Any blow struck for economic liberty is worth celebrating, even if the person wielding the hammer is not, shall we say, a fan of Rothbardian libertarianism. But there is encouraging news from Tim Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which pressured the Missouri legislature to repeal its licensing laws regarding moving companies:
Under the old law, a person applying for permission to operate a moving company was required to submit to a licensing scheme under which existing moving companies were given the privilege of basically vetoing the application. We challenged that law on behalf of St. Louis entrepreneur Michael Munie, and argued the case in federal district court in April. But in the meantime, state lawmakers passed legislation repealing the law, and this afternoon, Governor Nixon signed that bill, thus opening the road for economic opportunity in the Show Me State.
Baby steps, to be sure — Missouri and most other states have licensing laws for dozens of occupations, some imposing absurd educational requirements (in Texas, for example, “shampoo specialists” at hair salons must have 150 hours of training before they can even test for their license) and exorbitant costs for both training and the licensing process itself. None of these laws actually do anything to ensure quality service for consumers; they exist solely to protect incumbents from competition. These laws can’t disappear quickly enough, and kudos to the PLF and other organizations, such as the Institute for Justice, for continuing to challenge them.