Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#TXLEGE: "Occupation Licencing" scourge means people in debt CAN'T WORK to pay off debt

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

"Occupation Licensing" laws are bad enough on the merits. They restrict competition and increase consumer prices, while doing nothing to promote the specious "public safety" grounds on which they are so frequently justified.  But the Trib reports on a detail of how those laws are enforced in Texas that boggles the mind:
Texas is among several states that bars teachers, dentists, nurses and other professional license holders from renewing their licenses if they are in default on their student loans.

The ban was designed to push people to pay off their debt — or face the consequences. But even in Texas, a state that holds more than $70 billion of the country’s $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans, critics call the practice counterproductive since it can impede people's ability to work and make it even harder for them to pay back their debt.

There is no comprehensive source of data on how frequently this happens in Texas. Records from multiple organizations and agencies suggest more than 4,215 people in the state – including security guards, cosmetologists and pharmacists – were at risk of losing their license because of student loan default in 2017.

Since 2010, 530 nurses were unable to renew their licenses because they were in default on their student loans, according to information provided to The Texas Tribune through a public information request. And nearly 250 teachers, like Scott, had an application for a license renewal denied for this reason over the course of five years, data from the Texas Education Agency shows.
This is obscene (seriously, do read the whole Trib article to learn how this law has impacted several people).  Governor Abbott should call a special session to remedy this situation, and the relevant legislation should clear the two chambers 181-0.  That obviously won't happen, but this needs to be addressed next session.

Bottom Line: Texas really should eliminate occupation licensing entirely.  But, at a minimum, this 'enforcement mechanism' needs to go.  The idea that people who are behind on student loan debts can be prohibited from working to pay off those debts is bonkers.

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