I Love the IJ

Closely on the heals of their victory in an asset forfeiture case in New York, the Institute of Justice (IJ) successfully fought the state licensing requirement for hair braiders in Texas.

A 2013 press statement on the Institute for Justice’s website described Brantley’s frustration with the criteria: “This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn’t need, all to teach a 35-hour hair-braiding curriculum,” the statement read.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks on Monday seemed to agree with Brantley’s concerns that the requirements for hair-braiding entrepreneurs were superfluous. Sparks ruled that the Texas laws were unconstitutional and “absent” a rational connection with Brantley’s intended marketplace, the Associated Press reports.

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” Brantley said in a press statement. “This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

Good.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to fight these stupid licensing laws except one at a time, state by state.  And every time we take one on, the incumbent competitors in that business (who are the primary beneficiaries of  licensure that restricts new competition) fight tooth and nail every step of the way.

I will observe that red states are just as bad as blue states on occupational licenses.   This is cronyism, not ideology.  From this site, here are just a few the occupational licenses one still needs in Texas (this is from a school web site, so these are just the ones that have continuing education requirements that this school serves).  I suspect that this list is incomplete, as long as it is, because barbers and hair stylists, the subject of this case, are not even on the list.

LICENSED OCCUPATIONS IN TEXAS
Continuing Education Requirements
 Licensed Occupations License Continuing Education Requirements to Renew
Accountants & Auditors Certified Public Accountant Annual CEUs Ethics-2hrs/yr
Acupuncturist Acupuncturist 17 hours CAE/yr
Heating, A/C, & Refrigeration Mechanics & Installers A/C & Refrigeration Contractor Voluntary continuing education
Architect Architect 8 CEPH/year
Athletic Trainer Athletic Trainer 30 clock hours/ 3 years
Judges and Magistrates Attorney 15 CLE hours/year inc. 3 hrs. ethics
Combative Sports Promoter Boxing Promoter Voluntary continuing education
Child Care Administrator Child Care Administrator 15 hours for biennial renewal
Chiropractors Chiropractor 16 hours/year
Compliance Officers Code Enforcement Officer to be required; rules in development
Counselors, Chemical Dependency Chemical Dependency Counselor If also licensed as LMSW, LMFT,LPC, physician, or
psychologist-24 hours CE/2yrs.
If not otherwise licensed, 60 hours.
All hours specific to or related to chemical dependency.
Counselor, Professional Counselor, Professional 12 hours/year inc. 3 hours ethics or legal issues every other yr.
Dental Hygienists Dental Hygienist 12 hours/year
Dentists Dentist 12 hours/year
Dietitians and Nutritionists Dietitian 6 clock hours/year
Drinking Water Utility Plant Operator Certificate Classes 1-3 1-2 courses in water conditioning
Emergency Medical Technicians Emergency Medical Technician Varies by level: see below
Emergency Care Attendants (ECA) 20 contact hours CE/2yrs; 40 hours within 4/yr cert. period
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) 40 contact hours CE/2yrs; 80 hours within 4/yr cert. period
EMT-Intermediates (EMT-1) 60 contact hours CE/2 yrs; 120 hours within 4/yr cert. period
EMT-Paramedics (EMT-P) 80 contact hours CE/2 yrs; 160 hours within 4/yr cert. period
Engineers Professional Engineer None required
Fire Fighters Fire Protection Personnel/Firefighter 20 hrs CE/year
Fire Inspectors Fire Protection System Contractor None found
Funeral Directors & Morticians Funeral Director/Embalmer 20 hrs/yr; required 2 hrs-law updates; 2-ethics; 2-vital stats
Salespersons, Retail Hearing Instrument Fitter/Dispenser 20 hrs/yr
Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, & Investigators Insurance Adjuster 30 hrs/2yrs, including 2 hrs/ethics (Most licensees)
Sales Agents & Placers, Insurance Insurance Agent 15 hours CE/yr
Interior Designers Interior Designer 8 hrs/yr
Interpreter Interpreter for the Deaf 75 hrs/5 yrs.
Construction-Irrigator Irrigator, Landscape 8 hours/yr
Surveyors and Mapping Scientists Land Surveyor 8 hrs/yr
Landscape Architects Landscape Architect 8 CEPH/year (CE Program Hrs) TBAE
Police Detectives Law Enforcement Officer 40 hrs/2 yrs Currently in 4 yr cycle
Librarians, Professional Librarian, County
Grades II & III (valid for two years) 3 semester hrs at accredited college
or 20 hrs other continuing education activities
Grade I (permanent)
Marriage &  Family Therapist Marriage & Family Therapist 15 hrs/yr; 3 hrs ethics every 3 yrs.
Massage Therapist Massage Therapist 6 clock hrs/yr
Medical Scientists Medical Physicist, Professional 24 contact hours/2 years
Radiologic Technologists Medical Radiologic Technologist, General 24 hours/2 years
Limited Certificate 12 hours/2 years
Nursing Aides, Orderlies, & Attendants Midwife, Direct Entry 10 hours CE /yr
