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New Congress Can Limit Occupational Licensing

There is a growing consensus that occupational licensing has gotten out of hand. Government-required training and fees can make it prohibitively time consuming and costly for many individuals—especially those with low incomes—to find work, pursue better career opportunities, and start businesses. Though licensing is primarily controlled by state and local governments, Washington has taken notice of its growth.

To combat the problems posed by excessive occupational licensing, Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act last Congress.

The ALLOW Act would reform occupational licensing in the District of Columbia and on other federal property, such as military bases and certain national parks. A companion bill in the Senate was sponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). The bills acknowledge that requiring the government’s permission to work should be reserved only for occupations that pose real threats to the public.

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