I am State Senator, Rob Stafsholt. I was asked to Chair a study committee on occupational licenses. Many offices in the Capitol, including mine, have received multiple constituent contacts each week with their individual concerns about the Department of Safety and Professional Service’s inability to administer occupational licensing in a timely manner for months. The problems became so bad that the head of the agency resigned last month.
This week, I chaired the Legislative Council Study Committee on Occupational Licensing in its first hearing. The scope of the committee is to review the current occupational licensing system, prior recommendations regarding occupational credentials that may be eliminated without harming the public, review whether it is necessary to implement systems of review, and review options to expand access to individuals from other states to receive a reciprocal credential to practice in Wisconsin.
The new secretary-designee, in his statements, blamed staffing shortages and a lack of funding for the months-long delay that have held Wisconsin workers back from obtaining their licenses. But the problems that exist extend far beyond staffing and funding.
The excuses from DSPS are predictable but not acceptable. I am hopeful this study committee and the new secretary-designee can change course, correcting the incompetence that has plagued this agency and get more Wisconsinites the licenses they need to enter, or stay, in our workforce.