North Carolina has so many occupational licensing boards and commissions, they can’t even count them accurately. This fact was highlighted in a Civitas “Waste of the Week” feature last May:
The Attorney General’s office lists 55 Boards, while a legislative oversight committee lists 57. According to the audit, “When asked how state-level entities compile their Board listings, one entity responded that it initially received its listing from another state agency but it now receives updates by ‘word of mouth’ from Board administrators and chairmen.”
Indeed, a Civitas report in 2012 found more than 700 professions require professional licensing in NC, many of them are completely superfluous and can’t be remotely defended on the (faulty) grounds of “public safety.”
Fortunately, a bill was recently introduced to address this issue. Senate bill 361, sponsored by Fletcher Hartsell (R-Union) would form a commission to study the “feasibility of establishing a single State agency to oversee the administration of all or some of the occupational licensing boards” and “eliminating some occupational licensing boards.”
This is a step in the right direction, one can only hope that the elimination of some licensing boards means eliminating the licensing requirements of those professions. Occupational licensing largely serves to create barriers to entry for new entrants to select professions, serving to restrict the supply and putting upward pressure prices of the services they provide. Such licensing disproportionately affects low-income people trying to enter a chosen profession, but lack the resources to attain the license.