Let’s start with how it started. The Michigan Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR) put together an advisory board of 14 “attorneys, occupational association professionals, business owners and policy analysts” (Crain’s Detroit, April 29, 2012). This advisory board found that 18 occupations did not require regulation, on the basis that the regulation stifles entrepreneurship and adds cost to the business.
These are the occupations:
- Acupuncturist – Involves inserting sterile needles into people.
- Auctioneer – Involves sales, marketing, and financial record-keeping.
- Community Planner – Planning for expansion, water flow, etc., and keeping records on land use, demographics, and so on.
- Consumer Finance Services – omg.
- Dietitian and Nutritionist – Provide meal plans for various groups, including sick people.
- Forensic Polygraph Examiner – Many law enforcement officials and prosecutors use these examinations as an investigative tool.
- Forester – These folks plan sustainable foresting. They also participate in ecological restoration (such as after a disaster like a fire) and they help manage protected areas.
- Immigration Clerical Assistant – These people provide services related to immigration matters.
- Insurance Solicitor – Contacts customers, takes applications for insurance, and accepts payment for insurance products.
- Interior Designer – In addition to aesthetics, designers work with architects in matters of safety and quality of internal spaces.
- Landscape Architect – Urban design, environmental restoration, and a whole lot more.
- Ocularist – This is the person who fits you with your glass eye.
- Professional Employer Organizations – These are the companies that contract employees back into companies. They provide hiring, payroll, and other overhead functions for organizations that have to cut costs. All of our teachers will work for these companies, should the GOP get their way …
- Proprietary School Solicitor – People who meet with prospective private or career school students, discuss financial aid, etc.
- Respiratory Care – Seriously?
- Security Alarm Contractor – These are the people who will come to your home and business and consult with you on the best way to protect your property and your lives. Usually involves an installation of a system.
- Speech Pathologist – These people specialize in communication and swallowing disorders.
- Vehicle Protection Product Warrantor – These folks offer products to protect cars from theft, damage, etc., and are required to pay for the theft, damage, etc., upon a proper claim. Here is a list of the licensed warrantors in Michigan.
In addition to those occupations, the ORR also recommended the elimination of these 9 boards:
- Board of Acupuncture
- Board of Auctioneers
- Board of Carnivals & Amusement Rides
- Board of Dietetics & Nutrition
- Board of Occupational Therapy
- Board of Respiratory Care
- Board of Speech Language Pathology
- Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board
- Ski Area Safety Board
The ORR was created by Governor Snyder, with the mission to “simplify Michigan’s regulatory environment by reducing obsolete, unnecessary and burdensome rules that are limiting economic growth.” The site boasts a net reduction of 635 rules since 4/25/11.
The keywords here are “obsolete, unnecessary and burdensome,” and this is where the issue will break down on ideology and party lines. Republicans do not believe in regulation of any kind; as such, all regulation will fit that criteria when viewed through the lens of the GOP. They believe that the elimination of rules is pro-business, and it doesn’t matter what rule it is. Not everyone agrees with that. From Lessenberry at the Dome,
A spokesman for the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association said they were stunned by the news. Until legislation was passed in 2009, Michigan was one of only two states that didn’t require speech pathologists to be licensed professionals. It took time to agree on a procedure, but the licensing process was supposed to be complete by next year.
The governor has been outspoken in favor of streamlining government and limiting regulation, especially when it affects job creation. That was very much on the mind of Steven Hilfinger, who heads the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
He told the Gongwer News Service “this study found that each occupation that a state regulated … would experience a decrease in the rate of job growth by 20 percent on average.”
Critics shot back, however, that if that meant keeping the unqualified and incompetent out, it was well worth it.
The job growth number is only part of the picture. Landscape Architects, for example, are required to be licensed if they want to bid on government projects. Every state but Michigan licenses this occupation.
Licensed professionals have been speaking out against the changes:
“We definitely need regulation to keep our patients safe. It’s the only way people can know they’re being treated by someone who is trained,” Biris said, noting acupuncturists are regulated in 48 states.
That’s how Warren Rauhe feels, too. The associate professor of landscape architecture at Michigan State University said the field is licensed in all 50 states — and for good reason.
It’s “for the safety of citizens,” Rauhe said. “We’re talking about parks, trails, storm water management. It’s not six shrubs and a patio.”
Speech pathologists are on the governor’s list, too. They do things such as fit cancer patients with tracheoesophageal prostheses to replace their voice boxes, assist victims of Lou Gehrig’s disease with swallowing, help stroke victims re-learn to speak, and work in schools to aid children with speech delays.
“It’s a very complex field,” said Elaine Ledwon-Robinson, director of speech pathology for the University of Michigan Health System. “We’re in the operating room for some procedures.” She added she was voicing her own views, not those of the university.
Governor Snyder’s office said that the deregulation of these occupations will require further analysis and input on the part of the stakeholders and the public. He also said it’s an “important first step,” which in Snyder speak means that if the legislation ends up on his desk, heck yeah he’ll sign it.
I have talked in the past about this issue because I am in an unlicensed field that really should be licensed. Mind you, licensing would never pass at this point, even in the most friendly of political climates, because it would complicate the crap out of my industry. Still, we deal with things like security systems, confidential documents, and HIPAA & HITECH protected information. There aren’t very many of us who are trained and credentialed in these things. For consumer protection there should be a standard.
I’ll be talking about this more on First Shift with Tony tomorrow morning at 8am.