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AFP: Trump Administration Calling on States to Prioritize Occupational Licensing Reform

Jan 17, 2020 by AFP

ARLINGTON, Va. – Americans for Prosperity (AFP) praised the Trump administration for releasing its “Principles on Workforce Freedom and Mobility,” which calls on state governments to prioritize occupational licensing reform during the legislative session and issues recommended principles to remove barriers to work. As 2020 legislative sessions get underway, AFP believes embracing these principles will help expand access to fulfilling work and critical services for millions of Americans. 

AFP’s Vice President of Economic Opportunity Portfolio Russell Latino issued the following statement:

“Every American deserves the opportunity to pursue fulfilling work and support their families, but outdated and unfair occupational licensing laws serve as a real barrier to many reaching their full potential. Americans want to get to work, but too often our laws make it so difficult for them to do so. The Trump administration is taking an important step forward for American workers and we urge state lawmakers to follow their lead and empower people to pursue the professions of their choice.”


The Trump administration called on state governments to act on occupational licensure reform and issued six principles it believes are critical for good reform.

  1. States and territories should eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing regulations.
  2. States and territories should ensure that all occupational licensing regulations, including those currently in force, are the least restrictive necessary to protect consumers from significant and substantiated harm, ensure worker safety, and promote competition.
  3. States and territories should ensure that occupational licensure boards consider the negative effects of any proposed regulation on consumers and job seekers.
  4. States and territories should recognize the occupational licenses of other States and territories for those individuals who hold a license in good standing and who have not been subject to any complaint or discipline related to their license.
  5. States and territories should eliminate requirements that needlessly prevent individuals with a criminal record from earning a living in a field unrelated to their criminal conviction.
  6. States and territories should take immediate action to ensure that military spouses who accompany their spouses on permanent change-of-station orders are not adversely affected by occupational licensing regulations.

In the 1950s, about one-in-twenty Americans required a license to work. Today that number is one-in-four.

Occupational licenses are ostensibly intended to protect consumers from harm, butresearch and historical observations suggest licensing laws have negligible and even negative effects on health and safety. Instead, occupational licenses serve entrenched interests by insulating them from competition.

An Obama White House report also found that: “Licensing laws also lead to higher prices for goods and services… Moreover, in a number of other studies, licensing did not increase the quality of goods and services, suggesting that consumers are sometimes paying higher prices without getting improved goods or services.”

AFP is partnering with activists around the country to reform outdated and protectionist licensing laws. Just this week, AFP-IA launched the “Let Iowa Work” campaign, led by Mr. William Burt who is working to legalize mobile barbershops and roll back burdensome occupational licensing. View Mr. Burt’s story here.