Company founders speak with Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in the Windy City
Chicago, Ill.—”How’s business?” is the simple question that kicks off each episode of a new podcast series from the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago (IJ Clinic). The answers from business owners are different each time, yet similar challenges of operating in the Windy City come up time and time…
Rhode Island became the latest state to deregulate hair braiding thanks to a bill signed Monday by Gov. Gina Raimondo. Previously, braiders could only work if they first obtained a hairdresser license, which takes at least 1,200 hours, far more than what’s required to become a licensed emergency medical technician. Tuition to attend a cosmetology school in Rhode…
Arlington, Va.—Today, a federal judge in Georgia ruled that a lawsuit challenging the city of Doraville’s use of traffic tickets and other fines to generate revenue may go forward. The lawsuit was brought by two Doraville homeowners and two others who commute through Doraville. These plaintiffs partnered with the Institute for Justice (IJ), a non-profit,…
A divided court holds the state’s Open Records Act does not apply to the Georgia General Assembly or its offices.
Atlanta, Ga.—Does the term “every state office” include the offices of the Georgia General Assembly? According to an opinion released yesterday by the Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals of Georgia, the answer is “no.” The decision comes in the case of Institute for Justice v. Reilly, a lawsuit filed by the Institute for…
Vegan food company Upton’s Naturals and the Plant Based Foods Association fight for First Amendment right to use terms consumers understand
Jackson, Miss.—All of the food Upton’s Naturals sells in Mississippi is proudly labeled as vegan. Even though no reasonable consumer would think Upton’s Naturals foods contain meat, a new labeling law would require the company to either stop selling in the state or change its labels to be less clear. On July 1, Mississippi’s new…
On Monday, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that stops the Internal Revenue Service from raiding the bank accounts of small-business owners. The Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act, part of the Taxpayer First Act (H.R. 3151) that Congress passed unanimously, is named after Institute for Justice clients Jeff Hirsch and Randy Sowers, two victims of…
Decision upholds state’s ability to “police for profit”
Late yesterday, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that police and prosecutors can keep and use the money they seize, rather than transferring the money to the state’s Common School Fund. The decision contradicts a state constitutional requirement that “all forfeitures which may accrue” must be paid into a fund for the benefit of public education.…
Dave and Amy Carson are residents of Glenburn, Maine and have sent their daughter, Olivia, now a sophomore, to Bangor Christian Schools. But because Olivia’s school is religious, Glenburn is prohibited from paying for Olivia’s tuition.
Founded in 2011, ROSE is an Atlanta-based, nonprofit organization that works to increase access to breastfeeding support and improve healthcare equity among African-American communities in Georgia and around the country.
Sage Lewis pioneered an innovative community for the homeless on his commercial property at 15 Broad Street in Akron, Ohio. His nonprofit, The Homeless Charity, provides tents, food, showers, computers, and other resources to 44 residents. But Akron is trying to eliminate his work through the city’s zoning code.
Kim Billups turned her lifelong passion for history into a fun tourism business called Charleston Belle Tours, where Kim could give in-character tours of the major sites in Charleston, SC in full period regalia.
Norys Hernandez co-owns a home in North Philadelphia with her sister, who resides there. Norys has never been in trouble with the law. But her home was seized after her nephew was caught selling a small amount of drugs outside the home.
Gerardo Serrano owns a Ford F-250 pickup that was seized by Customs and Border Protection for civil forfeiture in September 2015. CBP seized the truck because they found five bullets in the center console, claiming they were “munitions of war.” After almost two years without a judge hearing his case, Gerardo joined with the Institute for Justice in September 2017 to file a lawsuit to get his truck back. Gerardo also filed suit on behalf of all U.S. citizens who have had vehicles seized by CBP, seeking an order requiring the agency to provide a prompt hearing whenever they take vehicles for civil forfeiture.
Ushaben used to thread part-time at the Threading Studio & Spa near New Orleans, often filling in for licensed estheticians when they were unable to work. But after state regulators ordered the business to terminate its unlicensed threaders, Ushaben is no longer permitted to thread in the studio.
