WI licensing rules thwart opportunity

posted by Vicki McKenna -

Good on the WI legislature for taking up a MODEST licensing reform proposal.  It's not enough.

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute have taken up the cause here in our state, and their research has found that our state has seen an 84% increase in the number of occupations covered under licensing rules.  Do you cut or braid hair?  Do you do ladies' nails?  Sell Christmas trees? Provide auctioneer services?  You're licensed in WI, and some of the rules required by those licenses can be giant walls between you and success.  

The cost to Wisconsin is staggering--31,000 jobs and almost $2 BILLION dollars lost to our economy.  

The folks getting sidelined by this are small entrepreneurs, many women--and even ex-felons trying to turn their lives around the RIGHT WAY.  

Yet, the rent-seeking professionals who enjoy fencing out opportunity for others while protecting their own segment of the economy have gathered in force to resist any change the legislature might make.  

Here is an actual quote from someone at the Paul Mitchell cosmetology school, which costs $16,000/year to attend.  Unsurprisingly, the school supports the 1550 hours required for a cosmetology license, and additional 2000 hours for a "managers" license:

 "Anyone can cut hair with kitchen scissors," said Maddison Hinrichsen, a future professional at Paul Mitchell, The School. "But you don't know how to do it right. So definitely. You need a license. It's dangerous. They don't know what they're working with until they get an idea."

Get a grip.  Getting a bad haircut has never killed a single person.    

In fact, EMTs in Wisconsin are required to have far FEWER hours of professional training, and they actually DO save lives.  


It was bad enough reading about a small-town Wisconsin mom who had a hard time just making a living because of the licensing requirements after the license-narcs turned her salon in for state sanctions--but then I saw the story of Albert Walker.  See if you can get your head around Albert Walker's story:  

Walker is a man with a troubled past, who managed (through some personal struggle, no doubt) to GET HIMSELF RIGHT while in prison.  He learned to cut hair.  He found God.  He began preaching to his fellow inmates.  When he got out, he thought he'd take his passion for Christ, and barbering to the masses.  He's so GOOD at it, he's got members of the GREEN BAY PACKERS as clients.  But then, the state of WI licensing rules caught up w/Albert.   If his were the ONLY story, it would be enough to say "give this man a break, Wisconsin!".  

But Albert isn't alone.  Far from it.  WPRI is featuring stories of the victims of WI licensing requirements in an outstanding series you can read at their website.  

If things don't change, GOOD people and people who became GOOD people are going to lose out on opportunities not just to collect a check, but to make their version of the American Dream come true.

It's time for a change, WI.  Don't let the lobbyists and the professional rent seekers block these necessary reforms.  





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