This article was originally published in the DC Journal.
South Dakota policymakers have a lot to be proud of. Coming in at 2.3 percent, South Dakota has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation — slightly higher than Utah.
There is one area, though, where South Dakota can and should do better for its citizens: occupational licensing reform.
Occupational licensing laws make it illegal for individuals to begin working in a profession before meeting entry requirements like minimum levels of schooling and training. It is essential to differentiate licensing from other types of regulation — licensing is the strictest and most onerous way to regulate a profession. There are many different ways to regulate a trade and keep consumers informed and protected.
One example is auto mechanics. Auto mechanics are not licensed in South Dakota or the United States. Instead, auto mechanics can obtain private certification to let consumers know about the training they have received.
Reputation is also important — we can look online at reviews or ask friends and family for their recommendations.