Should local governments in Michigan require licensing of state regulated occupations?

The state’s leading small business organization, NFIB, told a state House committee last week that local governments should be prohibited from licensing occupations that are already licensed at the state level.

“We are here today to support House Bills 5955-5965 because small business cannot afford to keep up with overlapping local ordinances and rules,” said NFIB’s Michigan State Director, Charlie Owens. “We support action by the state legislature to preempt local governments from setting up regulatory programs that duplicate or exceed the requirements of an already existing state or federal regulation.”

The hearing was held by the House Local Government Committee on legislation introduced by State Representative Jim Lower that would create the Local Government Occupational Licensing Act as part of a multi-bill package to reduce the burden on employees and businesses from new occupational licensing requirements.

“While always claiming safety and public protection as the reason for local licensing, more often the real objective is to raise more revenue through fees and fines,” said Owens. “Companies considering locating in Michigan will avoid local governments that pile on additional regulations and fees. Those already in Michigan will avoid these areas when they relocate or expand, much to the detriment of potential employees and customers in the locality in question.”

Owens told the Committee that rules and regulations have a disproportionate impact on smaller companies. “Research has shown that this difference can be as much as 36 percent between the costs incurred by small firms when compared with their larger counterparts”, said Owens.

“These House Bills are common sense legislation that will rein in local governments that seek to develop rules and ordinances stricter than already existing state and federal laws,” said Owens.

For more than 75 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses, and remains so today. For more information, please visit