Occupational Licensing - Legislation ACLU of Rhode Island is Working On


Protecting Civil Liberties in Rhode Island for Over 50 Years


Occupational Licensing

Category: 2008  Rights of Ex-Offenders  

In approving a complete rewrite of the regulatory statute governing optometrists, the General Assembly – at the ACLU’s urging – took a modest step forward in eliminating troubling and archaic language that appears in most occupational licensing statutes. Many of those laws, like the one governing optometrists, allow the licensing body to take into account such things as an applicant or licensee’s “moral character” or any criminal record in deciding whether to grant, suspend or revoke a license. Over the years, the ACLU has attempted to limit the offenses that can lead to a revocation of a person’s license – and thus his or her livelihood – to crimes that relate in some way to the occupation. Otherwise, promotion of ex-offenders’ rehabilitation and reintegration into society is stymied. Under the amended legislation approved by both Houses, consideration of a person’s criminal record is limited to certain specified felonies. The Affiliate hopes to come back next year with an omnibus bill to do the same thing for the dozens of other occupational licensing statutes on the books.