Occupational Licensing in Maine
What is Occupational Licensing?
Occupational licensing is a permit issued by the government that allows someone to work in a particular field. In Maine, almost one out of every four workers must now get an occupational license before they can legally do their job. But many of these licenses are too strict, and they don’t even improve service quality or protect the public from actual harm.
Licenses Create Barriers to Working in Maine
Occupational licenses often impose high barriers to entry. That makes it much harder for people to find work or to start a new business. According to the Institute for Justice’s report, License to Work, the average license for low- and moderate-income jobs in Maine takes 323 days of education and experience. And those required classes can be very expensive.
For instance, cosmetology is one of the state’s most popular licenses. In Maine, it takes at least 1,500 hours of classes to get a license in cosmetology. On average, a cosmetology program in the state costs $15,279, while the average student takes out $6,814 in federal student loans. But despite such a hefty investment, many cosmetologists barely earn enough to get by: Half of Maine cosmetologists make less than $25,490 a year.
All told, the state’s licensing requirements come with heavy costs. A separate study by IJ, At What Cost?, estimated that occupational licensing costs the state’s economy $1.36 billion and leads to nearly 13,000 fewer jobs each year.
Licensing Lawsuits by the Institute for Justice in Maine
IJ filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joshua Gray, a Massachusetts private investigator. Gray wanted to expand his business into his home state of Maine and needed the corresponding license from the Maine Department of Public Safety. But after Gray wrote a Facebook post that criticized the DPS for how they handled a fatal shooting in a Facebook post, his license application was denied, with the Department citing Gray’s Facebook post as proof that he lacked the required “good moral character” to operate in Maine. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take his case.
Sunrise Review in Maine
Under “sunrise review,” whenever a new job regulation is proposed, state regulators must determine whether the regulation is needed, its potential costs and burdens, and if there are any less restrictive alternatives. Between 2000 and 2010, Maine regulators conducted 13 sunrise reviews for 13 different occupations. And those proposed regulations were unfounded: None of Maine’s sunrise reviews recommended creating new licenses. Unfortunately, although sunrise review in Maine has been “thorough” and “rigorous,” according to an IJ study, the state hasn’t produced a sunrise review since 2010.
Can You Get a License to Work with a Criminal Record in Maine?
In Maine, boards can deny licenses based on any crime “relating to” the license sought, which gives boards significant leeway. Applicants also must bear the burden of proof and show that they have been rehabilitated. However, the state does ban non-medical boards from considering convictions older than three years (the limit is 10 years for medical licenses). Overall, Maine received a C- in IJ’s Barred from Working report.
How You Can Help
If you are anMaine resident and you want to help fight against these unfair and unnecessary licensing laws, there are a few ways you can get involved. You can donate to the Institute for Justice, sign up for our email updates, and share our message with your network. Together, we can make sure that allMaine workers have the economic liberty they deserve.
Maine OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING CASES
Joshua Gray, a private investigator, wanted to expand his business into his home state of Maine. In violation of his First Amendment rights, the state denied his request for a license, because he has criticized…
Maine Occupational Licensing In The News
Are Occupational Licenses Preventing You From Working in Maine ?
Are you not able to exercise your job or open a business because of burdensome occupational licensing requirements in your state?
Are you forced to waste valuable time and money to become licensed?
We might be able to help.
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Occupational Licensing Research
This third edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report finds that for lower-income Americans, licensing continues to be widespread, burdensome and—frequently—irrational. It also provides a blueprint for meaningful licensing reform.
Cosmetology | Economic Liberty
Cosmetology is one of the most widely and onerously regulated occupations for lower-income workers, yet little research has explored the experiences of aspiring beauty workers. This first-of-its-kind study takes advantage of federal educational…
Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing
Earning an honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work, thwarting their chances of successful reentry.
Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing
Not only do state occupational licensing laws force people to spend a lot of time and money earning a license instead of earning a living, they also impose real economic costs. This study takes advantage…
Learn more about our Economic Liberty work.
Economic liberty—the right to earn a living in the occupation of your choice without unnecessary government interference—is at the heart of the American Dream. Unfortunately, all too many entrepreneurs find that this dream is under constant attack by unreasonable licensing, permitting and other requirements that stand in the way of honest competition.Learn More
Reforming Occupational Licensing Nationwide
All Americans deserve the opportunity to earn an honest living. Yet occupational licenses, which are essentially permission slips from the government, routinely stand in the way of honest enterprise. Since our founding, IJ has fought to roll back oppressive occupational-licensing rules in more than two dozen distinct occupations, ranging all the way from tax preparers to florists to traditional African hair braiders. Learn more about IJ’s occupational-licensing work in all 50 states:
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