This morning the West Virginia legislature passed a bill repealing their Certificate of Need law, also known as a “Competitor’s Veto” law. Formerly, anybody who wanted to start a moving business there essentially had to ask their competitors for permission first. When a budding entrepreneur applied for authority to operate a moving company, existing moving companies were permitted to protest that application. A protest subjected the applicant to an onerous hearing, where the applicant had to prove to the satisfaction of the government that the existing service was “inadequate.” Existing businesses were permitted to intervene in the hearing and to offer testimony that they were capable of serving any demand for moving services.
As you can imagine, almost no one has been able to break into the moving cartel. Not one moving company has been granted a license in the past 10 years. Every application filed since 2007 has been protested, and was subsequently abandoned or denied because the regulators determined that a new business wasn’t necessary.
That’s what happened to Arty Vogt, the owner of Lloyd’s Transfer & Storage, located in Berryville, VA. Because his business is located just miles from the West Virginia border, he regularly receives calls to perform moves there. He applied for a Certificate to do business in the state and was swiftly protested by two other moving companies. Ultimately the government denied his application on the basis that he couldn’t prove that the existing service was inadequate.
We filed a constitutional lawsuit on his behalf, and in response to our lawsuit, the West Virginia legislature repealed its awful law. Now, anybody who wants to start a moving business need only buy a truck, paint their name on the side of it, and start packing boxes. And that’s how it should be in a free and just, economically mobile society.
This is the fourth state that has repealed its law following a PLF lawsuit (the others are Oregon, Missouri, and Montana.) Now we wait to see if the Governor will sign the bill, and bring economic liberty to Arty and others.