SB 520 – Review of Licensure in Indiana

Sen. Head has introduced SB 520 which would create the ERASER committee: The eliminate, reduce, and streamline employee regulation (ERASER) committee. You know when legislation has a fancy but strained acronym, you’re in for a treat.

But, I’m actually more than a little sympathetic to the goals of this one. Basically it creates a committee and then tells the committee to go down the list of professions in IC 25, review the boards that regulate the professions, review the budget and finances of those boards, review the regulation of the profession and the impact of that regulation on consumers and the public, and propose legislation. It divides up the list of professions into four chunks, going in order down IC 25, and then has the committee evaluate that chunk for the year. But, it gets too clever for its own good when it then declares that, in the absence of action by the General Assembly in the year following ERASER evaluation, the profession is no longer regulated — well, actually, it says that the licenses are terminated for those professions; so, I suppose that could be read to mean that the professions are still regulated, just that no one in that profession has a valid license to continue practicing.

The committee consists of the Dean of IU’s school of public and environmental affairs and four members appointed by the governor, two of whom are in regulated professions, two of whom are not. (As well as a couple of non-voting members.)

This approach is too broad, but like I said, I sympathize with the issue. There are a lot of licensed, certified, and registered occupations and legitimate questions about whether they really need to be regulated or, if so, whether the barriers to entry into the market is set at the correct level. And, if you target one professions specifically, there will be a shit storm of lobbying from that profession. I did a post about proposed music therapist licensure a few weeks ago and promptly got a bunch of comments from interested parties helpfully explaining to me the details of music therapy. Last year, the hair professionals came out of the woodwork. It’s like that fable about the dog and the hare. Of course the hare is faster, because he’s running for his life while the dog is only running for his supper. In these cases, the public just has a diffuse interest in non-regulation; the regulated professions have a focused interest in raising barriers to entry. So they can be expected to work and lobby a lot harder.


  1. Johnny from Badger Grove says

    The hair professionals will “come out of the woodwork” again this year. My daughter cuts hair and fought this, going so far as buttonholing Bubbas at the statehouse to plead the case for licensed cosmetologists.

    Wouldn’t you like to know that the person applying strong chemicals to your hair has been trained to handle those chemicals and has demonstrated proficiency via the licensing process?

    If not, then why require licensing for Doctors? Hell, if he says he’s a Doctor, that oughta be good enough for Don Lehe, and oughta be good enough for you, right?

    • Doug says

      Chemical treatments get brought up in this debate as frequently as the “how will they sign their names and read the Constitution” argument in the cursive writing debate.

      But the regulation goes so far beyond chemical treatment and dangerous activities. Maybe you can read IC 25-8 and tell me better what activities are restricted and what activities are permitted by the general public, but a quick read suggests that, for example, the unlicensed shaving of beards and mustaches is a Class C infraction.

      I don’t think the burden is on you to defend the most dangerous activity regulated; rather, the burden is to defend the existence of regulations on the most innocuous activity. Until proponents of the license have done that, they should at least forgo the indignation at the thought of deregulation.

      • says

        Wow. I cannot remember the last time I heard of someone going to a barber shop or hail/nail salon and leaving with an infection, infestation (hair lice), or fungal infection of the person serviced before them. I guess this is just luck or is it the result in the curent training and regulation of the industry. IMO this is just another case of the GOP fixing something that is not broke

  2. Freedom says

    “The committee consists of the Dean of IU’s school of public and environmental affairs”

    There’s a job that shouldn’t exist, much less being allowed anywhere near live legislative ammunition.

    We do need much work in removing licensure requirements, and we really need to have a state law license moved under the legislature and not the judiciary. We need to have a central and global licensing department.

  3. Johnny from Badger Grove says

    Doug, I talked to my daughter about this, and one example of what licensing covers was that she’s not allowed to massage a client “below the decollete or above the knees”. Her assertion is that without the licensing code unlicensed “cosmetologists” would be giving customers “happy endings” and there’d be nothing that could be done about it.

    I think what she’s really trying to say is that the licensing program protects her profession, and yes, it is a profession, no less honorable than either of ours, from the same seamy taint that massage therapists who don’t give hand jobs have to fight.

