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State Board Report

August 2014

Andrew Gavel, the Federal Trade Commission’s Director of the Office of Policy Planning, was the only witness to testify at the July 16, 2014 Committee on Small Business’ hearing on “Barriers to Entrepreneurship: Examining the Anti-Trust Implications of Occupational Licensing.” Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO) announced the purpose of the hearing was “to examine the role that the FTC plays in combating the rise of occupational licensure through enforcement of antitrust laws.”

Mr. Gavel testified: “Since the late 1970s, the Commission and its staff have submitted hundreds of comments and amicus curiae briefs to state and self-regulatory entities on competition policy and antitrust law issues relating to such professionals as real estatebrokers, electricians, accountants, dentists and dental hygienists, nurses, eye doctors and opticians, and veterinarians. These advocacy efforts have focused on various restrictions on price competition, contracts or commercial practices, entry by competitors or potential competitors, and truthful and non misleading advertising.” Among the cases his testimony cited involving accountants were the 1996 FTC Staff Comment to the Honorable Jean Silver Concerning Washington Administrative Code 4-25-710 to Require Additional Academic Credits for Certified Public Accountants, and the 1989 FTC Comment to the Hon. Jim Hill Concerning Oregon H.B. 2785 to Propose Certain Restrictions on Competition Among Accountants.

“Even when particular regulatory restrictions address wellfounded consumer protection or other concerns, the inquiry should not end there,” Mr. Gavel told the House Committee. “If the restrictions are also likely to harm competition, policy makers should consider whether the regulations could be more narrowly tailored to minimize the burden on competition while still achieving other goals.”

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