Senate bill would cut red tape for job seekers, creators in Illinois

Senate bill would cut red tape for job seekers, creators in Illinois

Reining in unnecessary regulations is one way to create new opportunities for job seekers and improve choice for consumers. A bill in the Illinois Senate would help achieve that.

A bill in the General Assembly would protect Illinoisans against excessive regulations that limit opportunities for low-income workers and stifle competition that benefits consumers.

Senate Bill 1756, co-sponsored by state Sens. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, and Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, would create the Regulatory Sunrise Review Act. The act would establish a system to assess whether newly proposed state regulations on an industry or occupation are necessary for protecting the public.

Any person seeking to license or regulate a profession would have to petition the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, or IDFPR, and pay a fee of $1,000 within 30 days of filing their petition. IDFPR would commission experts to study the proposed regulations and publish a report determining whether they are necessary.

Regulators advocate occupational licensing and similar requirements as a way to improve public health and safety. But too often, they come as a result of lobbying efforts by industry leaders looking to keep competition at bay. This results in an inconsistent and irrational application of these regulations across professions.

Take the difference between licensing requirements imposed on cosmetologists and emergency medical technicians, or EMTs. According to a 2017 report by the Institute for Justice, a cosmetologist must complete 350 days of educational training to receive a license in Illinois, while EMTs need only 37 days, despite the latter job having much higher stakes.

Occupational licensing reduces competition and creates new barriers for low-income individuals trying to enter the workforce. This allows existing workers to charge higher prices for their services. In fact, state lawmakers often institute licensing requirements in response to lobbying by those already working in a given field, rather than because of consumers’ concerns.

Professional regulations should serve to protect consumer health and safety, and be based on consistent evidence. The Regulatory Sunrise Review Act would protect workers and consumers against overregulation, and boost job opportunities for Illinois’ most vulnerable.

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