Occupational Licensing

Arizona's Governor to Licensing Boards: What Is It That You Do?

More than two dozen licensing boards have until June to give him an answer.

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Office Space; Judgemental Films; 20th Century Fox

Doing his best impression of John McGinley's character in Office Space, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order last week asking his state's assortment of licensing boards to explain "what would you say ya do here?"

More than two dozen licensing boards have until the end of June to make their case to the governor office, explaining how requiring a government permission slip before someone can cut hair, install an air conditioner, or work in a pharmacy protects innocent Arizonans from the scourge of unlicensed workers. In addition to a "critical and comprehensive review" of all licensing laws, the new executive order instructs boards to take action to reduce unwarranted regulatory burdens and administrative delays that slow the issuance of licenses.

"There is great value and purpose in work," Ducey said in a statement. "Government should never stand in the way of someone's efforts to start a new life or profession."

When it comes to erecting barriers to employment, though, Arizona is among the nation's leaders. The state requires licenses for 64 different professions, second only to Louisiana (which has 71 different state licenses), according to a 2012 report from the Institute for Justice, a national libertarian law firm, tracking state licensing requirements. According to IJ, Arizona also stands out for having some of the most onerous licensing laws. Though the requirements vary widely from license to license, Arizona requires an average of 599 days—more than a year and a half—of training before granting permission to work.

Ducey is right to investigate whether those requirements actually protect the public or if they exist solely to restrict employment and competition in certain professions.

For example, Arizona is one of only five states to require a license for contractors working on residential air conditioning and heating systems. Getting that license requires 1,460 days of training—despite the fact that 45 other states get by without such requirements.

"Regulatory boards serve one purpose and one purpose only," the executive order says, to protect the public from harm. "All other issues beyond that one purpose can, and should, be handled by the private market."

Too often, licensing boards exist to protect the interests of incumbent businesses. There's no shortage of examples, but maybe the best recent case came from right there in Arizona. In February, the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology launched an official investigation of Juan Carlos Montesdeoca, a cosmetology student, after Montesdeoca organized an event to provide free haircuts to the homeless.

Ducey found out about the investigation after it was reported in the media (including by Reason), and he was not very happy about it.

Licensing rules have been proliferating for years, with little skepticism from state officials. Finally, that's starting to change. Gov. Phil Bryant in Mississippi is expected later this month to sign a bill implementing a series of major reforms to his state's licensing rules, including a provision that gives executive branch officials greater oversight over rules passed by boards.

The Federal Trade Commission is launching a new economic liberty task force to help states fix problematic licensing laws—and potentially punish states that don't take steps to curb regulatory boards acting in blatantly anti-competitive ways.

Ducey's executive order is a good first step towards freeing Arizona from the grip of the nation's most onerous licensing regime, and the state legislature has been busy too.

This session, it passed a bill requiring that any occupational regulation—including occupational licensing laws but also regulations on people already in the business—must be proven by the state to be "necessary to specifically fulfill a public health, safety, or welfare concern." Another bill working its way through the legislature would change how courts handle challenges to licensing rules or other government regulations by ordering courts not to defer to administrative agency decisions. In other words, courts would no longer have to accept that a student broke the law by cutting hair without a license simply because the state board says he did.

"These three things together are a very strong step toward economic liberty in Arizona," said Tim Sandefur, vice president of the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, a free market think tank that has pushed for the passage of those two bills, told Reason via email.

At the very least, it should be amusing to see how some of those boards justify their continued existence.

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71 responses to “Arizona's Governor to Licensing Boards: What Is It That You Do?

  1. Arizona’s Governor to Licensing Boards: What Is It That You Do?
    More than two dozen licensing boards have until June to give him an answer.

    Ok, this headline just gave me a semi.

    Reading on…

    1. Comparison pics, like say against…a number 2 pencil and a can of Red Bull? Thanks.

      1. After we get done crying into the wilderness about licenses…

        Can we then spare some time for crying and shouting into the wilderness, about why I need a God-Damned physician’s permission to scratch my ass or pick my nose, these days?!?!

