Lasee's Notes
 August 24, 2017

Lasee's Notes is a way for me to communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state and nation tomorrow.

I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me, or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.

Fee You Later


Did you know that a lot of mothers, grandmothers, and "well-meaning" friends in Wisconsin are operating without a state license? So the next time you are set-up on a date with someone who “is perfect for you”, make sure to stop and ask if your grandmother has a Wisconsin license for matchmaking.

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) issues licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits for a wide variety of occupations (including matchmaking) and businesses. The agency states that its mission is to promote economic growth and stability while protecting the citizens of Wisconsin as designated by statute.



DSPS was created in 2011 by combining the former Department of Regulation and Licensing and the Divisions of Safety, Buildings and Environmental Regulatory Services. The agency issues licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits for a wide variety of trade and non-trade occupations and businesses.

DSPS oversees the licenses, certificates, and registrations for over 76 different trade professions and business and 153 business professions and businesses. The agency also has 43 professional boards and councils consisting of anywhere from five to twenty-five people, all appointed by the Governor that oversee anything from plumbing to psychology. The boards and councils hear complaints, oversee licensing, suggest statute changes, and make many decisions directly affecting those working in the occupations and at the businesses the boards and councils oversee. 

As of July, 2016, 466,823 people and businesses held a licenses issued by DSPS. With each new license issued or renewed the agency charged a fee. That fee can be as little as $10 (tanning facility) or up to $500 (professional boxing promoter). Some occupations and businesses require multiple licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits which drive costs into the thousands of dollars for many people.


Mickey and Mr. Miyagi would both have to be licensed by DSPS

Besides issuing licenses, certificates, registrations, and permits, DSPS also creates, edits and scores 75 individual exams for over 50 different health and business professions and 56 individual exams for 14 different types of trade credentials. Examination fees brought in $2.6 million during 2015-16 for DSPS.

DSPS administers building codes, reviews plans, and inspects mines, commercial buildings, multi-family dwellings, one and two family dwellings, manufactured homes, plumbing, private onsite wastewater treatment systems, electrical and heating systems, boilers, elevators, electrical wiring, fire safety, swimming pools, and temporary and seasonal structures such as amusement rides and ski lifts. By charging for all of this oversight DSPS generated $16.8 million in 2015-16. 



One in five workers in Wisconsin needs an occupational license to practice their profession, up from one in 20 just a few decades ago.  The Institute of Justice ranks Wisconsin as the 28th most licensed burdensome state.  A study from the Brookings Institution found the average Wisconsin family could save $750 a year if Wisconsin’s occupational licensing laws were reformed. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty recently concluded that Wisconsin’s current licensing laws results in 31,634 fewer jobs in our state.

Since 2011 there have been many proposals to eliminate outdated licensing requirements, abolish troublesome regulations, and consolidate and streamline the boards and councils at DSPS.

2017 Senate Bill 108 and Senate Bill 109  remove the most burdensome, time-consuming requirements in the United States for barbers and cosmetologists already licensed in other states but want to be licensed in Wisconsin by eliminating the excessive requirement of 4,000 hours of experience before receiving a Wisconsin license to practice. These bills remove the outdated requirement that an establishment must have a cosmetologist with a manger’s license on staff. SB 108 and SB 109 eliminate the instructor’s license, enabling cosmetology schools, not bureaucrats, to determine who is qualified to teach in their schools.  These law changes allow qualified people to obtain licenses and help to keep costs low for consumers and business owners.



Recently State Representative Jagler and I circulated for co-sponsorship legislation combining the duties and eliminating the Building Inspector Review Board and Contractor Certification Council.  Eliminating the council and board because of their inactivity and transferring their duties to the Uniform Dwelling Code Council will help create efficiencies at DSP.

DSPS’s total budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was $51.5 million with $51 million coming from fees. The remaining $500,000 in funding comes from the federal government.

DSPS will collect $54 million during each of the two years of the 2017-19 biennium in fees. Fees and regulations are a hurdle to entrepreneurism. More requirements and higher fees required by DSPS means fewer people choosing certain professions or opening and maintaining businesses, less competition, and ultimately higher prices for consumers. Money used to pay fees is money that can’t be spent to grow Wisconsin's economy. We will continue to work with DSPS to put more emphasis on the portion of their mission statement that promotes economic growth and less on the fees. 


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Lasee's Notes, please feel free to contact me.

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State Capitol Room 316S- PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512