Minnesota Economic Liberty

Creating a Statutory Right to an Occupation

Minnesota Economic Liberty Legislation
Entrepreneur Jim Dolphy (at podium), is a tree trimmer from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, was shut down by the City of Minneapolis.  He'd like only to work without excessive regulations.

During tough economic times, the government should encourage job creation, not stifle it with unnecessary regulations. But in Minnesota entrepreneurs are often forced to get permission from the government before they can go into business or hire new employees.

During the 2012 legislative session, Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature have a historic opportunity to pass comprehensive reforms of the state’s needlessly restrictive occupational regulations. Such laws create barriers to entry, decrease the number of jobs and restrict consumer choices without providing real consumer protection.

The bipartisan-sponsored Licensing Relief and Job Creation Act (LRJCA) (SF 1629/HF 2002), authored by Senator Chris Gerlach and Representative Keith Downey, requires the government to show there is a real threat to public health and safety before it enacts future occupational regulations or enforces current laws.

The legislation recognizes that licensing laws are bad for Minnesota entrepreneurs and consumers. Entrepreneurs are hurt because such laws protect industry insiders from honest competition. Licensing reduces jobs by forcing entrepreneurs to meet expensive and unnecessary requirements before they can start working. In fact, converting licensing laws to certification laws could help create more than 15,000 new jobs in Minnesota.

Moreover, Minnesota’s consumers are worse off because licensing laws reduce the number of providers from which consumers can choose and force them to pay up to $3.6 billion more for services, while reducing economic growth in the state by up to $1.1 billion annually.

Most importantly, the Licensing Relief and Job Creation Act shifts the burden to the government to justify restrictions on Minnesotans’ right to pursue an occupation. In the process, it liberates entrepreneurs not only to create jobs and increase economic activity but also to fulfill their American dreams.


Essential Background

Model Legislation

Backgrounder: Minnesota Legislators Must Reform Occupational Regulations To Create Opportunities and Jobs

Right to Engage in an Occupation (PDF)

Right to Engage in an Occupation (Word DOC)

Release: Gerlach, Downey to Introduce Pro-Jobs Occupation Licensing Bills (February 13, 2012)
Read: Bill SF1629

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Reports, Maps, Charts and Facts

Op-ed: Saint Paul Pioneer Press Lee McGrath: Create Minnesota jobs with bipartisan reform of licensing regulations (November 14, 2011)

none available

Op-ed: StarTribune City rules on tree trimming are onerous (November 14, 2011)


Email Address
Please enter a valid email address

Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
© 1997-2015