Government regulates businesses and occupations for the health and safety of citizens. But over the years, state and federal licensing requirements have expanded to the point they are hindering access to the job market.
Young people just entering the market are especially vulnerable to licensing barriers.
Reducing these mandates is getting bipartisan support, and states — including Michigan — are starting to scale back on licensing. They should.
A White House report from last July noted that licensing requirements now cover “a very broad set of workers” such as florists, scrap metal recyclers, barbers and auctioneers.
“In total, about 25 percent of today’s U.S. workforce is in an occupation licensed at the state level, up from less than 5 percent in the early 1950s,” according to the report.
And if someone is caught working without a necessary license, that individual could face fines — even prison.
Michigan lawmakers have made progress in reducing some of these unnecessary and harmful regulations. Yet more work is needed.
For example, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, has a bill that would exempt yoga teacher training programs from a state licensure mandate on private trade schools. These mandates include a host of fees, inspections and regulations, and are prohibitive to smaller studios offering the classes.
Plus, many people take yoga teaching courses just for their own benefit.
“The regulations reportedly have created a business environment that deters many yoga instructors from offering or expanding instruction programs,” a Senate Fiscal Agency report states.
The Senate has passed this bill. The House should, too.