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Author: Ethan Blevins

June 17, 2019

The Hill: Seattle is trying to handcuff landlords — so they’re fighting to protect their rights

Last week, the Washington Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of two radical Seattle housing laws that handcuff landlords in selecting their tenants. Cities across the country are watching the court as they contemplate similar measures. The two laws in question, both aimed at limiting property owners' ability to exercise discr ...

June 03, 2019

The Hill: California lawmakers haven’t learned their lesson on rent control

Economist Thomas Sowell once quipped, "The first lesson of economics is scarcity" and "the first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics." With California's recent flirtation with statewide rent control, it seems Golden State lawmakers are treating Sowell's warning as a game plan. The results will be predictable: less affor ...

May 06, 2019

The Hill: Gillibrand wants to nationalize Seattle’s failed, unconstitutional ‘democracy vouchers’

Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently unveiled an ill-advised scheme called "Democracy Dollars." The plan is to tighten up corporate tax loopholes and shower the American people with marginal revenue. But there's a catch — the recipients can only use the money for contributions to political campaigns. Thus, Gillibrand's ...

April 29, 2019

Trickle or torrent, all property owners are haunted by waters

On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published my op-ed about Navy veteran Joe Robertson, who went to federal prison for digging ponds high in the Montana mountains. Here's the article's opening: "I am haunted by waters," wrote Norman Maclean in "A River Runs Through It," his 1976 novel about growing up in a family of ...

April 26, 2019

Wall Street Journal: A Navy Veteran Went to Prison for Digging Ponds in the Mountains

The Supreme Court can remedy the injustice done by the EPA's unclear ‘navigable waters' rule. "I am haunted by waters," wrote Norman Maclean in "A River Runs Through It," his 1976 novel about growing up in a family of Montana fly fishermen. Joe Robertson was haunted by waters of a different kind—the kind that can ...

April 04, 2019

Seattle’s ban on background checks inches toward Supreme Court

Artwork by PLF Client Kelly Lyles Landlords in Seattle can't ask about or even consider a rental applicant's criminal history. This edict was handed down in 2017 by the Seattle's "Fair Chance Housing" Ordinance. The law is merciless: it allows zero flexibility for the gravity or age of the offense or the circumstance of the ...

April 01, 2019

Fox News: Beware the false promise of rent control

This article was originally published by Fox News on March 30, 2019.  Rent control does not work. That's one of the most settled issues in economics, one widely accepted across the ideological spectrum. Yet politicians continue to peddle rent control with a seemingly willful ignorance. Oregon is the most recent state to embrace the rent control ...

March 19, 2019

Rent-bidding websites still banned in Seattle

Seattle loves to sell itself as a tech mecca, until innovation clashes with progressive stereotypes. Then Seattle's arms are not so open, as San Fran tech startup and PLF client Rentberry found out. Rentberry is one of several innovative websites that are trying to revolutionize and simplify the home rental process. Rentberry simplifies and automat ...

February 08, 2019

Time to reacquaint campaign finance with the First Amendment

Today, PLF filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to reconsider the First Amendment's relationship to campaign contributions in a case called Illinois Liberty PAC v. Raoul. The case challenges an Illinois law that imposes contribution limits on all individuals and groups except political parties and their leaders. The case would allow the C ...

December 17, 2018

Seattle ‘democracy vouchers’ head to state supreme court

People use money to express themselves. Resistance T-shirts, MAGA hats, donations to moveon.org, promoted tweets—whatever your views may be, shouting louder than the other guy will cost you. So, what if government takes money from one person to pay for another person's expression? Is that really any different from forcing a Democrat to don a ...

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