Posts tagged ‘IJ’

I Love the IJ

Closely on the heals of their victory in an asset forfeiture case in New York, the Institute of Justice (IJ) successfully fought the state licensing requirement for hair braiders in Texas.

A 2013 press statement on the Institute for Justice’s website described Brantley’s frustration with the criteria: “This means that Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn’t need, all to teach a 35-hour hair-braiding curriculum,” the statement read.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks on Monday seemed to agree with Brantley’s concerns that the requirements for hair-braiding entrepreneurs were superfluous. Sparks ruled that the Texas laws were unconstitutional and “absent” a rational connection with Brantley’s intended marketplace, the Associated Press reports.

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living,” Brantley said in a press statement. “This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

Good.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a way to fight these stupid licensing laws except one at a time, state by state.  And every time we take one on, the incumbent competitors in that business (who are the primary beneficiaries of  licensure that restricts new competition) fight tooth and nail every step of the way.

I will observe that red states are just as bad as blue states on occupational licenses.   This is cronyism, not ideology.  From this site, here are just a few the occupational licenses one still needs in Texas (this is from a school web site, so these are just the ones that have continuing education requirements that this school serves).  I suspect that this list is incomplete, as long as it is, because barbers and hair stylists, the subject of this case, are not even on the list.

Continuing Education Requirements
 Licensed Occupations License Continuing Education Requirements to Renew
Accountants & Auditors Certified Public Accountant Annual CEUs Ethics-2hrs/yr
Acupuncturist Acupuncturist 17 hours CAE/yr
Heating, A/C, & Refrigeration Mechanics & Installers A/C & Refrigeration Contractor Voluntary continuing education
Architect Architect 8 CEPH/year
Athletic Trainer Athletic Trainer 30 clock hours/ 3 years
Judges and Magistrates Attorney 15 CLE hours/year inc. 3 hrs. ethics
Combative Sports Promoter Boxing Promoter Voluntary continuing education
Child Care Administrator Child Care Administrator 15 hours for biennial renewal
Chiropractors Chiropractor 16 hours/year
Compliance Officers Code Enforcement Officer to be required; rules in development
Counselors, Chemical Dependency Chemical Dependency Counselor If also licensed as LMSW, LMFT,LPC, physician, or
psychologist-24 hours CE/2yrs.
If not otherwise licensed, 60 hours.
All hours specific to or related to chemical dependency.
Counselor, Professional Counselor, Professional 12 hours/year inc. 3 hours ethics or legal issues every other yr.
Dental Hygienists Dental Hygienist 12 hours/year
Dentists Dentist 12 hours/year
Dietitians and Nutritionists Dietitian 6 clock hours/year
Drinking Water Utility Plant Operator Certificate Classes 1-3 1-2 courses in water conditioning
Emergency Medical Technicians Emergency Medical Technician Varies by level: see below
Emergency Care Attendants (ECA) 20 contact hours CE/2yrs; 40 hours within 4/yr cert. period
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) 40 contact hours CE/2yrs; 80 hours within 4/yr cert. period
EMT-Intermediates (EMT-1) 60 contact hours CE/2 yrs; 120 hours within 4/yr cert. period
EMT-Paramedics (EMT-P) 80 contact hours CE/2 yrs; 160 hours within 4/yr cert. period
Engineers Professional Engineer None required
Fire Fighters Fire Protection Personnel/Firefighter 20 hrs CE/year
Fire Inspectors Fire Protection System Contractor None found
Funeral Directors & Morticians Funeral Director/Embalmer 20 hrs/yr; required 2 hrs-law updates; 2-ethics; 2-vital stats
Salespersons, Retail Hearing Instrument Fitter/Dispenser 20 hrs/yr
Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, & Investigators Insurance Adjuster 30 hrs/2yrs, including 2 hrs/ethics (Most licensees)
Sales Agents & Placers, Insurance Insurance Agent 15 hours CE/yr
Interior Designers Interior Designer 8 hrs/yr
Interpreter Interpreter for the Deaf 75 hrs/5 yrs.
Construction-Irrigator Irrigator, Landscape 8 hours/yr
Surveyors and Mapping Scientists Land Surveyor 8 hrs/yr
Landscape Architects Landscape Architect 8 CEPH/year (CE Program Hrs) TBAE
Police Detectives Law Enforcement Officer 40 hrs/2 yrs Currently in 4 yr cycle
Librarians, Professional Librarian, County
Grades II & III (valid for two years) 3 semester hrs at accredited college
or 20 hrs other continuing education activities
Grade I (permanent)
Marriage &  Family Therapist Marriage & Family Therapist 15 hrs/yr; 3 hrs ethics every 3 yrs.
Massage Therapist Massage Therapist 6 clock hrs/yr
Medical Scientists Medical Physicist, Professional 24 contact hours/2 years
Radiologic Technologists Medical Radiologic Technologist, General 24 hours/2 years
