For a country supposedly built on the notion of pursuing the American Dream and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, the United States makes it exceptionally hard to get a job.
Over 30% of all workers in the US now need an occupational license—meaning they have to pay the government just for the privilege of going to work. Those fees can be hundreds to thousands of dollars each year, and that doesn’t even include what people must pay to jump through the training and education hoops that various licenses require.
Not only is this vastly expensive, patently unfair, and counterintuitive, it also makes it very hard for workers to move around and go where they can make the most money for their craft. And that’s because states not only require an occupational license for a ton of fields, but because they typically don’t recognize licenses that come from other states.
This is of course really stupid and nothing more than a money grab. If you’ve already met the requirements to be a nurse or a locksmith in another state, there’s no reason those skills shouldn’t translate across the imaginary borders of various states.
Not only does all of this hurt workers, it also hurts employers who often can’t hire the employees they need even when both parties are willing to come to an agreement. That’s a lag on the economy and small businesses in normal times. In times of crisis, like the pandemic when we needed healthcare workers to be able to travel to hot zones, it’s a life and death issue.
Fortunately, some states are starting to recognize all of this for the madness that it is and are working to repeal a good number of these licenses as well as recognize licenses from out of state. Currently, Florida is advancing just such a bill that would create a universal recognition system for all out of state licenses. It’s sponsored by Jay Collins in their state senate and Traci Koster in the house, and the bill advanced out of its first committee unanimously and with bipartisan support just this week.
Florida has a bill that would create a universal recognition of all occupational licenses in the state – meaning people wouldn't have to pay the gov for the right to work twice when they move.
Up in committee at 2:30. Sponsored by @JayCollinsFL 👏
— Hannah Cox (@HannahDCox) March 21, 2023
“Let’s reduce barriers to entry and create more economic opportunities” – Sen @JayCollinsFL in presenting SB1364/Universal Recognition of Occupational Licensing #ReigniteTheAmericanDream
— Lee 🇺🇸 (@LJD_FL) March 21, 2023
Thank you, Senator Jay Collins, for sponsoring and passing #SB1364, Interstate Mobility and Universal Recognition Occupational Licensing Act in the Regulated Industries committee.
We are excited it passed unanimously, in committee, today. #FlaPol
— AFP Florida (@AFPFlorida) March 21, 2023
This is good news for the many Americans fleeing to Florida, and great news for Florida businesses that will easily be able to hire the workers they need should it pass.
It shouldn’t be hard to do the right thing in this country. And the last thing we need is laws that disincentivize work.
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