MN Lawmakers’ Bill Would Soften Business Licensing

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — State lawmakers say they’ve found a way to create thousands of jobs and help small business owners.

Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley, and Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina, plan to introduce a bill that would loosen restrictions on state licensing requirements.

Lawmakers said this could create 15,000 jobs in Minnesota by opening up the market place. They said it would also increase competition between businesses, benefiting consumers.

The bill would allow an entrepreneur to pursue a job or career without getting licensed by the state as long as they aren’t posing a threat to public health or safety. The examples they gave include a barber, masseuse, or tree trimmer.

Jim Dolphy owned a tree trimming business in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. He stood with lawmakers during their announcement at the Capitol Monday and shared his experience with licensing requirements.

Dolphy said he had his business for five years. When a tornado hit Minneapolis in 2009, he got a lot of job calls. But because of city rules, he wasn’t allowed to work, he was forced to leave.

“The cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and others have created a licensing law that requires a certified arborist to be on staff to be able to do business in those cities. This licensing law is ridiculous,” said Dolphy. ” A certified arborist is not required in my company for us to safely and effectively do our jobs operations.”

Lawmakers said the current regulations for licensing in state and local governments can make it difficult for would be entrepreneurs to get started because of the cost and time commitment for the requirements.

Lawmakers want the state to rely more heavily on certifications and inspections instead of licensing. If local or state government questions a business owners practice, they could take their case to court where a judge would determine whether or not they could continue.

More from Holly Wagner
  • Tom

    This is Stupid idea! Again a law that has been in place for awhile and now they say it is a problem. And they think be getting rid of this law that this will create jobs, a license does not create demand, which is the main problem right now.

    • James

      Tom, it’s apparent that you’ve never tried to license a business yourself. Have you?

      Now if you look at Tom’s background, he’s probably a member of the same union that employs certified arborists. I say that facetiously in that many of the rules and regulations like this are designed to protect larger entities from being killed by healthy competition. If you need an example, look no further than the prevailing wage doctrine.

      • Brian

        Sorry, James. Your comment makes no sense. Not only do these larger entities remain in business, they thrive…and they do so while following the same regulations that their “healthy competition” can’t handle. Most of the GOPers constantly shout about deregulating businesses and letting capitalism choose who survives and who doesn’t. Give businesses large and small free reign and everything will magically fall into place. Here’s some free reign…don’t like to play by the rules and follow regulation? Take your floundering small business to Texas. There’s nothing stopping you.

        • James

          Well you’re wrong about my comment not making any sense, but you’ve hit the nail on the head when you stated “the do so while following the same regulations that their “healthy competition can’t handle”.

          It’s a fixed system intended on keeping competition locked up. The rules are set high so that competition is limited. For example, you’re obviously a liberal… what would you say to your fellow dairy farmer (if you can still find one) if the state government passed a law that states you can’t run your operation without having one season veterinarian on staff for every 10 cows? How many small town farmers would pass on their business to their children? How many children would go out and get a buy land and start milking cows? The answer is no different, 0.

          Some times the laws create unattainable limitations for the purpose of restricting and regulating nothingness. Hopefully, the GOP can do something about this power grab by the left to destroy the economy and restrict capitalism for the small business owner.

          “Floundering small business” spoken by a true liberal elite. @Brian, we don’t all eat gold bars for breakfast and ride our golden unicorns to work in the morning. Some of us actually work for a living instead of complaining about those who do.

    • Grynch

      Licensing requirements can keep a lot of would be business owners from starting businesses. More businesses mean more jobs. Since there are already procedures in place for making sure that a business is following rules and regulations it eliminates the need for all of the licensing requirements. I don’t see how this will have a huge impact right off the bat but I don’t see how it’s a “stupid idea” either. The only legitimate opposition to this idea would be to say that it opens the door for bad business owners to open business without following all of the rules and regulations.

      • Actually...

        More businesses doesn’t mean more jobs. I could start a roofing business tomorrow and hire a bunch of workers. Technically, yes, I’ve “created” jobs. But realistically, how long are these jobs going to last when the housing/construction market are in the tank? Like Tom said, jobs are created by demand. Without demand, you can create all of the jobs and do away with all of the licensing restrictions you want, but the “employees” will be back on the bread line by the end of the month.

