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Steve Winter
State Representative District 3


January  7, 2012
"Licensing"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).

 

"Regulation of certain professions gives the general public a standard of quality. HB 446 will do away with this excellence which the public has come to expect" 
Message from a constituent


The above message questioned why I supported HB 446, a bill to reduce the number of professional licenses. The bill failed but here is part of my response to the constituent:

HB 446 repeals the regulatory boards and authority for licensure of barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics, including tanning facilities; landscape architecture; court reporting; athletic training; recreational therapy; family mediation; hunting and fishing guides; athlete agents; massage therapists; reflexologists, structural integrators, and Asian bodywork therapists.

New Hampshire is over-licensed. California, for instance, has half of the licensing requirements than the state of New Hampshire. Over-regulation is anti-business and costs jobs. Unfortunately, in many cases, the mere possession of a license conveys the false impression to the public of competence and/or safety. Competence and safety come from education, training, and experience not from licensure. 

Most of the professionals listed above are members of professional organizations which would be more appropriate than government licensing to assure the public of competent and safe services.  I know of no public service profession that does not have a professional organization that sets the requirements for competency and even monitors those professionals, at least at the margins.  The professional organizations do not want incompetent or unqualified people using their good names to promote a sleazy business, but licensing by the state does not prevent that.  You pay your money and you get your license.

Recreational therapists, for instance, can advertise that they fully satisfy the requirements of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association and are certified as such.  As a consumer, I would be more impressed with a professional certification than a license from the State of New Hampshire.

In testimony on this bill we have become more and more convinced that some professions have ridiculous licensing requirements that do not enhance safety but act instead as a deterrent to competition.  Cosmetologists, for instance, are required to have 1500 hours of supervised training before they can obtain a license.  Fifteen hundred hours!  I was a Navy pilot and then an airline pilot.  I soloed a Navy airplane with 20 hours, got my Navy wings with 300 hours, and left the Navy after five years as an anti-submarine aircraft commander (world-wide) with a crew of 12 at about 1200 hours.  And it takes 1500 hours to become a cosmetologist?  That is over the top.

Having said all of that, we concede that there may be individual professions the need to have licensing for insurance or to qualify to bid on certain jobs.  It is for this reason that we make licensure optional.  It would be available if you want it.  But to contend that there is no other protection for consumers is not true.  Consumers need only to look for private sector certification from the organizations that set the training regimens and competency standards rather than look to government to falsely "protect" them from harm.

 

Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319
Email: libertynh@myfairpoint.net


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