J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · March 20, 2019

Texas entrepreneurs are suffering a slow death by a thousand regulatory cuts. Thankfully the Texas Supreme Court is considering a set of cases poised to help clear the way for businesses big and small to flourish.

Texas has a reputation for welcoming businesses big and small. On the macro level, that reputation is generally well-earned. But a closer look reveals that that story is more complicated. Across the state, lawmakers, regulatory agencies, boards, commissions, city councils and county commissioners use government power to hamper competition, pick winners and losers in the marketplace, violate property rights and erode economic liberty.

For instance, IJ’s challenge on behalf ofthree Texas craft breweries now awaits the Texas Supreme Court’s decision on whether it will grant review and hear the case. The constitutional challenge centers on the economic liberty protections under the Texas Constitution and involves a law prohibiting craft brewers from selling to a distributor the exclusive right to distribute their beer.

And just last month the Institute for Justicefiled a new lawsuit against the city of South Padre Island challenging the city’s anti-competitive laws that force food truck operators to get a restaurant owner’s permission before the city will issue one if its 12 vending permits. In total, IJ has four lawsuits pending in Texas. The others include:

Dallas AmortizationIJ sued Dallas after the city used a little-known law to shut down a beloved local business with paying him a cent.

Virtual Veterinary MedicineIJ filed a First Amendment lawsuitchallenging a state law requiring all veterinarians to examine an animal in person before providing advice over the phone or online. There is no similar requirement for doctors practicing telemedicine.

“Texas has gone to great lengths to create a positive business climate that respects Americans’ constitutional rights,” said Arif Panju, Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice’s Texas Office. “Despite this, the state has given bureaucrats, regulators, city council members and others in power the ability put in place laws that favor one business over another, or otherwise hamper competition in the state. Thankfully, in 2015, the Texas Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that requires Texas courts to provide meaningful protection for economic liberty. And now, four years later, the Institute for Justice has two new lawsuits pending before the high court seeking to extend that decision to stamp out the use of government power for private economic protectionism.”