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Press Releases

  • May 5, 2021    |   Private Property

    PHOENIX—Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Wednesday signed a bipartisan bill (HB 2810) that strengthens due process protections for property owners facing civil forfeiture. The bill had received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House—which approved it 57-2—and Senate—which approved it 29-1. Arizona, which adopted some reforms in 2017, joins a growing list of states that…

  • May 5, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    COLUMBIA, S.C.—Today, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision dismissing online vision testing company Visibly’s lawsuit against the state. This means that Visibly’s lawsuit can proceed, which could have far-reaching implications for economic freedom in South Carolina. Visibly’s innovative technology allows patients to take an online vision test and have their…

  • May 5, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Vietnam Vet Beaten by Police Continues Supreme Court Appeal

    José Oliva Replies to Officers Who Assaulted Him But Who Now Seek to Escape Accountability, Calls on High Court to Review His Case

    Federal judge decries “Constitution-free zone” that courts have created in which “individuals whose constitutional rights are violated at the hands of federal officers are essentially remedy-less.” Arlington, Virginia—On May 20, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider whether to grant review in yet another police brutality case, this time involving a 70-year-old veteran who…

  • May 5, 2021    |   Economic Liberty Private Property

    Family-Owned Hardware Store Sues Long Island Town Trying to Take Away their Property

    Brinkmann’s Hardware teams up with national law firm to fight for the right to open its business

    CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y.—When every effort to stop a business from operating on its property has failed, can the government just take the land using eminent domain? That is the question at the heart of a new lawsuit filed by the owners of Brinkmann’s Hardware, a family-owned business with several Long Island locations that has teamed…

  • April 30, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Florida Legislature today approved a bill that will make it easier to start and run homemade food businesses, opening the door to new women-owned businesses throughout Sunshine State. House Bill 663, named the “Home Sweet Home Act,” reforms rules on selling shelf-stable homemade food, commonly known as cottage foods. Florida law currently includes…

  • April 30, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Newly Approved Bill Clears the Way for Home-Based Businesses

    Florida Legislature approves measure that standardizes rules for running a business from a residence

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Under a newly passed bill, Floridians will find it easier to start and run home-based businesses. House Bill 403, which has now passed both the Florida House and Senate, standardizes rules for operating businesses inside of a home. The bill bans city and county governments from regulating work that happens strictly inside a residence.…

  • April 29, 2021    |   Private Property

    The Arizona Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill (HB 2810) that would strengthen due process protections for property owners facing civil forfeiture. Under civil forfeiture, law enforcement agencies can seize and keep property without ever charging the owner with a crime. Worse, police and prosecutors can keep 100% of the forfeited proceeds, creating…

  • April 29, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Institute for Justice Praises Passage of Permanent To-go Cocktails Bill

    Legislation headed to the Governor would make a popular pandemic waiver permanent

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—With the passage of Senate Bill 148, Florida restaurants are a big step closer to being able to permanently provide to-go cocktails to customers. An executive order has provided a lifeline to businesses during the pandemic, but it has also proved popular and safe. The Institute for Justice (IJ) supported the permanent change and…

  • April 28, 2021    |   Private Property

    TAMPA, Fla.—In a blow to property rights, on Monday a federal judge upheld fines against Jim Ficken, a Dunedin property owner who was assessed $30,000 in fines and threatened with foreclosure for the offense of tall grass. Jim, who is represented by the Institute for Justice (“IJ”), plans to appeal the district court’s decision. If…

  • April 28, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill (HB 1746) on Tuesday that will make it much easier for people to enter and work in the beauty industry. Previously, washing, cleansing, blow drying, brushing, or combing hair required a cosmetologist license, a credential that takes at least 1,500 hours of training and can cost tens of…

  • April 27, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Newly Passed Bill Eliminates Patchwork of Local Occupational Licenses in Florida

    Institute for Justice praises measure that makes it easier to run small businesses across the Sunshine State

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Legislature today approved a bill that would make it easier for many Floridians to work. House Bill 735 bans Florida municipalities and counties from creating additional licensing requirements for a long list of occupations. For instance, should the bill become law, cities could no longer create new local occupational licenses for handyman services.…

