On September 11, the FTC announced its Economic Liberty Task Force (Task Force) will hold its second roundtable in Washington, DC on November 7, to examine the “economic and legal aspects of occupational licensing regulations” and the need for reform. The discussion will include input from economic and policy experts on licensing costs and benefits, and cover the ways licensure requirements affect employers, workers, consumers, and the overall economy. The Task Force notes that almost 30 percent of U.S. jobs now require some form of license, which, based on recent studies, causes the burden of “excessive occupational licensing” to disproportionally affect economically disadvantaged citizens—especially military families—and causes harm due to the “complexity and duplication of state-by-state licensing requirements and fees, combined with a lack of reciprocity among states.” An alternative policy approach, the Task Force notes, might include voluntary certification or other methods that would offer protection against unqualified service providers. Earlier this year, the Task Force held its first roundtable to discuss interstate license portability.
In conjunction with the announcement of the roundtable, on September 12, Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law to describe the FTC’s efforts to study the effects of occupational licensing. Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s written testimony emphasized the need for regulatory analysis and reform and cautioned that “excessive occupational licensing can leave consumers and workers worse off, by impeding competition without offering meaningful protection from legitimate health and safety risks.”