With the stroke of a pen, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made clear that he's opposed to more red tape for several occupations in the state.
Polis vetoed bills to create or extend occupational licenses for homeowners’ association managers, genetic counselors, and agents representing athletes.
“Before any unregulated occupation is to be regulated, or any regulated occupation is to be continued, the state should complete its due diligence to ensure that regulation, in fact, will ensure consumer safety in a cost-efficient manner,” Polis said in a veto letter. “This bill does not meet that threshold.”
“Occupational licensing is not always superior to other forms of consumer protection,” he added. “Too often it is used to protect existing professionals within an occupation against competition from newcomers entering that occupation.”
Polis also issued an executive order to examine regulations on homeowners’ associations and community association managers.
“Genetic counseling is a new field, and we must balance quality assurances with consumer access to innovation and affordability,” Polis said. The letter explained that since the positions are often housed within a medical setting, “employers are skilled at setting the qualifications necessary for hiring and retaining staff.”
The vetoes surprised Democrats who sponsored the bills, citing little pushback during the session.
Polis, who’s an entrepreneur and has been described by the media as libertarian, said “skill certification is best done by guilds, unions, and professional associations” in each of the veto letters.
Occupational licensing reform is a major issue for conservatives, libertarians, and some liberals who argue the regulations are burdensome and create more barriers to work for lower-income Americans.
Jesse Mallory, state director of Americans for Prosperity – Colorado, said Polis’ vetoes were an encouraging move.
“As the Governor noted, government occupational licensing requirements all too often serve to protect current industry providers from competition instead of effectively protecting consumers from harm,” he said. “While we believe that training and credentials for various professions can be beneficial for many would-be practitioners and customers, this is best handled by the private sector rather than through government regulatory agencies and boards. “
“We applaud Governor Polis for preventing new barriers to employment from becoming law and hope Colorado lawmakers will instead prioritize ways to reduce costly government licensing burdens,” Mallory added.
Colorado has the third least burdensome occupational licensing regulations in the country, according to an Institute for Justice study.
The institute also found licensing cost the state over 57,000 jobs and $374.7 million in deadweight losses.