Movement on Occupational Licensing Legislation
House Bill 273, a collection of occupational licensing measures, has passed the Missouri Legislature and is waiting to be signed by the governor. I’d like to highlight a few parts of this legislation that increase Missourians’ access to jobs.
One part of this bill prohibits the Division of Professional Registration (which oversees licensed occupations) from requiring a license if a worker is only engaged in shampooing under the supervision of a licensed cosmetologist or barber. (Seem overly complicated? Welcome to the world of occupational licensing.) This seems obvious—of course someone who is just going to be shampooing hair should not have to complete the hundreds of hours of training and pay the fees required to be a fully licensed cosmetologist in Missouri. This measure will significantly reduce the price of becoming a shampooer and make it much easier for salons and barbershops to hire shampooers.
This legislation also adopts the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact, which provides mutual recognition of occupational therapy licenses from other states within the compact. This will make it easier for licensed occupational therapists to relocate and continue working. However, Missouri adopted universal licensing reciprocity last year, which is a larger step than an individual compact, at least for people moving into Missouri. On the other hand, this compact should make it easier for Missouri occupational therapists to work in other states within the compact. Time will tell whether this provision will make the relocation and licensing process easier and more beneficial for Missourians.
Ultimately, occupational licensing is the government giving you permission to do your job. It’s a lot of red tape that increases costs and hardships for workers and consumers. Missouri made a great leap forward last year with universal licensing reciprocity. This year it seems we are only getting small steps, but if (and that’s a big if with some of these measures) we are moving in the right direction, it’s a win for Missourians.