Wisconsin Gov. Walker Shaves Occupational Licensing Regulations

Published January 9, 2018

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law two bills trimming back occupational licensing regulations by reducing training requirements for aestheticians, barbers, cosmetologists, and manicurists.

On November 27, Walker signed Senate Bills 108 and 109 into law. Starting on November 28, cosmetologists and stylists transferring a license from another state must attend one hour of training, instead of the previous 4,000-hour requirement. The new laws also eliminate some continuing education recertification requirements and restrictions on where licensed practitioners may operate.

Reducing Barriers to Employment

State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), who introduced the bill with state Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), says the new laws make it easier for licensed professionals to move into the state and set up shop.

 “Senate Bills 108 and 109 eliminate certain continuing education and licensing requirements and make it easier for out-of-state barbering and cosmetology professionals to receive a reciprocal license, provided they have never been disciplined by the licensing authority of that jurisdiction, or a party to a proceeding before that authority,” Taylor said. “The bills also make it easier for entrepreneurs to create mobile pop-up shops and practice outside of a licensed establishment.”

Promoting Entrepreneurship

The new laws promote entrepreneurship and economic prosperity, Taylor says

“For the past three years, Wisconsin has ranked dead last in the nation for business startup activity, and for the past 24 consecutive quarters our state has trailed the nation in private-sector job growth,” Taylor said. “We need to create an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed. I felt that we needed to look at our approach, protect what is necessary for the health and safety of the public, and address challenges that may discourage startup and small business activity in the state.”

Military Families Affected

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), a cosponsor of the bill in the state’s House of Representatives, says he met a military family affected by the old licensing regulations.

“On this particular issue, I [met] a soldier that moved here and said that his wife was having a hard time because she was a licensed cosmetologist from another state but couldn’t get over the excessive hurdles to practice in Wisconsin,” Kooyenga said. “It was no fault of hers, because she was married to a soldier, and soldiers move around a lot.”

Sees No Safety Risk

The new laws will not risk public safety, Kooyenga says.

“There was no evidence that this licensing reform posed a health or safety risk to residents,” Kooyenga said. “There are a lot of different professions where, if health and safety are not involved, I generally don’t see a reason why it should be licensed.”