Limited Certificate 12 hours/2 years
Nursing Aides, Orderlies, & Attendants Midwife, Direct Entry 10 hours CE /yr
Licensed Practical Nurses Nurse, Licensed Vocational (LVN) 20 contact hours (2 CEUs)/2 yrs
Registered Nurses Nurse, Registered (RN) 20 contact hours (2 /CEUs)/2 yrs
Nurse Aide, Long Term Care none found
Medicine & Health Services Managers Nursing Facility Administrator 40 hours CE/ 2 yrs
Occupational Therapists Occupational Therapist 30 hrs/2 yrs.
Occupational Therapist Assistant 30 hrs/2yrs
On-Site Sewage Facility Designated Representative 16 hrs/yr
Installer Class I 16 hrs/yr
Installer Class II 16 hrs/yr
Opticians, Dispensing & Measuring Optician 5 hrs/yr for voluntarily registered opticians
Optometrists Optometrist sixteen hours of continuing education/ year inc.
six hours in diagnostic or therapeutic education
Orthotists/Prosthetists Orthotist/Prosthetist
prosthetist or orthotist license 24 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist and orthotist license 40 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist or orthotist assistant 12 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetist and orthotist assistant 20 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetic or orthotic technician 6 hrs/2 yrs
prosthetic and orthotic technician 10 hrs/2 yrs
Pawn Broker/Lender Pawnbroker/Lender None found
Cardiology Technologist Perfusionist 45 CEUs/3 yrs
Pest Controllers & Assistants Pesticide Applicator
Private Applicator 15 CEUs/5 yrs ( 2 ea. in laws/regs & integrated pest mgmt.)
Private Applicator Certificate Holder 15 CEUs/5 yrs
Commercial Applicator 5 CEUs/yr (1 ea fr 2 of: laws/regs, integ pest mgmt, drift min)
Noncommercial Applicator 5 CEUs/yr (1 ea fr 2 of: laws/regs, integ pest mgmt, drift min)
Pharmacists Pharmacist 12 hours CE/ yr
Physical Therapists Physical Therapist 3 CEUs (30 contact hours)/2yrs inc. 2 hrs. ethics;
Physical Therapist Assistant 2 CEUs (20 contact hours)/2 yrs inc. 2 hrs. ethics
Physicians and Surgeons Physician 24 hrs CME/yr (at least 12 hours formal courses)
Physician Assistant 40 hrs CME/yr (at least 20 hours formal courses)
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Plumber 6 hrs/ yr
Podiatrists Podiatric Physician 30 hours CE/2 yrs
Polygraph Examiners Polygraph Examiner voluntary
Detectives/Investigators Private Investigator/Security Guard 12 hrs/2yrs
Psychologists Psychologist 12 hrs/yr
Psychological Associate 12 hrs/yr
Specialist in School Psychology 12 hrs/yr
Sales Agents, Real Estate Real Estate Broker 15 classroom hours MCE/ two years inc. 6 hrs legal topics
Real Estate Sales Agent 30 hours/yr Salesperson Annual Education (SAE)
Construction & Building Inspectors Real Estate Inspector 8 hours core real estate inspection courses/year
Respiratory Therapists Respiratory Care Practitioner 12 hours CE/yr
Sanitarian Sanitarian 12 CE contact hours/yr
Sales Agent, Securities, Commodities, Financial Serv. Securities Dealer/Investment Advisor  none found
Social Workers Social Work Associate 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Licensed Social Worker 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Licensed Master Social Worker 15 hours CE/yr inc. 3 hours in ethics
Municipal Solid Waste Solid Waste Technician Class A-Class D 40 hrs-24 hrs/4 yrs
Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists Speech-Language Pathologist/Audiologist 10 hrs/yr; 15 if dually licensed
Tax Examiners, Collectors, & Revenue Agents Registered Texas Assessor Collectors 60 CEUs/5 yrs
Registered Professional Appraisers 60 CEUs/5 yrs
Registered Texas Collectors 25 CEUs/5 yrs
Teacher Teacher none found
Installer Underground Storage Tank Installer 8 hrs/yr
UST On-Site Installer or Remover Supervisor 8 hrs/yr for each license type held
Veterinarians and Veterinary Inspectors Veterinarian 15 hrs/yr; 3 hrs ethics every 3 yrs.
Earth Drillers Water Well Driller/Pump Installer
Continuing Education Requirements
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Med. Tech 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Clinical Laboratory Technician Clinical Laboratory Technician/ Med. Lab. Tech. 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Clinical Laboratory Phlebotomist Clinical Laboratory Phlebotomist 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
CT(IAC) International Academy of Cytology Cytotechnologist 180 continuing education credits/4 yrs
Genetic Counselor Genetic Counselor, Diplomate 25 CEUs/10 yrs
Histologic technician Histologic Technician 3.6 CEUs/3 yrs
Kinesiotherapist Kinesiotherapist 1.2 CEUs (1 CE = 10 contact hours) / year
Leisure Professional Leisure Professional, Certified 2 CEUs/2 yrs
Music Therapist Music Therapist-Board Certified CE
Orthoptist Orthoptist 15 hours CE/yr
Pathologists' Assistant Pathologists' Assistant Certification process in development
Recreation Therapist Therapeutic recreation specialist, certified 30-50 hours/5 yrs
Surgical Technologist Certified Surgical Technologist 80 CE credits/6 yrs

