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Week in Review: Will these families get what they deserve?

November 16, 2019
Will These Families Get What They Deserve?
Families in Arizona depend on the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program to help pay for their children’s education. But more than 120 Arizona families have been waiting weeks to get the funding they’re entitled to under the law—and they’re suffering at the hands of state government.
This week, attorneys for the Liberty Justice Center and the Goldwater Institute have filed a Notice of Claim against the Arizona Department of Education on behalf of a military family who uses ESA funds. Pioneered by the Goldwater Institute and first enacted in Arizona in 2011, ESAs are all about creating a custom education that works for each individual student. With an ESA, the state deposits part of a student’s funds from the state education formula into a private account, and that money can then be used toward tuition, tutoring, and other educational tools. ESAs now offer such opportunities to families across the country, with North Carolina becoming the sixth state to enact an ESA program beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
“These families are trying to do what’s best for their children, and Arizona’s ESA program was designed to help them do that. But the Arizona Department of Education has been so slow and unresponsive to parents’ needs that it is now causing serious disruption to the education of these kids, and serious financial hardships to these families,” said Timothy Sandefur, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute. “We urge the Department to give these parents the money they’re entitled to under this program, and to cease these pointless and even illegal delays.” Read more about the Goldwater Institute’s action on behalf of these families here.
A Historic Assault on Property Rights in Washington State
Yesterday, nearly 30 years of private property rights protections were undone by the Washington Supreme Court in a sweeping decision that explicitly overrules 51 pro-liberty cases under the state Constitution. Those decisions served as a bulwark against governmental overreach, requiring the government to balance the impact of restrictions on one’s property against the public interest those restrictions allegedly served.  
No longer. In its decision in Yim v. City of Seattle, the state Supreme Court held that the burden on individual property owners no longer matters—at all—and that the state Constitution does not, in fact, provide any enhanced protection for private property rights.
The only thing that matters, going forward, is whether the government’s regulation of your property serves some conceivable governmental interest, even if there is no evidence supporting that claim, and even if the burden on property owners is severe. Read more about the case from Goldwater Senior Attorney Matt Miller.
Putting out the Welcome Mat to Home-Sharing and Home-Based Businesses
The right to use one’s home as one sees fit so long as the use does not harm one’s neighbor is a central tenet of American life. Two such uses—the ability to share one’s home with guests and work out of one’s home—have been common for centuries. In recent years, the internet has allowed people to communicate better and connect more efficiently, which has resulted in the rise of home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway. At the same time, technological advances have made operating a home business, and working from one’s own home, easier and more practical for millions of Americans. 

But with the increased accessibility of home-sharing and the increased practicality of home-based businesses, regulators have imposed more and more restrictions on these common uses of residential property.

A new paper, co-written by Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches and Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Legal Foundation, explores these regulatory responses to home-sharing and home-based businesses. It was published as part of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project, and you can read the paper here.



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