Frequently Searched

Week in Review: Garbage Bureaucrats?

May 6, 2023

He ran a thriving small business that filled a void in rural Arkansas—until the government got in the way and destroyed his livelihood. But in a story that’s garnering national attention, Goldwater Institute attorneys are helping Steven Hedrick fight the “garbage bureaucrats.”

Steven rents dumpsters to customers working on large projects, then picks up the trash when the customers are done. “I thought it would be really filling a void…to be able to get into these rural areas where no one else can,” he tells Reason. Then the city of Holiday Island issued an ordinance banning anyone from picking up solid waste, except for a specially chosen government entity. “There’s no telling how much business I lost,” Steven tells Reason.

In a letter to the city on Steven’s behalf, Goldwater points out that the ordinance violates the Arkansas Constitution, which protects the right to earn a living, and demands that officials amend the ordinance. It’s just the latest example of Goldwater defending the right to earn a living against obtrusive, nonsensical government mandates. In capitols and courtrooms across the country, we’ll keep fighting to safeguard this right—and we’ll keep winning too.

Read Steven’s story at Reason.

Goldwater Beats 1 Burdensome Business Mandate, Takes on Another

Local governments can’t seem to learn their lesson. But the Goldwater Institute is full steam ahead when it comes to successfully fighting their attempts to infringe on individuals’ economic freedom.

Last month, it took Goldwater less than a week to defeat a “prevailing wage” ordinance in Phoenix that forced businesses competing for public-works projects to provide their employees with wages and benefits based on complicated formulas produced by the federal government and keep painstaking records. Now, the city of Tempe is trying to impose a similarly burdensome mandate, so this week on behalf of dozens of Arizona businesses, the Goldwater Institute sent the city council a letter urging it not to adopt the ordinance.

Arizona law prohibits cities from implementing “prevailing wage” ordinances. And research shows that these laws disproportionately hurt small businesses, minorities, and younger workers by cutting into businesses’ already-thin margins and making it cost-prohibitive for them to hire entry-level employees. In Tempe, Phoenix, and throughout the country, Goldwater will always protect Americans’ ability to live their lives free from restrictive mandates.

Read more from Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney John Thorpe at In Defense of Liberty.

BANNED for Texting Your Daughter’s Coach?

What’s happening to my child in school? Public schools are blindfolding parents instead of answering that simple question—so the Goldwater Institute is standing up on behalf of moms and dads.

In just the latest instance of a school cutting parents out, a Tennessee public high school banned a dad from attending his daughter’s softball games—all because he sent the coach a text message. Now the dad, Randall McElhaney, is suing the school, and this week Goldwater filed a brief urging the federal appeals court to protect his parental rights.

Randall ran afoul of the coach’s policy forbidding parents from speaking to him about playing time, even though Randall’s text message to the coach was respectful. By banning him from games for a week, school officials didn’t just infringe on his First Amendment rights; they also violated Randall’s right as a parent to speak to a public school employee about his daughter. Public schools across the country are similarly trampling on parents’ right to direct their children’s upbringing—but Goldwater is battling back and empowering parents to make decisions that best meet their kids’ needs.

Read more from Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney Adam Shelton at In Defense of Liberty.



More on this issue

Donate Now

Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.

Donate Now

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.

We Protect Your Rights

Our attorneys defend individual rights and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Need Help? Submit a case.

Get Connected to Goldwater

Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.