Proposed occupational license bill effectively 'killed' by senator

(WVLT) -- Tennessee lawmakers introduced two bills that would allow certain services to be practiced in the state without a license as long as customers are aware. State Senator Janice Bowling announced Friday that the proposed licensing bill had been "effectively killed" in the Senate.

PHOTO: Woman dying hair / Source: NIEHS

Senate Bill 1914 and House Bill 1945 were first introduced by Knoxville Representative Martin Daniel and Senator Janice Bowling introduced on Jan. 28.

Sen. Bowling said she placed SB1914 in a General Subcommittee. The move effectively killed the legislation.

Sen. Bowling released the following statement:

"My intention in signing this bill was to only use it as vehicle later in the session to address any specific needs by opening up sections of Tennessee law dealing with occupational licensing. It was never my intention to run the bill in its current form. An amendment would have been necessary to significantly change its scope. There is obviously a lot of misinformation and confusion about this bill from well-intentioned people. For that reason, I have placed the bill in a General Subcommittee where it will not be acted upon, effectively killing the bill.”

The bill stated, a person may perform cosmetology without a license if the customer is aware that the person is not licensed and waives claims against them.

The bill applied to:

(1) Accountants;
(2) Architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers;
(3) Barbers;
(4) Cosmetologists;
(5) Funeral directors and embalmers;
(6) Contractors;
(7) Home inspectors;
(8) Plumbers;
(9) Home improvement contractors;
(10) Locksmiths;
(11) Real estate brokers;
(12) Land surveyors;
(13) Soil scientists;
(14) Auctioneers;
(15) Individuals engaged in the application of pesticides;
(16) Rental location agents;
(17) Private investigators;
(18) Polygraph examiners;
(19) Individuals engaged with fire protection sprinkler systems;
(20) Servicers of fire extinguishers and related equipment;
(21) Alarm contractors;
(22) Private protective services;
(23) Geologists;
(24) Tattoo artists;
(25) Body piercing artist;
(26) Real estate appraisers; and
(27) Professional employer organizations.

Rep. Daniel told WVLT News reporter Justin McDuffie his reason for proposing the legislation.

"In many of these cases, the occupational license is not related to public safety or welfare, it's rather the product of lobbying by special interest groups who wish to erect barriers to entry," he said.

SB1914 states both the customer and the person performing the work must both have a written agreement that acknowledges the person is unlicensed. The customer must also state they waive their rights in the agreement.

According to HB1945, performing work as a cosmetologist would not require a license as long as both parties have entered the same written agreement.

Daniel said the bill he proposed would not have endangered consumers.

"There's always certification and registration as alternatives to licensing. One can be required to be bonded and insured, therefore protecting the consumer."

Both bills stated liability action could only be sought by a customer if the person performing the work acted in a malicious way or with intent to harm.

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