Rep. Diana Harshbarger introduces occupational licensing reform


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHL) — Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) has introduced new legislation that would reform occupational licensing regulations.

With the support of the Republican Study Committee, Harshbarger introduced the Freedom to Work Act to encourage states and the federal government to roll back on these legislations.

Many occupational licensing requirements, under the guise of consumer safety, are simply a big government power grab to prevent competition and keep would-be workers out of a particular job market. My bill, the Freedom to Work Act, directs states and the federal government to identify unnecessary occupational licensing barriers that are preventing Americans from returning to the workplace. I’m committed to eliminating red tape that is keeping Americans out of work, and the Freedom to Work Act does just that.

Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger

The Freedom to Work Act aims to do the following:

  • Directs federal executive agencies to review policies that may cause states to adopt unnecessary occupation licensing requirements
  • Requires federal agencies to submit a report to the President and Congress recommending less restrictive alternative to licensing, where appropriate
  • Requires states to include how they plan to reduce occupational licensing barriers and any broader occupational licensing reforms in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plans

Leaders in Tennessee who have voiced support for the legislation on the books includes State Director with Americans for Prosperity Tori Venable.

“The federal Freedom to Work Act combined with the state-based Right to Earn a Living Act will allow Tennessee to lead the way in removing barriers to employment,” she said. “People should not be required to get a government permission slip to work.

“Nor should WIOA funds be wasted on certifications that do not lead to actual employment. We applaud Rep. Harshbarger’s efforts and look forward to removing burdensome government regulations that prevent people from getting back to work.”

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