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Governor, Senators Support Licensing Reform

Nearly 1 in 4 working Nebraskans in about 200 different types of careers need a government license to work. That means even if you don’t personally need government permission to do your job, something in your day-to-day life is being made more difficult, more expensive, or less accessible because of Nebraska’s unnecessary barriers for workers and entrepreneurs.

But our Strong Jobs Nebraska campaign to cut red tape regulation is getting a major helping hand.

Governor Pete Ricketts is taking a Strong stand for occupational licensing reform. He joined state senators and Nebraskans in licensed fields to introduce 8 new bills in the 2017 legislative session that will reduce overly-burdensome occupational licensing requirements.

Here are some of the careers the governor’s legislative package will impact with links to the bills:

  • Currently, cosmeticians in Nebraska must register with the Department of Health and Human Services and pay a fee. Cosmeticians are professionals who apply cosmetics on their customers. Occupational licensing reform would end this registration requirement.
  • Nebraska has one of the country’s most time-consuming and expensive classroom requirement for cosmetologists and barbers. To enter either of these fields requires 2,100 classroom hours of training, which takes over a year and can cost as much as $20,000. Licensing reform would reduce this burden to 1,500 hours, which is about the national average.
  • Cosmetology, esthetics, and other personal care practitioners will also face fewer hurdles when they want to become instructors in these fields.
  • Massage therapists in Nebraska face credit hour requirements that are twice as high as most of the country, at 1000 hours. Not only does this create a financial burden for Nebraskans, but it makes reciprocity for people moving here from other states difficult. Licensing reform will change this requirement to 500 hours, which is considered the industry standard in most states.
  •   Nail technicians are currently required to take 300 hours of training in Nebraska, while some states require half as much training. Under licensing reform, that profession’s licensing board could not require any more than 200 hours to begin practicing.
  • Audiologists are licensed health care professionals who diagnose and treat hearing problems. But in Nebraska, audiologists need yet another license in order to be able to dispense a hearing aid to their patients. Licensing reform would end this outdated, senseless requirement. (Each of the aforementioned reforms are part of LB343)
  • Nurses and mental health and substance use treatment centers would see relief with occupational licensing reform. Relocating military spouses who are nurses would have an easier time using their licenses earned in other states, while licensure for mental health fields would be streamlined to help address Nebraska’s shortage of practitioners in this field. (LB342 and LB344)
  • Nebraska is the only state that requires a year of experience to receive a license to become a title examiner. That requirement would be struck from the law with licensing reform. (LB345)
  • Nebraska is also one of a minority of states that requires car sales people to be licensed, even though the car dealerships that hire them are already required to carry a license. There is no public health or safety benefit to the extra license; it’s just a tax on hiring people. Licensing reform would end that tax. (LB346)
  • School bus drivers all have Commercial Driver Licenses. But in Nebraska, they also have to complete a separate state school bus license. Other states no longer require this second type of license because the Commercial Driver License is already a federally-regulated process that covers the same bases. With reform, Nebraska will join those states. (LB347)
  • And believe it or not, you even need a license to be a potato shipper in Nebraska. That license would also be ended altogether if the Legislature supports occupational licensing reform. (LB348)

Even with these bills, there will still be more work to be done on occupational licensing and regulatory reform in Nebraska, and we will discuss other bills to support in future posts. But lawmakers are showing great progress in making the issue a priority.

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Red tape regulation shouldn’t stand in the way of families living the Good Life. I support creating more and better jobs by reforming Nebraska’s occupational licensing laws.