Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today a study group on occupational licensing.

This an old conservative bugaboo that is devilishly hard to engage because much business regulation is a product of protectionist lobbying by the regulated businesses. And, it should be said, sometimes regulations are a good thing in terms of competence and safety.


In any case, the governor said the Red Tape Reduction Working Group will study licensed trades and see if any can be exempted from licensing requirements “without compromising the safety of consumers.” He’s concerned licensing fees can be a barrier to business entry.

The group has five members each from the Senate and House and five gubernatorial appointees.


Senators are all Republicans: John Cooper (co-chair), Missy Irvin, Jane English, Trent Garner and Bart Hester

The representatives: Two Democrats, LeAnne Burch and Milton Nicks, plus Bruce Cozart (co-chair),  Jeff Williams and Richard Womack.


Governor’s appointees:Bill Gossage, the governor’s deputy chief of staff for external affairs; Dr. Charisse Childers, director of Arkansas Career Education; Leon Jones Jr., director of Arkansas Department of Labor, and consumer representatives Lula Dixon and Bob Kucheravy, an AEDC employee married to the governor’s chief of staff, Alison Williams

Recommendations are expected in the fall.