The Right to Work: Taming Occupational Licensure

Authored by Connor Boyack, President

A century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that “the right to work for a living … is of the essence of that personal freedom and opportunity which it was the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment to secure.” Utah law should protect this freedom and opportunity.

But a report of occupational licensure laws by the Institute for Justice recently found that Utah has the 13th most burdensome laws compared to other states. Clearly, there is opportunity for reform.

Utah’s Constitution says that “a free market system shall govern trade and commerce,” but this principle is often violated. While reasonable regulations can protect public health and safety, occupational licensure laws in Utah often exceed this limited scope, creating unnecessary and unfair barriers to entry.

We propose a constitutional amendment to protect one’s right to work, which will require the government’s regulation of that right to be evidence-based and narrowly tailored.

Read More in our Public Policy Brief