OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced the formation of a task force to perform a comprehensive review of occupational licensing in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Occupational Licensing Task Force will provide recommendations to the governor to remove unnecessary or burdensome regulations that are a barrier to potential workers.
“Occupational licensing often can be overly burdensome, which can hinder a person from earning a living and providing for their family,” said Fallin. “These unnecessary or outdated barriers make it harder for many Oklahomans, particularly those who may not have completed a formal education as well as some minorities. This can help them to obtain jobs and build new businesses that create jobs.”
The Oklahoma Department of Labor will provide administrative support for the task force, including necessary personnel.
Members of the task force are to:
- Identify all of the licenses required in Oklahoma.
- Identify all state agencies, boards, and commissions involved with the administration of licenses.
- Determine how each license is administered, including a review of information technology platforms that are or could be utilized and the fee structure for obtaining licenses.
- Review the necessity and appropriateness of training levels and other requirements required to obtain licenses.
- Evaluate whether the public health and safety goals and concerns addressed by license requirements outweigh the barriers to entry they place on Oklahoma workers.
The task force was given a deadline of Dec. 31, 2017, to complete its work.
Fallin’s executive order names Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn Houston to head the task force.
“I look forward to continuing my efforts to evaluate long-standing bureaucratic policies and procedures to determine common-sense practices,” Houston said. “It is important that the state licensing framework allow the free market to thrive without burdensome regulations, while not placing barriers on those working to escape poverty. This will be accomplished while keeping the safety and health of the public a priority.”
Houston will appoint members of the task force, which will consist of two state senators; two members of the state House of Representatives; Attorney General Scott Pruitt or his designee; Fred Morgan, president and chief executive officer of the Oklahoma State Chamber or his designee; one member of the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force; two members of organizations focused on workforce and economic development; and a member of an organization focused on poverty reduction.
John Tidwell, Oklahoma state director of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, applauded Fallin for forming the task force and Houston for leading it.
“While we need to be judicious in identifying potential licensing issues for reform, we also need to consider how removing barriers for Oklahoma workers could fundamentally strengthen our state’s economy through increased opportunity for tens of thousands of Oklahomans,” Tidwell said. “We hope that the recommendations of this task force will be seen as a catalyst for an improved Oklahoma economy and a fresh opportunity for government to remove barriers for entrepreneurs without further stifling their ability to live the American Dream.”