Wendy Doyle Testimony on Missouri HB609

Today, Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of Women's Foundation, testified at the Missouri Legislature in support of House Bill 609. Here is here testimony:

Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Wendy Doyle, and I serve as the President & CEO of Women’s Foundation. We invest in equity and opportunity for women of all ages in Missouri.

I am here to testify in support of House Bill 609. The Women’s Foundation wants to create a culture of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment for women and their families. In 2012, there were 163,000 women-owned firms in Missouri, up 24% since 2007. These businesses
accounted for more than $24 billion in sales. In 2015, employed women in the United States were more likely to hold a certification or license than employed men (28% and 23% respectively, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016). In Missouri, there are 457,985 individuals and businesses registered with the Division of Professional Registration.

In November, we released the findings of a quantitative study, in partnership with the University of Missouri’s Institute of Public Policy focused on Occupational Licensing and Entrepreneurship in Missouri. Some key findings include:

  • There are 40 occupational licensing boards which license 55 professions in the state. Altogether the occupational licensing boards are governed by 239 board members. Approximately 133 board members are serving expired terms and more than 39 board seats are currently vacant.
  • Positively, Missouri generally requires few licenses and has less burdensome requirements compared to other states. Missouri ranked 47 out of 50 for the number of lower-income occupations licensed and the average burden of the licensing requirements. Average fees are $100 and average education experience requirements are 220 days.
  • Missouri has no requirement for occupations seeking state licensure or existing occupational licensing boards seeking an expansion of their scope to share economic, educational, and workforce data with legislative committees of reference. Better data sharing with
    policymakers leads to more informed decision-making on the potential need for public policy interventions. It is our desire that such data leads to more efficient and productive interactions with state government.

  • As a supplement to the occupational licensing research study, again in partnership with the Institute of Public Policy, we developed a policy brief on sunrise legislation best practices related to occupational licensing. Fourteen states have established sunrise laws similar to
    House Bill 609 including Nebraska and Illinois. Each state has a significant variation in the level of formality and consistency in the cost-benefit review process but with one commonality: to protect the health, safety, and welfare of consumers.

    Bottom line . . . House Bill 609 is the right approach to facilitate more informed decision-making, prevent duplicative and unnecessary regulatory boards from being created, and create a more efficient occupational licensing structure for women entrepreneurs, employed professionals, and all Missourians.

    Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today.