Senator Huffines Fights For Economic Freedom
Package of bills will review & repeal government regulations that limit job opportunities, stifle competition, and impede economic liberty
AUSTIN – Today in Austin, Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) filed a package of five pieces of legislation to advance economic liberty.
Senator Huffines stated, "Occupational regulations by state government must be narrowly tailored to serve a well-defined and direct interest in protecting public health and safety. State government must uphold individuals' economic liberty by making it less costly or burdensome for them to create a business or get a job, earn a living, and support themselves and their families. Wherever state government is needlessly requiring a permission slip for someone to earn an honest living, it is my obligation to stop that so economic liberty may prevail."
Senate Bill 844 - Active Supervision of Boards & Agencies that Issue Occupational Regulations
In a 2015 decision (North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC), the U.S. Supreme Court held that when a state board is primarily composed of active market participants in the same industry or field as those subject to its regulations, the board enjoys immunity from antitrust law only when it is actively supervised by the state. To remain compliant with that precedent and protect Texas from potential actions under the anti-trust Sherman Act, Senator Huffines filed SB 844, which would lead to active supervision by the Attorney General of boards, agencies, and commissions that regulate occupations in Texas.
Senator Huffines stated, "We need to keep a watchful eye to prevent obscure state boards, agencies, and commissions from passing unnecessary regulations, and to stop current market participants from regulating their competition out of business. Furthermore, Texas needs to learn the lesson of recent jurisprudence so that we do not unnecessarily endure similar litigation that will needlessly cost taxpayers and potentially have a negative impact on economic liberty."
Senate Bill 845 - Occupational Regulation Database
In pursuing economic freedom legislation in the 84th Texas Legislature (2015), Senator Huffines was alarmed to learn that no state agency could accurately or completely identify the extent to which Texas regulates occupations. Legislation similar to SB 845 passed the 84th Texas Legislature: SB 1812 (Sen. Lois Kolkhorst) pertained to a database of all entities in Texas with the power of eminent domain.
Senator Huffines stated, "To advance economic liberty, we must first fully appreciate the scope of occupational regulations in Texas. This database will help us fully comprehend when, how, and why Texas requires a permission slip to earn an honest living so that we can revise or repeal those occupational regulations that are most cumbersome to economic liberty."
Senate Bill 846, Senate Bill 847, and Senate Bill 848 - Ending Needless Occupational Regulations
In a 2016 report, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) identified occupational regulations that, in the state agency's view, are neither necessary nor effective. Senator Huffines has filed legislation to adopt three of the TDLR recommendations, as they pertain to driver education course providers and instructors (SB 848); temporary common worker employers (SB 846); and for-profit legal services contract companies (SB 847).
Senator Huffines stated, "Significantly rolling back and repealing occupational regulations will have the direct effect of advancing economic liberty, which will allow a free market to prevail and competition to thrive. Competition always increases the quality and lowers the price of whatever service, good, or commodity is in question. Consumers, workers, and employers in Texas will benefit from the free market that is strengthened by SB 846, SB 847, and SB 848."