Every Louisianan deserves the right to earn a living and pursue their chosen career without fear of artificial government roadblocks. This past legislative session, legislators took an important step forward in allowing entrepreneurship to thrive in the Pelican State without anti-competitive and arbitrary barriers established by occupational licensing boards. As of August 1st, 2022, these laws have gone into effect, and Louisianans are now empowered to find work and provide for their families.

Until now, Louisiana job seekers were forced to face a mountain of rules and regulations put in place by licensing boards. In fact, the state licenses the highest percentage of low to moderate-income professions and has some of the most unique licenses on the books. The boards justify these rules by claiming they protect consumers when the real purpose is to protect the boards themselves. Through Act 583, Louisianans are empowered to fight back against these anti-competitive regulations that do not protect people’s health, safety, welfare, or fiduciary interests. It evens the playing field and gives average Louisianans a fair shot at rolling back unnecessary regulations that get in the way of their opportunity to earn a living.

One group particularly harmed by arbitrary barriers to work is justice-involved individuals. A recent report by the Kane Center for Opportunity policy and the Archbridge Institute revealed that states with the highest licensure burdens saw recidivism grow by 9 percent compared to an average of 2.6 percent in states with a lower burden. To make our communities safer and give people a fair chance at finding work, the legislature passed Act 486 which requires licensing boards to give a pre-eligibility determination based on their criminal background before individuals go into debt for job-related training and education. The law also requires boards to account for and prove factors such as a conviction directly related to the licensed profession when reviewing a licensing application and requires them to give a written reason for denial.

Every day, countless Louisianans have their dreams crushed by anti-competitive decisions made by occupational licensing boards. From barbers to florists to plumbers, people are forced to give up on their dreams because a board has decided to protect their own interests instead of the interests of everyday Louisianans. The Pelican Institute stands ready to help people restore their right to earn a living and challenge government overreach which prevents entrepreneurs from succeeding. Through Acts 583 and 486, the tides have turned on licensing in Louisiana. People of the Pelican State have been empowered to fight back and follow their dreams.