Some in the rice business would like to hang an FDA mislabeling rap on “cauliflower rice” — but not on “rice milk” [Chase Purdy, Quartz]
At the New York Times, Katie Benner investigates documents from the hotel industry’s intensive efforts to use government regulation to derail competition from AirBnB, which focused especially on cultivating “alliances with politicians, affordable housing groups and neighborhood associations” as well as hotel unions:
The association also sought help from politicians in Washington. In its documents, the group said it had worked with Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein of California. The three Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in July “raising concerns about the short-term rental industry,” one of the hotel association documents said.
More: Eric Boehm, Reason.
Sometimes the cartel-like effects of occupational and professional licensure are concealed by a sparkling reflective surface of consumer welfare talk. But sometimes, as in the case of remarks by the executive director of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association to a trade publication about a New Jersey proposal, you can spot them floating right there on the surface: “Frankly, we’re looking for a more professional industry — and you can raise the rates you’re charging because you’re … a (properly) licensed pool builder or service professional.” [Eric Boehm, Reason]
Related: “Hotel CEO openly celebrates higher prices after anti-Airbnb law passes” in New York City [Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post] More: “Hotel Workers’ Union Gave $100K to Management’s Fight Against Airbnb” [Eric Boehm]
Regulation is helping make the Napa Valley “a weird museum for rich people” with barriers against small wine competitors and new entrants that lack a zillionaire’s backing [Coyote]
- Funny how the government sometimes regards our time as necessarily worth $15 an hour or more, and other times as worth far less [Coyote]
- “Trademark lawsuit over LARP archery gets thrown out of court” for lack of personal jurisdiction [Joe Mullin/ArsTechnica, earlier here, etc.]
- A sucker deal? Consumer class action alleges substitution of squid for canned octopus [Nick Farr, Abnormal Use]
- Those who knowingly send texts that distract drivers could face liability in Pennsylvania [ABA Journal]
- Zach Graves, “Optometrists Push For State Laws Blocking Online Eye Exams” [TechDirt]
- D.C. Circuit upholds net neutrality regulations in a “majority opinion…dripping with agency deference.” [Daniel Lyons, Jonathan Adler, Michael Greve]
New York manages to protect consumers from the menace of buying crackers or a corkscrew at a wine shop. Or at least it manages to protect someone from something [Ira Stoll]
Bethesda Magazine profiles David Trone, whose Total Wine and More chain has helped introduce or reintroduce price-cutting, the negotiating of quantity discounts from vendors, and other advances in the business model for alcohol sales. Along the way, after infuriating competitors who were protected by existing state regulatory arrangements, Trone has been arrested three times, targeted by a Pennsylvania attorney general who was himself later sentenced to prison, subjected to grand jury proceedings at which allied merchants were urged to sever ties with him, and much more, which culminated in getting most of the charges thrown out and paying money to settle others. He spent millions on legal fees. After bad regulatory and legal experiences in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Trone shifted to a new strategy, part of which has involved generous campaign contributions: “So generally what we do now when we enter a new state is hire a lobbyist, hire a great legal team, and go meet the regulators. It’s preemptive, 100 percent.” Now he’s running for Congress.
- Pennsylvania bill would restrict the pre-paid business cemeteries could do, which by remarkable coincidence would benefit their competitors on the funeral home side [Allentown Morning Call]
- How to get capital out of China? Lose a lawsuit on purpose [Chuin-Wei Yap, WSJ Law Blog]
- Arms-trafficking sting caught crusader against videogames, guns: “Judge Sentences Ex-California Senator Leland Yee to Five Years for Racketeering” [KNTV (auto-plays), earlier]
- Workplace bias, which can mean a lot of things, would be an ethics violation for lawyers under proposed ABA model rule [ABA Journal, more]
- Breaking: New York court denies Donald Trump’s bid to throw out AG Eric Schneiderman’s suit over Trump University [ruling, The Hill, Eric Turkewitz] More background: Lowering the Bar.
- Grounding interstate comity: California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) wants to ban state-funded travel to sister states with religious conscience laws [Bay Area Reporter (“discrimination of any kind …will certainly not be tolerated beyond our borders.”)]
- “NY Times: Contaminated Property Makes For Costly Inheritance” [Paul Caron/TaxProf]
…and Arizona responds by stiffening regulation instead. [Coyote]