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there have been many proposals to eliminate outdated licensing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