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Jim Fellinger

New Study Suggests Occupational Licensing Laws Create Income Inequality

By | Press Releases

Arlington, VA – On Tuesday, the Archbridge Institute released a new study demonstrating how the growth of occupational licensing laws in America could be contributing to income inequality. Occupational licenses are essentially government permission-slips dictating who can work in certain fields. The study found that workers in low and moderate-income professions in states with high levels of licensure demonstrate less upward mobility than workers in states that have lower licensing burdens. Generation Opportunity (GO), a grassroots group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans, believes that occupational licensing restrictions make it harder for young people, including low-income workers, to find jobs, start businesses and support themselves and their families. Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “Occupational licensing laws force millions of hard-working Americans to spend valuable time and money asking the government for permission to simply make a living. Many of these laws aren’t necessary in the modern era thanks to market resources like Google and Yelp that help young people determine a worker’s level of quality, affordability and safety without a government board. Outdated licensing laws shouldn’t be holding back the potential of young American workers and preventing them from climbing the economic ladder.” In the 1950s, about one in twenty American workers needed an occupational license before they could work in the occupation of their choice. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, that figure stands at about one in four. These requirements serve virtually no purpose for professions like painters, shampooers, and hair-braiders. Background: Recently, the Institute for Justice (IJ) released a study demonstrating the harmful impact of occupational licensing restrictions in states across the nation. The IJ study found that licensing burdens are often disproportionate to the actual public health and safety risks of an occupation. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), need to complete only about a month of training. Surprisingly, there are 73 occupations that have greater average licensing burdens than…

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Entrepreneurs in VA Deserve the Right to Promote Happy Hours

By | Press Releases

Richmond, VA – A Virginia based restaurant owner, Chef Geoff Tracy, has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Virginia’s outdated happy hour laws violate his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit, issued by the Pacific Legal Foundation, alleges that restrictions on Virginia’s happy hour advertising prevent restaurants and bars from speaking freely about the services they offer. Generation Opportunity-Virginia (GO-VA), a grassroots organization that advocates for policies that improve the lives of young people, supports Chef Geoff’s effort because entrepreneurs in Virginia have a right to freely promote their business as long as they aren’t encouraging irresponsible consumption. GO-VA spokesman Jacob Fish issued the following statement: “Virginia has no business preventing bars and restaurants from advertising happy hours, which are legal in our commonwealth and elsewhere across the country. Local businesses that sell alcohol responsibly should have the freedom to market the same way as their competitors outside of the state.” GO-VA has created a digital tool that allows users to contact their lawmakers in support of reforming many of the state’s current Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) laws so that entrepreneurs have the opportunity to freely earn in the commonwealth. The group will continue holding a series of “Pints and Policy” events educating Virginians about the outdated ABC policies that hold back businesses in the state. The group is hosting upcoming events in Ashland, Newport News, Wise and Blacksburg. Read more: Reforming Virginia’s Outdated Liquor Laws Should be as Easy as ABC—But it Isn’t ### Generation Opportunity is a national, nonpartisan movement for more freedom, better opportunities, and a brighter future for all young Americans.

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Generation Opportunity-Florida Launches Campaign Thanking Lawmakers for Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses

By | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – Generation Opportunity-Florida (GO-FL), a youth focused activist group, is launching a mail and digital campaign thanking lawmakers in Florida who protected the free speech rights of students during this year’s legislative session. Late last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 4, known as the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018. The bill included a provision ending so-called “free speech zones” that restrict students from exercising their constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights on the state’s publicly funded college and university campuses. The group is sending mail thanking the lawmakers in their home districts. “When free speech was under attack on Florida’s college campuses,” the mailer reads. “Your leaders stood up to protect the First Amendment.” The mail encourages readers to visit MoreSpeechFL.com, a site that allows them to send thank you letters to the lawmakers who defended campus free speech this legislative session. To view a full-size image of the mailer, click here. The group also launched a digital advertising campaign that connects users to the MoreSpeechFL.com email page. To view a sample ad, click here. GO-FL Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor issued the following statement: “We are encouraging Floridians to thank the officials who stood up for their First Amendment rights by supporting legislation that finally brought an end to the unconstitutional practice of “free speech zones” on college campuses. Thanks to the efforts of these legislators, free speech will no longer be banished to the hidden corners of our state’s publicly funded campuses. We applaud Governor Scott, Speaker Corcoran, Rep. Rommel, Sen. Baxley, and every other member of the Florida legislature who defended the fundamental rights of Florida’s college students.” To speak with Demetrius Minor about this issue, contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org. Since late 2017, GO-FL had been pushing for House and Senate versions of the Campus Free Expression Act, legislation that would have outlawed “free speech zones.” Earlier this year, Generation…

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House Has Excellent Opportunity to Give Hope to Terminal Patients by Passing “Right to Try” Legislation Tuesday

