Testimony in Support of LD 1973
Senator Sanborn, Representative Tepler, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as policy analyst for Maine Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of LD 1973.
Maine Policy has been a stalwart advocate for occupational licensing reform for many years, because the purpose of such regulation should be to protect health and safety. Oftentimes, even rules that make sense on paper can become more of a hindrance to progress than an assurance of safety.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Regulatory Economics found that Maine’s licensing programs had led to 29,206 lost jobs and $276 million in lost economic output, driving a misallocation of approximately $2.6 billion in resources, which cost the average Maine household $4,719.
If any occupations are appropriate for licensure, though, they are in the medical field. LD 1973 is a good bill because it relieves some healthcare workers such as nurses, midwives, and EMTs from fees related to their licenses between March 2020 and the end of this year. Though far from real reform, this bill would put some amount of money back into these hard-working Mainers’ pockets. For that, we support it.
It is right to offer help to these crucial workers, especially since the governor’s nonsensical and unscientific COVID-19 vaccine mandate caused so many of their colleagues to leave their field. That move further strained the standard of care in Maine, and unfairly left a heightened workload to remaining staff. After that, it’s hard to see how healthcare workers would feel supported by this administration, so returning their licensing fees would be a step in the right direction.
Since Governor Mills suspended so many licensing laws and rules over the course of the pandemic due to health and safety concerns, this committee should similarly consider returning the licensing fees of every Maine professional under your jurisdiction for whom it is required. Please deem LD 1973 “Ought To Pass” and continue on this path of allowing Maine’s professionals to recoup the costs of sate-mandated licensure. Thank you for your time and consideration.