CNBC: Institute for Justice Taking on a “Labyrinth of Licensing Laws”

A recent CNBC article highlighted several of IJ’s cases in the realm of occupational licensing, saying:

But in recent years, red tape faced by small businesses in various states has intensified, according to the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm that fights to limit the size of government. That’s why they are taking on small business regulations like Wisconsin’s “cookie ban,” as well as a seemingly labyrinth of licensing laws for a variety of occupations.

The article gives three examples of egregious regulations that IJ has taken on, including a ban on selling home-baked goods in Wisconsin, strict licensing requirements for hair braiders in Iowa, and the restriction of speech by unlicensed tour guides in South Carolina.

CNBC names some of the most surprising specifics:

Examples include a written test for tour guides that can test knowledge of celebrities like Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish. Another law requires more than 2,000 hours of costly training as a condition of a cosmetology license.

IJ Senior Attorney Robert McNamara was quoted on the growth of stringent licensing requirements:

“In the 1950s about 5 percent of the workforce needed a license to work, and they were doctors, lawyers — the people you would expect. Today, that number is over 20 percent — they’re florists, interior designers and hair braiders,” said Robert McNamara, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. “We are in the midst of an explosion of occupational licensing laws in this country.”

Read more about IJ’s work on licensing here.

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