Commentary: Institute for Justice Stands Up for Louisiana Entrepreneurs

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Were you aware that Louisiana is the only state requiring florists to have a government-issued license in order to sell floral arrangements? Yes, anyone seeking to sell a floral arrangement (which has its own legal definition in this case) must undergo an arduous test preparation process, culminating in an exam in front of the Louisiana Horticulture Commission, which is composed of a select few commercial florists.

Fortunately, the Institute for Justice has filed a federal lawsuit, Chauvin v. Strain, challenging the Constitutionality of this process. IJ has produced an excellent report regarding this absurd law, which details how this ordinance violates our fundamental freedom to pursue a living without unnecessary government intervention.

The plaintiffs in Chauvin v. Strain have all been threatened with stiff fines for operating floral retail stores without licenses. IJ’s report highlights errors riddling the licensing process, and explains why this law even exists: (1) to raise profits for the state through testing and license fees and (2) to reduce fair competition for the existing license-holders. The report also points out that as many as two-thirds of those who have taken the licensing exam have failed. This is twice the failure rate of Louisiana’s Bar Exam!

The regulation of the floral arrangement occupation may seem trivial, but it just the latest example an alarming trend that threatens our economic liberty: Since the 1950’s, the percentage of occupations requiring a government-issued license has increased from 5 percent to over 30 percent. As the litigation unfolds, we will continue to report on this egregious infringement on our right to earn a living without government interference.

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