Licensed Practical Nurses Nurse, Licensed Vocational (LVN) 20 contact hours (2 CEUs)/2 yrs
Registered Nurses Nurse, Registered (RN) 20 contact hours (2 /CEUs)/2 yrs
Nurse Aide, Long Term Care none found
Medicine & Health Services Managers Nursing Facility Administrator 40 hours CE/ 2 yrs
Occupational Therapists Occupational Therapist 30 hrs/2 yrs.
Occupational Therapist Assistant 30 hrs/2yrs
On-Site Sewage Facility Designated Representative 16 hrs/yr
Installer Class I 16 hrs/yr
Installer Class II 16 hrs/yr
Opticians, Dispensing & Measuring Optician 5 hrs/yr for voluntarily registered opticians
Optometrists Optometrist sixteen hours of continuing education/ year inc.
six hours in diagnostic or therapeutic education
Orthotists/Prosthetists Orthotist/Prosthetist
prosthetist or orthotist license 24 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist and orthotist license 40 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist or orthotist assistant 12 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist and orthotist assistant 20 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetic or orthotic technician 6 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetic and orthotic technician 10 hrs/2 yrs
Pawn Broker/Lender Pawnbroker/Lender None found
Cardiology Technologist Perfusionist 45 CEUs/3 yrs
Pest Controllers & Assistants Pesticide Applicator
Private Applicator 15 CEUs/5 yrs ( 2 ea. in laws/regs & integrated pest mgmt.)
Private Applicator Certificate Holder 15 CEUs/5 yrs
Commercial Applicator 5 CEUs/yr (1 ea fr 2 of: laws/regs, integ pest mgmt, drift min)
Noncommercial Applicator 5 CEUs/yr (1 ea fr 2 of: laws/regs, integ pest mgmt, drift min)
Pharmacists Pharmacist 12 hours CE/ yr
Physical Therapists Physical Therapist 3 CEUs (30 contact hours)/2yrs inc. 2 hrs. ethics;
Physical Therapist Assistant 2 CEUs (20 contact hours)/2 yrs inc. 2 hrs. ethics
Physicians and Surgeons Physician 24 hrs CME/yr (at least 12 hours formal courses)
Physician Assistant 40 hrs CME/yr (at least 20 hours formal courses)
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Plumber 6 hrs/ yr
Podiatrists Podiatric Physician 30 hours CE/2 yrs
Polygraph Examiners Polygraph Examiner voluntary
Detectives/Investigators Private Investigator/Security Guard 12 hrs/2yrs
Psychologists Psychologist 12 hrs/yr
Psychological Associate 12 hrs/yr
Specialist in School Psychology 12 hrs/yr
Sales Agents, Real Estate Real Estate Broker 15 classroom hours MCE/ two years inc. 6 hrs legal topics
Real Estate Sales Agent 30 hours/yr Salesperson Annual Education (SAE)
Construction & Building Inspectors Real Estate Inspector 8 hours core real estate inspection courses/year
Respiratory Therapists Respiratory Care Practitioner 12 hours CE/yr
Sanitarian Sanitarian 12 CE contact hours/yr
Sales Agent, Securities, Commodities, Financial Serv. Securities Dealer/Investment Advisor  none found
Social Workers Social Work Associate 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Licensed Social Worker 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Licensed Master Social Worker 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Municipal Solid Waste Solid Waste Technician Class A-Class D 40 hrs-24 hrs/4 yrs
Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists Speech-Language Pathologist/Audiologist 10 hrs/yr; 15 if dually licensed
Tax Examiners, Collectors, & Revenue Agents Registered Texas Assessor Collectors 60 CEUs/5 yrs
Registered Professional Appraisers 60 CEUs/5 yrs
Registered Texas Collectors 25 CEUs/5 yrs
Teacher Teacher none found
Installer Underground Storage Tank Installer 8 hrs/yr
UST On-Site Installer or Remover Supervisor 8 hrs/yr for each license type held
Veterinarians and Veterinary Inspectors Veterinarian 15 hrs/yr; 3 hrs ethics every 3 yrs.
Earth Drillers Water Well Driller/Pump Installer
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Continuing Education Requirements
  Certifications/Registrations  
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Med. Tech 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Clinical Laboratory Technician Clinical Laboratory Technician/ Med. Lab. Tech. 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Clinical Laboratory Phlebotomist Clinical Laboratory Phlebotomist 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
CT(IAC) International Academy of Cytology Cytotechnologist 180 continuing education credits/4 yrs
Genetic Counselor Genetic Counselor, Diplomate 25 CEUs/10 yrs
Histologic technician Histologic Technician 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Kinesiotherapist Kinesiotherapist 1.2 CEUs (1 CE = 10 contact hours) / year
Leisure Professional Leisure Professional, Certified 2 CEUs/2 yrs
Music Therapist Music Therapist-Board Certified CE
Orthoptist Orthoptist 15 hours CE/yr
Pathologists' Assistant Pathologists' Assistant Certification process in development
Recreation Therapist Therapeutic recreation specialist, certified 30-50 hours/5 yrs
Surgical Technologist Certified Surgical Technologist 80 CE credits/6 yrs
  • Ward Chartier

