Changes may be coming soon for a broad swath of occupational licensing schemes.
A bill that would preempt local regulation of many of those licenses moved to third reading in the House on Wednesday.
HB 3, by Rep. Michael Grant, would preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state.
The legislation would bring statewide “uniformity” to broad swath of trade classes including “painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, driveway or tennis court installation, decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, caulking, canvas awning, and ornamental iron installation.”
“The bill prohibits local licensing,” Grant said, and “ensures uniformity.”
Grant’s preemption bill passed the House last year, but Democratic members had questions and concerns that time had yet to mollify.
Among the concerns from the minority party: what occupations were affected and potential unintended consequences of the latest GOP stab at categorical preemption.
Rep. Margaret Good questioned licensing for fertilizer application, which she noted was a practice in parts of the state that would be preempted.
Grant noted that the bill has a two-year grandfathering clause, which would give locals the opportunity to petition the legislators currently preempting their prerogatives.
Rep. Joseph Geller wondered about categories “swept in here inadvertently,” such as auto repair shops that must comply with a “thicket” of local regulations designed to protect consumers.
“Somewhere in that thicket, there might be something that deals with auto repair,” Grant said, but it would in theory be protected under “zoning ordinances.”
Geller noted that zoning addresses location only, and worried about “unintended consequences” regarding auto and body repair at the local level. More broadly, the concern was a tidal wave of “hundreds … maybe thousands” of requests for exemptions.
Momentum is clearly with the measure in the House, which meets again Thursday, but the Senate is still workshopping its version.