Lee, Klobuchar Announce Hearing on Antitrust Implications of Occupational Licensing Regulations

January 26, 2016

WASHINGTON—Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today announced that the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on February 2 entitled, “License to Compete: Occupational Licensing and the State Action Doctrine.”

The hearing will examine how state licensing boards controlled by active market participants can adversely affect competition by erecting barriers to entry and protecting incumbents, and the proper role of antitrust law in preventing consumer harm in this area after the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC.

“The rapid growth of state licensing boards that are controlled by members of the profession they regulate has become a major threat to equal opportunity in this country,” Sen. Lee said. “We need to examine the causes and consequences of such a major obstacle to economic mobility. I also look forward to examining what role the federal government can play in addressing the anticompetitive behavior of these boards.”

“When a state gives a profession the power to regulate itself, that profession must use its power responsibly: to protect consumers and not harm competition,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Many boards, particularly in specialized and highly technical fields, perform a critical role in ensuring that members of their profession perform at the highest standards. At the same time, the use of licensing boards could have the opposite effect if qualified people are prevented from entering professions.  I look forward to exploring these issues at the hearing next month.”

Witnesses will include:

Dr. Jason Furman, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisors, Office of the President of the United States

The Honorable Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

Mr. Misha Tseytlin, Solicitor General, State of Wisconsin

Professor Morris M. Kleiner, Professor of Public Affairs and AFL-CIO Chair in Labor Policy, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Mr. Robert E. Johnson, Elfie Gallun Fellow for Freedom and the Constitution, Institute for Justice

**New Witness** Bill Main, Owner, Segs in the City