    For the past few years, professional engineers in Texas annually require 1 hour of ethics training and 14+ hours of continuing education.

  • AZ PE

    A side note is that many of these occupations don't require 'licensing' as long as you supply the services as an employee of the company using them. E.g., Engineers don't require PE if they only 'engineer' for their employers benefit - and most won't bother unless there is an internal incentive.

    Just another way to keep the premium offered by licensing up, yet not feel the political wrath of companies that use the professionals internally. The government groups that run the licensing schemes are filled with ego-maniacal bizzaro-world denizens who expect catastrophic consequences whenever a non-licensed individual crosses some imaginary and constantly moving boundary.

  • http://teejaw.com/ TeeJaw

    The late Jerry Kopel, father of David Kopel, was a liberal Democrat in the Colorado General Assembly a few decades back. He fought against most occupational licensing laws (except learned professions) on the same grounds as you state, the only purpose they serve is to limit competition. I guess that was before liberals became progressives.

  • http://teejaw.com/ TeeJaw

    The main effect of continuing education requirements in the legal profession has been to make the continuing education programs less helpful and more expensive. I lived under both regimes and believe that when one had a choice about one’s CLE the quality was higher and the cost more reasonable. I sure don’t think mandatory CLE has resulted in better lawyers. Good lawyers don’t need to be mandated to stay current on the law. There is plenty of peer pressure to try hard to be the best one can be. There were a few very bad lawyers then, but that hasn’t changed under mandatory CLE.

  • ColoComment

    The list doesn't seem to include the one profession that absolutely, positively should be there: politicians. They should be required to pass basic bill-reading and extemporaneous speaking tests, along with continuing ed requirements including ethics [yes!], history, economics, finance, and an every-other-year two-week commitment working at a menial job (to remind them that there's a world outside the Beltway.)
    /sarc off/

  • mesocyclone

    Glenn Reynolds has suggested that the 14th Amendment gives Congress the power to override these laws with federal legislation. It should.

  • Uncle Max

    Greg Abbott specifically said he wanted to reform Occupational Licensing in Texas. He needs the legislature of course, but he obviously is aware of the issue and hopefully will be able to overcome the licensing lobby that likes things the way they are. Time will tell.

  • markm

    Is it as irrelevant to an electronics engineers work as the subjects tested on the PE exam were?

  • markm

    It is interesting that CPA's require only 2 hours/year, while many simpler professions require ten times as many or more.

  • Ward Chartier

    Are you saying that ethics as a topic is irrelevant to people working in the field of electronics engineering? Please clarify.