Greg Abbott, attorney general of Texas and the GOP’s candidate for Governor, recently unveiled a proposal that, if adopted, would put an end to State licensure requirements that currently govern such small-business occupations as cosmetology, coaching, dog training and interior design.
Under Abbott’s plan, the State would repeal occupational licensure requirements that currently bureaucratize a number of occupations that otherwise would be accessible to a greater number of small-scale entrepreneurs: barbers, hairdressers, towing operators, auctioneers and the like.
Here’s a portion of Abbott’s proposal as it relates to cosmetology, justifying the repeal of such licenses on the basis of their unnecessary expense and invasive government oversight:
Important health and safety laws, such as those requiring sanitary conditions in salons, or other consumer protection laws, such as the prohibition on price gouging, would be maintained. However, Texas should scale back its licensing laws considerably. Doing so will create more opportunity for individuals and result in increased economic growth. For example, when Mississippi repealed its cosmetology license requirement for hair braiders and replaced it with a registration requirement, 300 new braiders registered with the state. Not only did they relocate from neighboring states, but also stopped working in Mississippi in secret and became open members of the economic community.
…Requirements that otherwise limit the ability of qualified individuals to pursue their chosen career path are unnecessary and should not be adopted.
The proposal would also abolish criminal penalties for not obtaining licensure in fields for which it is not required by the State on the basis of protecting public safety and public health.
“A person seeking to engage in economic activity should not be made a criminal for failure to comply with a licensing requirement, except where public health or safety is clearly at risk,” the proposal states. “Just as a license is no guarantee that the holder will not engage in criminal activity, so the lack of a license should not, by itself, render the person a criminal.”
Abbott’s plan has drawn praise from conservative policy groups since its unveiling earlier this month. “Of all the proposals designed to help poor and lower-income people, this one deserves major kudos,” wrote the National Center for Policy Analysis. “It does not involve expansion of a massive government program, and it reduces the cost to those who wish to profit from their knowledge and skills.”
Abbott is running against Democrat Wendy Davis in a bid to succeed current Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.