by Benjamin Yount


Wisconsin is taking a huge step to eliminate the sometimes long wait to get a license to work in the state.

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed a plan (AB 218) that fast-tracks occupational licensing in the state.

The new law allows the Department of Safety and Professional Services to decide on the 280 different professional licenses in the state, as opposed to waiting for each licensing board to meet and make the decision.

If DSPS rejects an applicant, there will be a hearing. If not, Michael Jahr, senior vice president of the Badger Institute, said most licenses will be automatically granted in just 10 days.

“The growth of state occupational licenses – basically government permission slips to work – has exploded over the last several years,” Jahr told The Center Square. “This means that nearly 1 million Wisconsin workers now need some sort of state certification in order to practice their profession.”

Jahr says social workers, cosmetologists, dentists, nurses, bartenders, auctioneers, manicurists, counselors, EMTs, athletic trainers, and hundreds more professional workers need licenses from the state.

“Securing a license can be an onerous, confusing, time-consuming, hoop-jumping process. This new law should dramatically reduce the waiting time for Wisconsinites applying for a first-time license or for people from another state who have already been practicing their profession but need to secure a license to practice in Wisconsin,” Jahr added.

The Badger Institute released a report last year that found that most of Wisconsin’s licensing boards rarely meet, sometimes on a quarterly basis or even less frequently.

The governor signed the law after it got overwhelming bi-partisan support in the legislature.

Waukesha County Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, and Milwaukee Sen. Latonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, both sponsored the plan.

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.