Almost a year ago I wrote about a bill pending in the New Jersey legislature that would’ve created an occupational license for music therapists in the state. Fortunately, that bill didn’t make it through the legislature, and the legislative session ended before the bill could get a full vote. Rather than die with dignity, however, it appears the music therapy licensure bill was merely undead.
As it turns out, a bill (A783) identical to last session’s was reintroduced and passed out of the Assembly last week. That bill carries the same extremely burdensome and unconstitutional requirements I discussed last year.
In spite of the growing chorus of bipartisan voices calling for reducing occupational licenses to stimulate employment and economic growth, New Jersey legislators seem hell-bent on bucking that positive trend. Rather than demand proof of a real need for licensure, it seems that New Jersey will move forward with a bill that doesn’t really protect consumers, but does protect New Jersey music therapists from future competition and allows therapists to charge a premium for their services.
I won’t repeat my comments here about the legal issues with this bill, but the New Jersey legislature may want to consider the anticompetitive and unconstitutional problems with it. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if someone sues and taxpayers have to foot the bill to defend this bad law in court.