Target 2 Investigates: Lawmakers hear from voters on occupational license study

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Voters are making their concerns heard to lawmakers and many of you have also been contacting Target 2 Investigates, since we aired our story looking at reform for occupational licensing in the state.

Wisconsin occupational license (WBAY photo)

Target 2 found the Department of Safety and Professional Services conducted an online survey for 14 days, looking for feedback to give to the legislature on whether occupational licenses are necessary for nearly 250 kinds of jobs.

That includes everything from doctors and dentists to appraisers and accountants to cosmetologists and kickboxing judges.

DSPS has to submit licensing recommendations by the end of the year to the governor and legislature, who have the final say in any possible changes.

We've received several emails and messages from people saying they heard about prior legislation looking at deregulation, but they thought those bills died months ago until they saw our story.

Others have told us they received an email with a link to a SurveyMonkey survey but thought it was spam or didn't realize how the survey results are being used.

DSPS tells Target 2 it will use feedback from that survey when it writes a proposal and sends it to the governor and state senate and assembly leaders in the next few weeks.

State law dictates that must happen by December 31.

The law lists a long list of needs to evaluate including: whether deregulation would clearly harm or endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public; if the public reasonably benefits from the license requirement; and if the public can be protected by ways other than licenses.

We spoke with some state lawmakers Monday who say they've been receiving calls from people in their districts asking a lot of questions about deregulation.

Among them is Republican Senator-elect Andre Jacque of De Pere, who tells Target 2 he's glad voters are getting involved.

He stresses a need to look at all licenses, saying there's a significant workforce challenge to bringing in licensed professionals.

Jacque tells Target 2 people licensed in other states are having a hard time obtaining licenses in Wisconsin without starting education and training all over again.

Some of you are glad the state is studying licensing.

One viewer wrote: "The government should be out of the picture anyway. It's your job as a consumer to make good decisions as to who you do business with."

Others are writing to Target 2 saying, "Sorry, but a true free market should not include quacks in the medical profession, weekend handymen in the electrician profession and nutritional supplement sellers in the dietitian/nutrition profession."

You can voice your opinion on licensing requirements until midnight Monday, December 10.

As of the morning of the survey's final day, DSPS tells Target 2 nearly 62,000 people had taken submitted responses.

About 15,000 responses came in during the final four days.

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