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State Board Report

March 2017

Acting Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen has created the Economic Liberty Task Force to focus on occupational licensing regulations. Speaking on February 23 to George Mason University’s Law School, Ms. Ohlhausen reported that one of the first things the new Task Force will do is create a “special area of the FTC website focused on economic liberty.” The group will be seeking to partner with stakeholders, “including state elected leaders and other officials, to eliminate and narrow overbroad occupational licensing restrictions that are not narrowly tailored to satisfy legitimate health and safety goals.” She said she hopes to create “a new level of partnership with Governors, state Attorneys General, state legislative leaders and other state and local officials, to integrate competition considerations into their decision-making process.”

States mentioned by Ms. Ohlhausen as giving her optimism that such partnerships would be developed based on actions already taken by those states’ leaders included: Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Among the reforms she cited that help remove barriers to entry and competition were those that promote reciprocity among states and that “credit work experience in place of additional educational requirements” especially for military families and veterans.

Ms. Ohlhausen’s action was reflected in President Donald Trump’s joint address to Congress on February 28 when he said, “We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every government agency.”
“Active market participants still control many state boards that impose licensing restrictions,” Ms. Ohlhausen observed. “Thus, the question revolves around whether the state is actively supervising the board actions that displace competition. When warranted, the FTC will bring enforcement actions in appropriate cases. But advocacy and partnership will be the primary work of the FRC’s Economic Liberty Task Force.”

NASBA’s June Regional Meetings will include a panel session moderated by NASBA Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs John Johnson on how various groups are promoting legislation that challenges professional regulation. Representatives of states that have experienced such activity will be panelists and meeting attendees will be encouraged to share reports on efforts in their own states.

See NASBA’s monthly Legislative E-News on for details of recent activities in the legislative arena.

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