Three weeks ago I mentioned a bill that was pending in the Wisconsin legislature, AB 116. That bill would prevent all cities, villages, towns, and counties in Wisconsin from enacting any new occupational fees or licensing requirements. What I failed to mention, was that an identical bill was also making its way through the Wisconsin Senate, SB 81.
I am happy to announce that today, Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker signed SB 81 into law as Act 65. Fortunately, my fear that municipalities would succeed in killing the bill was unfounded, as the bill passed the Senate and made it through the Assembly with 56 votes in favor versus 34 against on October 27.
In addition, while the final Act does include some amendments, neither of them water down the general tone of the bill. In fact, if in the future the state decides to regulate a profession already regulated by a municipality, the state regulation will preempt it, and a uniform regulation will be implemented state-wide. While I certainly hope not to see more professions in Wisconsin subject to barriers to entry, it is at least better that the regulation is uniform throughout the state rather than different from town to town.
Finally, thanks to Act 65, if you are a professional photographer in Milwaukee, or any other city in Wisconsin, you are now free to operate without a municipal government permission slip. Kudos to Wisconsin for removing one obstacle to the right to earn a living, now lets hope the spirit of this bill can generate momentum for removing more obstacles at the state level.