VA Yoga - Release: 3-10-2010
Victory for Virginia Yoga Entrepreneurs
Instructors Vindicate Freedom to Speak After Filing Federal Lawsuit
WEB RELEASE: March 10, 2010
Bob Ewing (703) 682-9320
|Video: Teaching is Not a Crime: Challenging Virginia's Unconstitutional Regulation of Yoga Teacher Training
Arlington, Va.—Thanks to a bill signed into law yesterday by Governor McDonnell, Virginia yoga instructors will no longer be threatened with thousands of dollars in fines and a year in jail for unauthorized talking.
The new law comes just three months after three Virginia yoga instructors teamed up with the Institute for Justice to file a federal First Amendment lawsuit. The state’s controversial speech prohibition had received significant national media attention, including editorials in the Washington Post and Richmond Times-Dispatch and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Frommer continued, “Teaching is speech, pure and simple. It shouldn’t take a federal lawsuit and critical nationwide media coverage to get politicians to protect this basic right.”
WATCH A 3-MINUTE VIDEO OF THE CLIENTS DESCRIBING THE CASE: WWW.IJ.ORG/VAYOGAVIDEO
Virginia’s burdensome regulation permitted anyone to do yoga, and anyone to teach yoga, but made it a crime to teach people to teach yoga without a specialized vocational-school license. In order to secure the license, instructors were required to pay a $2,500 application fee, fill out dozens of hours of paperwork and—before speaking—get their curriculum approved by Virginia bureaucrats.
In February, the Virginia House and Senate each considered a bill (HB703) to exempt yoga-instructor programs from state-licensing requirements. The bill unanimously passed both houses and was sent to the Governor for his signature. It becomes effective in July.
Although the fight on behalf of yoga-teacher trainers is over, the effort to reform Virginia’s vocational-school law continues. Most schools and countless entrepreneurs, from dog groomers to makeup artists, must still register with the government before speaking.
Founded in 1991, the Virginia-based Institute for Justice represents individuals in courtrooms across the country who successfully defend their free speech rights and ability to earn an honest living in the occupations of their choice.