WILL, Badger Institute: Reform Occupational Licensing for a Better Wisconsin Economy

Free-market groups partner to make the case for reform

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) partnered with the Badger Institute to publish A Primer on Occupational Licensing. The organizations teamed up to make the case for reform in Wisconsin by highlighting the costs and consequences of occupational licensing in the Badger State. Research finds occupational licensing:

  • Limits employment and opportunity
  • Raises prices
  • Hinders worker mobility

Wisconsin currently issues over one million occupational licenses for over 280 different credential types regulated by nearly a dozen state agencies. The vast majority of licenses are regulated by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) where the number of credential holders in the health and business professions has grown rapidly.

Solutions: WILL is supporting two critical occupational licensing reforms under consideration in the legislature this session.

  • Sunrise Review: This legislation would ensure that proposed occupational licenses would undergo a thorough and objective review to determine whether they would protect health and public safety or just hinder competition (SB 541 / AB 605).
    • 14 states have sunrise review laws.
  • Universal recognition for service members, spouses, veterans: This legislation recognizes a license in good standing from any state for service members, their spouses, and recent veterans. This will ensure that those who serve and sacrifice for our country can get to work in Wisconsin (SB 654 / AB 731).
    • Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Montana have passed similar laws.

The Quotes: “For too long, licensing advocates have worked overtime to convince policymakers that Wisconsin needs more regulation and more red tape,” said Collin Roth, policy analyst and director of communication for WILL. “Our primer will provide lawmakers and activists with the arguments and research to make the case that the current licensing system needs urgent reform.”

“The current trend of creating a new occupational license every time one is sought by an industry hurts Wisconsin’s consumers and aspiring workers,” said Julie Grace, Badger Institute policy analysis and co-author of the primer. “Licensing has a real-world and often detrimental impact on Wisconsin residents and the state economy. The primer can be a valuable resource for legislators tasked with making these important decisions.”

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