        (I have a “prescription” for the “disease” of high medical costs, and it is called “freedom”).

        1. That new BMW for Junior to drive to his classes at Harvard ain’t going to pay for itself.

          1. Junior’s degree in artisinal, nepalese blind-monk basket weaving sure won’t pay for the BMW. or itself.

            1. Not until you call it art and get funding from the NEA.

        2. Well, I once picked my nose without a prescription. I didn’t stop until blood was gushing out of my nostrils.

          I don’t even want to tell you what happened when I scratched my ass without my doc’s consent.

          1. I don’t even want to tell you what happened when I scratched my ass without my doc’s consent.

            Your reticence is greatly appreciated.

            1. Spoiler: He chewed his fingernails right after.

  2. Arizona’s Board of Cosmetology responded: “I already told you: I deal with the god damn stylists so the estheticians don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?”

    1. *shakes tiny fist*
      Two minutes earlier and much better!

      1. Thank you, but please leave Fist alone; he is fragile!!

  3. I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

  4. Arizona requires an average of 599 days

    Being a slight bit of a stat nerd, I assumed this was a ‘bogus average’ where being a State Licensed Public Building Contractor required 10 yrs. of experience and everything else was

    1. Parsing changes on the fly? Fuck you Reason comment squirrels!

      I was wrong. 2/3 of them are a year or more. Work that would require a weekend’s worth of training at most and access to exclusive equipment that can be found at any Home Depot require a full year of experience and an exam. The average is a pretty good indicator.

      *grabs red stapler, heads back to basement*


  5. “Regulatory boards serve one purpose and one purpose only,” the executive order says, to protect the public from harm. “All other issues beyond that one purpose can, and should, be handled by the private market.”

    Board Member: So why do you think you deserve a carve out here, Mr. Applicant?

    Applicant: Well uhh…y’know…someone could maybe fall while doing this install job? We figure they might need…uhh…lets say a year of training not to do that?

    Board Member: Fall, you say! My God, man, thank you for coming to us!

    *slams giant rubber approved stamp down on the licensing requirement*

    FOR THE CHILDREN!

    Sorry, but lets just say I’m not holding my breath that this will have much effect in the medium-to-long run. If we all collectively recall, this is exactly where we started out.

    1. ^ this. If courts can continue to find that parents are negligent when not watching their kid 24/7 without any statistics to show a real and existing problem. Then any “potential” danger can be used to justify a licensing board. Like the one board lady said in some video past: (paraphrased) “unlicensed barbers might not clean their tools which can spread disease”

      1. They can cover that in a class that takes 30 minutes.

        1. Probably. But you wouldn’t believe the licensing requirements needed to teach people how to clean their instruments! They have to recoup that cost somehow, in time if not only in money.

    2. Even this is rather generous.

      My competition in the contract residential floor sanding business, whether they’re from right up the street or California or Utah or God knows where, might harm the public by charging them too little and providing them with sub-par contract residential floor sanding services.

      Additionally, many of these boards are acting on behest of other boards and municipal organizations that have an explicit self interest in increased regulation with nepotistic professional regulation as fringe benefit. Dumb schmucks off the street get jobs at pharmacies and veterinarians in order to steal drugs. It doesn’t actually or necessarily require any brains or training that 80+% of the population hasn’t already got in order to do these jobs but, if you wait out the junkies, eventually withdrawal kicks in and they go somewhere else.

      1. so, thanks to the drug war, we need occupational licensing?

        Govt really is the gift that keeps on giving. Good and hard.

    3. Well, licensing boards also support the 8.5 X 11 document frame industry.

  6. Last week I got my hair cut at a haircut chain store (In Florida).
    I asked the young lady about her licensing:
    1200 hours!
    She was lucky there was a Jcollege nearby so it “only” cost her $5000.
    Some schools run $10,000… to cut hair!
    She couldn’t go to school full time so it took her 18 months! Did I mention this is to cut hair?

