Ohio examining licensing, certification requirements

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(The Center Square) – As an Ohio House committee begins to review occupational licenses, a Columbus-based policy group believes many can be modified or eliminated.

In the last four years, the state has eliminated or reduced the requirements for 55 licenses that follow recommendations from The Buckeye Institute.

“Ohio has enacted the most comprehensive occupational licensing reform legislation in the nation and is a national leader in cutting burdensome government regulations,” said Greg R. Lawson, a research fellow at The Buckeye Institute. “To assist lawmakers in their review of Ohio’s occupational licenses, The Buckeye Institute’s examination has identified 47 licenses that the state should eliminate or reform to make Ohio more economically competitive and to end the ‘permission-slip’ policies that make it difficult for people to earn a living.”

Since passed by the General Assembly in 2019, state law requires lawmakers to review and renew Ohio’s occupational licensing boards at least once every six years, or they automatically expire.

Lawson’s policy brief, Opening Doors, identified 27 licenses or certification requirements that could be eliminated and another 20 that could be adjusted to be more like those in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The brief also outlined three steps the state could take to make things easier for professionals.

Lawson believes lawmakers should expand the statutory definition of an occupational license to be sure more areas are reviewed.

Also, Lawson thinks limiting and focusing on continuing education requirements and moving to inspections and bonding requirements could ease burdens.

“Ohio continues to curb bureaucratic and cumbersome occupational licensing requirements that too often burden job seekers while doing little to improve public safety. Excessive licensing rules make it especially difficult for middle-aged and lower-income workers without college degrees to enter licensed professions,” according to the brief.

According to Lawson, less than half the states require a license for auctioneers, but Ohio does. Also, the report identified six licenses or requirements in the Department of Agriculture and 12 at the Department of Commerce that could be eliminated or modified.

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