Virginia lawmakers are looking to protect their citizens from the “sharp edges” of scissors and the “toxic chemicals” in glue, requiring people to now obtain a government license to use them in art therapy.
Reason reports the Virginia State Senate approved a bill that would require a license for art therapists as the materials involved in art—scissors and glue—are “potentially” dangerous.
According to the report, art therapy is a “growing practice” that involves participants expressing themselves through art as a means to cope with stress or to “keep mental disorders under control.”
The requirements for obtaining the new government license are vague, Reason reports, noting the bill creates an art therapy board which will ultimately determine its qualifications. One recommendation the state senators had for the new board vis-a-vis a report from the Virginia Board of Health Professions is that these art therapists be required to have a master’s degree.
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In a report to the state legislature, the Virginia Board of Health Professions found no examples of public safety threats created by unlicensed art therapists. Undeterred, the group said the legislature should consider creating the new license anyway, because there are “basic art tools, such as paint and glue, which contain toxic chemicals that could cause harm should they be inhaled or ingested, scissors which have sharp edges capable of causing cuts or punctures, and objects such as clay, if thrown, could be considered potentially dangers.”
The same report recommends that the state require a master’s degree in art therapy as part of the to-be-determined criteria for obtaining an art therapy license.
Yes, the same scissors that thousands of other Virginians might use on a daily basis for dozens of different tasks would be, under this legislation, considered dangerous public threats if handled by an art therapist lacking an advanced degree.
Reson reports the real motivation behind the Virginia lawmakers getting involved “has nothing to do with the potential dangers of scissors and glue” but is about “capturing a segment of the economy.”
The report determines:
Protectionism for art therapists and a windfall for a couple of universities is a bad reason to limit opportunities for all Virginians. And excessive licensing is no joke. One study has found that licensing laws across all 50 states resulted in 2.85 million fewer jobs and cost consumers more than $200 billion annually.
The real threat to the public is not unlicensed art therapists with merely an undergrad degree wielding scissors and glue. It’s state lawmakers crafting anti-competitive policies without regard for common sense.