There are more than 300 occupations in our state that requiring licensing. In many cases, these licenses require examinations and fees. These occupations range from hair dressers to commercial truck drivers.
There are a total of 83 authorities in our state, from stand-alone boards or commissions to state agencies, with supervising authority over these occupations.
The Arkansas General Assembly is now working to make sure our state is not creating unnecessary barriers for the hard working men and women who contribute to our economy daily by practicing their skills and trades.
After submitting an application earlier this year, Arkansas was accepted to participate in a national consortium of 11 states examining the issue of occupational licensing. Three members of the House, three members of the Senate and three representatives from the executive branch make up the core team of Arkansans working with delegates from other states to study issues surrounding occupational licensing and potentially develop reforms both nationwide and for individual states.
With financial support from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Initiative is a joint project of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.
Its purpose is to:
· Improve understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices
· Identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry
· Create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations
It is our hope that by participating in this consortium we will have a better view of what ideal occupational licensing practices look like. Earlier this month, representatives from Arkansas met with individuals from the 10 other states participating. They will continue share information over the course of the next 3 years.
We want Arkansas to be known as a place where business owners do not feel burdened by red tape and consumers will continue to feel protected. We believe both can be accomplished if we take the time to study the issue comprehensively. We will continue to update you the progress we make.