Wisconsin GOP Legislators are again trying to Weaken and Undermine Safe Professional and Occupational licensing Standards in Wisconsin
Posted On: Dec 22, 2017


The Koch Brothers are pulling the strings of Wisconsin GOP legislators yet again. Ideological Republican legislators in Wisconsin have picked-up and pushed multiple bills developed by the Koch Brother network to attack, weaken and undermine safe professional and occupational licensing standards in Wisconsin. De-licensing proposals have been backed by the Koch Brother organization Americans for Prosperity and the anti-worker Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

Reckless proposals, outlined below, will intentionally undermine our state licensure system which protects both workers and consumers.

Value of Licensing: State licensing provides the critical link between the customer and professional. Wisconsinites have come to trust that we will receive high quality work by licensed professionals. Whether it is electricians, plumbers, barbers, radiology technologists, or welders, the public can rest easy knowing that these workers have been adequately trained, tested and licensed by the state to ensure high-quality, safe service for all consumers as well as a safe, stable workplace for every worker.

When someone enters an exam room, turns on the air conditioning, or takes a drink from a bubbler, they can rely on the state licensure of the worker behind the service because that licensure means that the professional has been trained and tested for the job.

Licenses also protect the safety of the worker and the integrity of the industry. Wisconsin’s trained workers rely on the value of their licenses, ensuring that their colleagues and co-workers have also received training and appreciate high safety standards, as well as ensuring a consistent work product. State licensing protects the industries within Wisconsin as the industries have been built by trained employees and therefore ensure the skills are high, so that consumers don’t question entire industries or their skilled workforce.      

Weakening or eliminating licensing standards will lower wages and lower quality.

What You Can Do: As you go about your daily life this holiday season, think about how many people you come into contact with occupational licenses that provide you and your family with a safe service or reliable good. Think about the value behind the license you have come to expect and appreciate. As you are reconnecting with family and friends, talk about safe licensing standards and the systematic attacks on safe professional licensing standards currently in the legislature.

A lot is happening behind closed doors in our state capital and flying under radar. Many people may not be aware these bills are out there to weaken whole industry standards.

Make a call to your legislators at 1-800-362-9472 and tell them you support safe licensing standards and oppose any legislation (outlined below) that calls into question safe, quality services that consumers have come to expect in Wisconsin.

Attacks on Safe Licensing Currently in State Legislature:

Undemocratic De-Licensing Review Council Bill

AB 369 / SB 288

Summary: This destructive bill will create an undemocratic Occupational License Review Council and require it to examine each and every occupation and profession currently requiring a state-issued license, work permit, registration, or certification from the Department of Safety and Public Services. Under the bill, the Council will unilaterally decide whether a license could be, in their opinion, eliminated or whether the licensing standards could be weakened. If the bill is passed, the Council will be stacked with 4 members appointed by Governor Walker, 2 members appointed by the Senate Majority Leader (Sen. Fitzgerald), and 2 members appointed by the Assembly Speaker (Rep. Vos), with the Governor’s appointed Secretary of DSPS as Chair. The bill does not call for the Council to hold any public hearings.

Authors: Sen. Kapenga (R- Delafield) & Rep. Hutton (R-Brookfield)

Eliminating Local, Democratic Control of Licensing Standards

SB 634    

Summary: This bill would make eight sweeping changes to how working people can make change at the local level to increase consistency and quality in products and services and fairness and justice at work. Among the eight restrictions on local government is a prohibition on local governments from enforcing license regulations that are more strict than the state standards for that license. The bill would end an opportunity that allows local governments to set a minimum wage for employees who are contracted to perform work for the local government; prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing their own employment discrimination standards; prohibit local governments from forcing contractors to agree to a mandatory labor peace agreement in order to receive a license or permit; prohibit local governments from creating agencies to handle wage claims, or complaints about wage theft; prohibit local governments from setting a level of employment benefits for employers, for example mandating certain time off or retirement benefits; prohibit local governments from passing an ordinance to prohibit employers from asking about salary history and prohibit local governments from passing ordinances relating to regulating employee scheduling of hours and overtime regulations.

Authors: Sen. Kapenga (R- Delafield) & Rep. Hutton (R-Brookfield)

CNAs: Lowering the License Educational Requirements

AB 432 / SB 341

Summary: This bill reduces the required educational hours to become a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). In Wisconsin, CNAs must obtain 120 hours of classroom instruction and 32 hours of clinical training. This bill would lower the educational training for CNAs by nearly half: CNAs would only have to obtain 75 hours of instructional training with 16 hours of clinical training.

