Author: Timothy Sandefur
Michael Munie is a St. Louis businessman who's been in the moving business since he was 16 years old. He has a federal license that lets him move people's household goods from one state to another. And he has a state license that allows him to move things within St. Louis. But he's not allowed to move things from St. Louis to anywhere else in Missouri unless he gets permission from his competitors first.
That's right—Missouri law dictates that whenever a person applies for a license to run a moving business, the state's Department of Transportation must notify all the existing moving companies and give them the chance to object. If they do—which, of course, they always do—the applicant must prove that there’s a “public necessity” for a new moving company. What does “public necessity” mean? Nobody knows. There are no standards, no rules of evidence, no nothing.
This sort of protectionist scheme doesn’t protect the public. It only creates a government-protected monopoly where established moving companies are protected against fair competition. And all the expense of consumers, who have to pay more for moving services, and entrepreneurs like Mike Munie who only want to exercise their constitutional right to earn an honest living.
And if any of this sounds familiar, it’s because last year, the state of Oregon repealed its anti-competitive mover law thanks to PLF’s challenge on behalf of Portland entrepreneur Adam Sweet.