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MN Lawmakers’ Bill Would Soften Business Licensing

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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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.

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