Occupational Licensing

Occupational Licensing is a throwback to medieval guilds whose demise has been called an “indispensable early step in the rise of freedom in the Western world” By Milton Friedman. It is also growing in the U.S. In 1950, only 5 percent of the workforce was subject to licensing laws. Today, it is over 29 percent. Yet there is little evidence that public health and service quality are enhanced by licensing. Instead, occupational licensing limits work opportunity, redistributes income from lower to higher income individuals, increases the cost of living, limits innovation, and leads to more licensing. Even the Obama White House explored ways to turn back licensing's tide.  Scroll down for 1889's Oklahoma Licensing Directory.

1889's Papers on Occupational Licensing

“The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s Unchecked Abuse of Power in Attorney Regulation” by Benjamin Lepak indicts all three branches of government in Oklahoma, but especially the state’s Supreme Court, for violating basic principles of American liberty and governance. This is due to the Oklahoma Supreme Court commandeering legislative and executive powers when, in 1939, it unilaterally declared for itself the sole power to authorize and administer the regulation of attorneys in the state.  In addition to this usurpation of power, the Oklahoma Supreme Court delegated its self-declared authority to license attorneys to a private organization, the Oklahoma Bar Association, creating a cloistered, autocratic attorney licensing system answerable only to itself. Summary

"A Win-Win for Consumers and Professionals Alike: An Alternative to Occupational Licensing" by Byron Schlomach (1889 Institute), Christina Sandefur (Goldwater Institute) and Murray Feldstein (Goldwater Institute) is published jointly with the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, AZ. It provides model bill language for states to create a more competitive and open system of professional credentialing. Private certification, as outlined and described, would provide for competitive credentialing that would lower prices of services for consumers and provide them better information, as well as create more opportunity for potential service providers, as compared to licensing. Summary

"Annotated Summary of the Occupational Licensing Task Force Report" by Byron Schlomach summarizes the official report of the Oklahoma Occupational Licensing Task Force, created by executive order from Governor Mary Fallin. Comments or annotations are included in an effort to contribute positively to what will likely be a follow-up task force or commission.

"Policy Maker's Guide to Evaluating Proposed and Existing Occupational Licensing Laws" by Byron Schlomach and Vance H. Fried describes the two conditions under which occupational licensing would be proper - real, high risk of physical harm and some type of civil-law or market failure. It describes an alternative to licensing in the form of private certification and recommends that when licensing does exist, education requirements be eliminated (relying on exams and experience only) and licensing boards be reformed.

"The Need to Review and Reform Occupational Licensing in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach broadly reviews occupational licensing and makes recommendations on how to review Oklahoma's current licensing laws suggesting regulatory alternatives. Oklahoma is ranked as having the 11th most burdensome licensing laws in the U.S. If Oklahoma reduced its licensed population by 3.3 percentage points through licensing repeals, Oklahomans’ purchasing power would rise by approximately $780 per capita due to a reduction in the cost of living. Click here for a Summary.

Oklahoma Licensing Directory

"Locksmith Licensure in Oklahoma" by Michael R. Davis summarizes Oklahoma's locksmith licensing law and evaluates whether there is any public interest justification for it. None is found. In fact, of the 10 states that license locksmith's, Oklahoma is the only one that requires a licensee to be at least 21. It is recommended that locksmith licensing be immediately repealed.

"Social Worker Licensure in Oklahoma" by Jessica Wiewel and Byron Schlomach summarizes Oklahoma social worker licensing law and evaluates whether there is any pubic interest justification for licensing the occupation. None is found other than for clinical social workers whose scope of practice overlaps that of psychologists'. Otherwise, it is recommended that social worker licensing be immediately repealed.

"Pedorthist (Custom Orthotics, etc.) Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach summarizes Oklahoma's pedorthist licensing law and evaluates whether there is any public interest justification for licensing the occupation. None is found and the law's immediate repeal is recommended.

"Electrologist (Hair Removal) Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach summarizes Oklahoma's electrology licensing law, pointing out how it is the most onerous in the nation. No public interest justification is found for licensing electrology. Thus, the law's immediate repeal is recommended.

"Funeral Director and Embalmer Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach and Baylee Butler briefly describes licensing of the funeral and embalming industry in Oklahoma. It finds no public interest justification for such licensing and recommends that the licensing statute be allowed to expire on its sunset date in 2020, if not repealed sooner.

"Barbering and Cosmetology Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach briefly describes the state of cosmetology and barbering licensing in the state. It recommends that the licensing statute in this area be allowed to expire July 1,2017 according to its sunset date.