Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pelican Institute Challenges Louisiana’s Florist Licensing Laws in Landmark Lawsuit

by BIZ Magazine

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, through its Center for Justice, has taken a significant legal step by filing a groundbreaking lawsuit against the Louisiana Horticulture Commission on behalf of Angele Mixson, a Denham Springs resident. The lawsuit, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, aims to challenge the state’s unique and stringent florist licensing laws, asserting that they unjustly infringe upon constitutional rights under the Due Process, Equal Protection, and Privileges or Immunities Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Angele Mixson, the plaintiff in the case, expressed her motivations, stating, “In the face of losing my daughter, working with flowers has been a source of comfort—a way to hold onto her memory. The rigid florist licensing requirements in Louisiana have created obstacles in my quest to share this love of floristry with others. This lawsuit symbolizes my stand for the right to transform a heartfelt passion into a profession—a stand on behalf of all Louisianans.”

Mixson found solace and purpose in floristry following the tragic death of her daughter. Her self-taught skill evolved into a passion, yet Louisiana’s demanding licensing requirements, including a costly and intricate examination process, have hindered her from pursuing this passion professionally. Louisiana remains distinct in the United States for enforcing such stringent regulations on florists, a profession Mixson and others argue is inherently harmless and has faced repeated legal challenges.

“This lawsuit is not just about Angele’s right to arrange and sell flowers; it’s about the rights of all Louisianans to earn an honest living in their chosen profession without facing unnecessary and burdensome barriers,” said Sarah Harbison, General Counsel at the Pelican Institute. “The state’s florist licensing regime is a clear violation of Angele’s constitutional rights and does nothing to protect the public or ensure the competency of florists.”

The complaint outlines the arbitrary hurdles set by the Louisiana Horticulture Commission, which oversees the florist licensing regime. Angele’s attempt to share her floral arrangements, developed as a tribute to her late daughter, has been stifled by these regulations, reflecting a disregard for her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

“We aim to vindicate Angele’s rights and set a precedent that encourages economic freedom and the right to free expression in Louisiana and beyond,” said James Baehr, Special Counsel at Pelican Institute. “This lawsuit is another step towards challenging unjust occupational licensing laws that hinder economic opportunity and stifle creativity.”

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy remains committed to defending the rights of individuals like Angele Mixson to engage in lawful occupations without undue government interference. “This case highlights the broader implications of occupational licensing on economic freedom and individual rights,” said Daniel Erspamer, CEO of Pelican Institute. “In the statehouse and in the courts, we will work to expand opportunity for all Louisianans.”

As this litigation unfolds, the Pelican Institute will continue advocating for Angele Mixson and other aspiring florists in Louisiana, striving for a future where everyone can pursue their passions freely and without unnecessary governmental constraints.

For further information and updates on this case, please contact Sydney Petite at the Pelican Institute via pelicanpolicy.org.

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