Ending the Burden of the Regulatory State

Joining the show is Yaël Ossowski the Senior Development Officer for Students For Liberty, Public Relations Director for the Consumer Choice Center, and North Carolina Native.

We discuss a wide array of topics and the effects many regulations from UBER to Sunday alcohol sale laws not only have on the companies they are directly imposed on, but also on the choices the consumer is then faced with. Surprise surprise, quite often the consumer is left behind, then adding insult to injury is told its for their own good.

Be sure to check out what Yaël Ossowski is doing alongside his podcast The Innocents Abroad.
Follow  on Twitter at @Yaeloss

Find out what Consumer Choice Center is doing next!


This Bill Is Full of ‘Holes’!

There are currently no laws regulating body piercers in the state of North Carolina. Lawmakers in the state are trying to change that by using a time-tested route: find unrelated troubling statistics, find it concerning that people are left “unprotected,” and create a “common sense” bill designed to protect the uneducated and fearful public.

The politician is credited for being a caring and paternalistic provider of the unknowing and fragile citizens, while the unrepresented small industry they wish to tax, oops, I mean regulate is small enough that few will care.

In an N&O article Representative Kevin Corbin (R-Macon) pointed to HIV and Hepatitis C cases tripling from 2010-2015 as reason enough to sponsor HB 250, requiring professional licensing for piercers, similar to that already required for tattoo artists.

In phone conversations with  Corbin, and later Director of Macon County Public Health Center Jim Bruckner, it was disclosed that this figure is just a generic rate of infection across the state. There is no data on the role piercings or tattooing has played in that increase. Keep in mind this was the evidence that gave them reason to introduce this bill.

This law assumes people are incapable of protecting themselves and businesses have no incentive to provide a high-quality service or safety for their customers. Market competition, however, ensures business are highly incentivized to provide a safe and clean environment. A bad reputation and negative word of mouth from customers can put any company or person out of business. Government does not need to intervene for an industry to be “regulated,” consumer preference delivers the incentives for businesses to provide quality and safety to customers.

So if it’s not going to help, what does this bill do?

Increase health risks: This bill may actually increase the likelihood of problems that politicians wish to fix. Over the phone, I was informed of situations where illegal operations offer piercings at a low rate of $20 or $30 to pierce anything. These rogue piercers operate out of their car trunk with a tin box for their supplies and the unsanitary practice of simply wiping down used piercing needles on their clothes between uses. When inquired why people would use these services, the answer was “low cost.”

If it is the inexpensiveness of the piercing that drives people to get pierced out of a trunk, forcing already reputable piercing studios to incur an additional licensing expense will only drive more piercing customers to black-market providers. Moreover, after a few phone calls, I found $10 to be the common piercing price for studios, raising questions about the story above.

State-subsidized complacency: The N&O reported Corbin saying “I think most people think it’s regulated now.” Assuming this were true, does the state thereby generate a subsidized form of complacency with the public? Would piercing consumers act or react differently if they knew they needed to be cautious of their surroundings?

Regulations induce a form of subsidized complacency value on an industry. Mandated practices like wearing seatbelts are shown to promote complacency and even riskier behavior by consumers. If people believe the government is enforcing safety, they are more likely to be lulled into a false sense of security and as a result be less aware of their actions and surroundings to determine what is in their own best interest.

Revenue generator: The excuse is health, but the real reason is money. The law will do nothing to stop the people at the trunk; in fact, because of prices it may actually drive more people to the trunk of the car for piercings. What this bill does add is an additional licensing step and additional licensing fee generation for the state or county. Many states are already in a battle to deregulate the hair braiding industry and free it from rules that often require thousands of training hours and dollars to obtain a license just to braid someone’s hair. This law puts piercing on the path of being the new hair braiding.

This is purely a feel-good law that only has potential to cause harm and raise costs on consumers as well as the entrepreneurs providing safe and healthy piercing. If Rep. Corbin and the county health officials want to help, I suggest staying out of the way or just stating they do not regulate piercing. That way individuals can make informed and knowledgeable decisions free of coercion, understand the risks as well as benefits of piercing and decide for themselves.

*Originally published at the Civitas Institute 

Brewers Quest for Free Market Policy

Jim Caruso, CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, joins the show to clear things up about the fight in Maryland to raise the limit of on-site taproom sales. Guinness (owned by Diageo) is moving into the state but will the state general assembly create a special carve-out in the law for Diageo or will they enact policy that allows all breweries the same opportunity to grow?

We also have an in-depth discussion about the state of regulations on an industry that has been plagued with archaic laws pushed through by special interest groups. On top of that, we distinguish the difference between Pro-Business Policy and  Pro- Free Enterprise Policy.

