U.S. 

Is Minneapolis legislation erasing free market capitalism?

James (Jim) A. Dolphy, was a proud owner of a tree trimming company until his “American Dream” was derailed. Dolphy, an Inver Grove Heights resident, successfully ran a tree trimming company for 5-years until the City of Minneapolis adopted laws that required tree trimming companies (operating in Minneapolis) to employee arborist.

Dolphy was licensed by the City of Minneapolis to conduct tree servicing from 2006 until 2008. The new law that the city adopted went into effect in 2007. The law includes a clause that required operators of tree trimming companies to report the names of the certified arborists or urban foresters before December 31st, 2008.

(This is where it gets a little unclear for me when reviewing the dates of Dolphy’s licensing for Minneapolis. From what I have researched Dolphy was licensed to work in Minneapolis from 2006 until 2008. The date he received the fine, was after his license expired.)

Dolphy was licensed to operate his company in Cottage Grove, Eagan, Minneapolis, and a few other cities (which I wasn’t able to find.). In August of 2009, Dolphy received a number of calls for jobs in Minneapolis, due to a tornado(s) that past through. When he was at a job location, he was fined $250 by a city official for not having an arborist employed. He had to stop working immediately or face having his equipment confiscated.

Free-market capitalism refers to an economic system where prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy.

Dolphy filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis towards the end of 2011. His case was dismissed by a district court judge due to influence/pressure from the city stating that Dolphy didn’t provide enough evidence to support his case. Dolphy, did reach a millstone by having his case re-opened by the state court of appeals, stating that he didnt have enough time to collect evidence. But, the case will go back to the same district court, with the same judges, and same state attorneys.

Dolphy has gained the support of Chairman Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley and Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina. Sen. Gerlach and Rep Downey are both endorsing legislation that will allow state government to place the least amount of restrictions on occupations. Downey, has also obtained legal support from the Institute for Justice.

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