CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A new bill from Governor Branstad in the statehouse aims to cut the number of professions requiring a license in the state.
The affected professions include respiratory therapists, massage therapists, barbers, funeral directors, even mental health counselors and social workers. State registration would be required for many instead-- though it's unclear what exactly that means.
Tamara Alt is a respiratory therapist and teacher at Kirkwood. If the bill is approved she said it would place Iowa with Alaska-- the only other state not requiring respiratory therapists to have a license.
Alt worried patients will suffer.
"Not having regulation to ensure safety of the practitioner that is at the bedside is a significant concern," she said.
A slew of lobbyists have come out against the bill. Plus, the director of the University of Iowa's Child Protection Program, Dr. Resmiye Oral, who, in an email, urged state senators and representatives to "KILL IT" saying the legislation wasn't in the best interest of Iowans.
The wife of a respiratory therapist in training, Sarah Davis, started an online petition against the bill.
In fewer than 24 hours, it had gained more than 3,000 signatures.
Check it out, here.
"We'd like to make it clear,” said Davis, “we're concerned about this and hopefully defeat the bill."
The governor's office told TV9 the bill aims to remove entry barriers for many looking for work. Plus, lower the costs of regulation on businesses. Officials said currently about 33% of Iowa's workforce is licensed--the highest in the nation.
The bill is in a house subcommittee, right now. Representative Bobby Kaufmann chairs it. The Republican told TV9 he'd like to see a study committee formed to hear from the professions mentioned before letting that portion of the bill move forward.
Kaufmann also clarified that cosmetologists wouldn’t be impacted by the current version of the bill, despite some earlier concern.