Members of the state legislature have started a new effort to reduce unnecessary rules and regulations in Idaho’s licensing system. Idaho has a number of licensing boards that oversee various professions and occupations (contractors, cosmetologists, landscape architects and physical therapists to name a few), and while this oversight is important, we want to make sure our government isn’t over-regulating people who contribute so much to our economy and our communities.

A Regulatory Reform Joint Subcommittee (RJS) has been formed, made up of members of the state House and Senate. We’ll be reviewing the rules and regulations of all the occupational licensing boards with an eye towards streamlining as well as keeping Idaho’s jobs and business climate as competitive as we can.

In some cases, Idaho licensing is overregulated, restricting easy entry into the job market. RJS’s goal is to work closely with licensing boards to improve the system while assuring the public is being well served. The response from boards has been very positive.

Regulatory reform is not unique to Idaho. It has become a national movement at the federal and state level. There’s a sense across the country that you need to pop the hood open, so to speak, and take a good look at the inner workings of government. There may be rules that were once needed but are no longer needed or rules once implemented ended up having a negative effect. It’s important that we never let government run on autopilot. We should always be engaged, ask questions, and check to make sure what we’re doing is effective and necessary.

Achieving everything we hope to may take a lot of time. Those serving on regulatory boards are volunteers, so we must be respectful of their time and their own jobs. Also, we want to be thorough and thoughtful and really delve into these rules and regulations to make meaningful, positive changes to the licensing system.

On February 20, the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee held its first formational meeting. During the Legislative session we’ll hold regular hearings and will continue to meet after session ends. One of the first boards we’ll talk to is the Pharmacy Board that has already done great work in reducing its own regulations.

I’m excited to work collaboratively with the public, fellow legislators, and licensing board members to make our government work better. One of the great pleasures of public service is making a difference in people’s lives and I believe with this effort we will do just that.

Jim Patrick is a Senator from District 25 Rural Twin Falls and Jerome County. He is also the Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee.