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CHIPS Articles: FTC aims to reduce, eliminate unnecessary occupational relicensing impacting military families and lower income Americans

FTC aims to reduce, eliminate unnecessary occupational relicensing impacting military families and lower income Americans
By CHIPS Magazine - September 25, 2018
The Federal Trade Commission, which works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers, released a staff report examining ways to reduce the burden on licensed workers moving to new states or seeking to market services across state lines. The report is part of the FTC’s ongoing Economic Liberty Task Force initiative to reduce or eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing requirements which negatively affect the workforce and stunt economic growth.

The Report, titled, Options to Enhance Occupational License Portability, is part of the FTC’s Economic Liberty Task Force initiative, which began last year, and aims to reduce obstacles to job growth and labor mobility by encouraging states to reduce unnecessary and overbroad occupational licensing regulation, the FTC said.

Occupational licensing, when not necessary to safeguard legitimate public health and safety concerns, can impose real and lasting costs on both American workers and American consumers. These burdens often fall disproportionately on lower income Americans trying to break into the workforce and on military spouses who must move frequently and often are required to the time-consuming and costly need to be relicensed in a new location.

In recent decades, the number of occupations subject to state licensing requirements has increased dramatically, increasing financial costs and requirements on workers which prevent them from taking new jobs, or force them into lower income jobs, leading to further financial hardship.

Last year, the Task Force examined ways to mitigate the negative effects of state-based occupational licensing requirements. The Report looks at interstate compacts and model laws that states can use to improve the portability of occupational licenses. It examines procedures that might be adopted to facilitate multistate practice by those who already hold a valid license in one state. It also considers specific initiatives to reduce the burden of state relicensing on military spouses, the FTC reported.

Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen has long advocated reform in this area. “Most occupations are licensed state-by-state, meaning that a valid license in one state often will not easily transfer to a new state. This can create real hardships for those who cannot easily bear the costs of being relicensed, and can also reduce public access to trained professionals in rural areas who might otherwise be served by telehealth services or multistate practitioners. Today’s FTC staff report provides important, useful guidance to help state policymakers find ways of reducing these burdens,” Ohlhausen said.

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