By | Press Releases

Arlington, VA – The U.S House of Representatives will hold a vote tomorrow on national “Right to Try” legislation, which will improve access to experimental treatments for patients with terminal diseases or conditions. An updated version of the bill was announced over the weekend by the Energy and Commerce Committee. Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “Across the country, young Americans with terminal illnesses are counting on national Right to Try legislation as a last hope to try and save their own lives. We applaud Reps. Biggs and Fitzpatrick for working hard to advance this critical legislation and we thank Chairman Walden for allowing it to come to the floor. With 39 states already having approved the Right to Try, the House should follow suit on Tuesday.” Read more: The Hill: If FDA can’t speed up drug testing, then give patients the right to try Waco Tribune Herald: Congressman Flores should press ‘Right to Try’ bill

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Generation Opportunity Announces New Ad Campaign Urging Gov. Scott To Sign Campus Free Speech Legislation

By | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – Today, Generation Opportunity-Florida (GO-FL) is announcing the launch of a new digital ad campaign urging Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) to sign Senate Bill 4, known as the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018. The bill includes a provision ending so-called “free speech zones” that restrict students from exercising their constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights on the state’s publicly funded college and university campuses. The youth-focused grassroots advocacy group is launching digital ads that direct users to utilize a digital tool that directs emails of encouragement to Governor Scott’s office. The ads are currently running, and the group will continue to push them until the legislation is signed. To view the ad image, click here. To view the digital tool directing emails to Gov. Scott’s office, click here. GO-FL Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor issued the following statement: “Governor Scott is an excellent position to ensure that free speech is not banished to the hidden corners of our campuses here in Florida. By signing Senate Bill 4, Governor Scott would be putting an end to the unconstitutional practice of limiting free speech to secluded and pre-sanctioned ‘zones’ on college campuses. This practice not only violates the First Amendment but represents the kind of closed-minded thinking that is anathema to what college is all about. Governor Scott has done tremendous work advancing reforms in education this year and this is an opportunity to build on that legacy by ensuring that free speech can thrive on Florida’s publicly funded college campuses for years to come.” To speak with Generation Opportunity-Florida Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor about this issue, contact JFellinger@genopp.org. Since late 2017, GO-FL has been pushing for House and Senate versions of the Campus Free Expression Act, legislation that would outlaw “free speech zones.” Earlier this year, Generation Opportunity launched a mail campaign urging Floridians to thank Sen. Dennis Baxley and Rep. Bob Rommel for introducing House and Senate versions of the Campus Free Expression…

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Generation Opportunity-Florida Thanks Lawmakers Who Championed Free Speech Reform

By | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – Generation Opportunity-Florida (GO-FL), a group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young people, is thanking members of the Florida legislature who helped advance a ban on so-called “free speech zones” on the state’s publicly-funded college and university campuses. Specifically, the group is thanking Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senator Joe Negron for their efforts in championing this legislation. On Monday, the Florida Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 4, known as the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, which included a provision eliminating free speech zones. The bill is now on Governor Rick Scott’s desk awaiting his signature. GO-FL Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor issued the following statement: “We are thrilled with the bold leadership shown by Speaker Corcoran, Senator Negron and the members of the Florida legislature who helped bring us one step closer to protecting the First Amendment on our state’s college campuses. The Constitution is clear that free speech should never be restricted to a zone or a hidden corner of campus. We applaud the members of the Florida Legislature who made this achievement possible, including Representative Bob Rommel and Senator Dennis Baxley who introduced this measure, and encourage Governor Scott get this bill across the finish line for Florida’s students.” For more information or to speak with Demetrius Minor, contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org. In December of last year, Representative Bob Rommel and Senator Dennis Baxley introduced House and Senate versions of the Campus Free Expression Act, which sought to improve the free speech climate at Florida’s publicly funded college and university campuses by ending so-called “free speech zones.” Deceptively titled “free speech zones” actually restrict students from exercising their constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights by restricting free expression to sanctioned and pre-determined zones. ### Generation Opportunity is a national, nonpartisan movement for more freedom, better opportunities, and a…

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Florida Lawmakers Vote to End So-Called “Free Speech Zones” on Campus

By | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – Today, Florida lawmakers voted to pass Senate Bill 4, a measure that included a provision ending so-called “free speech zones” on the state’s publicly funded college and university campuses. These deceptively titled zones actually restrict students from exercising their constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights by restricting free expression to sanctioned and pre-determined zones. The bill will now head to Governor Rick Scott’s desk. Generation Opportunity-Florida (GO-FL) Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor issued the following statement: “We applaud the Florida legislature for passing SB 4 because free speech zones must become a thing of the past. Attempting to limit the First Amendment rights of students by tucking them into the hidden corners of campus is not only unconstitutional but goes against the very concept of what a college education should be about. College is a place where young people go to learn new ideas and challenge concepts on their merits, but that dialogue will never occur if free expression is not openly permitted on campus. We don’t always agree with the viewpoints of certain college speakers, but that doesn’t give us a right to trample their First Amendment rights. Generation Opportunity was proud to partner with Florida lawmakers and groups across our network to ensure our state’s campuses remain a place where speech is protected.” To speak with Generation Opportunity-Florida Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor about this issue, contact JFellinger@genopp.org. Since late 2017, GO-FL has been pushing for House and Senateversions of the Campus Free Expression Act, legislation that would outlaw “free speech zones.” Recently, Minor posted a video addressing the importance of free speech on campus, where he asked viewers to consider the historical impact Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington would have had if it had been designated to a “free speech zone” rather than the National Mall. View the full video here. Earlier this year, Generation Opportunity launched a mail…

