NEWS CONFERENCE CALL with the Platte Institute
July 5, 2019
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Nebraska Legislature Begins First Year of Job Licensing Review
Former Senator’s Report Reviews Questions Policymakers Should Ask
OMAHA, NE - A news conference call with Platte Institute Senior Fellow for Job Licensing Reform Laura Ebke will be held Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. Central Time.
To call in, dial (605) 475-4000, Access Code: 106202#. The call may be recorded for broadcast and will include Q&A.
Ebke is the author of the new Platte Institute report “Job Licensing: Questions You Should Ask,” a guide for state senators and legislative staff who are about to begin the first year of Nebraska’s new job licensing review process. The report can be found at this link in PDF format with an author photo. It will be available at PlatteInstitute.org/Policy on July 10.
As a former Nebraska state senator, Ebke was the introducer of LB299, which was adopted in 2018 as the Occupational Board Reform Act. The new law took effect on July 1. Under the Act, the Nebraska Legislature’s standing committees will be required to review 20% of the state’s professional licensing laws each year in a continuous five year cycle.
Nebraska licenses just under 200 different occupations, or about 1 in 4 jobs in the state. State licensing laws have increased significantly across the country in recent decades, as more industries lobby legislatures for regulations that impose certain barriers to entry in their fields. This trend has prompted agencies like the Federal Trade Commission, and officials in both the Obama and Trump Administrations, to encourage states to adopt frameworks to scrutinize licensing laws and avoid state policies which can harm competition, entrepreneurship, or workforce mobility.
While licensing reform has made gains in state legislatures in recent years, Nebraska is among a small group of states that that is reducing its overall burden of job licensing, according to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Nebraska’s new review law will apply a standard level of scrutiny to the state’s requirements for getting a job or starting a business, and help identify when job licensing laws could be modified or replaced with less restrictive regulatory alternatives. The process itself will not repeal any licenses, but the findings from the committees could be incorporated into legislative bills.
“Job Licensing: Questions to Ask” is adapted from a previously released publication by The Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation. It includes a foreword by Ebke along with excerpts from her past writings on licensing reform in Nebraska. As the title implies, the report is mostly a list of questions senators and their staff can ask to determine whether the state’s job licensing policies are serving the public interest.
“Policymakers need to ask themselves important questions as they both review existing licensing and consider the need for new licenses,” Ebke writes.
“The decision to regulate occupations, or deregulate them, should be a result of careful consideration of public safety and health. Too many times, we license without asking questions about that,” Ebke writes.
Although the first year of the Occupational Board Reform Act is just beginning, the Nebraska Legislature has continued to make progress on piecemeal reforms to licensing laws.
In 2019, senators passed a waiver for licensing fees in real estate and professions regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services for military families and other eligible workers. The Unicameral also eliminated a requirement for a post-secondary degree for applicants for a real property appraiser license, and allowed licensed massage therapists to practice in mobile establishments.
To schedule an interview with Laura Ebke on this topic, please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. For more media resources, please visit PlatteInstitute.org/Media.