Free Market

Utah Requires Licensure for Bedding and Upholstered Furniture

In a meeting this morning before the Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Committee, representatives from the Utah Department of Health explained that they require individuals to be licensed in order to create bedding, upholstered furniture, and “quilted clothing.”

As was explained, many of the seven licenses required in this industry “go back to the early 1900s, back at a time when things ‘ran amok’ and people were manufacturing products and stuffing them with whatever materials were readily available.”

The agency representative offered an example to the committee, saying that a few years ago they “found some outerwear claiming it was being sold with down feathers.” The agency “obtained a few of these jackets and took them to a laboratory” for testing, finding they were filled with polyester. They then “took action against the company.”

As you might imagine, bedding licensure is not common. The agency representative “guesstimated” that around 10 other states require manufacturers to obtain these licenses, then defensively explaining that all the other states that do not require licensure “depend on us states who have these programs to make sure commodities being sold in the marketplace meet the FTC standards.”

These licenses can be repealed without any concern for public safety. Fraud and consumer protections are enforced by other agencies within government. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food should be relieved of a century-old burden to micromanage upholsterers and clothiers.

A recent report by the Institute for Justice found that Utah has the 13th most burdensome licensure laws compared to other states. A policy brief issued by Libertas Institute advocates for a constitutional amendment to address and comprehensively resolve the problematic surge in licensure.