A Senate Judiciary subcommittee will hold a hearing next week to examine whether occupational licensing regulations limit competition.

Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights will examine whether licensing boards controlled solely by members of the profession work to prevent competition.

The key witness at the Feb. 2 hearing will be Jason Furman, chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors.

"The rapid growth of state licensing boards that are controlled by members of the profession they regulate has become a major threat to equal opportunity in this country," Lee said.

Klobuchar noted that licensing boards "perform a critical role," ensuring standards in the profession. But she acknowledged the boards "could have the opposite effect if qualified people are prevented from entering professions."

The Supreme Court last year ruled against the North Carolina State Board of Dentistry, which had sent cease and desist orders to tooth whitening companies operated by people who were not licensed dentists.