New bill would limit types of roofing Illinois employees can do on their companies’ own roofs
Illinois Senate Bill 2982 epitomizes the kind of overregulation and burdensome licensing requirement Illinois should overhaul.
Too often, Illinois politicians focus on legislation that distracts from the state’s biggest problems: its $111 billion pension crisis and the loss of residents and income to out-migration, to name only a few.
A prime example of misplaced legislative priorities is Illinois Senate Bill 2982, which would limit business owners in using their employees to do roofing, instead requiring owners to use only licensed roofers for certain types of work. SB 2982 epitomizes the kind of overregulation and burdensome licensing requirement Illinois should overhaul. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed this bill Aug. 19, 2016, and politicians in the Illinois General Assembly are expected to call the bill for a vote in November to override the governor’s veto.
Illinois business owners have always maintained the right to do their own roofing work on their own property, using the labor of their employees. If SB 2982 becomes law, businesses could no longer have their employees install or totally reconstruct a roof on company property – they would instead need to hire a licensed roofer. At first glance, this looks like a minor regulatory change, but this bill is part of a broad pattern of unnecessary barriers state lawmakers routinely codify.
“We must broadly examine the circumstances in which a license should be required and the costs and requirement for obtaining a license in order to promote economic growth and reduce professional barriers,” Rauner said when explaining his reasoning for the veto.
Instead of reforming Illinois’ outdated and uncompetitive regulatory regime, SB 2982’s supporters have attempted to put up new obstacles for the state’s businesses.
But research from Brookings Institution scholar Morris Kleiner suggests that a holistic approach to licensing reform can grow employment, expand consumer access to goods and services, and decrease market costs for consumers.
“Given the pervasiveness and growth of occupational licensing, it has become a key issue in workers’ access to jobs, and those workers’ potential labor market and economic outcomes,” Kleiner wrote.
Kleiner pointed out that “economic studies have demonstrated far more cases where occupational licenses reduced employment and increased prices and wages of licensed workers than where it has improved the quality and safety of services.”
As the state licenses more than 100 professions, Illinois lawmakers have ample opportunity to right-size the number of licensing rules, which often fail to improve safety standards while standing in the way of business growth.
Why should politicians restrict the right of business owners to do work on their own facilities with their own resources and skilled labor? Illinois needs bold and comprehensive reform of professional licenses to spur economic growth.