Louisiana imposes burdens on a large number of professions, requiring a license to work. For many individuals, this is just a small hurdle on the way to their career.
For low-income individuals and those with a criminal conviction in their past, this can be the difference in finding meaningful work and returning to a life of crime. The Institute for Justice conducted an extensive analysis of state occupational licensing laws and found that Louisiana requires a license for 77 low- income occupations, making it the 6th most burdensome state in the country for occupational licensing. The sheer number of occupations requiring licenses limits possibilities for the disadvantaged seeking to reenter the workforce. Louisiana licenses dozens of professions. Besides licensing for doctors and attorneys, the state licenses over 70 occupations with average salaries that fall below the national average. These are natural fits for individuals reentering the workforce.
Louisiana attempted to adopt a Fresh Start provision which prevents the denial of an occupational license based solely on a conviction that is not related to the licensed profession. However, the law excludes many occupations, including massage therapists, physical therapists, and those working in education, among others. The policy could be greatly improved by removing these exclusions. The state also has a provision allowing for the issuance of provisional licenses to ex-offenders who are seeking an occupational license, but the provision is very limited and can be overridden by the policies of entities that issue licenses.
Occupational Licensing Restrictions
Louisiana’s Fresh Start provision excludes 18 licensed fields.1 The provision could be vastly improved by removing these exclusions. The state also has a provision allowing for the issuance of provisional licenses to ex-offenders, but it is very limited in scope and can be overidden by licensing entities.2
1. RS 37:2950
2. RS 37:32