“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m just trying to pursue my happiness.” – Daltonio Elaire, Former Mobile Barber

The American dream of being able to rise up and build a prosperous life for yourself has been a fundamental part of our country since its beginning. As Americans, we believe this is the land of opportunity and that if you work hard enough, you can succeed and thrive. Sadly, this is not true for Louisiana.

Louisianans are hardworking people that are full of entrepreneurial spirit. Daltonio Elaire is a perfect example of this spirit that is ingrained in the people of Louisiana. He wanted to provide for his newborn daughter and innovate in his field by building a mobile barber shop to pursue the American Dream for himself and his daughter. Despite his efforts, he was shut down because of anti-competitive decisions imposed on him by the barber board. Daltonio’s dream was crushed by the government, and he is no longer pursuing his passion.

Daltonio’s story does not have to end here. We have a chance to turn our state around and reignite the American dream for aspiring entrepreneurs like Daltonio. It’s time we right this ship and reform our occupational licensing to let Louisianans earn a living and pursue their dreams.

Decisions by boards are often justified by “protecting the consumer.” In reality, these boards have the power to arbitrarily shut down and stop their competition. The right to earn a living act requires that boards will have to give a public health, safety, welfare, or fiduciary rationale for every regulation they impose. This will allow boards to fulfill their role in protecting consumers while preventing arbitrary and anti-competitive decisions that limit the opportunities for countless Louisianans.

Every Louisianan should have the opportunity to flourish and occupational licensing reform will open up pathways to prosperity for Louisianans. It’s time to write the second half of Daltonio and countless other Louisianans’ stories. Through the right to earn a living act, we can ensure that each of these stories has a happy ending.