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IPFS News Link • Minnesota

Why Painting Without a License Could Soon Be Illegal in Minnesota

•, Jon Miltimore

For years, my daughter, who is 12, has asked to have a room in the basement. My wife finally relented, and the two of them recently gave a fresh paint job to what will be her new room on the lowest level.

I'm relieved they got the job done quickly, because a new bill (SF 3554) proposed by the state legislature in our home state of Minnesota seeks to impose strict new regulations on who can paint, and what kind of paints can be used.

The legislation, which was posted online February 15, would restrict the "sale of certain solvent-based paint materials to licensees; [establish] a paint contractor board; [and require] licensing for paint contractors and journeyworker painters."

What precisely is wrong with the current situation, which allows homeowners to buy the paint they choose and permits contractors to paint without permission from the state, is unclear.

Still, it was amusing to watch Reddit users have a field day mocking the legislation and attempt to ascertain its purpose.

Some speculated the bill was driven by environmental concerns. Others suggested it was an effort to benefit labor unions. Writing separately, Minnesota economist John Phelan said the legislation is "regulation for the sake of regulation."

Any of these theories could be true, but one in particular caught my attention. A social media user claimed the legislation is designed to benefit Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, whose husband owns a painting company.

I decided to look into the claim that Murphy's husband is a commercial painter. According to Murphy's own campaign website, it's true.

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