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Congressman Tim Walberg

Representing the 7th District of Michigan

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Walberg Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Ease Burdensome Occupational Licensing Requirements

April 26, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI-07) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) introduced a bipartisan occupational licensing reform bill that will give state governments tools to help initiate reforms to ensure bureaucratic requirements are not creating unnecessary barriers for those seeking to enter the workforce. U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. The New Hope and Opportunity through the Power of Employment Act (New HOPE Act) will help states decide if they want to eliminate or reduce burdensome licensing requirements that are serving as an impediment to job creation. The legislation is based on an amendment Rep. Walberg championed last Congress as part of the House-passed Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
 
“The web of occupational licensing requirements are some of the most burdensome obstacles for aspiring workers and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Walberg. “Too often, the scope and complexity of these regulations go beyond their intended purpose and place unnecessary barriers on individuals trying to use their skills to earn a paycheck or grow a small business. This bipartisan, bicameral bill gives states additional tools to implement reforms that reduce excessive licensing requirements and boost opportunities for job creation.”
 
“When most Americans think of professions that require government certifications, they probably picture airline pilots, electricians, or doctors,” said Rep. Cuellar. “However, more than a quarter of all American workers need some kind of government license for their jobs these days, from hair stylists to florists – and the requirements vary widely from state to state. In Texas, getting those licenses requires an average $304 in fees, 326 days of training, and two exams. Yet often these expensive requirements do not actually protect consumers; they are intentional efforts from people already in a given profession, to make it harder for new folks to compete with them. This legislation will give governors the flexibility to remove licensing requirements that just don’t make sense. It will create a better environment for entrepreneurs to create jobs. And it will save time and money for working people in thousands of occupations.”
 
“Every day job seekers in certain professions face bureaucratic hurdles like costly fees and unnecessary training time,” Sen. Cornyn said. “By equipping state leaders with tools to eliminate or reduce burdensome licensing requirements, we can give more folks across the country a chance to pursue good-paying jobs that can lead to meaningful careers.”
 
“Too many Americans are unable to obtain jobs because of the excessive hurdles to gain a required license,” said Sen. Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will give states the flexibility to streamline the licensing process and reduce the barriers to good-paying jobs that enable workers to provide for their families, send their kids to school and save for retirement.”
 
Background on New HOPE Act:
 
Overly burdensome and unnecessary state licensing mandates can require an individual to first pay fees, complete education and training programs, and even sometimes pass exams before they can enter some of the very professions most suitable to giving them a chance at meaningful work. Many of these licenses have little grounding in protecting public safety. States should review these occupational licensing regulations to ensure they are promoting opportunity and fostering a regulatory climate that encourages entrepreneurship and job creation.

The bill provides additional authority to state governors receiving an existing, bipartisan appropriation of discretionary funds for career and technical education, giving them the discretion to use this money for the “identification, consolidation, or elimination of licenses or certifications which pose an unnecessary barrier to entry for aspiring workers and provide limited consumer protection.”

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