Occupational Licensing: Quality Control or Enterprise Killer? Problems that Arise When People Must Get the Government's Permission to Work
This Article is organized into six parts: Part one (the current section) provides the reader with an introduction and overview of the issues that have arisen because of states’ ever-expanding regulation of occupations requiring qualifications and credentials for holding certain jobs. Such qualifications often appear totally unnecessary to one’s ability to safely and competently perform a job. Part two provides background information on the Lochner Era of Supreme Court jurisprudence, the aftermath of the Lochner Era, and a brief history of the issues involved in state occupational licensing requirements. Part three discusses and evaluates recent cases of note—primarily the decisions in Patel and Sensational Smiles. On balance, however, there is a greater focus on the Patel case because of the expansive, innovative, and scholarly nature of the multiple opinions that the case produced. Part four undertakes a general analysis of the pros and cons of occupational licensing in view of recent cases and scholarly reports on the topic. Part five examines the impact of state occupational licensing laws on prison entrepreneurship programs and on poor and disadvantaged people who wish to start businesses. Finally, part six provides a conclusion that recommends specific changes to state occupational licensing regimes.