“Happiness is Working” – Wisconsin State Rep. Dale Kooyenga on Occupational Licensing Reform

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Wisconsin Representative Dale Kooyenga saw a problem: though the state prided itself on being “open for business”, it also implemented massive barriers to entry in the form of occupational licensing laws. These licensing laws required people to get the government’s permission to work—and the high fees and lengthy wait times posed problems for entrepreneurs and low-income individuals. Rep. Kooyenga believed that when people want to start a job that poses no safety concerns, they should be able to follow their passion—without asking politicians for permission.  

In 2017, Rep. Kooyenga worked to end local licensing in Wisconsin. The successful bill not only set a precedent for similar reforms across the nation, but it revealed the power of work—meaningful work makes people happy, and the government should encourage that. And with that, Wisconsin was open for business.