Tennessee bill would remove licensing requirements for several professions

Posted at 3:27 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 23:31:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Tennessee lawmakers are looking to remove the licensing requirements for more than 25 professions. The bill which was filed this year in the General Assembly, would allow people to perform jobs like funeral directing, hair-styling and tattooing without a license.

State Rep. Martin Daniel (R-Knoxville) and state Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) have filed bills into the State House and Senate.

Currently in Tennessee, these jobs require a license and in some instances a post-secondary education.

According to the legislation, this bill requires that the written agreement from the client and profession. The written agreement must acknowledge that: (1) The customer is aware that the person is not licensed, registered, or certified for the work being performed; and
(2) The customer releases the person performing the work from all liability that may arise from the person's performance of the work, except for an action brought for intentional, willful, or malicious conduct.

In a statement, Rep. Martin said, "Often, licensing laws do very little to raise the quality of services or protect consumers from harm; they are essentially a government permission
slip to work. Tennessee is unnecessarily overregulating more than 100 occupations – from tax preparers to auctioneers to barbers - and it is shifting the costs and higher prices associated with this licensing on to consumers. This bill will remove those barriers, allow greater competition in the marketplace and benefit consumers.”

Business professionals like Robert Sergio Mack who is Realtor and barber says this bill is dangerous.

"If you’re dealing with a person that’s not license, your best interest don’t have to be at the top of their priority list," said Mack, "It takes away the accountability and I think that’s the problem with it."

Mack says as barber a bill like this can put a lot of people at risk.

"State regulations are in place to protect the public, right," Mack said.

If the bill passes the House it will head to the Senate. Senator Bowling's staff telling she was she was under the understanding the bill would remove licensing requirements. "She was under the understanding that it was a vehicle to open up the code and amend sections dealing with licensing if needed to address specific needs. Regardless, she placed it in a subcommittee and is not bringing it up this session, an action that effectively kills the bill.

This bill applies to licenses, certifications, or registrations for the following:

(1) Accountants;
(2) Architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers;
(3) Barbers;
(4) Cosmetologists;
(5) Funeral directors and embalmers;
(6) Contractors;
(7) Home inspectors;
(8) Plumbers;
(9) Home improvement contractors;
(10) Locksmiths;
(11) Real estate brokers;
(12) Land surveyors;
(13) Soil scientists;
(14) Auctioneers;
(15) Individuals engaged in the application of pesticides;
(16) Rental location agents;
(17) Private investigators;
(18) Polygraph examiners;
(19) Individuals engaged with fire protection sprinkler systems;
(20) Servicers of fire extinguishers and related equipment;
(21) Alarm contractors;
(22) Private protective services;
(23) Geologists;
(24) Tattoo artists;
(25) Body piercing artist;
(26) Real estate appraisers; and
(27) Professional employer organizations.