Cutting Through Regulatory Nonsense – Legal Center Fights Senseless City Ordinance in in California Court

Red-tape is simply maddening. If you run a business, you know what this means. It seems like government bureaucrats insist on regulating anything and everything—if it moves, they regulate it. But, the NFIB Legal Center and NFIB work hard to cut through needless red-tape.

We know that business owners are struggling with the costs of an ever-tightening regulatory noose and piles of paperwork. But, nothing is more frustrating than being forced to jump through pointless regulatory hoops. That is why NFIB’s Legal Center filed in support of business owners in CTIA v. City of San Francisco.

Last year, the City of San Francisco enacted an ordinance prohibiting vendors from selling cell phones unless they also issued a warning about the possibility that cell phone use might—somehow—cause cancer. But, the City admitted, after the lawsuit was filed, that it had no evidence to support the cancer allegations. In other words, the regulation was based on nothing but conjecture and speculation.

In the end, NFIB helped secure a victory for small business owners. A federal court of appeals recently struck down the San Francisco ordinance. The labeling requirement made no sense and violated business owners’ First Amendment protection against compelled government speech.

Now, we understand the need for reasonable regulation. Obviously labeling requirements make sense if there are legitimate health and safety concerns about a product. But, we will continue to stand up against regulatory restrictions that hurt business and accomplish nothing else. Indeed, this victory is important, but it represents only a skirmish in a larger battle against regulatory overreach in America. As always, we continue the fight for small business rights.

For more information on NFIB’s fights in the courts visit In addition, Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations, a project of NFIB, is a new effort dedicated to protecting small businesses and American jobs from the impacts of regulations recently proposed by the Obama administration. To read more about the coalition, go to

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About Luke Wake

Luke A. Wake is a senior staff attorney at the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. Wake has particular expertise on environmental and land use issues, and has worked on numerous other constitutional issues and matters of importance to small business owners. He is an ardent defender of private property rights, which he believes are essential to the free enterprise system and the foundation of American liberty. As a strong advocate of individual rights and economic liberties, he has built his career defending small business interests. Since joining the NFIB Legal Center, Wake has focused on a whole host of issues, from employment law matters to regulatory compliance. In addition to serving as a resource for small business owners, Wake remains committed to the Legal Center’s pledge to ensure that the voice of small business is heard in the nation’s courts. He is also working to advance small business interests in law review articles, including publications in the Berkeley Journal of Law & Ecology, the Texas Journal of Law and Politics, and Competition Magazine. See R.S. Radford & Luke A. Wake, Deciphering and Extrapolating: Searching for Sense in Penn Central, 38 Ecology L.Q. 731, 746-747 (2011); Damien M. Schiff, Luke A. Wake, Leveling the Playing Field in David v. Goliath: Remedies to Agency Overreach, 17 Tex. L. Rev. & Pol. 97 (2012); Jarod M. Bona and Luke A. Wake, The Market-Participant Exception to State-Action Immunity From Antitrust Liability, J. of Antitrust and Unfair Competition of the State Bar of Ca., Vol. 23, No. 1, 156 (Spring 2014); James S. Burling and Luke A. Wake, Takings and Torts: The Role of Intention and Foreseeability in Assessing Takings Damages, in Condemnation 101: Making the Complex Simple in Eminent Domain 449-51 (ALI-ABA Committee on Continuing Professional Education eds. 2011). Before joining the Legal Center’s team, Wake completed a prestigious two-year fellowship as an attorney in the Pacific Legal Foundation’s (PLF) College of Public Interest Law. Wake is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland Ohio. He is a member of the California Bar, the District of Columbia Bar, and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. He completed his undergraduate studies at Elon University in North Carolina in 2006 where he focused on political theory and corporate communications.
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