  • April 26, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Florida Legislature Approves School Choice Scholarship Expansion

    Newly passed bill further cements Florida as a national leader on educational choice

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Institute for Justice (IJ), which defends educational choice programs nationwide, applauds the Florida Legislature for its passage of House Bill 7045, legislation that will strengthen choice in the state by simplifying and expanding existing scholarship programs. This includes expanding the Family Empowerment Scholarship and increasing access to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship—already one…

  • April 26, 2021    |   First Amendment

    Supreme Court Hears Major Donor Privacy Cases

    In AFP v. Bonta, the Supreme Court Will Consider Whether the First Amendment Permits the Suspicionless Collection of Charitable Donor Information.

    Arlington, Virginia—The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral argument in the consolidated cases Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta (No. 19-251) and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta (No. 19-255), which involve a First Amendment challenge to California’s practice of requiring all charities in the state to turn over a list of their large contributors,…

  • April 19, 2021    |   Private Property

    Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case Challenging Federal Forfeiture Abuse

    IJ Calls on Congress to Close Civil Forfeiture’s “Customs Carve-Out”

    Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case that would have forced the government to fix one of the most basic and outrageous abuses in civil forfeiture: the inability of property owners to have their day in court shortly after their property is seized by police. As the result of this abuse, property…

  • April 14, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Florida Barbers Free to Leave the Shop Under Newly Approved Bill

    Legislation headed to the Governor would allow barbers to cut hair outside of registered barbershops

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—A bill approved today by the Florida Legislature would allow Sunshine State barbers to cut hair in places other than registered barbershops. House Bill 855 received unanimous support in both the Florida House and Senate. The Institute for Justice supported the legislation, which expands on the sweeping licensing reform passed last year. That reform…

  • April 13, 2021    |   Private Property

    Charlotte Trucking Company Owner Fights for $39,500 Police Took from Him at Phoenix Airport

    Civil forfeiture allows Arizona law enforcement to take money without connecting it with a crime

    PHOENIX—Jerry Johnson flew to Phoenix with $39,500 and the intention of returning home with a semi-truck from an Arizona auction house, but instead he returned to Charlotte without his money and without a truck. After his $39,500 in cash was seized by law enforcement at the Phoenix airport, Jerry fought for its return in court.…

  • April 8, 2021    |   Private Property

    Innocent Property Owners Will be at Risk if Proposed Forfeiture Reforms Are Gutted

    Story of Phoenix airport traveler who had $39,500 seized without criminal charges demonstrates what is at stake

    PHOENIX—Proposed legislation to reform civil forfeiture practices in Arizona, House Bill 2810, was on a swift path to confirmation after nearly unanimous support in the House. Now, however, a proposed amendment in the Senate could gut the proposed reforms, encouraging abusive law enforcement practices rather than correcting them. The Institute for Justice (IJ) opposes the…

  • April 7, 2021    |   Private Property

    Institute for Justice Urges Protections for Private Property Owners in Supreme Court Pipeline Fight

    IJ brief calls on the Court to reject government’s attempt to restrict landowners’ ability to fight eminent domain

    Arlington, Virginia—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ) filed an amicus brief in PennEast Pipeline Company, LLC v. New Jersey, a U.S. Supreme Court case about the scope of private companies’ powers to take land through eminent domain to build pipelines under the Natural Gas Act. IJ’s brief urges the Court to reject arguments made by…

  • April 7, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Today, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a first-of-its-kind bill that would let individuals sue government agencies for violating their rights. Critically, the new legislation, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act (HB 4), would eliminate “qualified immunity” as a legal defense.  Under qualified immunity, government officials can only be held liable for violating someone’s…

  • April 6, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: How Qualified Immunity Allows Government Officials to Delay Access to Justice

    Castle Hills Officials Ask Appeals Court to Reinstate Immunity, Delaying Government Accountability Case

    Late last week, attorneys for three Castle Hills, Texas, officials appealed a ruling holding that they are not immune from suit. The officials, who were sued for throwing a 72-year-old city councilwoman in jail in an attempt to silence her criticism of the city, will ask the federal appeals court to grant them qualified immunity,…


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