Authors: Sen. Hardsdorf (R-River Falls) & Rep. Petryk (R-Eleva)

Assistant Child Care Providers: Eliminating License Requirements

LRB 4686

Summary: This draft bill eliminates the license necessary as well as the standards for anyone to be employed as an assistant childcare provider for school aged children. Currently, one must be at least 18 years old and have a license, demonstrating one course or training completed as required by the Department of Children and Families. This bill would completely eliminate the training, age, and license requirement to be employed as an assistant child care teacher in a school-aged child care center.

Author: Rep. Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago)

Destabilizing Occupational Licenses

SB 616 / AB 733

Summary: This bill could destabilize licenses by undermining the administration, monitoring, and enforcement of occupational and professional licenses by allowing certain waivers of fees. In fact, this bill would eliminate the fees, without replacing the funding, for initial occupational credentials for a person whose family income is below 180 percent of the federal poverty line.

Authors: Sen. Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Rep. Novak (R-Dodgeville)

Privatizing the Administration of Licenses

AB 370 / SB 296

Summary: This bill would create a privatized model to diminish our State’s occupational & professional licensing system. The bill would allow for organizations that are professional or occupational in nature to apply to the State to be a “state certified” organization. Members of that organization could then apply to the organization to pay for and use the title “state certified.” If the bill is signed into law, then the State would start the privatization our licensure system by certifying up to five organizations the first year.

Authors: Sen. Darling (R-River Hills) & Rep. Hutton (R-Brookfield)

Below are delicensing bills that were recently passed and signed into law by Gov. Walker during the 2017 legislative session.

Barbers & Cosmetologists: Eliminating Continuing Education Requirements

AB 164 / SB 108

Wisconsin 2017 Act 81

Summary: This bill eliminates continuing education requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, manicurists, and electrologists. This bill also eliminates the requirement that an applicant who is licensed as a barber, cosmetologist, aesthetician, manicurist, or electrologist in another state must have completed 4,000 hours of experience in the licensed practice in order to be granted a reciprocal license.

Authors: Rep. Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) & Sen. Kapenga (R- Delafield)

Barbers & Cosmetologists: Eliminating the Managers and Instructors Licenses

AB 167 / SB 109

Wisconsin 2017 Act 82

Summary: The bill eliminates the licensure of cosmetology managers and barbering managers. This bill also eliminates the licensure of barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, electrologists, and manicurists instructors. Last, this bill permits the practice of cosmetology, aesthetics, manicuring, and barbering outside of a licensed establishment if a person licensed to engage in that practice is in any way affiliated with an establishment licensed to provide that service.

Authors: Sen. Kapenga (R- Delafield) & Rep. Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc)

Teachers: Eliminating License Renewals & Professional Development Requirements

AB 64 / SB 30

Wisconsin 2017 Act 59

Summary: In the Governor’s proposed budget bill, Governor Walker proposed establishing a permanent, lifetime teaching license, rather than requiring relicensing every five years. Before this budget bill, teachers in Wisconsin had to relicense every five years, showing professional development. This proposal joined other de-licensure measures in the Budget where Gov. Walker attempted to eliminate or weaken licensing standards, which ultimately will weaken the quality of the professionals and their wages. The Joint Finance Committee voted to require new teachers and administrators to be given a provisional, three-year license before they can qualify for a lifetime license. The Budget bill passed and was signed into law, but many questions remain about how this provision will be enacted, particularly for inactive teachers and/or those who hold a teacher’s license but do not work for a public school district.

Authors: Gov. Walker, Sen. Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Kooyenga (R-Brookfield)

Child Labor: Eliminating Permits for 16 and 17-year olds

AB 25 / SB 11

Wisconsin 2017 Act 11

Summary: This bill eliminates child labor permits for 16 and 17-year olds, and therefore eliminates the vital role parents play in making priorities for and ensuring the safety of their children. Furthermore, the bill only requires proof of school attendance for children 15 years old and younger. For over 100 years, the permit system has been a check on unscrupulous employers: it allowed the State to verify the child’s age, the fact that the child is enrolled in school, the type of employer, and ensured the parent gave permission. Without a permit system, there is no way for the State of Wisconsin to join with parents to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of children who wish to work.

Authors: Rep. Loudenbeck (R-Clinton) and Sen. Kapenga (R-Delafield)

In Solidarity,

Phil Neuenfeldt, President

Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer

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