Lawmakers ultimately sought the least restrictive means of occupational regulation (open market competition) and removed a compromise amendment to require state registration of practitioners, in part due to concerns that practitioners who failed to register could face criminal charges.

To schedule an interview about job licensing reform in Nebraska, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or at aweinberg@platteinstitute.org

The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media.

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