A Small Bit of Good News -- DC Circuits Slaps Down the IRS

The creeping regulatory / corporate state gets a setback

Faulting the IRS for attempting to “unilaterally expand its authority,” the D.C. Circuit today affirmed a district court decision tossing out the agency’s tax-preparer licensing program. Under the program, all paid tax-return preparers, hitherto unregulated, were required to pass a certification exam, pay annual fees to the agency, and complete 15 hours of continuing education each year.

The program, of course, had been backed by the major national tax-return preparers, chiefly as a way of driving up compliance costs for smaller rivals and pushing home-based “kitchen table” preparers out of business. Dan Alban of the Institute for Justice, lead counsel to the tax preparers challenging the program,called the decision “a major victory for tax preparers—and taxpayers—nationwide.”

The licensing program was not only a classic example of corporate cronyism, but also of agency overreach. IRS relied on an 1884 statute empowering it to “regulate the practice of representatives or persons before [it].” Prior to 2011, IRS had never claimed that the statute gave it authority to regulate preparers. Indeed, in 2005, an IRS official testified that preparers fell outside of the law’s reach.

Perhaps a first indication that the Obama Administration strategy to pack the DC Circuit with Obama appointees may not necessarily protect his executive overreach.

PS - you gotta love the IJ.

PPS - The IRS justified its actions under "an obscure 1884 statute governing the representatives of Civil War soldiers seeking compensation for dead horses"

Government Regulation and Incumbent Business Protection

Scratch "consumer" protection laws and you will almost always find the laws are really aimed a protecting incumbent businesses and traditional business models.  This time from France:

To the surprise of virtually everyone in France, the government has just passed a law requiring car services like Uber to wait 15 minutes before picking up passengers. The bill is designed to help regular taxi drivers, who feel threatened by recently-introduced companies like Uber, SnapCar and LeCab. Cabbies in the Gallic nation require formidable time and expense to get their permits and see the new services -- which lack such onerous requirements -- as direct competitors.

This is the interesting political ground where the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party have a lot of overlap.  That is why the Chamber of Commerce, which represents all these incumbent businesses, is working with both parties to keep the cozy corporatists in power against challenges from the Left and Right.  If you are a business owner, eschew the Chamber and join the NFIB and support the IJ.

My Current Favorite Non-Profit

The Institute for Justice, or IJ.  The do great work.  What the ACLU should have been if it wasn't founded by Stalinists.  Check out this aggravating example:

Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you have never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one.”

That is the nightmare Russ Caswell and his family is now facing in Tewksbury, Mass., where they stand to lose the family-operated motel they have owned for two generations.

The most contentious civil forfeiture fight in the nation will be the subject of a week-long trial starting Monday, November 5, 2012, in Boston. Throughout the week, the Institute for Justice, which represents the property owners in the case, will expose the ugly practice of civil forfeiture—where law enforcement agencies can pad their budgets by taking property from innocent owners who have never been convicted or even charged with a crime.


