Sunday, November 15, 2015

Anti-Licensing Movement Scores a Victory

By Eric Morath

Fitness trainers in the nation’s capital city look set to pull off a feat that has eluded the White House and a number of libertarian groups: stopping the spread of occupational licenses.

A recent push in the District of Columbia to regulate personal-fitness trainers is the latest flare-up in a national fight over whether to police trades as diverse as barbers and auctioneers.

More than a quarter of U.S. workers are now employed in a field licensed at the state level, according to a recent White House study. And regulators continue to add to the roster of more than 1,100 occupations that require a license to operate in at least one state.

Regulators in D.C. appeared close to imposing new rules on trainers—the first such step in the country—as early as this fall. But CrossFit Inc., the operator of a high-intensity gym chain with thousands of outlets nationally, led a lobbying push to quash the process, and district council members now vow to scrap the idea entirely.

“We will take credit for what happened in D.C., and we’ll fight this in any other states that try to push these anticompetitive rules,” said CrossFit spokesman Russell Berger.

The spread of professional licensing—now five times what it was in the 1950s—has stirred a backlash among critics who say it blocks low-income people from entering certain fields and limits worker mobility, among other issues.

The full story here.

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