A do not miss show!

Be sure to check out Flying Dog Brewery.

Also, check out the First Amendment Society which aims to raise the public consciousness of these rights by advocating on behalf of and organizing events that promote the arts, journalism and civil liberties.


Booze Equality for Distillers

Jarrett Dieterle, the governance project fellow with the R Street Institute and a fellow alcohol policy expert, breaks down the issues at hand in future distilling battles. Virginia has some of the most onerous restrictions on distillers than any other state and is stifling the growth of multiple award winning companies by overzealous regulations. When we think of

Virginia has some of the most onerous restrictions on distillers, more so than many other states and is stifling the growth of multiple award winning companies by overzealous regulations. Regulations promoted by special interest lobbies using the law at the expense of the little guy. When we think of whiskey a few big names come to mind, but why won’t we let local entrepreneurs succeed in their own way?

Be sure to check out Jarrett’s recent article Fighting for Booze Equality on ‘Alcohol Alley’

Heartland Brewers Battling Against Government Overreach

In between running a growing business and serving on the Nebraska Brewers Guild, Kim Kavulak, co-owner of Nebraska Brewing Co., is battling against the repeal of a reform passed just last year.

The 2016 legislation was a collaborative effort among multiple alcohol-related industries, resulting in the defeat of 83 years of special-interest regulations stemming from prohibition. The game-changing reform opened markets for local brewers, granted property rights absent since 1920, and — more importantly — spurred innovation and job growth across Nebraska.

One year later, brewers are scrambling to save last year’s reform from a bill drafted in secrecy between wholesalers and the very same state legislator who sponsored last year’s free-enterprise bill.

LB1105, sponsored by Sen. Tyson Larson passed 45-2 in 2016. A major part of the bill allowed breweries to operate up to five total retail locations per license, moving beer between their locations without a distributor. If a brewery brewed more than 20,000 barrels of beer a year, the law let breweries keep ownership of their retail locations, where in the past all retail or brewpub locations would need to be closed or sold, destroying dozens of jobs in the process.

Although the change may seem trivial, in the world of alcohol regulations brewers face some of the most arcane regulations, governing nearly every step from production to bringing beer to market. Even the smallest reform in licensing or securing property rights could be a game changer for brewers trying to expand their businesses and keeping up with demand ahead of the competition.

Should the recently introduced LB632 become law, Nebraska brewers would once again be in danger of losing business and sacrificing jobs in the face of stifling regulations. It would mean halted growth and having to rethink hiring expectations, perhaps even layoffs. The bill would create capricious hurdles for how beer could be distributed and sold in the Cornhusker State.

“We were completely caught off guard,” Kavulak said. “We had no notice any legislation was going to be brought up this year. Neither the Brewers Guild or the state Liquor Control Commission were consulted.”

“Come January 18, the last day to introduce legislation, we face a legal battle with disastrous consequences for small brewers across the state,” he added.

Adding to the surprise, neither Sen. Larson nor the state Wholesaler Association would speak to the Brewers Guild for weeks after multiple requests for clarification.

“We had no idea why he would do this, and still have no idea for the motivation behind this complete turnaround by Sen. Larson.” Kavulak added. “Last year, brewers brought together wholesalers, the state Liquor Control Commission, and legislators to the table to negotiate the unopposed reform. Now, without notice we find ourselves shocked that an unopposed bill would be slated for repeal one year later. This bill threatens dozens of brewers growth so we all felt compelled to take action.”

Wholesalers across the country have deep lobbying roots and deep pockets to oppose any free market-oriented regulation. Typically, wholesalers draft and support legislation that forces brewers to use wholesaler services law. Brewers and wholesalers are fighting over basic private property rights in North CarolinaTexas, and Florida.

The laws that small brewers are trying to have repealed are the same laws large corporations such as Budweiser, Miller and Coors have used since prohibition to squelch competition. The excuses are many but supporters of these prohibition era regulations will cite safety concerns, health issues, and “fairness.” However, these laws have nothing to do with any those issues and everything to do with lobbying to create a state-sanctioned monopoly at the expense of entrepreneurs, consumers and economic opportunity.

Brewers like Kim Kavulak say they only want to pursue their craft free from coercion. These entrepreneurs are only looking to sell a quality product while creating a responsible and lively culture around our beloved brews. Kavulak has enough on her plate as a small business owner without having to battle against billion-dollar companies using politics at the expense of others.

Be on the lookout for KillTheBill events in Nebraska, but odds are no matter where you live local brewers are brewing up a battle for liberty and may soon need your support too!

To hear the interview on the “Free To Brew” podcast with Kim Kavulak click here.

(Colum first printed at Opportunity Lives)