It’s common sense that firefighters should, in fact, be paid to fight fires. But as The Texas Monitor reports, taxpayers in Austin are paying firefighters for different activities altogether, including a union convention in Las Vegas and a two-day charity fishing trip.

It’s all part of a practice known as release time, in which Austin taxpayers are spending nearly $1.25 million to pay firefighters to conduct outside activities under the direction and control of a labor union.

The Goldwater Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation are representing taxpayers who are challenging the practice in court. You can read more about the case here.

When Cities Shut Down Home-Based Businesses

Kim O’Neil ran a thriving medical billing business in Chandler, Ariz. But that business became a nightmare when local officials discovered she was operating it out of her home. In what she called “one of the most stressful experiences of my life,” O’Neil butted heads with bureaucrats, attempted to comply with regulations, and tried to respond to the city’s ever-increasing demands and legal threats.

In a new article for Cato’s Regulation Magazine, Goldwater Institute executive vice president Christina Sandefur examines what happened to O’Neil and how cities nationwide are making it a crime to work from home. Read more on the In Defense of Libertyblog.

A Ray of Sunshine in Colorado Springs

In 2018, local governments in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and other cities nationwide passed laws severely limiting people’s ability to rent their homes through platforms such as Airbnb and Homeaway. But there have been rays of sunshine here and there—with the latest coming from the state of Colorado.

Read more from Goldwater Institute senior attorney Jacob Huebert on the In Defense of Libertyblog.