A Small Victory

A small victory against the relentless march of the state regulators and licensors

Eyebrow threading to remove facial hair, a practice which has ancient roots in Eastern countries such as India and Iran, is gaining popularity around the country.

And threaders can now operate freely in the state without a cosmetology license after an October court settlement determined that the Arizona Board of Cosmetology would no longer regulate the trade.

The consent judgment resulted from a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by five threaders, including Gutierrez.

The threaders argued that the Board of Cosmetology was merely trying to help more traditional hair removal outfits remove a source of low-cost competition.  The threaders were represented by the IJ, who do great work for economic liberty


Why Can't Chuck Get His Business Off the Ground?  Go watch, from the IJ  (the IJ is what the ACLU should have been if they were not founded by Stalinists).

Licensing is Anti-Consumer (An Ongoing Series)

This week's episode -- Monk's making simple caskets to support themselves must desist because Louisiana has detailed licensing laws to protect current funeral homes from just this type of low-cost competition. This is what the monks would have to do to sell what is basically a nice wooden box

Louisiana law purports to require that anyone who is going to sell a casket has to jump through all same regulatory hoops as a full-fledged mortuary operation that embalms bodies. See, selling "funeral merchandise" (including caskets) means you are a "funeral director." And to be a "funeral director," you must be approved for "good moral character and temperate habits" by a funeral-related government entity [of course, that's in Louisiana, but still], complete 30 semester hours at college, apprentice with a funeral director for a year, pay an application fee, and pass an exam. But that's not all. If you want your facility to sell caskets, it's got to qualify as a facility for funeral directing, including a showroom and "embalming facilities for the sanitation, disinfection, and preparation of a human body."

The monks are being represented by the IJ (what the ACLU should have been if it weren't for its Stalinist founders) which hopes to get to the Supreme Court.  If I were one of the monks (wildly unlikely as that is) I might be tempted to sell them as "human-sized wood boxes" rather than coffins and see where that got me.

I've Got To Finish A Book Project

I am working on a submission (outline and several chapters) for a book prize that is due December 31, so I may not be posting much over the next week.  The contest is for a novel that promotes the principals of freedom, capitalism, and individual responsibility in the context of a novel (hopefully without 120-page John Galt radio speeches). 

My project is one I have been tinkering with for a while, an update of the Marshall Jevons economist mysteries from the 1980's.  If you are not familiar with this series, Marshall Jevons was a pseudonym for a couple of economists who wrote several murder mysteries that included a number of expositions on how economics apply to everyday life.  Kind of Agatha Christie meets Freakonomics.  I found the first book, Murder at the Margin, to be disappointing, but the second book called the Fatal Equilibrium was pretty good.  I think the latter was a better book because the setting was university life, and the murder revolved around a tenure committee decision, topics the authors could write about closer to their experience.  The books take a pro-free-market point of view (which already makes them unique) and it is certainly unusual to have the solution to a murder turn on how search costs affect pricing variability.

Anyway, for some time, I have been toying with a concept for a young adult book in roughly the same tradition.  I think the Jevons novels are a good indicator of how a novel can teach some simple economics concepts, but certainly the protagonist as fusty stamp-collecting Harvard professor would need to be modified to engage young adults. 

My new novel (or series of novels, if things go well) revolves around a character named Adam Smith.  Adam is the son of a self-made immigrant and heir to a nearly billion dollar fortune.  At the age of twenty, he rejects his family and inheritance in a wave of sixties rebellion, joins a commune, and changes his name to the unfortunate "Moonbeam."  After several years, he sours on commune life, put himself through graduate school in economics, and eventually reclaims his family fortune.  Today, he leads two lives:  Adam Smith, eccentric billionaire, owner of penthouses and fast cars, and leader of a foundation [modeled after the IJ]; and Professor Moonbeam, aging hippie high school economics teacher who drives a VW beetle and appears to live in a trailer park.  There is a murder, of course, and the fun begins when three of his high school students start to suspect that their economics teacher may have a second life.  As you might expect, the kids help him solve the murder while he teaches them lessons about life and economics.  The trick is to keep the book light and fun rather than pedantic, but since one business model in my last novel revolved around harvesting coins in fountains, I think I can do it.

Anyway, wish me luck and I will be back in force come the new year. 

