Would the federal government ban a process that has been used for thousands of years? You cheddar believe it. Artisan cheese manufacturers often age their cheese on wooden boards which can give the cheese unique flavors as well as gouda bacteria. For years this practice has been approved by state regulatory agencies but now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is feta-d up with it and recently labeled it as unsafe. The FDA claims that wood surfaces are too porous and retain harmful bacteria, a claim which directly contradicts research showing that wooden boards are often safer than glass or plastic. In spite of this, the FDA is pushing forward and even imported cheeses are not exempt, which means that American markets will lose access to a large number of different cheeses. These regulators must be muenster-s to limit consumer choice and make cheese aficionados bleu.
“Corporate cheese makers like Leprino and Kraft will be able to weather this regulatory storm — they don’t make cheese, they manufacture cheese, and as such they do not follow the centuries old artisan techniques. But for small businesses and artisan cheese makers, wood boards are in fact essential to the making of cheese.”
Update: The FDA has backed down from these restrictions after public backlash.
The Institute for Justice is taking the case of animal massage therapists to Arizona’s courts. Curiously, the state requires training that doesn’t necessarily include message therapy. From IJ:
Massage therapists do not need a medical degree to massage humans, but entrepreneurs who want to massage animals in Arizona must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend four years of veterinary school where they are not even required to learn massage. The consequences of failing to comply are severe—animal massage therapists face up to six months in jail and fines of $3,500 per violation.
“Learn to code” organizations in California are being threatened by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), a division of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. According to the BPPE, the coding organizations fall under its jurisdiction and are operating illegally without a license. The state says that so long as the organizations move towards compliance they won’t be shut down. However, the far from protecting Californians, this move towards licensing only stifles competition and raises prices for those seeking to educate themselves.
“The intent here may be admirable. There are various scam “post-secondary education” offerings that don’t really provide anyone anything of value and over promise what they’re offering. But coding bootcamps are something else entirely. The various groups are saying they’re interested in complying with whatever regulations are necessary, but are also worried about the cost and the time that it will take for this process to run its course. Bureaucracies aren’t known for their efficiency (or their inexpensiveness).”
If you want to take a rickshaw tour of Charleston, South Carolina you will be out of luck. According to Charleston’s newspaper, The Post and Courier, undercover police conducted an investigation on the city’s rickshaw drivers for giving tours without a license. One driver was issued a ticket for just over $1000. To give tours in Charleston, individuals must take an exam and study a 500 page training manual. The city licenses horse-drawn carriages and walking tours, but considers rickshaws to be a form of taxi-service. It appears that for the time-being rickshaw rides will continue in silence.
“City officials contend that the crackdown was needed because allowing unregulated tours, even by casual method, would create gridlock and other problems as slower-moving vehicles could bring streets to a standstill when stories get told.”
The Institute for Justice is defending eyebrow threaders from occupational licensing by the state of Texas – licensing that would require the threaders to complete coursework that won’t teach them about eyebrow threading. From the Institute for Justice:
The case began in 2008, when the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation decided that threading—a traditional South Asian practice that uses only cotton thread to remove eyebrow hair by gliding it across the surface of the skin—is the same thing as conventional Western-style cosmetology. The Department issued $2,000 penalties to threaders across the state and ordered them to quit their jobs until they completed coursework in private beauty schools costing between $9,000 and $20,000.
Three threaders and two threading-business owners joined with the Institute for Justice and sued the Department in 2009, arguing that the Texas Constitution prohibits useless and expensive training requirements that do nothing to protect the public. Two lower courts ruled in favor of the Department.
The Washington Examiner reports that federal regulations added in 2013 cost the economy $112 billion.
Led by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and health care agencies, the federal government added 157.9 million hours of paperwork for U.S. workers.
The city of Ellisville, Missouri considered subsidizing a Walmart through Tax Increment Financing and the use of eminent domain, but eventually dismissed the idea and passed a resolution limiting what projects eminent domain may be used to promote. From the Newsmagazine Network:
Elected on an anti-tax increment financing platform and a major opponent of the Walmart supercenter that was proposed to replace the Clarkchester Apartment Complex in Ellisville, Paul said renters and apartment dwellers don’t need to worry about a business replacing their homes.
“It is truly an amazing resolution that we passed here tonight,” he said. “If you want to buy and develop property that exists, you can do it on your own dime. I don’t think the city is going to do any more TIFs for a long time.”
The Project On Government Oversight reports that the government may have failed to adequately review the healthcare.gov contractor’s background:
AMS’s questionable past performance on government contracts should have set off alarms in 2007, when CMS awarded CGI and 15 other companies an umbrella contract allowing them to bid on future CMS projects. In fact, a former CMS official told the Post that AMS’s track record “could well have knocked [CGI Federal] out of the competition, and probably should have.”