Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed into law a bill that allows people with licenses from other states to do business here in Arizona.
On paper, that sounds like a really great idea. After all, we want doctors and engineers and hairstylists to relocate to Arizona — especially in the rural parts of the state where residents are grossly underserved — and do business here. Not requiring those professionals to have to pay for additional licensing here in Arizona paves the way for those professionals to start doing business right away.
Except . . .
The bill doesn’t require or even incentivize professionals to serve the rural parts of the state. So those doctors, lawyers and architects are going to plant themselves right in Phoenix and Tucson, where they can make the most money — or find themselves competing against the glut of other professionals there, not make as much as they expected and move back to the state from which they came.
Then there’s the issue of requirements. Arizona is notoriously lax on requirements — after all, this is the Wild West and we don’t cotton to no guvmint sidewinders tellin’ us how to do things — but there does remain the possibility that another state has less stringent requirements to obtain a license than Arizona, possibly putting residents being served at risk.
Oh, and about those hairstylists . . . the out-of-state licenses don’t matter now, because the governor and Legislature also pushed through a new law that lifts licensing requirements for that industry — unless you wish to use chemicals to straighten or curl hair.
The Legislature’s next target for deregulation: cosmetologists.
Again, on paper, it makes sense to lift 1,000 hours of training before someone combs hair.
Except . . .
Those stylists don’t just comb hair, they cut hair as well, and use hot rollers, curling irons and other items that, without proper care or sterilization, can cause harm to the customer.
Plus, as anyone whose mom (who thought she was as good as any barber) knows, there’s an art to cutting hair, an art that requires extensive practice (or required training).
In other words, only Pete Rose and Moe Howard can pull off the sugar bowl haircut. The rest of us need a properly trained and licensed stylist or barber.
Deregulation always sounds good in theory, but the reality is extensive deregulation creates health risks for the consumer, lower wages for workers and lower-quality products and services. Or, as banking deregulation in the late 1990s showed, a recession of epic proportions.
We’d much rather see the Legislature and governor enact common-sense regulation reform rather than cut regulations altogether. That won’t happen, however, until we have a majority Legislature that isn’t in the pocket of ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — which provides bills to legislators that exclusively serve corporate interests.