Category: Occupational Licensing

Louisiana Means Licensing

Received this email from the Institute for Justice yesterday. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to regular readers.

Louisiana Means Licensing

Friends,

Louisiana is ground zero for one of the greatest threats to economic liberty in America: occupational licensing. An occupational license is just what it sounds like—a government permission slip to work in a particular field.

Licensing Fail: Map of states which license florists
In our groundbreaking study of the nationwide licensing of 102 low-to-moderate income jobs, License to Work, we found that Louisiana licenses more occupations than any other state in the country: 71! For example, Louisiana is the only state in the country to license florists. Many of these laws have nothing to do with protecting the public’s health and safety, and instead provide protection to industry insiders.

We’re looking for entrepreneurs struggling to escape unconstitutional licensure. If you or a loved one are fighting for your right to earn an honest living, let us know today by visiting ij.org/action/report. 

Airbnb or Not2b?

Renting out space in your home to travelers provides an easy means to make ends meet, and offers greater options to visitors to your city. But the Big Easy does not want to make this easy. The New Orleans City Council has voted to outlaw residential rentals for periods of less than 30 days. This effectively bans the use of popular websites like Airbnb. Show your support for property rights, economic liberty and southern hospitality by visiting this petition to legalize short-term rentals in New Orleans. Read more…

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more local news and calls-to-action!

Upcoming Events

The Loyola Law School chapter of The Federalist Society will be hosting a couple noteworthy speakers in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013:

Baylen Linnekin, the man responsible for the recently filed lawsuit against the Bloomberg Administration to force New York City to disclose information about its food policymaking, Reason Magazine contributor and executive director of Keep Food Legal, a Washington, D.C. non-profit that advocates in favor of everyone’s right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods of their own choosing. Linnekin will be speaking about food freedom. Also, Andrew Legrand, attorney for the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, will be on hand to talk about the work the NOFTC did to reform NOLA food truck ordinances earlier this year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013:

Radley Balko, senior writer for Huffington Post and author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop. Balko is an award-winning investigative journalist who focuses on civil liberties and the criminal justice system and will be speaking about the increasing militarization of America’s police forces.

Both events will be held from 12:30-1:30 pm in room 306 in the Loyola Law School building, 526 Pine St., NOLA 70118.

 

Food Trucks, Who’s Your Nanny?

I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad we have LaToya Cantrell making sure food trucks look pretty and Jackie Clarkson looking out for restaurants’ private property rights.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 saw another round of debate over Councilmember Head’s proposed food truck ordinance changes. I have been critical over a number of the changes, but at least they’re a step in the right direction. However, I’m starting to wonder if the council will even take that first step.

Councilmember Cantrell apparently thinks New Orleanians have difficulty distinguishing between food trucks and carnival-food vendors. How else could she justify suggesting an aesthetic requirement on truck operators? Aside from this being a ridiculous idea, I have a question for Councilmember Cantrell. Who’s aesthetic standard will apply? Yours (which could be awesome or terrible, but that’s irrelevant)? Or will it be some generic, uniform design that will actually make it more difficult to distinguish between the trucks? Newsflash, it is not the role of the government to decide what is aesthetically preferable. Get out of the way and stop playing government Nanny. Aesthetics have absolutely nothing to do with whether the trucks operate in a safe way in preparing food for their customers.

I reserve my most significant outrage for economic protectionist, Councilmember Clarkson. She believes it is her job on the council to protect restaurants from having to compete with those big, bad food trucks who are stealing everybody’s business. Ms. Clarkson does not think food trucks should be able to operate within 100 feet of an existing restaurant. Don’t ask her what a suitable distance is though, she has no idea.

“You’re talking about land owners, private property rights, you’re talking about tax payers on property. I come from that world…I’m trying not to get into measurements with you, and I’m trying not to argue.”

Well Ms. Clarkson, you are wrong in several ways. First, lets talk about those land owners and private property rights. You are allowing restaurant owners to tell other business owners where they may operate on public property (streets). A restaurant’s property rights and land ownership do not extend to the parking spaces on the public street. Also, I fail to see how your argument is in any way logical. Do you complain when a restaurant opens within 100 feet of another restaurant? What about when a bank opens within 100 feet of another bank? A salon 100 feet from another salon? You get the idea. If we were to apply your reasoning to all aspects of commerce we would quickly see New Orleans devoid of commerce. The better idea is that there be no distance requirements. Look at the line of art galleries on Royal St, the bars and restaurants on Magazine and Oak to name just a few examples. When businesses compete with and complement each other it creates thriving neighborhoods and districts. This is what your policy would prevent, Ms Clarkson.

Second, food trucks also pay taxes. They pay sales taxes on all their supplies, they pay fuel taxes on their gasoline, they contribute to payroll taxes, federal and state, for their employees, and they collect sales taxes for the city of New Orleans. The point isn’t that restaurants pay more taxes because of property taxes. That is a choice restaurant owners made when they went into business.

At the core of the issue is that banning food trucks from reasonable operating locations serves only one interest. The interest of a business that has set hours, a set location, seats, air conditioning and heating, etc. This restriction protects the business that already has all the advantages. The public is the group that suffers.

If you keep up your nanny-like behavior Ms. Clarkson, I will be happy to help send you back to the world you so proudly come from next election.

Food Trucks Coming to Fat City?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 will see a measure brought up before the Jefferson Parish Council to allow food trucks to operate in Fat City in Metairie on Tuesdays between 7am and 10pm. While the proposition is laughable, it’s at least a step in the right direction.

However, the same, age-old, debunked myths surrounding food trucks continue to be spread like infectious disease. This time from Drago’s proprietor, Tommy Cvitanovich;

“But it has to be a level playing field. They’ve got to be safe. They’ve got to be inspected.”

Mr. Cvitanovich, food trucks are already regulated exhaustively for health and safety purposes by the state. Also, what do you think isn’t level about the playing field? You have a brick and mortar building, an established clientele, and years of experience running an extremely successful restaurant. And you’re worried about people serving food on private property out of trucks? Sounds to me like you’re not as interested in a level playing field as you are about using the government to protect yourself from competition.

Also, conveniently not mentioned is the fact that Drago’s has their own truck for special events and festivals. Care to explain Mr. Cvitanovich?

Hey Louisiana State Legislators, I Found Some New Jobs

Before we get to these new jobs I found for our state, I have a question. What profession has 10x the education/training requirements of an Emergency Medical Technician? If you guessed Cosmetologist, you are correct! I’ve written about the grossly inequitable occupational licensing schemes in Louisiana before, but the Institute for Justice has a new report out that shows us just how bad it is.

Some highlights from the results of the study in Louisiana include our state ranking 43rd in most burdensome licensing laws, and the 8th most extensively and onerously licensed state. Out of 102 occupations in the nationwide study, Louisiana licenses 71. That’s more than any other state and 28 more than the national average.

If our state legislators want to get serious about improving entrepreneurship and income inequality in Louisiana, they should start by taking a hard look at eliminating a large number of these arbitrary impediments.