The Michigan Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR) released to the public its report to Governor Snyder containing 63 recommendations for improving Michigan’s occupational licensing regulations while continuing to protect Michigan’s citizens. In addition, the ORR recommends the rescission of all or parts of 23 separate occupational rules and the amendment or revision of many more. Gov. Snyder has reviewed the recommendations and the ORR and Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will now work toward implementing the recommendations.

The ORR formed the recommendations after a comprehensive review process, including convening an Advisory Rules Committee of stakeholders that included lawyers, occupational association professionals, business owners, policy analysts, academics and senior officials from LARA.

"According to a 2007 study, Michigan is the sixth most heavily-regulated state with respect to occupational licensing. This study found that for each occupation that a state regulated, that occupation would experience a decrease in the rate of job growth by 20 percent on average," said Steven H. Hilfinger, Chief Regulatory Officer and LARA Director. "Occupational regulations, while in many cases necessary to protect consumers and public health, operate as a barrier to entry into a given profession. This inhibits entrepreneurship and restricts competition, leading to increased costs and decreased levels of service for consumers."

The ORR recommends the complete deregulation of 18 occupations, representing 17.3% of occupations regulated by the State of Michigan. The ORR recommends the elimination of 5 more licensing provisions, as well as the elimination of 9 occupational boards and further exploration of eliminating 11 more boards.

"The Advisory Rules Committee carefully considered the public health and safety benefits of 87 different occupations. We found that there were at least 18 occupations that did not require regulation. These regulations provide little or no significant protection to the public," said Shelly Edgerton, Deputy Director of LARA. "In addition, we found that there is ample opportunity to streamline Michigan’s licensing processes. These recommendations will reduce the size and cost of government and lead to better customer service for licensees."

The 18 occupations recommended for deregulation are:

Community Planner
Consumer Finance Services
Dieticians & Nutritionists
Forensic Polygraph Examiner
Immigration Clerical Assistant
Insurance Solicitor
Interior Designer
Landscape Architect
Professional Employer Organizations
Proprietary School Solicitors
Respiratory Care
Security Alarm Contractors
Speech Pathologist
Vehicle Protection Product Warrantor

The 9 occupational boards recommended for elimination are:

Board of Acupuncture
Board of Auctioneers
Board of Carnivals & Amusement Rides
Board of Dietetics & Nutrition
Board of Occupational Therapy
Board of Respiratory Care
Board of Speech Language Pathology
Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board
Ski Area Safety Board

While the ORR recommends abolishing the Carnival Amusement Safety Board, the ORR recommends the licensing and inspections should continue and fees should be increased to be sufficient to cover administrative costs of regulation. Similarly, the ORR recommends that Ski Area Safety licensing and inspections should continue and fees should be increased to be sufficient to cover administrative costs.

"The Advisory Rules Committee was very deliberate in weighing the public health and safety implications of deregulation," said Roger Newton, Founder, President, and CEO of Esperion Therapeutics, Inc. in Plymouth. MI. "I think these recommendations create a more business-friendly environment and eliminate unnecessary government oversight that does not provide any value to the citizens of Michigan."

Implementation of these recommendations would reduce the impact of government regulations on businesses and professionals. They will also reduce both the size of government and the cost of licensing the large number of currently regulated occupations.

"The Advisory Rules Committee was very serious in its considerations about whether certain occupational licensing regulation provides consumer protection." Rose Baran, Assistant Professor at Ferris State University. "We found a number of occupational regulations that simply did not provide enough benefit to justify devoting taxpayer dollars for administration of these programs."

The ORR’s recommendations continue to protect the public from unscrupulous business and health service providers, while streamlining government processes related to regulating occupations. In addition, these recommendations will increase competition in the affected occupations, thereby lowering costs for consumers. The recommendations encourage business growth and job creation by removing barriers to entry and allowing employers to hire qualified employees without government dictating the employee’s qualifications.

"A comprehensive review of our occupational licensing system was long overdue," said Russ Harding, Senior Fellow in Environmental and Regulatory Policy, Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "This report sends a strong signal to businesses across the nation that Michigan is serious about regulatory reinvention. These recommendations demonstrate that Michigan is focused on creating an environment where job creation flourishes. The Legislature should take a hard look at these proposed reforms."