- U.K.: “People who have 2 or 3 drinks a night will be sent for liver scans under plans to crack down on ‘heavy drinking'” [Katie Gibbons, The Times via Christopher Snowdon, who comments: “The line between healthcare and punishment begins to blur.”]
- Why was Sofia Vergara sued in Louisiana? It’s the only state that accords status to an embryo as “juridical person” [Naomi Cahn, Concurring Opinions]
- Scope-of-practice restrictions for certified nurse midwives primarily serve as barriers to practice rather than having effect on health outcomes [Charles Hughes, Cato]
- Has veterinary care in US avoided the upward cost pressures of (human) health care, as is often claimed? Maybe not [Arnold Kling]
- “New Zealand to compensate organ donors” [Alex Tabarrok, Ilya Somin] Federal fisc could save billions in dialysis outlays by adopting reforms along similar lines [Sally Satel, Forbes]
- Hospital takes baby to wrong mom for nursing, upwards of $50,000 balm sought [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
New Illinois legislation signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner will force hairdressers, as a prerequisite of licensing, to take training in detecting evidence of domestic violence [Ann Althouse, New York Times] Earlier here (Ohio requires training in recognizing signs of human trafficking) and here (programs in at least eight states as of 2006, generally not however conscripting the beauty professionals’ participation).
More from Mark Steyn:
…in the Fifties one in 20 members of the workforce needed government permission to do his job. Now it’s one in three. The original justification for requiring a government permit to cut another person’s hair is that a salon contains potentially dangerous chemicals such as coloring products. Making the license conditional upon acing sexual-assault training courses is not just the usual Big Government expansion but the transformation of the relationship between a private business and the state.
- Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speaks at Cato about standing up to Chinese censors, Friedrich Hayek’s influence on the encyclopedia’s design, and legislative ignorance [video via David Boaz post, related]
- Unlikelihood of confusion: NJ’s Garden State Parkway sends cease and desist over winery logo [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- Occupational licensing rules make it hard to move from state to state [Eric Boehm, related Ilya Somin/USA Today and podcast]
- Lawyers who sued Volkswagen over emissions want $175 million [Joe Mullin]
- “Top ten dodgy lawyers in literature” [Alex Wade, Guardian]
- Useful maxim: “Never support any government power you would not want your ideological enemy wielding” [Coyote]
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]
Alden Abbott reports at Truth on the Market on legislative initiatives to curb occupational licensure, which often works to limit competition and consumer choice.
At the state level, the American Legislative Exchange Council has developed something called the Model Occupational Board Reform Act, with four components:
The State will use the least restrictive regulation necessary to protect consumers from present, significant and substantiated harms that threaten public health and safety.
An occupational regulation may be enforced against an individual only to the extent the individual sells goods and services that are included explicitly in the statute that defines the occupation’s scope of practice.
The attorney general will establish an office of supervision of occupational boards. The office is responsible for actively supervising state occupational boards.
The legislature will establish a position in its nonpartisan research staff to analyze occupational regulations. The position is responsible for reviewing legislation and laws related to occupational regulations.
While the federal government’s involvement in the subject is relatively limited, Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) have introduced a bill intended to liberalize licensure in the District of Columbia, military bases and in national parks.
