Wisconsin AFL-CIO: Wisconsin deserves fair, safe licensing not an undemocratic review council

Contact: Karen Hickey, 414-573-7579, khickey@wisaflcio.org

September 27, 2017 – As the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing, and State-Federal Relations holds an executive session Thursday to vote on the undemocratic License Review Council Bill, SB 288, the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO released the following statement:

“Whether it is electricians, plumbers, health care providers, or welders, Wisconsinites have been able to rest easy for decades knowing that these workers have been adequately trained, tested and licensed by the state in order to ensure high-quality and safe service for consumers as well as a safe, stable workplace for workers,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Politicians in Madison want to interfere with our fair and safe system of licensing by calling for the creation of a License Review Council stacked by Walker and GOP-appointees. This move is undemocratic and unnecessary.”

“Our current system of Fair licensing allows Wisconsinites to have confidence in licensed professionals, and allows professionals to trust the skills and knowledge of their co-workers and colleagues, which in turn creates safe and dependable workplaces and a safe end-product for the public,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Occupational and professional licenses are the key link between reliable, trusted services for the consumers and safe workplaces for workers. This bill could damage the public’s trust in important services Wisconsinites rely upon, weaken worker safety, deteriorate many industries within our state, and ultimately is an affront to our democratic principles.”

ABOUT THE BILL: SB 288, and its companion bill AB 369, is a destructive bill that will create an undemocratic Occupational License Review Council and require it to examine each and every occupation and profession currently requiring a state-issued license. Under the bill, the Council will unilaterally decide whether a license could be, in their opinion, eliminated or whether the licensing standards could be weakened. If the bill is passed, the Council will be stacked with 4 members appointed by Governor Walker, 2 members appointed by the Senate Majority Leader (Sen. Fitzgerald), and 2 members appointed by the Assembly Speaker (Rep. Vos), with the Governor’s appointed Secretary of DSPS as Chair. Anything short of an absolute balanced committee will predictably guarantee an ideologically driven outcome at the expense of workers in their profession and also the public. The bill does not call for the Council to hold any public hearings.

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