When does one need to acquire an occupational license? When the government takes away your right to a particular activity and sells it back to you, apparently.
For a woman in Savannah, Georgia, the local government used licensing to limit her right to speak. In his recent op-ed for Reason magazine, John Stossel gives light to Michelle Freenor’s struggle to acquire a license to give walking tours in Savannah. When Freenor couldn’t take the physical required for the license, a city official told her to consider other occupations. But the Institute for Justice stepped in and fought to help Freenor her keep her job. Stossel explains the crazy loops Freenor had to jump through to get her government permission slip to work:
She had to pay $100 and then “pass a college-level history exam with tons of obscure gotcha questions,” Freenor told us. Passing required “three to five months of studying because it was about 120 pages. I had to map out where I was standing, what I was saying.”
“She also had to do a criminal background check, which meant she had to give a urine sample and a blood sample.” Carpenter told me. “She also had to go through a physical fitness test.”
Savannah’s politicians demanded aspiring tour guides pass a test that included rules about horse-and-buggy and tram tours, even if the guides only intended to walk.
Read the rest of Freenor’s situation here. Unfortunately, her case is not an isolated incident. It’s just another display of crazy and egregious rules people have to follow to maintain or get a job. Our government is overstepping its boundaries with occupational licensing and placing a steep burden on those trying to enter certain industries, especially the least fortunate. Hold your legislators accountable. Click here to sign a petition calling for occupational licensing reform!