After filing an injunction to stop Newmarket resident Mike Fisher from administering an unlicensed manicure in front of the licensing board office, the New Hampshire Attorney General's office has unilaterally backed down and withdrawn the injunction.
Last week, Fisher (a Free Stater), announced he would show up in front of the New Hampshire Board of Barbering and violate the licensing laws it enforces. He will be administering a manicure, for profit, without a license....hoping to get arrested and drawing attention to his cause: The crusade to eliminate licensing of small businesses.
Initially, the state tried to crack down on Fisher and discourage him from engaging in his act of civil disobedience. A sheriff was sent to serve Fisher with a notice of hearing for a lawsuit to prevent the illegal manicures and make the consequences far more severe. However, after at least one phone call from the press, the Attorney General's office called Fisher in a more reconciliatory tone, attempting to back off from their initial threats.
Ann Larney, Chief of the Civil Law Bureau of the Department of Justice, repeatedly asked Fisher to give the state any reason to cancel their lawsuit against him but he politely defended his plans and refused to back down. "We do not want to use the full power of the state unless necessary," Larney told him. "She was very friendly with me and I appreciate that," Fisher said. Within an hour, Fisher received another call saying the state's petition for injunction had been unilaterally withdrawn.
Regarding the state's actions, Fisher said, "I will not back down. Apparently the state might give in, for whatever reason." He was not given an explanation for why the lawsuit was cancelled, but at one point Larney said, "we want to wait and see what happens on Monday." She later warned, "if you go through with this, we'll file for a more broad injunction against any similar future actions."
Original press release: NH Attorney General threatens to jail "outlaw manicurist"
Concord, New Hampshire: May 4, 2005
Granite state entrepreneur Mike Fisher doesn't look the part of a manicurist - or an outlaw. But he's about to become both.
Invoking the patron saint of civil disobedience, Fisher plans to violate New Hampshire's cosmetology laws - right in front of the officials who enforce them. And representatives of Attorney General Kelly Ayotte have already threatened him with arrest, issuing an injunction and sending local law enforcement to his home.
Fisher, 23, of Newmarket, believes there are too many controls on small businesses, and the time has come to openly defy them. Last week he announced he would show up in front of the New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, a bureaucracy that regulates nail salons. There, on May 9, he plans to administer an unlicensed manicure - for profit and in their faces - "regardless of what they threaten me with."
That triggered a call from the Attorney General's office; one of their investigators informed Fisher police would be present and he would be arrested immediately if he attempted to perform an unlicensed manicure.
"After explaining this to me," Fisher recounts, "she asked why I would do such a thing. When I told her why, she did not know what to say, but she became very cordial with me..."
Fisher says he got the idea from watching the movie "Gandhi."
"The British government (In India) had salt licensing laws," he says. "You could not make salt without a license. Now we cannot cut nails without a license, and I really don't see the difference."
In Gandhi's case, the famous Mahatma chose to make salt without the license, suffered arrest and eventually had the pleasure of seeing the British leave India outright.
A computer repairman, Fisher admits that until April he didn't know first thing about manicuring but has now learned the basics. He points out that anyone who *does* want to work as a manicurist would not be able to stand up to the Board the way he is doing. "They could lose their ability to get a license." he says.
It's the principle of the thing that bothers Fisher and a desire to see a rollback of state restrictions on most industries. "In a free country," he growls "people do not need permission to start a business."
As in most states, it is a misdemeanor in New Hampshire to administer a manicure without a license. An increasing number of other small business activities also require licenses. Fisher believes these simply provide a barrier to entry for young entrepreneurs like himself without effectively protecting the consumer or the public. "Private certification institutions and competition are more effective protectors of the customer," he adds, "and these are both weakened when government tries to monopolize the job."
Supporters are invited to attend, join the fun and witness Fisher's act of civil disobedience. The event will be on Monday, May 9, at noon, at or near the NH Board of Cosmetology at 2 Industrial Park Drive, Concord, NH 03301.
What: Civil disobedience against small biz. licensing Why: To call attention to state govt. overregulation of small business How: By performing a manicure without a license Where: At or near the enforcing bureaucracy: NH Board of Barbering, 2 Industrial Park Drive, Concord, NH 03301 When: Monday, May 9, noon Who: Mike Fisher, supporters from NHfree.com, whoever wants to join us. Contacts: Mike Fisher (until jailed: 603.498.7935), Kat Dillon (603.357.2049) or Dave Ridley (603.721.1490)
Source: New Hampshire Underground, www.NHfree.com
Go Free Staters!