State Senator Art Linares (R-33) today testified before the legislature’s General Law committee in favor of two bills that would help small business. The bills would eliminate the need for certain occupational licenses and make it possible for businesses to hire and train more apprentices. Sen. Linares is a proponent of apprenticeships and has introduced bills to increase their availability as part of an economic and business growth agenda.
Senate Bill 191: An Act Concerning The Department Of Consumer Protection And Occupational Licensing, would phase out licenses and fees that don’t have educational or professional prerequisites.
For some licenses, Sen. Linares said, “the only thing required to receive the license is to pay a fee to the state. This essentially amounts to another tax on business, particularly small businesses. For some individuals, this tax keeps them fromparticipating in an occupation for which they could create a successful business.”
Eliminating the license requirement for non-certificate professions would give businesses additional capital that could be put back into the business, Sen. Linares said. It could also open professions to individuals who might create a successful business, but cannot afford the license fee.
Sen. Linares also spoke in favor of Senate Bill 353: An Act Concerning Allowable Hiring Ratios Regarding Apprentices, Journeymen And Contractors. The bill would increase the number of apprentices that could be trained by a contractor or journeyman.
Apprenticeships, he said, offer one of the most effective ways for the state to address the skills gap for workers and business.
“Current state rules on the ratio of how many apprentices can be trained by a journeyman or contractor stifle the system,” Sen. Linares said. “Businesses cannot hire the number of apprentices they might like to train and young people seeking employment and eager to learn a trade are turned away.”
State law requires the number of contractors or journeymen conducting training to equal or exceed the number of apprentices being trained. At one of the more extreme ends, the law requires 26 journeymen to train 10 apprentices.
Sen. Linares said he believes apprenticeships are one of the most effective ways to provide business with the skilled workforce it needs while providing workers with the training that will lead to meaningful employment.
“I hope both SB 191 and SB 353 will be moved favorably out of this committee,” Sen Linares said. “I look forward to voting on them in the Senate.”
Sen. Linares’ proposal, Senate Bill 422: An Act Concerning The Creation Of An Apprenticeship Program For Identified Job Growth Industries is scheduled for a public hearing before the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Committee later in the month. The purpose of the bill is to create a private-public partnership apprenticeship program for industries displaying job growth potential.