Indiana Senate Approves Bill that Could Eliminate a Dozen Occupational Licenses

A bill that could sunset over a dozen licenses was passed by the Indiana State Senate, 36-13. The bill now heads to the House for approval. Fortunately, SB 520 has the backing of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

If passed, the bill would create the Eliminate, Reduce, and Streamline Employee Regulation (ERASER) Committee, to, well, eliminate, reduce, and streamline employee regulation. The ERASER Committee would then review 13 different licenses that would be slated for elimination, “unless the general assembly takes action…to retain the licenses.” Members of a profession would need to convince legislators that their occupation truly needs to be licensed, thereby shifting the burden of proof for reform. Even if a license is preserved, it would be up for review again in five years.

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The full list of occupations includes athlete agents, dietitians, professional geologists, home inspectors, interior designers, land surveyors, massage therapists, professional soil scientists, auctioneers, real estate brokers, certified surgical technologists, behavior analysts and “beauty culture.” Under Indiana state law, beauty culture covers not only cosmetologists, but barbers, electrologists, estheticians and manicurists as well.

Cosmetologists have lobbied the hardest against reform. As the owner of a beauty academy in Terre Haute put it, “Deregulation for this industry would really not help this state…You could actually have someone die, say, over skincare.”

According to License to Work, a report published by the Institute for Justice, a cosmetologist needs 10 times as much experience as an emergency medical technician to be licensed in Indiana.

Sadly, this is not the first time cosmetologists have sought protect themselves from competition through licensing schemes. In Nevada, IJ is fighting for the right of makeup artists to teach others how to apply makeup without being hit with $2,000 fines if they don’t have a cosmetology license—even though makeup artists aren’t required to have a cosmetology license themselves. Last year, the Institute for Justice won a federal court case that freed hair braiders in Utah from needing 2,000 hours of government-mandated cosmetology training that had little, if anything, to do with African hairbraiding.

Let’s hope Indiana follows the lead of Salt Lake County, Utah, which slashed dozens of licensing restrictions back in February.

 

-- Nick Sibilla

Nick Sibilla is a writer at the Institute for Justice

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