Nearly a year after the democrats fled the state in protest, increased political battling and aggressive union opposition over the last few months, the Indiana House passed the GOP supported right-to-work legislation 54-44. The bill now moves to the Senate where the Republicans enjoy a 37-13 advantage over the democrats. Unless there are some key movers, this legislation looks to be a done deal.
But lost in the right-to-work raucous was the little known HB1006. House Bill 1006 was introduced by District 18 representative David Wolkins as a good, conservative effort to reduce government intrusion into private business affairs. The irony is that many conservatives that highly praised the right-to-work legislative success were strangely opposed to HB1006. There are just some liberal ideas that even conservatives cannot live without. If there is one thing I do better than others, it is exposing the hypocrisy of conservatives that cannot seem to be consistent with their beliefs.
Government regulations imposed on tradesmen is a form of protectionism; much like the union racket that the right-to-work legislation intends to topple. I have always had a problem with the government licensing professions for which they have no expertise. So I was pleased to see Mr. Wolkins move forward with deregulation and put the responsibility where it rightfully belongs: with the business owners themselves AND consumers.
The idea behind the proposed bill, according to Rep. Wolkins, comes from the concept of "limited government". If this is true, how is it that conservatives, right along side the meager public opposition celebrated the removal of this bill?
This bill would have eliminated not only the laws regulating the named professions but the government licensing boards as well. The professions affected included cosmetologists, barbers, dietitians, hearing aid dealers, private investigators and security guards. Can you guess who opposed HB1006 the most vigorously? But on what grounds?
An online poster at beautytech.com identifying herself as Diana Bonn, at the Indiana State Board of Cosmology stated on January 10, 2012, "the schooling and license you have now will mean nothing" and " anyone off the street can do...anything". Ms. Bonn continues and gives her cliff notes interpretation of the ROEC committee report: "the ROEC committee basically says that if the consumer is hurt, they can hire an attorney, if they get a bad hair cut, they can switch to another salon, buyer beware. But Government regulation is not needed".
In other words, according to Ms. Bonn's unstated premise, people outside of government are too stupid to research and qualify their own service providers. In other words, Indiana citizens need the government in order to get a good hair cut, a trained, security guard, or a discreet private investigator. Let's not forget that those licensing fees collected by the agency Ms. Bonn works for account for over One-million dollars in revenue for the State of Indiana. Protectionist agenda?
Nicole Holland, a self employed cosmetologist, pursuing a registered dietitian degree made her opposition plea on the grounds that she may be stuck paying $60,000 in student loans for a useless degree. But, $60,000 for a registered dietitian degree sounds useless on its own merit to me. Then in the same aggravated breath she mentions "the government already makes it extremely difficult to get your head above water". I think she realizes that government in general is part of the problem but doesn’t admit it in her own case. Protectionism agenda?
Another writes: "proper education and licensing of the cosmetology profession by the state is essential to ensuring the welfare of the general public" and "complete removal of...HB1006 poses a clear and imminent threat to the livelihood of Indiana's 1,457salon/spa establishments". Do you understand what each lady is suggesting? Protectionism agenda?
Although cosmetologists were the largest group to oppose, they were closely allied with the security and private investigation profession. Pursuit Magazine, in reporting that The Indiana Association of Professional Investigators (IAPI) and the Indiana Society of Professional Investigators (INSPI) both opposed HB1006, offered a pre-formatted, fill in the blank, PDF file to send off to legislators. Their reasoning was that a licensed security provider is required to conduct background checks, document experience, and licensed employers pay payroll tax on their employees. And none of this can be done without government regulations?
Do you know what a felon is before they are a felon? A non-felon! Background checks do not protect against felonious behavior; they only root out those that have been caught, not those with the propensity. How often are background checks required in order to maintain licensing status? The private owner is in a better position to root out incompetent employees than the government. The business owner has a personal stake that the government does not.
What about the touted experience? For security, a few years on the payroll of another licensee will give you what is required; even if all you ever do is watch an access door into a business. A door observer can become a government ordained security specialists.
Like unions opposing right-to-work views so too is the resistance to deregulation a protectionist strategy. From the inside looking out, things are lovely. Unnecessary rules and regulations are favored by those already on the inside. This is because, in many cases, the government artificially helps those with a license keep their competitors at bay. I think a lot of licensed and board approved business owners were afraid that their protection was about to end. Well not this year; Tony (.Gov) Soprano is good to go for now. But like the right-to-work bill, expect it to come back. Next time, I hope you conservatives won’t be as hypocritical in your selective advocacy for smaller government principles.
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