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Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, flew his barber from Kansas to Miami for a haircut before the game. While Mahomes knew a fresh cut would help him look good, he probably didn’t realize it was illegal for his barber to cut his hair in the State of Florida, as our friends at Pelican Institute pointed out this week.

Florida, like Iowa and most other states, doesn’t recognize out-of-state licenses for occupations like barbering. An occupational license is basically a permission slip from the government allowing people to work in a given profession. A fee usually has to be paid as well.

Each state has different requirements. Here are how the states in the hair-cut scandal compare to each other and Iowa:

  • Kansas: 1,500 hours of training and $115 in fees
  • Florida: 1,200 hours of education and $428 in fees
  • Iowa: 2,100 hours of education and $135 in fees

Thankfully, no one deprived Mahomes of his haircut by foolishly enforcing this licensing requirement on his barber; however, others have not been so lucky.

A licensed school teacher from California shared her story of moving to Iowa. She had to pay for a conditional license so she could work as she took additional classes, at her expense, to qualify for an Iowa teaching certification. New residents in many professions have a similar experience.

Occupational licenses protecting the health and wellbeing of citizens make sense, but unnecessary and burdensome regulations can keep many people from entering or changing jobs.

Before the legislative session began, ITR researched how states like Arizona, Ohio, and Nebraska have increased opportunities for current and new residents with:

  • Universal Recognition (this would help Mahomes’s barber)
  • Job License Reviews
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fee waivers for low-income workers

Legislators are listening. So far this year, three bills addressing this issue have been introduced. Stay updated on these bills by visiting our Issue Status webpage.