Let My People Work!

Quality of Life
March 26, 2024

Oran P. Smith, Ph.D

Senior Fellow

Back in 2020, Palmetto Promise Institute published the Palmetto Playbook, a football-themed policy manual designed to “move South Carolina’s economy down the field” after the pandemic. We were in COVID lockdown, so we had plenty of time to draw on scores of policy recommendations and state rankings from across the nation. Very quickly, we were able to determine where the Palmetto State was encouraging free enterprise and where we were essentially shackling the golden goose.  

One of the wide-open opportunities we discovered was in the area of reducing intrusive governmental Occupational Licensing 

According to the Institute for Justice (IJ), South Carolina was one of the worst offenders at overregulating a host of occupations, actually placing hurdles for South Carolinians to work. Needless to say, such policies don’t move the ball down the field; they are the equivalent of government sacking the free market. 

Thus far, we have seen success in deregulating specific mobile servicesmobile barbershops were signed into law in 2021, and we’ve been pleased to see such units (like the one pictured above) popping up all over the state. That’s the free market at work!

In the years since that win, there has been little meaningful progress on removing additional barriers to work, but there may be real hope in 2024. 

Here are the opportunities in play right now:  

  • allowing mobile cosmetology and portable nail salons (S.857 by Senators Tom Davis and Wes Climer). This could be a game-changer for a wedding party! 
  • deregulating hair-braiding and blow-dry styling (S.1132 by Senators Tom Davis, Wes Climer, and Sandy Senn). These industries should not be government-regulated—there are no sharp instruments requiring hundreds of hours of training, just talent that deserves compensation. 

Both of these bills are on the Senate floor calendar right now. If they make it across the lobby before crossover day on April 10, the House would have time to consider them before the legislature adjourns.  

We appreciate the leadership Senators Davis and Senator Climer have shown in filing and championing this legislation. Senator Climer was kind enough to explain the motivation behind this new free market approach in this short video recorded last week. You can share it with your friends on all our social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and X).