Regulation

A Victory for Floral Freedom in Louisiana

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Today Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill that abolishes the demonstration section of the state's florist licensing exam, which empowered practitioners of the floral arts to decide whether would-be competitors' arrangements were attractive enough for them to enter the business. The Institute for Justice, which has been fighting this protectionist arrangement in federal court since 2004, credits the publicity generated by its litigation with prompting the state legislature to take action. Although florists will still have to pass a written exam in Louisiana (the only state that perceives a dire threat to consumers from unlicensed flower arrangers), the demonstration portion was more subjective and therefore more prone to abuse. (In case you were wondering where Louisiana's high aesthetic standards have led to noticeably superior floral arrangements, a panel of florists whom I.J. asked to compare licensed Louisiana arrangemendents with unlicensed Texas arrangements could not see a difference.) Tim Keller, the lead counsel in the I.J. lawsuit, counts the new law, which passed both houses of the legislature by wide margins, as a win:

H.B 1407 gives aspiring florists and entrepreneurs more freedom to pursue their chosen occupation free from blatantly anti-competitive government interference. In light of this new law, and the fact that three of our clients have taken and passed the state's written examination, we will declare victory and move to voluntarily dismiss our case.

I.J. has background on the case here. Previous Reason coverage here.

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  1. No Way. It can’t be.

    SENSIBLE LEGISLATION?!?!

    Times like this, I really wish I kept a bottle of champagne on-hand.

  2. Today Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill that abolishes the demonstration section of the state’s florist licensing exam, which empowered practitioners of the floral arts to decide whether would-be competitors’ arrangements were attractive enough for them to enter the business.

    Only in America . . . and North Korea!

  3. […]florists will still have to pass a written exam in Louisiana[…]

    Lest we face the threat of illiterate florists roaming the streets . . .

    Isn’t Statism fun???

  4. “practitioners of the floral arts”

    If floral arrangement is an art form, then it is protected speech.

  5. It’s still a stupid law, it’s just less stupid and prone to abuse.

    I guess it’s a ‘win’, but not a very good one.

  6. I know I shouldn’t be shocked, but seriously, how do we get laws like this that require passing a test to sell flowers? As minor as that is in the grand scheme of things, it really shows how much freedom has been eroded over the generations.

    1. It’s fucking Louisiana.

      Huey Long’s second mistress’s Aunt Lula “needed” a government job. All she knew was flowers. Huey Long wrote a bill to create the Commission on Floral Licensing. When some legislators balked, he took their farms. It passed unanimously. Aunt Lula became Commissioner of Floral Licensing. Every governor after that appointed their mistress’s relative to that position, and vetoed any attempt to kill the Commission. Until Piyush Jindal, whose mistress didn’t have an aunt that needed a job.*

      *-This story is fiction, but it’s probably pretty close to the truth.

  7. Unlicensed florists lead to an increase in thorn prick liability suits. Or something.

  8. I worry about this legislative “fix.” Esthetically unsatisfying floral arrangements can be linked to depression and even to domestic violence. The state has an interest in preventing these harms. Moreover, it has just come out in the news from a Texas study that antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft are finding their way into ponds and streams, causing bizarre changes in fish and other aquatic wildlife. Louisiana was obviously trying to prevent environmental harms on a scale akin to the BP disaster when it sought to allay depression by promoting proper floral arrangements.

  9. They could have easily done away with license altogether had the Governor asked.

    I wonder if the fact Jindal supporter and Republican state chairman Roger Villere is a florist had anything to do with the license remaining intact????

  10. The Baton Rouge Advocate sums up how Louisiana came up short in doing away with this stupid law and frankly the Institute of Justice and Reason overstate the impact of the small change. The license still exists and requires a test written by a political appointee.

    http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion/98804174.html

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