Occupational licensing regimes have risen sharply in the United States in recent years, placing bureaucratic barriers to entry on over 29% of all jobs. Meanwhile, our nation is undeniably replacing manual labor with service professions, which, by definition, rely heavily on speech. As such, these new broad licensing requirements have begun to affect the historically prized realm of free speech. Licensing boards, supported by some district and appellate courts, are increasingly shoving spoken advice within the purview of a licensed professional’s “conduct,” thereby barring these words from traditional First Amendment “speech” protections.
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