  • You are correct Sir!

    totally correct Tom. This is the Republicans stalling and worrying about stupid stuff instead of the budget and important things like that.

  • Rufus Larkin

    Loosening these restrictions will make it easier to start-up brothels and head shops.

    • Grynch

      Nobody is loosening any restrictions. It would just be making the process of starting up a business less tedious while still being able to hold them accountable with the methods that are already being used to hold business accountable such as audits.

  • Bill

    This is a great idea! Anyone that has ever tried shopped for subs knows they are harder to find and more expensive in Mpls and St. Paul because they have created their own licensing for many businesses. If you think that is ok, then you either believe there are lots of bad operators outside the cities (crazy) or your just trying to keep competition out of your home turf.

  • Tim

    Hired a tree trimmer to take down a limb after a storm. They showed up with no hard hats, knocked down my power line and left a mess. Later found out they were unlicensed to work in Mpls. Don’t need to license these guys? I think not.

    • Grynch

      Most bad businesses get their license revoked when found out about so the license itself obviously isn’t stopping bad business from opening up in the first place.

      • jimmy

        The license makes sure the company can pass at least minimum standards. A certified arborist requires 3 year experience and pass a test to show you know what your doing. Doesn’t sound like a huge roadblock. Without minimum standards Joe the Plumber would by a chain saw tomorrow.

        • Grynch

          It opens up the market a little and creates less government control over businesses. There are plenty of procedures in place that hold businesses accountable aside from the licensing requirements. I know plenty of honest business owners who are frustrated by licensing requirements. And if Joe the plumber showed up at my house with a chainsaw I’m pretty sure He’d be reported the BBB and I would hire someone else.

          • jimmy

            The BBB has no more power than Angie’s list. Name these procedures that would hold a business accountable

            • Grynch

              Ever heard of an audit or an inspection? They happen all of the time. And if you think that licensing is just some petty minimum requirement and not a roadblock to business owners you are blind to reality.

              • jimmy

                Inspectors are paid for with license fees. Please tell me what tax you will raise to replace those fees. I have never heard of a city audit on a work sight. Please tell me what work sight you have seen get audited.

                • Nate

                  LOL. That’s because work sites don’t get audited, the companies that employ the workers at the work site are audited.

      • Matt

        Sounds like you should have done your research before hiring a company. You can either live in a world where the government takes care of you and treats you like a child, or you can take care of yourself and be an adult.

        • Dongwoo

          miscatonic: There will be a lrareeboadd posted pretty soon I suspect either tomorrow or Friday.IndieRockLance: You are correct, rewritten synopses do not count. Otherwise it would be quite simple to rewrite the same synopsis over and over, getting credit each time. This contest is for new synopses only.

  • BHO

    I want more government control of everything and more licensing. Only when the government trully controls everything and every aspect of our lives will we be free people.

  • Lonnie Jensen

    Requirements are there to protect public safety, protect the consumer from getting ripped off, and to protect the environment. Why do you think these regulations were developed in the first place???

  • Thompson Tickets

    business licensing is a great step to protect everyone’s interest..

  • Bill

    If I am too believe all of the people saying licensing protects consumers, then I must also believe that the suburbs — which do NOT have the all restrictions and licensing of Mpls and St. Paul — have lots of bad operators… It is non-sense. When I look for subs I find very capable subs in the suburbs.

  • Bill

    Tim, why don’t you take them to conciliation court and sue them? You don’t need licensure to do that.


    I want more government control of everything and more licensing. Only when the government trully controls everything and every aspect of our lives will we be free people.

  • Jon

    I’m concerned about the idea that there shouldn’t be qualifications required to perform tree trimming. ISA certification is not difficult enough to obtain to prevent someone competent from doing business. Plumbers and doctors need to be licensed to help ensure consumers that they are receiving quality service. It should be the same for people taking care of trees. However, I agree that the licensing requirement of the various cities in the area are prohibitive. I think there should be a state wide requirement for licensing, i.e. one licence to obtain, rather than individual licenses for each city.

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