|From: John M. Andrist [mailto:jandrist@state.nd.us]
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2000 2:13 PM
To: Schafer, Ed T.
Subject: Licensing Abuse

Governor Ed:

You probably are aware that I have been at war for years with our licensing system. This community had great difficulty getting a capable physician licensed because of silly rules designed to keep out foreign trained competitors. A similar situation happened when an out-of-state architect wanted to do a job here a number of years ago, but was restrained by licensure rules. And the crowning situation was when a popular cosmetologist from Estevan with more than twenty years of experience was prohibited from starting a shop in North Dakota. A young attorney who was a neighbor of mine had to sit for six months after his graduation before he could even take the bar exam. These abuses are particularly destructive for small communities which often have few provider options.

Among other silly abuses licensing laws require nurses to contribute to a scholarship fund, and lawyers must be members of the state (private) bar association to get a license. You no doubt are aware of others.

Many of the licensing abuses have been lessened by the adoption of national standards or board examinations in a number of professions. But the underlying problem remains:

There is something fundamentally wrong when a small board of practicing professionals is empowered to decide who should or should not be allowed to go into competition with them. It can get to be "clubby". I've tried a number of bill approaches, soundly defeated, in past sessions, but had decided to just give up until the flap with Dr. Gale arose. Without wanting to cast judgment on this case, I can only say the system is a smoking gun waiting to be abused.

It seems to me that basic professional competency should be determined at the university level, or by a full-time agency in charge of licensure for numerous professions -- and disciplinary action as well. The insulting part of the system is the presumption that consumers are not capable of determining who can cut hair, that schools are unable to assess the ability of teachers without a license, and that hospitals will hire incompetent nurses unless restrained by licensure laws.

We don't license governors, legislators, journalists, merchants, car sales
personnel . . .

We should be a government of enablers, not protectors. End of sermon.

If you should desire to explore this issue at more length I would be happy to be your extended arm in the legislature. Sen. Solberg is another advocate.

Best wishes always.


Senator John M. Andrist Senator John M. Andrist
Address: P.O. Box E, Crosby, ND 58730-0660
Telephone: 701-965-6798
E-mail: jandrist@nd.gov
District: 2
Party: Republican
Standing: Industry, Business and Labor, Political Subdivisions
Procedural: Correction and Revision of the Journal
Interim: Administrative Rules, Energy Development and Transmission


• Retired Publisher
• Past President, National Newspaper Association; Past President, ND Society of Professional Journalists; Past President, ND Newspaper Association; Board, Medora Foundation; ND Newspaper Association Hall of Fame 2000; Kiwanis; ND National Leadership Award of Excellence
• Widower (Elaine); 5 children
• Senate since 1993