Michael Jensen would like Dr. Birchansky to perform his next needed eye surgery at the outpatient center next to Dr. Birchansky’s office because it is a safe, less costly, convenient, and familiar environment. Unfortunately Iowa’s CON law is denying him that choice.
The Washington Department of Licensing ordered IJ client Salamata Sylla to obtain a time-consuming and irrelevant cosmetology license for hair braiding. IJ sued on her behalf and forced the Department to adopt a rule exempting braiders.
After being in prison for two years, when Amanda got out, she became passionate about cosmetology and even got a job offer at a salon before she finished school. But the state board denied her a cosmetology license, claiming she lacked “good moral character.”
For more than 30 years, Hinga Mbogo has been fixing the cars of Dallas residents at his shop on Ross Avenue. But the city is trying to shut him down by using an oppressive and little-known zoning process called “amortization.”
Bob Smith has been professionally shoeing horses since 1974 and founded Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School (PCHS) in Plymouth, California to pass his skills on to another generation of farriers. But California threatened to shut him down, because Bob was admitting students to his horseshoeing school who hadn’t first graduated from high school or passed an equivalent government-approved exam.
After working in the food service industry for several years, Troy King purchased his first food truck in 2014—a gourmet chicken food truck called Pollo. But in September 2016, Troy was operating Pollo in downtown Louisville when a city inspector threatened to issue a citation and tow his truck simply because Troy was serving customers within 150 feet a restaurant that also serves chicken. Troy was forced to abandon his vending location and his customers.
Ilumi has worked with children since she came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1995. Although she has a Child Development Associate credential (“CDA”) and was trained as a lawyer in her home country, Ilumi does not have the associate’s degree now required under District of Columbia’s new regulations.
Rett owns Revolver Brewing, south of Fort Worth. He is fighting a Texas law that forces brewers to give up their distribution rights to distributors for free. Even worse, distributors can then sell those rights to other distributors and pocket the money.
Vocatura’s Bakery was founded in 1919, almost one hundred years ago, and has been owned and operated by three generations of the Vocatura family. Claiming the owners violated so-called “structuring” laws by depositing cash in the bakery’s bank account in amounts less than $10,000, the IRS seized more than $68,000 from the family.
Mats Järlström is a Swedish-born electronics engineer and has the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. After his wife received a ticket based on a red-light camera in Beaverton, Oregon, Mats began criticizing the math behind red-light cameras. But Oregon’s engineer-licensing board considered Mats’ traffic-light critiques to be the unlicensed practice of engineering and fined him $500.
Jill Homan lives in Petworth with her family and sends her one-year-old daughter to a day care center in Northeast D.C. Jill wants to stand up for day care providers’ right to earn a living and for her own right to choose her child’s caretakers.
Courtney wanted to become an esthetician so she could earn extra income and have flexible hours to spend with her son. But the state cosmetology board denied Courtney a license because of her criminal record, which has nothing to do with cosmetology.
Kriss Marion is the founder of her local farmers’ market in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. But under the state’s ban on selling home-baked goods, Kriss must instead give her extra baked goods away or feed them to her pigs and chickens.
IJ client Celeste Kelly spent hundreds of hours learning about horses in order to obtain private certifications in animal massage. But now the state of Arizona is forcing her to become a licensed veterinarian to continue practicing her craft.
Khalid (“Ken”) Quran moved to America in 1997, and now runs a convenience store in Greenville, N.C. But the government seized his entire bank account—more than $150,000—even though he was never charged with a crime.
Kevin is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Byron Billingsley was cited by police in Doraville, Georgia for going around a truck traveling at 5 mph—with no other traffic around—without using his turn signal. After hiring a lawyer to defend himself he paid $100. He has to keep driving through Doraville as he works in the city.
Valarie has received a set of warnings from Pagedale, threatening her with fines and fees for alleged violations. She was even arrested in front of her home and taken to Pagedale city hall because of an unspecified ticket.