December 23, 2020

2020 was a year like no other, but despite the difficulties our country has been facing, the Goldwater Institute has been working to overcome these hurdles and continue our efforts to help Americans lead freer, happier lives. This week, we take a look back at some of the work Goldwater has done in 2020 to take on the challenges of our times.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just taken a toll on America’s health—it’s had disastrous repercussions for our economy, too. America’s small businesses are hurting, with many having to make the difficult choice to shutter temporarily or even permanently. And since small businesses are job creators, American workers are hurting as well, enduring cut hours, furloughs, and layoffs.

At the Goldwater Institute, we know that we must make it easier for American workers to weather this difficult time—and that’s why we’ve been working throughout 2020 to help states adopt and implement policies that help get Americans back to work and get our economy back on track.

We’re leading a national effort to give Americans more freedom to work after they move. Americans are a very mobile people, moving from state to state for work, family, or a new adventure. But the licenses that many Americans need to keep working in their chosen fields aren’t quite as mobile. They should be: If you’re qualified to do your job in one state, then you should be qualified to do that job in any state you move to. Goldwater is leading the charge to break down government-imposed barriers to work by giving Americans the freedom to practice their profession wherever they live.

In 2019, Arizona became the first state to recognize occupational licenses obtained in other states—and we’re already beginning to see the positive impact in the Grand Canyon State. Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten has found that to date, more than 2,600 Arizonans have benefited from the law. And in 2020, thanks to Goldwater’s committed efforts, 10 more states across the country have followed Arizona’s lead and taken action to break down barriers to work—and these states are now better poised for economic recovery.

We’re getting government out of the way of home-based entrepreneurs. Many Americans became work-from-home experts in 2020, and that wouldn’t have been possible without technology. And technology is just as much a boon for entrepreneurs: Major advances in technology have empowered entrepreneurs to start businesses from their home and realize their dreams of self-employment, pre-COVID and today. But unfortunately, cities and counties across the country are applying outmoded regulations to these home-based businesses, stifling flexibility and economic opportunity.

At the Goldwater Institute, we’ve been working to protect America’s entrepreneurs and economy from government overreach and regulations by working with states to pass our Home-Based Business Fairness Act, which modernizes outmoded approaches to regulating home-based businesses in favor of a common-sense approach. “The Home-Based Business Fairness Act protects homeowners from lengthy, uncertain, and expensive processes that don’t mitigate nuisances but just prevent people from working from home instead of in a traditional office,” Goldwater Executive Vice President Christina Sandefur wrote earlier this year. “The Act refocuses zoning and other rules on what they’re designed for: ensuring buildings are safe, that traffic and parking aren’t blocked, and that noise isn’t excessive.”

In a time in which the ability to earn an honest living is so important, yet seems increasingly out of reach for many, lawmakers must do everything in their power to give Americans flexibility in their work—and the Goldwater Institute will continue our work to expand that flexibility for more Americans in 2021.

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