More on licensure: Patricia Cohen, New York Times. Its relation to economic inequality [David Henderson] And why does the state of Louisiana require 750 hours of training before you can pluck eyebrows as a living? [Kevin Boyd, The Hayride]
“Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order [last month] that effectively ended all government contracts with lobbyists in Arizona. The order terminated contracts with professional lobbyists at all state agencies, boards and commissions.” In future, state agencies other than the judiciary and independently elected officials will need permission from the governor to hire lobbyists, and Ducey’s office said requests would be “heavily scrutinized” and require documentation that the hiring would be important for the “public health, safety and welfare of the state and the taxpayers.” [Miranda Leo, KTAR; Gov. Doug Ducey order; Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic] A gubernatorial spokesman says outside lobbyists hired by professional licensing and other boards have often “pushed for burdensome regulations, and that these agencies lack sufficient reporting practices.” The move “comes nearly a decade after the Goldwater Institute — a conservative think-tank — recommended it.” [Stina Sieg, KJZZ]
- No, the “government can’t make you use ‘zhir’ or ‘ze’ in place of ‘she’ and ‘he'” [Josh Blackman, Washington Post; earlier on NYC human relations commission guidelines; Hans Bader/CEI on new D.C. rules along similar lines]
- Matt Welch on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the “casually authoritarian” movement to harass and legally penalize climate deniers [Reason] While styled as fraud probe, AGs’ climate denial investigation is essentially a SLAPP suit meant to silence advocacy [Ronald Bailey; letter from 13 attorneys general critical of probe] As one skirmish ends, expect wider war to continue, as Virgin Islands AG withdraws widely flayed subpoena against our friends at Competitive Enterprise Institute [John Sexton] Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey now chasing “right-leaning groups that have never received a penny from Exxon” including local political foe Beacon Hill Institute [Hans Bader/CEI] We’re the ones asking questions around here: AGs dodge public record/FOIA requests on probe [Chris Horner/Fox News]
- “N.Y. Senate passes bill banning funding for university student groups that ‘encourage’ ‘hate speech'” [Eugene Volokh]
- Licensing and other laws often restrict what members of professions and occupations can say, a problem that deserves more and better First Amendment scrutiny than it’s gotten [Timothy Sandefur, Regulation]
- Ninth Circuit will review ruling striking down Idaho ag-gag law [Baylen Linnekin on appellate amicus, Idaho Statesman, NPR last year]
- Ken White on why it’s okay to loathe Gawker and its actions but still see the danger in Thiel/Hogan episode [L.A. Times, related Dan McLaughlin, earlier]
- The proportion of jobs requiring a license has risen from roughly 5 percent in the 1950s to 25 percent now, and why that matters [Edward Rodrigue and Richard V. Reeves, Brookings] Signs of bipartisan agreement that occupational licensing has gone too far [J.D. Tuccille, Reason] And surprisingly or not, it’s emerged as an Obama administration cause [Matt Yglesias, Vox]
- “25 quick takes (no kidding!) on the EEOC’s proposed national origin guidance” [Robin Shea]
- “Trial lawyers’ pecuniary interests have shifted our focus toward termination decisions, instead of hiring and promotion practices” [Merrily Archer]
- Is it lawful to move full-time employees to part-time work to avoid ObamaCare mandates? [Jon Hyman, related]
- Florida Supreme Court decision spells Christmas for workers’ comp lawyers, and insurers proceed to file 17 percent rate increase, so everyone’s happy [Insurance Journal]
- “Uber and the gig economy’s existential litigation threat” [Alison Frankel] Labor union grip on state legislature imperils benefits of sharing economy [Steven Greenhut]
Occupational licensure, defended: “All those geology companies in Georgia and Alabama that have that certificate of authorization under their state will come into Florida to do that work and then our geologists will end up unemployed.” [Jim Ash, WFSU]
Related: “California’s Bipartisan Push Against Occupational Licensing” [Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- Cross-examination of Mr. Hot Yoga left jury steamed, especially when it came to explaining the luxury cars [Lowering the Bar; more on Bikram Choudhury litigation]
- Forty-nine (!) Georgia corrections officers accused of taking bribes, drug trafficking [WXIA Atlanta; compare Baltimore jail guards scandal]
- More reactions to Justice Scalia’s death: Lee Liberman Otis, Joseph Bottum, Emily Zanotti, David Wagner/Ninomania. His legacy on the Fourth Amendment [Jonathan Blanks, Cato] On canines in the curtilage and the Bill of Rights more generally [Jacob Sullum] Labor and employment law bloggers on his passing [Jon Hyman] Immune to internationalist argle-bargle, Scalia was actually one of SCOTUS’s more cosmopolitan members [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris]
- Los Angeles joins San Francisco and Boston in banning chewing tobacco in Dodger Stadium and every other park and stadium in the city, because it can [Curbed LA]
- “They are both highly educated attorneys” which means they should have known better than to launch that lurid plot to plant drugs on the rival PTA mom [Washington Post]
- To get a cosmetology license in Ohio, you’ll need to undergo training in spotting signs of human trafficking [Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason; earlier on hair and beauty professionals as informants]
- “British teenager creates robot lawyer to help people with their legal queries” [Mashable]