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White House Issues Smart Principles to Reform Prisons and Reentry Policies

By | Press Releases

Arlington, VA – The White House has announced a new set of principles for prison reform aimed at updating and expanding re-entry and work programs intended to give individuals a greater chance of staying out of prison after they are released. In addition, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that will overhaul the Federal Reentry Council and move it from the Department of Justice to the White House. The White House has also sent a framework for prison reform legislation to Congress, where it is supported by members on both sides of aisle. Younger Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the American prison population, and Generation Opportunity (GO) is supportive of the White House’s concrete efforts to fix the problem. Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “The White House is taking a sensible approach to keeping our neighborhoods and communities safer while giving those who have served their time a second chance. Since the vast majority of inmates will eventually be released, it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure that young Americans are better off after leaving prison than they were when they got in. We are pleased with the White House’s leadership on this critical issue and look forward to working with this administration and Congress to make substantial reforms to our prison system.” To speak with GO Policy Director David Barnes about this issue, contact JFellinger@genopp.org.  In January, President Trump held a listening session focusing on prison reforms aimed at healing communities, saving taxpayers money, and lowering the United States’ notably high rate of incarceration. Later in the month, the President notably declared prison reform as a key priority during his State of the Union address. His speech emphasized, “reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.”  Background: Generation Opportunity supports comprehensive reform to the U.S. criminal justice system. Excessive laws and harsh sentencing disproportionately impact young Americans, as Millennials make up…

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TODAY: House Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Burdensome Occupational Licensing Laws

By | Press Releases

Arlington, VA – Today, the House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access is holding a hearing that will “examine how easing occupational licensing barriers could reduce workforce gaps and regulatory costs for small businesses.” Occupational licenses are essentially government permission-slips dictating who can work in certain fields. Generation Opportunity, a grassroots group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans, believes that occupational licensing restrictions make it harder for young people, including low-income workers, to find jobs, start businesses and support themselves and their families. Generation Opportunity (GO) Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “Occupational licensing laws force millions of young, hard-working Americans — especially those in lower paying fields — to ask the government for permission to work and pursue their dreams. These laws primarily serve to protect entrenched interests and many of these costly requirements are simply unnecessary thanks to market resources like Google and Yelp that help young people determine a worker’s level of quality, affordability and safety. We applaud Chairman Chabot and the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access for bringing attention to this issue, and we urge state and local governments to remove occupational licensing barriers where they are not truly needed.” To speak with David Barnes about this issue, please contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Background: Recently, the Institute for Justice released a study demonstrating the harmful impact of occupational licensing restrictions in states across the nation. To view the full results, click here. Occupational licenses are essentially a government permission slip to work in a particular field. In the 1950s, about one in twenty American workers needed an occupational license before they could work in the occupation of their choice. Today, that figure stands at about one…

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New Generation Opportunity Web Ad Calls Out States and Cities Over Corporate Welfare Deals to Amazon

By | Press Releases

Arlington, VA – Generation Opportunity (GO), a group that supports polices to improve the lives of young Americans, is launching a new digital advertisement in select markets where state and local governments are using taxpayer-backed “incentives” to lure tech-giant Amazon to town. The ad geo-targets the 19 American cities that Amazon is currently considering as a location for their second headquarters. “’Winning’ Amazon’s second headquarters will look more like losing for many Americans,” the ad states. “The fight for Amazon HQ2 has become a ‘Hunger Games’-style competition.” “It gets worse,” the ad continues, “Americans have no idea how much their government is taking from them.” The ad explains that the secretive nature of these deals keeps taxpayers in the dark. The ad ends by saying, “it’s time for this harmful corporate welfare to end.” GO Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “Amazon is one of the largest, most successful corporations in the world — it doesn’t need help from struggling taxpayers to build its second headquarters. Unfair corporate welfare deals like the ones being lobbed at Amazon fuel cronyism, are conducted in darkness, and force small businesses to subsidize their competition. Instead of offering sweetheart deals to wealthy special interests that don’t need the help, governments at every level should focus on creating fair economic environments that give all businesses — including young entrepreneurs — the opportunity to compete and succeed on an even playing field.” For more information or to speak with a policy expert from GO, contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org.  Background: Recently, Amazon announced its intention to construct a full-sized second headquarters in a major American city. Amazon received bids from 238 cities and regions to be the home for HQ2, and has narrowed its list of finalists to 20, including 19 markets in the U.S. Generation Opportunity state chapters in North Carolina, Virginia and Texas have been vocal in their opposition to using corporate tax giveaways to lure businesses to town. Generation Opportunity strongly opposes the practice of corporate welfare,…

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