    1. There are other treatments. Dyeing and bleaching. Perms.

      1. Doesn’t matter. If she wants to cut hair, and only cut hair….1200 hours.

        1. But once she has that license she can start dyeing and bleacing all willynilly, in defiance of her current stated desire.

          You WANT children to die in the streets, admit it.

          1. Well, the children of licensing board members, sure….

        2. Sat for a trim by a fellow who had to completed cosmetology training was unable to give me the full service because using a razor requires a separate licence.

          Many licenced profession have a high degrees of “continued certification” requirements. At each stage of “improvement” or every renewal conference the anointed are encouraged to market the value of this education to the customer and justify inflated prices as the cost of expertise. And don’t forget to stress to the public the low moral character of the criminal who would suggest that a job could get done without the full support and approval of the wise and benevolent government.

          1. This makes me realize Scientology and government licensing aren’t all that different.

        3. Have you seen what happens when we let people notboicensed to taxi drive people around? We get uber. Uber raping and mustering women, minorities, and children wantonly all over the country. Why in my town, whole pack of uber drivers just drove in and raped all the women in sight, and minorities too. And no regulations to stop em.

    2. I cut my own hair. I got a kit from Wahl. It has instructions. You follow the instructions, you cut your (or your kid’s) hair with the $25 kit, and you are on your way to saving money (plus the travel and hassle of going to the barber.) Of course, I also glue or butterfly small cuts, to avoid the $300 bandaid.

    3. My odgay!!! My mother just gave me a set of scissors and a clipper and said watch what I do. Oh, wait … that was for dogs. Humans have a lot more hair, er, well, uhm, well it’s harder to cut … well, maybe not harder than a show dog cut … but but … give me a minute, I’ll come up with some good reason.

    4. I cut my own hair and my son’s. I’m probably in some violation of some law somewhere. Oh the humanity!

  7. To become a cop in Arizona requires 73 days of training.

  8. To become a cop in Arizona requires 73 days of training.

    1. Proof positive that you get what you fucking pay for.

  9. Number one, it’s going to be hard for the agencies to respond in only 2 months.

    Number two, I do not envy the governor having to read the responses. They will be padded more that an 5th grader’s essay that has to be 1000 words long.

    1. Don’t all of these agencies have some kind of bullshit mission statement ready to go?

      1. If they’re ISO 9001 certified they do!

  10. Architects & Interior Designers
    Athlete Agents
    Athletic & Entertainment Commission
    Athletic Trainers
    Auctioneers
    Cemeteries
    Chiropractors
    Conditioned Air Contractors
    Cosmetologists and Barbers
    Dietitians
    Dispensing Opticians
    Electrical Contractors
    Engineers & Land Surveyors
    Foresters
    Funeral Directors & Embalmers
    Geologists
    Hearing Aid Dealers & Dispensers
    Immigration Assistance
    Lactation Consultants
    Landscape Architects
    Librarians
    Low Voltage Contractors
    Massage Therapy
    Music Therapy
    Nursing
    Nursing Home Administrators
    Occupational Therapists
    Optometry
    Physical Therapists
    Plumbers
    Podiatry
    Private Detectives & Security Agencies
    Prof Coun/Soc Work/Marriage
    Psychology
    Residential and General Contractors
    Speech Pathologists and Audiologists
    Used Motor Vehicle Dealers
    Used Motor Vehicle Parts
    Utility Contractors
    Veterinary Medicine
    Water & Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators

    1. That’s the state of Georgia’s occupational licensing. Now I can see that if you’re going to the library you want to make sure you’ve got a licensed librarian helping you, and not just anybody can figure out how to milk a titty, but what’s an unlicensed embalmer gonna do – fuck up a corpse?

      1. Of course Georgia is one of only 5 other states that licenses air conditioner repair/install.

        My brother mentioned that even with years of experience and a certification from a trade school that he still needed to be sponsered by a licensed employer for whom he has worked for X number of years, take a test and have the certification just to get a license to start his own business

      2. You wouldn’t want granmas eyes popping out.

        Your comment reminds me of all the headlines I’ve seen over the years that read something like “100s of unprocessed bodies at local funeral home hidden in garden shed”. I never thought about what happened to the schmuck running those places but now I know. He lost his licence.

