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NH Attorney General threatens arrest of Free Stater


Apr 20, 2005
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What do you folks think about this?


Concord, New Hampshire, April 30, 2005

Seacoast 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.

Fisher, 23, of Newmarket, is one of the 100+ "Free Staters" who have moved to New Hampshire since it was targeted for migration by a libertarian group, the Free State Project. In general, New Hampshire has fewer regulations and taxes than most states. But Fisher says there are still too many controls on small businesses, and the time has come to simply flout them.

His plan is to show up in front of the New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, a bureaucracy that regulates nail salons. There, he says, he will administer an unlicensed manicure - for profit - "regardless of what they threaten me with."

After deciding his course of action, Fisher sent the Board a note informing them he would be showing up at their office to break the law they enforce. 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.

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."

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 institutions and competition are more effective protectors of the customer," he adds, "and these are both weakened when government tries to do the job."

Supporters are invited to attend, join the fun and witness Fisher's act of civil disobedience. But you do not have to disobey the law yourself unless you wish to man the tweezers! 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 "manicure law"
Why: To call attention to state govt. overregulation of small business
How: By delivering 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 (in the event of extreme weather, call the numbers below for a status report)
Who: Mike Fisher, supporters from NHfree.com, whoever wants to join us. Expected turnout: 10-20

Source: New Hampshire Underground http://www.soulawakenings.com/under...p?page=Activists+to+Defy+State+Licensing+Laws
The Attorney General's office has now submitted an injunction to forbid Fisher from engaging in this protest. They are playing hardball. The more they hurt him, of course, the more they make his case for him.
Generally, the way our law works is a bit screwy. The way to prove that a law is unconstitutional is by breaking said law. Of course, to prove that a law is just plain wrong, one needs to get congress on their side and breaking the law in that case is fruitless. This manicuring stunt falls under the latter.
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 institutions and competition are more effective protectors of the customer," he adds, "and these are both weakened when government tries to do the job."
I don't see a problem with requiring a license. Giving manicures today isn't just cutting nails. Some ladies or gents apply acrylic, which requires a degree from a licensed school. If not done properly water can get under the acrylic and cause mold that will rot the finger right off. (kidding about that, but it could cause severe medical problems) I think he should take a stand on something else. This one is weak.
Fisher has just received notice (on May 3 I think) that the Attorney General is suing him. It's an injunction to prohibit him from performing this unlicensed service.

Apparently they sent the county sherriff himself to deliver the notice. They are playing hardball with him just like the British did with Gandhi. The scale may be smaller but so far he seems to be on the same historical track.

The protest itself has been declared a violation of the law since they don't have a "permit;" so now it looks like there will be a pretty serious police presence.
Attorney General's Office Cancels Lawsuit Against Outlaw Manicurist
Concord, NH

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.

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."

Source: NHfree.com
From the ABC affiliate in New Hampshire
click the link to see TV coverage

Man Busted For Manicuring Without License
Free-Stater Protests Licensing Laws

POSTED: 3:52 pm EDT May 9, 2005
UPDATED: 5:16 pm EDT May 9, 2005

CONCORD, N.H. -- A self-proclaimed manicurist decided to open for business in Concord on Monday without the state's approval, attacking state licensing laws with a nail file.

Police Arrest Man For Giving Manicure

Michael Fisher, 23, of Newmarket, N.H., was arrested and charged with violating the state's license law. He said he organized the protest to call attention to what he said are needless obstacles facing small businesses in the state.

His first and only customer was Kat Dillon, of Frost, Texas, who said it was her first manicure. It was also Fisher's first time giving one.

"I'm going to buff it and shine it with one of these, a buffer, basically," he said.

The manicure performed without a license was undertaken right outside the state Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics office.

"The reason I'm doing this is because it's one of the harmless things I can do to prove that the law is unjust," Fisher said. "Without the government's permission, you can't do nails, hair, lot of other things."

Fisher said his manicure movement was inspired by the movie "Ghandi" and backed by his fellow Free-Staters, who favor minimal government and maximum personal freedom. Dillon is also a member of the group, which has organized members to move to New Hampshire in an effort to influence the state adopt a more libertarian government.

"It's wrong for the state to tell you you can or can't open a business," Free-Stater Dave Ridley said.

Fisher had advertised his protest, so it was no surprise when board inspectors arrived on the scene, and it was no surprise that Concord police soon followed.

"Initially, we were going to issue him a summons and release him on a summons to appear in court," Sgt. Roger Baker said. "He indicated he wouldn't stop, so at that point, it was a full custody arrest."

Performing a manicure without a license is a misdemeanor. Fisher remains in Merrimack County Jail, refusing to see a bail commissioner. He will be arraigned Tuesday morning in Concord District Court.

He said he plans to plead guilty to "help get the message out there."
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