The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, May 11, 2012


By The Building Tradesman

Michigan in grips of deregulators

We reported last month that the Snyder Administration’s new Office of Regulatory Reinvention (ORR) proposed the elimination of 611 on-the-job safety requirements and 334 MIOSHA rules. It’s easily the biggest overhaul of MIOSHA since the safety administration was formed in 1974.

Turns out the state isn’t finished deregulating – not by a long shot. On April 16, the same ORR released to the public its report to Gov. Snyder containing 63 recommendations “for improving Michigan's occupational licensing regulations while continuing to protect Michigan's citizens.”

The jury is still out on whether the state is taking the deregulation process too far. Union leaders have pointed out that licensing boards, rules and regulations were put into place for what was considered a good reason – and there needs to be healthy debate about whether those reasons aren’t good any more.

The ORR recommends the rescission of all or parts of 23 separate occupational rules and the amendment or revision of many more.

And, the ORR recommends the complete deregulation of 18 occupations, representing 17.3 percent of occupations regulated by the State of Michigan. The ORR recommends the elimination of five more licensing provisions, as well as the elimination of nine occupational boards and further exploration of eliminating 11 more boards.

Gov. Snyder has reviewed the recommendations and the ORR and Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will now work toward implementing the recommendations.

 A “comprehensive review process” preceded the recommendations, the ORR’s press release said. It added that according to a 2007 study, Michigan is the sixth most heavily-regulated state with respect to occupational licensing.

“This study found that for each occupation that a state regulated, that occupation would experience a decrease in the rate of job growth by 20 percent on average," said Steven H. Hilfinger, Chief Regulatory Officer and LARA Director. “Occupational regulations, while in many cases necessary to protect consumers and public health, operate as a barrier to entry into a given profession. This inhibits entrepreneurship and restricts competition, leading to increased costs and decreased levels of service for consumers.”

The 18 occupations recommended for deregulation are: Acupuncturist, Auctioneers, Community Planner, Consumer Finance Services, Dieticians & Nutritionists, Forensic Polygraph Examiner, Forester, Immigration Clerical Assistant, Insurance Solicitor, Interior Designer, Landscape Architect, Ocularist, Professional Employer Organizations, Proprietary School Solicitors, Respiratory Care, Security Alarm Contractors, Speech Pathologist, and Vehicle Protection Product Warrantor.

The nine occupational boards recommended for elimination are: 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, and Ski Area Safety Board.