      3. but what’s an unlicensed embalmer gonna do – fuck up a corpse?

        Iowa’s grain-based agrarian economy is actually an exceedingly poorly licensed and regulated forestry industry.

    2. Athlete Agents
      Athletic & Entertainment Commission
      Athletic Trainers
      Auctioneers

      Conditioned Air Contractors
      Cosmetologists and Barbers
      Dietitians
      Dispensing Opticians

      Foresters

      Geologists
      Hearing Aid Dealers & Dispensers
      Immigration Assistance
      Lactation Consultants
      Landscape Architects
      Librarians
      Low Voltage Contractors
      Massage Therapy
      Music Therapy

      Nursing Home Administrators
      Occupational Therapists

      Podiatry

      Prof Coun/Soc Work/Marriage

      Speech Pathologists and Audiologists
      Used Motor Vehicle Dealers
      Used Motor Vehicle Parts

      1. Those are the boards that can quietly go independent or be rolled under another entity without much effort. The others would take more doing. But ultimately all of this could be done by trade groups without state interference.

  11. When it comes to erecting barriers to employment, though, Arizona is among the nation’s leaders. The state requires licenses for 64 different professions, second only to Louisiana (which has 71 different state licenses), according to a 2012 report from the Institute for Justice

    Damn leftist statists!

    1. So you’re fine with people with no qualifications working as pharmacists, electricians, builders, optometrists, and nurses?

      1. Perhaps he thinks these people should be qualified by independent trade groups and not by people with a monopoly on the use of force.

        1. :”…independent trade groups…

          These are essentially trade unions. That is, groups of people in some profession banding together to get their way in some field of workplace endeavour.

          In other words, would you be happy if only those who belonged to the nurses’ union could be nurses? Or if only those who belonged to the interior designers union could be interior designers?

      2. Qualifications and state issued licenses are two different things. Are you ok with cosmologists needing 1200 hours of school and cops needing 500?

        1. Cosmologists–people who investigate the origins of the universe–generally need a PhD, which in turn needs a Masters degree and a Bachelor’s degree in the Science. All that take time.

          In contrast, AFAIK you don’t need a university degree of any sort to be a cop.

  12. And why do they have until June? Why not this afternoon?
    More bullshit theater. Ducey playing the tough guy while stepping in line.

    1. So you’re fine with people with no qualifications and no training issuing drugs to you over a pharmacy counter, fixing the electrical wiring in your house, building your house, fixing your kids’ eyesight, or acting as a nurse or a doctor when you go in for an surgical operation?

      1. So you’re fine with people with no qualifications and no training issuing drugs to you over a pharmacy counter

        Yes. Believe it or not, I’m fine with people with no qualifications or training buying far more toxic, dangerous, and deadly stuff all by themselves on pretty much any aisle whether it has a pharmacy counter or not.

        1. Those two cases are NOT parallel. You buying toxic substances yourself in ignorance (presumably over the Net) is NOT the same as someone selling you something toxic in ignorance over pharmacy counter.

          You might as well claim that someone doctoring you withOUT medical qualifications, or even training, is the same you doctoring yourself without medical qualification If you die because of something you yourself did it would be labelled suicide. If somebody ELSE did it to you it’s called manslaughter.

          1. You miss the point Stephen. Clearly there is some benefit to having some guarantee of qualifications. And a service professional could price that according to its market value, and agree with a consumer what that’s worth.

            Why do you insist on the government on the best option to certify? Why not a privately held company providing certification? Then I can decide if I’m willing to pay for someone with a certification vs someone with years of experience and a high rating on, say, Angie’s List, or my neighbor, or some other person I trust. Doesn’t my freedom to associate mean anything to you?

