March 26, 2013

Kentucky decides not to repeal—so the lawsuit proceeds

By Kentucky decides not to repeal—so the lawsuit proceeds

The Kentucky legislature adjourned today without taking up a bill to repeal that state’s anti-competitive licensing law for moving companies. Although the bill made it through the Senate, existing moving companies lobbied hard to have the House Transportation Committee kill the legislation. That means the existing law—which bars new moving companies from starting up unless they can prove that there’s a “public need” for a new moving company and that existing companies aren’t “adequate”—stands.

Until it’s declared unconstitutional, that is.

The Bluegrass State’s prohibition on entrepreneurship and competition doesn’t protect public health and safety; it exists to prevent competition against existing companies. But the courts have already said that that’s unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has said that while the government can restrict who’s allowed to enter a business, those restrictions must relate somehow to the person’s “fitness and capacity to practice” that business. But Kentucky’s law has nothing to do with a person’s abilities or with public safety; a perfectly safe and qualified business, like that run by our client, Raleigh Bruner, can still be denied a license simply because existing companies don’t want the competition. And the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals—which includes Kentucky—has made it even clearer: “protecting a discrete interest group from economic competition is not a legitimate governmental purpose.”

So…I guess we’ll see them in court.

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