Matt Powers · January 12, 2016

“The elites and special interests will tell you that these [occupational] licenses are necessary. But often they have been designed to kill competition or keep out the little guy.”

“So let’s eliminate them.”

Those are Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s words from his State of the State address yesterday. According to Gov. Ducey, these licenses create a “maze of bureaucracy for small business people looking to earn an honest living.”

The Governor’s remarks are understandable. Arizona was ranked as the “most broadly and onerously licensed state” according to IJ’s 2012 report, License to Work. The report compared licensing laws for 102 middle-to-low income occupations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Occupational licensing is one of the few issues that that has bipartisan agreement in the need for reform. In addition to IJ’s groundbreaking report in 2012, in 2015 the White House report Occupational Licensing: A Framework for Policymakers also called for major reforms on occupational licensing.

Celeste Kelly knows the burdens of occupational licensing firsthand. She, along with Grace Granatelli and Stacey Kollman were three Arizona entrepreneurs that spent hundreds of hours learning about animal anatomy and massage techniques to obtain private certifications in animal massage. But, the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board declared that only veterinarians could perform these services. It ordered animal message therapists to stop. And if they didn’t they could face potential jail time or thousands of dollars in fines for each instance in which they performed their service.

Human massage therapists are not required to become doctors to perform their services. Animal message therapists should not have a different standard applied to their profession. Animals are not being protected by the board’s actions, but veterinarian profits are.