PLF declares war on Competitor's Veto laws

February 19, 2015 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

This morning, PLF is announcing its new nationwide campaign against “Certificate of Convenience and Necessity” laws. These are licensing requirements that apply to taxi and limo companies, moving companies, ambulances, even car dealerships and hospitals. We call these laws “Competitor’s Veto” laws because they allow existing businesses to veto their own competition. As I explain in this article in The Blaze today:

Unlike ordinary licensing rules that require a person to have a degree or pass a test before getting a license, these laws have nothing to do with whether a person is qualified. Instead, they allow established companies a special opportunity to object whenever a person applies for a license. When an objection is filed, the would-be entrepreneur must attend a lengthy and expensive hearing, to prove to state bureaucrats that there is a “public need” for a new company.

That’s no easy task, given that most of these laws are written in such vague language that nobody knows what they mean. What is a “public convenience and necessity”? Typically it’s whatever the government says it is. And if officials decide new competition isn’t necessary, they can deny a person the right to start a new business, no matter how skilled or qualified he may be.

Sadly, these anticompetitive licensing requirements are on the books in most states and major cities. That’s why we’ve decided to take them on across the country. In our two newest cases, we’re suing bureaucrats in Nevada (which has the nation’s most anti-“Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” law) and Montana. In the Montana case, we represent entrepreneur Tracie Pabst, who wants to start a taxi business in her home town of Big Sky, but can’t, if the existing taxi companies don’t want competition. Last year, we won a major victory in Kentucky, where a federal judge declared that the licensing requirement for moving companies violated our client Raleigh Bruner’s right to earn a living. Missouri and Oregon also repealed or modified their requirements thanks to PLF lawsuits.

You can learn more about these absurd and unconstitutional requirements in The Blaze, or in this in-depth study.