At PLF, we frequently discuss the problems and burdens associated with occupational licensing. Despite the ever-growing chorus of groups (right, left, and libertarian) calling for government at all levels to reconsider the over-licensing of American workers, all too often we’ve had the displeasure of reporting on courts rubber stamping licensing schemes and legislative reform efforts dying in a haze of predictable interest group lobbying. Nevertheless, today is a day for good news!
I’ve reported several times now at this blog on the slow growth of music therapist licenses across the country. Indeed, New Jersey has been trying to create an occupational license for music therapists for years now. But if one absurd and unnecessary license wasn’t enough, the New Jersey legislature has also proposed a first-of-its-kind license for pool and spa installers and maintenance workers. That’s right, New Jersey wants to license your pool boy.
As it happens, during the 2016-17 New Jersey legislative session that just ended, both of the proposed licenses garnered substantial majorities in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate and were passed out of the legislature on January 8. But upon reaching Governor Chris Christie’s desk (and in his last week in office, nonetheless), he took no action to sign either of the bills, allowing them to be pocket vetoed; and since the pocket veto took place during the last 10 days of the session, the legislature cannot override the veto. So rest easy New Jersey music therapists and pool boys. You can continue working without first requiring the government’s permission…at least for now.