The 2017 session of the Nebraska Legislature is winding down, but some lawmakers will be spending more time in Lincoln in the months ahead to study the state’s unfinished business on occupational licensing reform.
While 3 major bills reforming burdensome job licenses were passed unanimously in the legislative session as of this writing, many similar bills were not advanced from committee, or did not see a full legislative debate.
That means even with a few licenses being eliminated or made optional, Nebraska still has a long way to go when it comes to reviewing and right-sizing its nearly 200 job licenses and their many requirements.
But with numerous legislative studies on job licensing reform slated for the summer and autumn months, Nebraska State Senators may brush up on these issues enough to give more legislation a chance next year.
Legislative interim studies are conducted by the committees responsible for specific legislative topics.
The two committees that will be holding studies on occupational licensing in 2017 are the Health and Human Services Committee, which is responsible for most licensing in personal care and health care professions, and the Business and Labor Committee, which reviews bills related to many other types of careers, including contract labor.
Here are licensed professions that will be the subjects of interim studies, along with the legislative resolution number for each profession:
Health and Human Services Committee
Barber – LR229
Body Artist (Piercing and Tattooing) – LR231
Cosmetologist – LR232
Electrologist – LR226
Esthetician – LR230
Nail Technician – LR227
Massage Therapist – LR228
Business and Labor Committee
Farm Labor Contractor - LR185
The interim studies will evaluate Nebraska’s reciprocity with other state licensing requirements. Being out of alignment with these regulations can make it difficult for licensed workers to relocate to Nebraska and puts greater costs on Nebraska’s current workforce and consumers.
Also, as the Federal Trade Commission reports, not all careers that are currently licensed necessarily need to be licensed in order to protect public safety. Other alternatives including certification, registration, or other regulations may reduce barriers to entry while protecting public health and safety.
In the case of several of these professions, Nebraska’s job licensing requirements are far more costly or time-consuming than most other states. For example, cosmetologists, barbers, and massage therapists in Nebraska are all required to take significantly more training hours than the national average to enter their professions, while farm labor contractors are not required to be licensed in most states, and are already part of a federal registration program.