News Release: LB343 Wins Support from Workers & Industry
NEWS RELEASE from the Platte Institute
Contact: Adam Weinberg
March 1: LB343 Job Licensing Reform Bill Hearing
Bill Makes Joining Professions Easier, Wins Support from Workers & Industry
LINCOLN, NE (February 27, 2017) – Currently, about 200 professions in Nebraska require a government license, affecting nearly 1 in 4 workers in Nebraska. And some of Nebraska’s licensing requirements are among the country’s most costly and time-consuming, placing higher barriers to entry on Nebraskans than workers and small businesses in other states.
On Wednesday, March 1, the Platte Institute will testify in support of Legislative Bill 343, the most comprehensive of the 8 occupational licensing reform bills introduced on behalf of Gov. Pete Ricketts. Sen. Merv Riepe, the chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, is the bill’s sponsor.
LB343 removes barriers to employment or practice in 7 personal care fields, and one medical profession:
- Cosmetologists and barbers: Reduces requirement of 2,100 classroom hours for licensure to 1,500, in line with most states.
- Massage therapists: Reduces requirement of 1,000 classroom hours for licensure to 500, in line with most states.
- Cosmeticians: Eliminates state registration requirements for cosmeticians.
- Electrologists and estheticians: Retains current 600 classroom hour requirement for licensure, while removing an additional requirement for 600 credit hours.
- Nail technicians: Reduces current 300 hour requirement set by licensing board to no more than 200 hours.
- Audiologists: Eliminates duplicative requirement for licensed audiologists to receive a second license to dispense hearing aids.
Platte Institute Director of Government Relations Nicole Fox will testify in support of LB343 before the Health and Human Services committee. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 1 at 9:15 a.m. in State Capitol room 1510. The bill is listed second on the committee agenda, following LB344, another occupational licensing reform bill that deals with mental health and substance abuse counselors and treatment centers.
“Much more than our own testimony, we’re looking forward to hearing from licensed professionals and the Professional Beauty Association in support of LB343. They will share first-hand how our current job licensing requirements are holding back the growth of small businesses and the workforce in Nebraska,” said Adam Weinberg, Communications and Outreach Director at the Platte Institute.
The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) represents licensed cosmetologists, barbers, and hair stylists. Their support of LB343 is noteworthy because the organization is strongly in support of maintaining occupational licensing laws, but also agrees that Nebraska’s current occupational licensing requirements are “archaic,” according to a letter submitted to the Health and Human Services Committee.
PBA says that the 2,100 hour requirement puts beauty industry students in too much debt, keeps potential employees out of the workforce for too long, and provides no additional benefits of practitioner competence or public safety than other training programs used nationally.
Nebraska is one of only a handful of states that requires 2,100 hours to earn cosmetology or barbering licensing, which is the country’s highest hourly requirement for cosmetology. Most states require 1,500 hours or less for both fields. Nebraska’s 1,000 hour requirement for massage therapy licensing is also the country’s highest along with New York State, while most states require only 500 hours.
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.
Three questions the Platte Institute asks when evaluating occupational licensing requirements for reform are:
1) Is the licensing requirement more burdensome than requirements in Nebraska’s most reasonable neighboring states or the country at large?
2) Does the licensing requirement create reciprocity issues for qualified workers seeking to locate or operate in Nebraska?
3) Has the state considered less-restrictive regulatory or marketplace alternatives to occupational licensure?
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska.