CHARLESTON — Americans for Prosperity commended the Trump administration for issuing a report on how states can reform their occupational licensing laws in the hopes that those laws do not act as barriers keeping people from practicing their desired occupation.
AFP-WV State Director Jason Huffman said occupational licensing laws have prevented many West Virginia citizens from practicing their desired occupations.
"The pursuit and attainment of a job is essential for achieving the American dream, but burdensome occupational licensing laws prevent too many West Virginians from reaching their full potential," Huffman said. "West Virginians shouldn’t have to ask the government for permission to work and earn a fulfilling living."
Huffman said the Trump Administration has provided West Virginia with a guide that shows how West Virginians can expand access to meaningful work and ensure occupational licenses are actually used to protect the health and safety of consumers – not established professions.
The organization noted that recent studies show that West Virginia has more burdensome licensing fees and higher barriers to entry compared to its regional neighbors.
With West Virginia having a weak labor market, reforming occupational licensing and making it easier for people to earn a fulfilling living will help enable more people to access jobs in the Mountain State.
"This framework closely matches the vision for licensure reform in our Pathway to Prosperity legislative agenda," Huffman said. "We urge principled lawmakers to take this opportunity to enact truly transformational policies that will reduce the burdens of occupational licenses and barriers to employment."
The Trump administration called on state governments to act on occupational licensure reform and issued six principles it believes are critical for good reform.
Those principles include asking states and territories to eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing regulations; ensure that all occupational licensing regulations, including those currently in force, are the least restrictive necessary to protect consumers from significant and substantiated harm, ensure worker safety, and promote competition; ensure that occupational licensure boards consider the negative effects of any proposed regulation on consumers and job seekers; having states and territories recognize the occupational licenses of other states and territories for those individuals who hold a license in good standing and who have not been subject to any complaint or discipline related to their license; asking them to eliminate requirements that needlessly prevent individuals with a criminal record from earning a living in a field unrelated to their criminal conviction; and asking them to take immediate action to ensure that military spouses who accompany their spouses on permanent-change-of-station orders are not adversely affected by occupational licensing regulations.