      2. Yeah, because people don’t go to college or anything… We have to have jack-booted thugs hold guns to peoples’ heads and force them to jump through additional hoops… to whiten teeth… or braid eyebrows.

        Oh, and screw you for your inevitable and thoroughly cliche “WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!?!”

        1. .We have to have jack-booted thugs hold guns to peoples’ heads and force them to jump through additional hoops… to whiten teeth… or braid eyebrows.

          Apparently many Americans yearn for the days of patent medicines sold by quacks from the backs of wagons and when horse doctors could fix your teeth or doctor you ails and ailments. Or operate on you.

          By the way if your teeth are NOT sparkllng white chances are they are have more problems that no amount of whitening will fix.

          Oh, and screw you…

          Temper, temper!

      3. There’s a lot of evidence out there – I’m sure you are familiar with it, based on your comment – that if you let someone braid hair without a license, then you’ll soon have unlicensed surgeons chopping on people. Happens all over the place, all the time – thank God we have cosmetology licensing boards, because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to license anyone, ever, for anything. It’s a well-known fact. I saw it on the internet.

        1. I notice you cite an occupation (braiding hair) which nobody has ever heard of. Presumably because it is so safely innocuous that nobody could possibly complain if the one you paid to do it screwed up.

          You might have mentioned cutting hair (which is generally done by the same people who braid it: called barbers and hairdressers) but FYI that generally does require a license in most places.

          But it’s not just the long-suffering public who want qualified people to perform some particular job. Employers also want qualifications from those they hire. Ask yourself how many barbers would pay to hire an assistant to cut, braid or colour the hair of his or her clientele if they did NOT have some kind of formal qualifications?

          The point about license or any other formal qualification is that it is a sign that the person with the license who you go and hire knows what they are doing, and therefore are worth paying,

          So ask yourself this: why have all those licensing boards proliferated? It is not because a government somewhere woke up one morning and decided all taxidermists needed a license. It is because somewhere somebody with influence wanted that taxidermists licensing board put in place and pressured them to do so.

          1. Hair braiding is one of the tasks that has been, absurdly, subject to licensing in some places. As for “formal qualifications,” those do not in any way guarantee quality. I’ve been injured – twice – by licensed barbers, and have gotten God-knows how many bad haircuts. I want surgeons and dentists to be subject to licensing laws, but it’s their education that qualifies them to ply their trade. I also want truck drivers to be licensed, but if they are able to pass the appropriate test without 1,000 hours of training, why line the pockets of the owners of Truck Driver University? Most licensing regimes have nothing to do with quality, they are rackets to make money for training providers and serve mostly to protect not the public but the incumbents. Why the hell should landscape designers be licensed by anybody? Why should interior designers be licensed? Who the hell cares? Only the schools that provide the “training” give a s**t.

            1. Why the hell should landscape designers be licensed by anybody? Why should interior designers be licensed? Who the hell cares?

              Presumably the people who hire landscape designers or interior designers to work for them. By that I don’t just mean the clientele but also corporation in the business of landscape or interior design. They want to make sure the salaries they are paying these people are going to someone who knows what they are doing.

              After all, why would you hire somebody who you had no way of telling knew anything at all about landscape or interior design, and therefore would not wind up ruining your house or garden.

      4. I’m fine with the state not deciding for me what qualifications *I* deem important and what level of proof is sufficient *for me*.

        1. So you don’y mind an unlicensed doctor operating on you? Or an unlicensed dentist pulling your teeth?

  13. In 1968, I lived in New Orleans and started a TV repair business out of my home. It was slowly growing, and I decided to rent a “shop” and do it right. After the LA bureaucrats told me how expensive and long-term the required training was, I was desparate. So…….
    I went over to Waveland, MS city hall and asked about a permit. “Fill out this paper, and pay me $10, and you have a life-time permit.” We ended up living in a (self-built) beach house and enjoyed decades-long successful business!

  14. I would like to leave an incisive and witty comment but I live in Arizona and I have to get a permit first. So…….

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  17. ^This Fucker just won’t quit!

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