2016 Bills

HB44: Establishing Alternative Pathways to Heavy- Handed Licensure

This bill was not considered by the legislature.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

A recent nationwide study found Utah to be the 12th most onerously licensed state in the nation. This is a metric that harms free enterprise in our state. Utahns should have the right to work and engage in their occupation free from government mandates to obtain a permission slip from bureaucrats. House Bill 44, sponsored by Representative Jon Stanard, aims to ensure closer review of these regulations.

Too often, industries seek to create barriers to entry for new practitioners using government regulation via increased occupational licensing requirements. These occupational licensure regulations are one of the biggest ways government interferes in the free market. The Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Committee is important in reigning in the increase in such licensing regulations and in ensuring that when regulations do exist, they avoid unnecessary intrusions on individual liberty. Expanding the scope of the committee’s work in this area will further help to bring scrutiny on state regulations.

We have written about a recent Supreme Court ruling that calls into question the actions of licensure boards that restrict competitive markets. It is important that Utah acts to reign in the regulations imposed by occupational licensing schemes in the state—not just in order to preserve free enterprise, but also to avoid legal liability.

This bill modifies the statute governing the committee that reviews all new requests for state licensure of professions (sunrise reviews). This committee also reviews the sunset provision for statutes that license occupations. This bill aims to broaden the reach of the committee by allowing it to review “any occupational or professional licensure matter” outside of a sunrise or sunset review, and to also conduct sunset reviews for all licensed occupations in the state, no matter the section of code they are licensed under.

Additionally, the bill clarifies that in reviewing the creation (sunrise) of new regulations for occupations, the committee can consider a “less restrictive alternative to licensing, including registration or certification” in order to “avoid unnecessary regulation and intrusion upon individual liberties by the state, while still protecting the health and safety of the public.” These are good ways to check occupational licensure in Utah and will help to promote and preserve free enterprise and the right of Utahns to freely pursue their careers.