PLAINS TWP. — With about 140 people gathered in the lobby of the Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center on Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf revealed his plans for job-licensing reform to cut red tape.
Wolf apologized for being late to the news conference, having spent time at the site of severe damage caused by Wednesday night’s EF-2 tornado.
“I can see that the community is banded together to make it whole again,” Wolf said of the post-storm recovery effort. “My lateness is in no way intended to diminish why I am here today.”
Building on his commitment to make state government more responsive to Pennsylvania’s growing economy, Wolf said he wants to eliminate licensing requirements for some professions.
“Pennsylvania must be a place where people can put their skills, experience and education to work,” Wolf said. “Requiring a government license to work in certain jobs helps to keep all of us safe, but those requirements should be fair.”
Wolf went on to say, “We must cut the red tape, reduce the bureaucracy and ensure overly burdensome rules and fees do not block hardworking people — especially our military spouses — from getting a good job, supporting their families and growing our economy.”
Nationwide, Wolf said the share of workers needing a license has grown five-fold since the early 1950s, with most of the increase occurring as states require more professions to be licensed. Today, one in five Pennsylvania workers needs a government license to do their job, representing more than 1 million workers.
“Over-licensing makes it harder for skilled workers to get into a profession, reducing their career opportunities and lowering their pay, while increasing costs to consumers,” Wolf said.
Eliminate 13 job licenses
Wolf called on the General Assembly to repeal 13 job licenses and replace them with less restrictive requirements that protect the public. The professions he’s targeting:
• Auctioneer — only require registration and bonding.
• Barbers — only require certification from a licensed barber school, passage of exam, minimum hours of training, and registration with the State Board of Barber Examiners.
• Cemetery broker/cemetery salesperson — only require passage of relevant exam, 60 hours of instruction and registration.
• Campground membership salesperson — only require registration with the State Real Estate Commission.
• Natural hair braiding license — eliminate this license.
• Orthotic fitter/orthotist/pedorthist/prosthetist — only require credentialing, passage of an education program, training, and minimum hours of training.
• Practitioner of Oriental medicine — maintain existing, but separate acupuncturist licensing requirement to protect public health and safety.
• Rental listing referral agent — only require registration with the State Real Estate Commission.
• Vehicle factory representative — only require registration with the State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers, and Salespersons.
Wolf said licensing requirements can make it harder for workers to move across state lines, particularly for military spouses who have burdens transferring their license to Pennsylvania.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.