The Pelican Institute has decided to pursue a pro-worker agenda centered around challenging unfair regulations that hurt everyday Louisianans. We know that quality policy reforms regarding occupational licensure will enable more people to better provide for themselves, their families, and the communities they live in. That is why we are including three key bills on our 2022 legislative agenda that would empower citizens to reach their full potential.

The Right to Earn a living Act (RTEAL) creates a process to challenge occupational licensing regulations that don’t serve a legitimate public interest of preserving health or discouraging fraud. RTEAL would expand the Occupational Licensing Review Commission (OLRC) by adding legislators, strengthening active supervision of occupational licensure boards. RTEAL would require licensure boards to adhere to the least restrictive regulatory method, ensuring all board promulgated rules are in compliance with economic freedom provisions currently in law. Similarly, RTEAL would create a process to appeal unfair rules to the OLRC and in rare cases, a judge.

Universal licensure recognition is designed for people who already have an occupational license in another state. Unfortunately, skilled professionals often face excessive fees or redundant training requirements to continue work in their profession when they move to Louisiana. States like Arizona and Mississippi have begun to adopt universal recognition policies to streamline this process and allow licenses from other states to be recognized, making it easier for skilled professionals to move to their states. Universal licensure recognition policies stipulate that the proper licensing board/authority shall recognize licenses from other states if both states license the profession. By implementing universal recognition, Louisiana will prevent skilled professionals licensed by another state from being arbitrarily denied or forced to repeat costly regulatory compliance actions they’ve already completed in another state.

Fair Chance Licensing would ensure those with criminal histories aren’t arbitrarily discriminated against when applying for an occupational license. When justice-involved individuals are locked out of work, it drives recidivism and encourages crime. Pelican and our coalition partners seek to break the cycle of recidivism through expanding private sector employment opportunities and improving community attachment without compromising public safety. Fair chance laws don’t require licensure boards to issue occupational licenses to returning citizens, but it will require the boards to specify the reason for denial and outline exactly why any aspect of the individual’s criminal history is relevant to the licensed occupation. The goal here is to make sure licensing boards put the interest of the public ahead of their own business interests.

The reforms above are centered around enabling more Louisianans to secure gainful employment without sacrificing public welfare.