$5000 A Day Fine for Dancing

Congrats Pinal County, which border phoenix to the southeast, for pushing government intrusiveness to a new level:

At the conclusion of what Pinal County officials said was the longest
code compliance hearing in the county's history, San Tan Flat owner
Dale Bell was ordered to pay an initial $5,000 fine Tuesday for
customers dancing in the open-air portion of the restaurant. He will
also be fined $5,000 for every day people dance at his restaurant
starting Feb. 17.

Bell, who does not advertise or encourage dancing at San Tan Flat,
acknowledges that people do dance on weekend nights and it's usually
parents with children or senior couples. He has even put up signs
discouraging it.

   "It's impossible to ... ensure no one breaks out in the waltz or two step," Bell said....

County Attorney Seymour Gruber said dancing outside violates a
county code because it's not happening in an enclosed area with walls
and a roof. The county wants Bell to stop the dancing, limit it to
inside only or get a special use permit which requires public input
from neighboring property owners.

We wouldn't want people dancing without wall or a roof, would we?  I mean, there is probably a 0.5% chance they could get rained on or something.  If you are thinking this is some grizzled biker joint or a shack of a place, you are wrong.  Its actually one year old and quite nice - check out the picture.  For those of you in other parts of the country, where the idea of a family honky-tonk may seem odd, this concept is very popular in Arizona.

So why is this government harassment going on?  Well I have gotten better at decoding these things, and my sense is that it started with noise complaints, which many commercial establishments get:

There have been no complaints against San Tan Flat for dancing,
but both the county and Bell have received noise complaints about the
live music. The restaurant has not been cited for noise because the
volume has been within acceptable levels.

So the county got noise complaints, and my guess is that one of the complainers had some strong political pull (or else they would never have pursued it this far).  Particularly since this is not a population-dense area, and there is little housing directly nearby (see Google satellite map, just click on satellite in the upper right to see all the surrounding, uh, dirt).  I mean it's right next to an airport, for god sakes.   Thus, wanting to satisfy what could only be a high-profile complainer, the county moved in and pulled out the rubber glove and gave the restaurant a good probing.  And, since it is impossible to be in compliance with every stupid ordinance on the books (many conflict, so that you can't be in compliance) the city found something they thought they could make stick.  The only issue I can't decode is whether they are trying to use this as a bargaining chip to get operating hour or noise level changes, or if they are using it a s a club to close the place down.  It probably depends mostly on how much juice the key complainer has who is driving this.

The good news is that the IJ is on the case.

PS-  If you really want to get pissed off, read some of the other economic liberty cases being handled right now by the IJ.  Many of them are great examples of a point I have made for years, that state licensing of professions is more about protecting the professions from competition than they are about protecting the consumer.  If you haven't seen it, George Will had a great editorial on the same topic, which includes this gem:

In New Mexico, anyone can work as an interior designer. But it
is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in
prison, to list yourself on the Internet or in the Yellow Pages as, or
to otherwise call yourself, an "interior designer" without being
certified as such. Those who favor this censoring of truthful
commercial speech are a private group that controls, using an exam
administered by a private national organization, access to that title.

This is done in the name of "professionalization," but it really
amounts to cartelization. Persons in the business limit access by
others "” competitors "” to full participation in the business.

"¦in Las
Vegas, where almost nothing is illegal, it is illegal "”
unless you are licensed, or employed by someone licensed "” to move, in
the role of an interior designer, any piece of furniture, such as an
armoire, more than 69 inches tall. A Nevada bureaucrat says that
"placement of furniture" is an aspect of "space planning" and therefore
is regulated "” restricted to a "registered interior designer." Placing
furniture without a license? Heaven forfend.

Kudos to the IJ

If you are not familiar with the Institute for Justice, the IJ is like the ACLU but from an alternate universe where the ACLU was not founded by a Stalinist and actually believed in property rights.  The IJ represented Ms. Kelo in her fight against eminent domain to aid Pfizer in Connecticut, and often takes on stupid government licensing programs.  For example, the IJ is representing some folks in New Mexico who think that it will not materially harm public safety if they do interior design without a government license:

If you need a license to arrange flowers
in a vase, it stands to reason that you'd need a license to arrange
furniture in a house"”not to mention picking paint and window
treatments. Or so the state of New Mexico (along with four other
states) seems to think. To be fair, you can do interior design in New
Mexico without a license; you just can't call it interior design, or
call yourself an interior designer, which makes it hard for potential
customers to find you. Today two people who in most states would call
themselves interior designers filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the
state's protectionist censorship on First Amendment grounds.

In the past, the IJ has also fought for the right of hair braiders and casket salesmen to operate without a state license.