Last year, the Goldwater Institute celebrated its 30th anniversary of defending freedom and individual rights for all Americans. In 2019, we embarked on our next 30 years, and as this year approaches its conclusion, we’re looking back at some of the efforts we’ve been most proud of—and looking ahead to where we’re going in 2020.
Breaking Down the Barriers that Keep Americans from Working
This year, the Goldwater Institute helped Arizona become the nation’s leader on creating a friendly environment for licensed workers looking to continue their careers. In April, Arizona became the first state in the country to recognize occupational licenses obtained out of state, and it also became the second state without the requirement that blow-dry salon workers—stylists who dry and style hair, but do not cut, perm, or permanently alter hair—must obtain a cosmetology license in order to do their job.
But too many workers across the country continue to face high hurdles when it comes to moving forward with their careers once they relocate. That’s why earlier this month, the Goldwater Institute announced a new effort to break down barriers to work for military families. This project is focused on military families, since the burdens of licensing requirements fall particularly hard on them, but we want to break down barriers for everyone. As we move into 2020, we’ll be working in states across the country to pass laws modeled after Arizona’s—streamlining the processes that keep men and women from working after they move. You can read more about our efforts here.
Giving Hope to the Terminally Ill through Right to Try
One year after Right to Try legislation was signed into federal law, we’re seeing it improve the lives of patients and their families. Matt Bellina is one of those patients. A former U.S. Navy pilot, Matt lives with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and since the time of his diagnosis in 2014, he had exhausted the treatment options available to him. He became a strong advocate for the Right to Try, believing all terminally ill Americans should have the right to try to save their own lives. Early this year, Matt announced via his Facebook page that he is undergoing treatment for ALS under the federal Right to Try law. Since beginning the treatment called NurOwn (currently in Phase 3 trials), he has become better able to play and talk with his young sons and eat a meal with his family. Matt is an inspiration to us at the Goldwater Institute, and so we were honored to present him with the Freedom Award at our Annual Dinner in November in recognition of his tireless work on Right to Try.
Read more about Matt’s story—as well as how the medical community is taking steps to incorporate Right to Try into its work—on In Defense of Liberty.
Securing Court Victories that Protect People’s Freedoms
Goldwater Institute attorneys could be found in courtrooms from coast to coast in 2019. In cases involving property rights, taxpayer rights, and many other issues affecting people’s freedoms, we took the cause of liberty to courtrooms nationwide. One of these victories was in Miami Beach, Florida, which was home to the highest fines in the country for sharing one’s home as a short-term rental. Even a single violation could result in a fine of tens of thousands of dollars. But Goldwater challenged these fines as a violation of Florida state law, which protects homeowners from excessive local fines. A Florida trial court agreed, saying that the city’s home-sharing fines were “in jarring conflict with [state law] and are therefore illegal and unenforceable.”
Read more about how our litigation efforts are protecting freedom for all Americans here.
Telling the Stories of Americans Affected by Government Overreach
People are at the center of everything we do at the Goldwater Institute. Whether it’s in a courtroom, in a state legislature, or in a community, we’re always working to ensure that Americans all across the country can live their lives as they see fit. In 2019, through our investigative reports and feature videos, we shared the stories of many Americans with you—the stories of real people whose lives are affected by government overreach.
Last year, Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten pulled back the curtain on how certificate of need laws are keeping mentally ill Americans from getting the treatment they need. This year, we took you to Iowa to see firsthand the damage that certificate of need has done to real Iowans—how it’s criminalizing the state’s mentally ill. In a documentary video, we introduced you to a mother whose mentally challenged son was thrown in jail instead of receiving needed mental health treatment, and to a sheriff struggling with minimal resources to handle patient transportation in a state hampered by too few treatment facilities.
You can read more about our work to share the stories of Americans from coast to coast here.
While we’re proud to highlight our biggest accomplishments of the year, we know that they would not be possible without your ongoing and fervent support. Thank you for reading about our efforts in 2019—we can’t wait to get to work in 2020.