Saturday, June 20, 2020

1889 Institute: Legislature fouls out on another occupational license

Why is Oklahoma one of only four states licensing Recreational Therapists?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (June 17, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Recreation Therapy Licensure in Oklahoma,” which asks why the Oklahoma’s legislature would feel compelled to license so benign of an occupation as recreation therapy. Recreational therapists promote mental and physical health and overall welfare of patients by helping them enjoy a hobby. Specialists may use games, crafts, animals, music or other fun leisure activities to advance this goal.

“Recreation therapy is a serious endeavor,” said Luke Tucker, an intern at the 1889 Institute and graduate assistant in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Philosophy. “Nevertheless, recreational therapists do not diagnose, prescribe, or even handle needles. How was the Oklahoma legislature persuaded to pass this law?” he asked.

Not only is Oklahoma one of only a handful of states that licenses recreational therapists, obtaining the license requires a four-year undergraduate degree. Only one university in Oklahoma even offers the requisite major.

“We have made it a mission of the 1889 Institute to demonstrate the folly of occupational licensing, which increases costs for consumers and blocks opportunity for potential service providers,” said Byron Schlomach, Director of the 1889 Institute. “Recreation therapy is a perfect example of an occupation that should have never been licensed.  The legislature should pass a law like 1889’s 21st Century Consumer Protection & Private Certification Act model. This model bill would preserve the benefits of market competition while protecting consumers as well as private credentialing organizations and their members from fraud,” said Schlomach.

About the 1889 Institute
The 1889 Institute is an Oklahoma think tank committed to independent, principled state policy fostering limited and responsible government, free enterprise and a robust civil society. The publication, “Recreation Therapy Licensure in Oklahoma,” and other reports on licensing, can be found on the nonprofit’s website at 


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