Commentary

Legislature Forbids Local Governments From Creating Needless Licensing Requirements

More people will be able to freely work across the state

Plumbers, electricians, contractors and many other skilled tradespeople can rejoice: Local governments in Michigan can no longer require an individual to get an extra, local occupational license before they can work legally. From now on, a state license will suffice no matter where a licensed worker chooses to do business.

Other workers should cheer as well since local governments are also banned from creating new licenses and registration requirements for occupations the state does not license.

That’s the result of a new package of laws passed by the Michigan House and Senate. House bills 5955 through 5965 apply retroactively to Jan. 1, 2018.

This legislation repeals any local laws that require an occupational license or registration for the 200 jobs already licensed at the state level. Occupational licensing generally requires workers to get mandatory training, complete certain education coursework and pay fees. Local governments will still be able to require licenses for certain types of businesses.

Detroit requires licenses for about 30 occupations, including plumbers, elevator contractors, boiler operators, mechanical workers and more. The legislation would repeal these.

The city also requires licensing and registration for dozens of other occupations, like snowplowers, sign erectors, movers, window washers and awning installers. The new laws prevent this from spreading to other cities. Other municipalities in Michigan also require individual licenses (like auctioneers in Lansing) while some have begun repealing them on their own.

This is welcome news. It allows people to freely work across the state with less red tape and prevents new unnecessary mandates. Where occupational licenses are needed, a state license should make it legal for individuals to work anywhere in the state.