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Arkansas Should Follow Florida’s Lead on Occupational Licensing

Updated: Apr 13

Florida legislators are moving fast this year to reform laws that prevent people from finding a job. Arkansas legislators should take note of what is happening in the Sunshine State.

The law in question is HB 15, which makes a host of changes to occupational licensing laws in that state. Florida House members passed it by a vote of 74 to 28. Here is how the Institute for Justice describes its provisions:

Cut in half the number of hours needed to become a barber, from 1,200 to 600 hours; Exempt body wrapping, hair wrapping, applying makeup and adding nail polish from the state’s cosmetologist license; Expand the definition of hair braiding to cover hair extensions and wefts—two very common practices among braiders—and repeals the state’s specialty braiding license; Reduce the required hours to register as a nail specialist (who can perform manicures and pedicures), from 240 hours to 150 hours training; Cut the mandated hours to register as a face specialist (who can perform facials), from 260 to 165 hours training; Lower training requirements for full specialist, who can work as a nail or face specialist, from 500 to 300 hours training; Eliminate requirement that yacht brokers have a license for each branch office, and now will require only one license; Repeal the license for geologists; and Repeal licensing requirements for boxing timekeepers and announcers.

As TAP has discussed in the past, Arkansas has a very heavy occupational licensing burden. While the Trump Administration is pursuing an agenda to roll back this red tape, it is ultimately up to state lawmakers to do most of the work. Unfortunately, when legislators had the chance to remove some of the state’s barriers to work last year, they failed to do so. Maybe this year will be different. You might ask your state legislator why Arkansas is behind the curve on this issue. If they can do it in Florida, why not in Arkansas? For more information on why Arkansas needs this type of reform, you can check out the Advance Arkansas Institute’s report “Why Does Arkansas’s Government Kill Jobs and Discourage Honest Work?

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