After Veterinary Board rebuffs repeal of “anti-work rule,” Pelican Institute represents vets Stooksbury, Breen in suit to obtain Louisiana vet licenses.

Dr. Lara Stooksbury enjoys time with her own pets (photo courtesy of The Pelican Institute).

In a feature published on April 7, 2023, we vented frustration at Louisiana Attorney General (and candidate for Governor) Jeff Landry having devised a program to essentially protect individual occupational licensing board and commission members from personal liability entailing any efforts to improperly deny applicants a license to earn a living in Louisiana.

We concluded that post by indicating that, “The matter of the two vets should be taken up formally at the May 23, 2023 meeting, and we certainly plan to be there with our camera….”

Well, we were there and, after taking about 2 1/2 hours in Executive Session to decide on the request by the Pelican Institute of the repeal of a ludicrous rule blocking Dr. Lara Stooksbury and Dr. Courtney Breen from obtaining Louisiana vet licenses, the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine LBVM took all of 17 seconds to render its decision.  We caution viewers of the following video not to be distracted even slightly because basically, if one blinks, one will miss this vote.  With that admonition in mind, here’s arguably the shortest video we’ve ever published in our blog’s history:

May 23, 2023 LBVM meeting wherein all that was needed was 17 seconds to deny the Pelican Institute’s request for rule repeal which blocked Stooksbury and Breen from obtaining licenses.

On August 8, 2023, The Pelican Institute announced that Breen and Stooksbury had sued the LBVM.  From the preceding press release:

Two highly qualified veterinarians today filed a lawsuit against the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine, challenging an arbitrary rule that prohibits them from practicing their profession.

Dr. Lara Stooksbury and Courtney Breen, who had active licenses in other states and over 20 years of combined experience as veterinarians, sought licenses to practice in Louisiana but were blocked by the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine (“the Board”) because of a restrictive practice time requirement concocted and enforced by the Board. They have filed a petition for declaratory and injunctive relief in the 19th Judicial District Court of Louisiana against the Board and are represented by the Pelican Institute Center for Justice.

“Despite my love for animals, my extensive experience as a veterinarian, and Louisiana’s desperate need for veterinary care, I found myself blocked from practicing my profession due to a restrictive licensing requirement,” Dr. Stooksbury said. “This legal action is a necessary last resort to advocate for changes that are sorely needed to eradicate discrimination and prevent denial of licensure to many qualified veterinarians.”

The veterinarians brought the lawsuit under a new law that allows individuals to contest regulatory barriers to work. Instead of allowing state government to arbitrarily impose regulatory hurdles that prevent professionals in Louisiana from working, this law shifts the burden from the challenger to the licensing agency to justify its rules.

“This lawsuit is the first litigation filed under our state’s new law that makes it easier to challenge bad regulations,” said James Baehr, Special Counsel for the Pelican Institute Center for Justice, “We are proud to represent Dr. Stooksbury and Breen in their fight for the right to pursue their chosen professions.”

Sarah Harbison, General Counsel of the Center for Justice, added, “The Pelican Center for Justice has previously achieved critical court victories, challenging both federal and state overreach in Louisiana and the Fifth Circuit. Through this effort, we are laying the groundwork for continued success in the courts on behalf of Louisiana citizens.”

“Louisiana’s economy is saddled with unnecessary rules that keep hardworking professionals from earning a living in the state,” said Daniel Erspamer, Chief Executive Officer of the Pelican Institute. “Removing those rules and empowering workers is key to Louisiana’s Comeback Agenda. We applaud these courageous veterinarians for standing up for freedom and opportunity. Through the success of this initiative and others to follow, our goal is to transform Louisiana from one of the worst states for occupational licensing to one of the best within the next few years.”

The case was assigned to 19th JDC Judge Beau Higginbotham.  We commit to track the litigation and keep our subsribers informed of developments entailing it.

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