If you are legally allowed to cut hair in Mississippi and move to Louisiana, shouldn’t you be able to cut hair in Louisiana as well?  Shockingly enough, the answer is no due to something known as an occupational license.

Occupational licenses are government permission slips to work in certain professions.  Obtaining an occupational license is often a difficult process taking hundreds of hours and costing thousands of dollars. Even worse, the license only applies to the state you are in, so if you move you would need to go through the process of obtaining a license for the same profession all over again. Occupational licenses make it difficult for many people to move to Louisiana.

Although occupational licenses have been a roadblock to jobs and opportunity in Louisiana, things are starting to change for the better. Last year a bill by Representative Chuck Owen allowed the spouses or children of military members to work in Louisiana with their occupational licenses from other states. A similar bill is introduced this year for the spouses and dependents of medical workers.

During COVID-19, hundreds of medical professionals came to Louisiana to help with one of the largest outbreaks in the country. As the medical professionals are selflessly helping our state, they shouldn’t have to worry if their spouse or child can also work in Louisiana. As Louisiana continues to struggle to have access to enough medical workers, we should be removing barriers to them coming to work and live in Louisiana.