News Release: Jim Vokal’s Statement on LB343

News Release: Jim Vokal’s Statement on LB343

NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute 

Contact: Adam Weinberg
(402) 452-3737

Statement by Jim Vokal on LB343 Occupational Licensing Reform
Existing Businesses Shouldn’t Have More Voice than Workers, Consumers

LINCOLN, NE (March 13, 2017) – This is the statement of Platte Institute Chief Executive Officer Jim Vokal on the news that the Nebraska Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee will not advance Legislative Bill 343’s licensing reforms for a full legislative debate in the 2017 session:

“The national average for training to earn a cosmetology or barbering license is around 1,500 hours. Nebraska requires 2,100 hours, which is unheard of in most of the country. That’s why Nebraska’s cosmetology students carry more student debt than their colleagues in 47 other states. Nebraska’s expensive and lengthy occupational licensing requirements exist because businesses like the cosmetology schools push to keep the barriers to entry to these professions higher than the rest of the country,” said Jim Vokal.  

"It’s hard to believe a bill that mostly makes Nebraska’s regulation consistent with the national mainstream is not even going to be debated this session, but that only proves the need for comprehensive occupational licensing reform that puts workers and consumers first, and reins in the undue influence these special interests have over regulation of the marketplace. Legislators interested in an interim study will find that occupational licensing reform is supported by researchers from across the philosophical spectrum, from the Obama White House to the conservative Heritage Foundation. There is broad agreement that regulation should exist only to serve a public interest, not private interests. Failing to cut this red tape with LB343 sets back Nebraska’s reputation for free enterprise, and it has continued the stacking of the deck against Nebraska’s workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers,” said Vokal.

LB343 is one of a package of legislative bills that reduces barriers to entry for career opportunities in Nebraska. LB343 impacts 7 personal care professions, including cosmetology, barbering, massage therapy, and nail technology and 1 health care profession, audiology.

Currently, about 200 professions in Nebraska require a government license, affecting nearly 1 in 4 workers in Nebraska. The Platte Institute supports occupational licensing reforms in order to reduce barriers to joining the workforce, finding a better-paying job, or starting a small business.

For more information about occupational licensing reform, visit or view stories of affected Nebraskans at To arrange an interview, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or at

The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska.

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