White House report names Colorado as one of the top states for smart labor market regulation

DENVER - (Aug. 6, 2015) - A White House report released last Tuesday cites that Colorado is in the top 20 percent of states keeping burdens low for occupational licensing. The White House report details the national rise in occupational licensing and its consequences to the economy, and it recommends a framework for policymakers on smart labor market regulation. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has already implemented many of the best practices recommended in the report to keep licensing requirements minimal while still protecting consumers.

"We are working to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens using a common sense approach that jointly benefit Colorado consumers and the economy," said DORA Executive Director Joe Neguse.

Only 17.2 percent of the Colorado workforce is required to hold a state license to do their job, ranking the state as the ninth lowest for licensing prevalence among the states. The highest state is Iowa, requiring 33.3 percent. According to the report, the rate of occupational licensing has increased five-fold since the 1950s, reducing employment opportunities and increasing prices for consumers. Nationwide today, one-quarter of the workforce, on average, is required to hold a state license to perform their job.  

Among its recommendations for policymakers, the report cites: “Vesting responsibility for supervising licensing laws and conducting sunrise and sunset reviews in a single ‘umbrella agency’ can be a helpful way to simultaneously ensure adequate resources, efficiency, and sufficient analytical expertise.”

Created in 1968, DORA reflects this model by housing nine distinct divisions under a single state regulatory department, including its Division of Professions and Occupations, which licenses more than 50 professions and over 400,000 Colorado licensees.

“The time for a reduction in red-tape is ripe and can help solve workforce shortages in the state,” said Lauren Larson, Director of DORA’s Division of Professions and Occupations. “For example, DORA’s recent proposal to reduce requirements for advanced practice nurses to obtain prescriptive authority was unanimously adopted by the General Assembly this year and will become effective September 1. DORA is reducing required practice hours by 70 percent, bringing those requirements more in-line with other states competing for our nurse workforce.  This reduction in regulatory burden will particularly help patients in rural and underserved urban communities.”

Colorado was also recognized for its Sunrise and Sunset process, a cost-benefit review of proposed and ongoing regulations performed by DORA’s Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform (OPRRR). The report recommends Colorado’s approach. In 1976, Colorado became the first state to implement a sunset process which was heralded on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as “a remarkable innovation in state government.” Colorado is one of only 10 states that have a sunrise and sunset process.

“The Sunset process is a proactive vehicle for government reform, striking a balance in good public policy while maintaining sensitivity to business needs,” said OPRRR Director Bruce Harrelson. OPRRR boasts an over 80-percent passing rate of legislative recommendations.

 For more information about DORA, visit dora.colorado.gov

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The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675

Media Contact:
Rebecca Laurie
Department of Regulatory Agencies
p: 303-894-2338 | c: 720-724-0612