Home Business Win Isn’t Child’s Play
Over the summer, IJ achieved a long-awaited victory after the city of Lakeway, Texas, issued Bianca King a permit to run a day care out of her home.
Bianca is a single mother of two who began watching neighbors’ children after she was laid off during the pandemic. Although her state-licensed day care filled a need in the community and her clients loved her, not everyone was happy about it. Lakeway’s former mayor, upset that he could hear children laughing while he golfed near Bianca’s house, used his influence to shut down her business.
When IJ sued on Bianca’s behalf back in February 2022, it was virtually impossible to legally operate a home business in Lakeway. The city required that home businesses satisfy 19 strict criteria, including a complete prohibition on selling goods or providing services and a vague requirement that any business be totally “undetectable.” Laws like that give officials broad discretion to deny any business they don’t like—such as one opposed by a former mayor.
Bianca’s lawsuit, however, pressured Lakeway to let IJ help amend its home business ordinance. We told the city that if it wanted our lawsuit to go away, it had to fundamentally change its law. In August 2022, Lakeway eliminated the most restrictive aspects of the regulation. Following that reform, entrepreneurs throughout the city are now free to make an honest living by offering services and selling handmade goods out of their homes, so long as they aren’t hurting anyone.
But not Bianca. For 10 more months, the Lakeway City Council continued to make her jump through hoops—and IJ continued to fight by her side. That saga ended this summer, when Bianca finally received her permit.
Now Bianca can care for up to five children at a time. And her new permit lets her hire a part-time worker 20 days per year when she needs some time off. Most important, Bianca is a beacon of hope for entrepreneurs throughout the country who aspire to provide for their families by running a business out of their homes.
Jared McClain is an IJ attorney.
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