    As for the “most innocuous activity”, I seem to recall (I was married to a cosmetology instructor) that a Barber’s License is required in order to shave a customer. I would feel better know the person passing sharp steel in close proximity to my Jugular was trained and examined for proficiency in handling a razor, wouldn’t you?

    Oh, and to get off the hair cutters, Plumbers are licensed and examined by the state, too, and as the son of a licensed Master Plumber, I’m glad, having spent summers as dad’s “gofer” and seeing some of the fuck-ups homeowners called my dad to fix. And I believe Attorneys, too. Isn’t there some kind of state bar exam you had to pass to prove yourself competant to hang “Esq.” behind your name? Perhaps we should do away with Lawyer licenses, too?

      • Paige says

        Freedom, if you’re so sure that deregulating my profession would be for the best, and nothing bad could possibly come of it why don’t you have an unlicensed, uneducated friend or a family member cut your hair & give you a shave?

        • Freedom says

          Been doing that for years, Paige. Always looks fantastic. As for shaving, many unlicensed boyfriends willingly help their girlfriends in “special” areas, and no guy gets a license to shave his face nor a girl to shave her legs. Just because someone slaps a license on an activity doesn’t mean the activity requires a license. It’s almost always just a rent.

          • Paige says

            We are talking straight razors, Freedom. Not your regular Mach 3.
            An education is extremely important for the safety of the public, and also the professional.

  4. says

    The problem with eliminating licensing to create jobs, at least in my profession, is that it would cost jobs. That’s right, I’m one of those hair professionals that came out of the woodwork last year and as a salon owner I would never hire someone that wasn’t licensed, no matter the natural talent. Beauty school attendance doesn’t guarantee that you can do a good haircut, but it trains you how to not give someone a third degree chemical burn, how to stop the bleeding if you cut someone while not spreading blood borne pathogens, how to identify lice, infectious skin conditions and other helpful things that the public would frown upon. Not only that, but all of our professional-only supply houses would close because of the current contracts that they have with manufacturers that forbid them from selling to anyone without a license. Without being able to purchase the supplies that I need to offer the level of service that I have built my business on would be catastrophic. No new jobs in addition to the losing current jobs would be a step backwards, not forward. We want to be licensed. We don’t cost the state any money, what we pay in our license fees covers the inspectors and other employees of our Board. We don’t care if you shave your head at home or if your mom does it for you, that’s not the type of clientele that I am looking for. It’s not broken, don’t fix it!

  5. Angie says

    I think hairdressers should just let the state take away licensing, if they want to so bad and just put their chairs in their house and stop paying taxes. Those of us with a clientele of our own could easily do that, just go underground. I’m sick of paying my quarterlies anyway. I bet that’s what a lot will do. I know I will, I’m booth rent, I could charge a little less and have a nifty little spot in my house for a station. With what I pay in taxes plus my own social security I don’t need this crap. Screw Mike Pence and his missing-link monkeyface, maybe I’ll collect a little welfare too, without my reported income I could easily qualify.

  6. Lala says

    It’s not only about safety, but also about business. What national distribution or product company who sells only to licensed cosmetologists is going to do business with unlicensed Indiana stylists? We are going to have to depend on supplies that are sold through Sally’s or retails stores, paying those retail prices, and completely losing out on our own retail businesses. It may make “jobs” (read: any untrained individual playing beautician) available, but it will completely devastate CAREERS that are already established and rely on those licenses for wholesale purchases, the ability to run a retail business with beauty products, and entry to professional-only conventions out of state. We would have to become licensed in other states in order to continue our business as we know it. It will also most likely raise the cost of our industry insurance since untrained individuals will pose a higher risk. Is it worth costing me and my professional colleagues thousands of dollars in order to create a few jobs that will most likely end up causing more problems in the long run? Or possibly just putting us out of business altogether? In order to have an opinion on this industry and whether is should or should not be licensed, try spending some time working in it and learning what it takes to RUN this type of business and how this idiotic decision to do away with licensing will affect every little aspect of the daily workings of this business.

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