EDITORIAL: Regulations due for a makeover

On Wednesday in Carson City, Assembly Bill 409 is expected to get its first hearing in the Legislature, before the Assembly’s Committee on Commerce and Labor. And if ever a bill were aptly numbered, AB409 is it — because Nevada’s occupational licensing regulations need some serious cleaning up.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, aims to dial back the state’s overreaching cosmetology regulations. Among other things, AB409 would exempt makeup artists from the licensing and regulation provisions governing cosmetology — such as in the operation of makeup artist schools — and delete the requirement for certain license applicants to complete a nationally recognized written examination.

AB409 was inspired by a case brought by makeup artists Wendy Robin and Lissette Waugh. Both opened makeup artist schools in 2010, only to be told by the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology that they had violated state law. While a makeup artist does not need a professional license in Nevada, a school does and must follow the regulations and curriculum set by the agency. However, forcing makeup artist schools under the same umbrella as cosmetology school leads to an array of unnecessary regulations.

“We have to take irrelevant classes, teach irrelevant material and buy irrelevant equipment just to operate our own schools,” Ms. Waugh told the Review-Journal in June 2012, when she and Ms. Robin filed a lawsuit in district court to overturn the law as it relates to makeup artists.

The fact that this bill is even necessary demonstrates that there is too much government incursion. Should someone really need to be licensed and regulated by the state, and required to complete a nationally recognized exam, to instruct others in makeup artistry?

Unfortunately, this is how government at all levels tends to work these days. From Washington, D.C., all the way down to local municipalities, countless bureaucratic agencies have to find a way to get their cut from private-sector businesses and individual entrepreneurs, no matter how needless the regulation required to do so. Makeup artists are but one example, with Nevada no stranger to unnecessary regulations in a variety of occupations. The state’s teacher shortage is partially rooted in burdensome licensing standards. Experienced teachers licensed in some states can’t work here because of the classes they took in college. Even interior designers face the regulatory bureaucracy. Does the state really need to be licensing interior designers?

These regulations and countless others seemingly exist for no reason other than to put state regulators to work. The larger problem, though, is that they act as obstacles to job creation and are therefore a drain on the economy, which Nevada can ill afford during its still-fragile recovery from the Great Recession.

AB409 is a great way to help clean up the state’s regulatory mess. But make no mistake, it should represent just one point of emphasis among many for the Legislature. Nevada’s economic well-being depends greatly on dialing back or repealing burdensome government regulations for many occupations.

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