North Carolina requires occupational licensing for more than 700 professions, which generates an absurd amount of bureaucracy and red tape. Occupational licensing forces people to pay a fee, and often go through needless additional training, in order to legally practice their profession in the state.
Such paperwork and fees can impose a heavy burden on people – especially low-income individuals – who simply want to earn a living at their chosen trade. Such burdens, of course, serve to protect established professionals by creating more hurdles for potential new entrants. Incumbent firms and professionals can typically afford to complete paperwork and pay fees more easily than an aspiring newcomer to the field can.
The result is less competition in those industries, driving up the cost to consumers. These restrictions also deny citizens a chance to pursue their dream of earning a living in their preferred profession by establishing barriers that in some cases may be too difficult to clear. Licensing laws stifle job growth in the regulated industries, as research has shown job creation in the licensed professions to be far more stagnant than those without the regulatory burdens.
Which brings us to this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.
House Bill 191, Occupational License/Amend Fee List Barber Examiners Board, sponsored by Reps. Michele Presnell (R-Haywood) and Mitchell Setzer (R-Catawba), would double the fee to register as a licensed barber in NC, and significantly raise another 20 fees related to the barber profession. An equivalent bill has been introduced in the Senate, SB 623, and is sponsored by Sen. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson).
States should be seeking legislation to peel back burdensome and often unnecessary occupational licensing laws. Unfortunately, HB 191/SB 623 doubles down on this harmful practice and makes the burden even heavier.
For these reasons, HB 191/SB 623 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.