A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

For the second time in just over three months, Republican Sen. Mark Jansen is sponsoring a bill that would impose licensing mandates and fees on home health care agencies.

Jansen, R-Gaines Township, introduced Senate Bill 221 on March 2. It would require that applications for licenses or renewals come with a fee not to exceed $500. Jansen also introduced Senate Bill 1596 on Dec. 29, 2010. Similar legislation, it was referred to committee and never got out.

"Over the past decade more than 100 bills have been introduced in Michigan to impose licensure on everything from interior designers to practitioners of 'oriental medicine,' ” Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote in an e-mail. “These are always claimed to be about protecting the public, but it's actually a protection racket and conspiracy by existing businesses to raise prices.”

"Back in the 1990s, Gov. John Engler put a temporary halt to the conspiracy by imposing a moratorium on any new licensure mandates,” McHugh wrote. “That wouldn't be a bad policy for the new governor to bring back."

In the House of Representatives, freshman Rep. Greg McMaster, R-Kewadin, introduced House Bill 4045 in January. It is aimed at easing licensing, fees and regulations that are imposed on businesses. It would prohibit state agencies from creating fees, licenses and rules without first getting approval from the Legislature.

Marc Jordan, Jansen’s legislative director, didn’t return messages seeking comment.

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