This week, President Trump issued an executive order highlighting the need for occupational licensing reform and calling on state and local leaders to engage on behalf of America’s workforce, highlighting work done by the Goldwater Institute to help more Americans get to work.
The Executive Order on Increasing Economic and Geographic Mobility builds on the administration’s multi-year effort to reduce regulatory burdens across the economy and has a specific focus on universal recognition, a licensing reform long advocated for by the Goldwater Institute. President Trump’s order includes a set of reform principles drawn from the Breaking Down Barriers to Work Act, model legislation designed by the Goldwater Institute and the Institute for Justice that allows a licensed professional to apply for and be quickly granted a license to work based on the training or testing he or she has already completed in another state.
Breaking Down Barriers to Work is already making a big impact on many Americans’ lives. Since it was passed in Arizona in 2019, more than 2,400 Arizonans have been granted an Arizona license to work under universal recognition. And universal recognition has also been popular among state legislators, Goldwater Director of Strategic Engagement Heather Curry writes at In Defense of Liberty: “Following Arizona’s successful reform, 24 states introduced a version of universal recognition and 10 states enacted their own reforms to support professionals and military families. From Utah to Missouri, legislators have seen the value of pursuing this essential reform.”
Across the country, government employees are being paid not to work—and you’re paying for it. How can this be? It’s because of a practice known as “release time.” And now, a series of comprehensive investigative and policy analysis reports from the Goldwater Institute has revealed that the practice is even more pervasive that we can know. But fortunately, the Goldwater Institute has a solution.
Under release time, which occurs on the local, state, and federal level, government employees are “released” from the jobs they were hired to do and instead work full-time for labor unions, while still receiving their full salary and benefits paid for by taxpayers. As Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches outlines in a new policy brief about release time, that fight must happen on two fronts—through litigation and legislation.
At Goldwater, we’re currently standing up for taxpayers through lawsuits challenging release time in Arizona, Texas, and New Jersey. And because release time “is an issue of statewide concern that involves good government, taxpayer protection, and the rights of public employees,” Riches writes that it is an appropriate topic for legislative action. “Lawmakers at all levels should pursue policy reforms that prohibit public expenditures on activities that advance private, special interests, including those of private labor unions.”
Originally created as part of many states’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statutes, the practice of civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize private property without a warrant, charges, or conviction of a crime. It was sold as a tool to crack down on drug trafficking and organized crime, but these days, its main use now is against regular citizens—and it’s pretty much legalized government theft.
Three years ago, the Institute for Justice undertook the lofty goal of tracking and analyzing data nationwide on law enforcement use of civil asset forfeiture. And this week, IJ released the 3rd edition of this report, Policing for Profit, offering an up-to-date look into the practice. Updated annually, the report gives a state-by-state breakdown and ratings based on three elements: the standard of proof, the innocent one’s burden to reclaim property, and whether law enforcement can keep the property or profits from selling the property it seizes.
You can read more from Goldwater Institute Director of Government Affairs Jenna Bentley here. And go here to learn more about what Goldwater is doing to stop the government from stealing your property.