(Darcy Olsen, CEO, Goldwater Institute) – More Americans than ever are required to get a state government license before they can go to work or earn a living. And this trend stops Americans every day from starting a business. That includes people like Lauren Boice, a nurse and cancer survivor who committed her life to helping the elderly and the terminally ill. Lauren set up a telephone dispatch service to connect people unable to leave home with beauticians for haircuts and pedicures. The State of Arizona tried to shut down Lauren’s business because she didn’t have a cosmetology license, even though she would never open a salon or cut someone’s hair.
Lauren is among 3 million people denied the opportunity to work or start businesses because of state occupational licensing, according to research by labor policy professor Morris Kleiner. You can read some of their stories in our new investigative report, “Protection Racket: Occupational Licensing Laws and the Right To Earn A Living.”
The Goldwater Institute helped Lauren to file a lawsuit that forced the state to leave her business alone. But too many other people like Lauren never get their business off the ground because occupational licenses are presumed to be necessary, and every person who questions that assumption must make their case in court.
So we developed a game changer: The Right To Earn A Living Act. States adopting this ground-breaking policy will declare that you have a fundamental right to work and start a business. Any agency that wants to force you to get a government license first will have the burden to prove this is truly necessary to protect public health or safety.