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Texans often tout the limited government, free-market approach of the state. When compared to many other states, including less prosperous ones such as California, it’s certainly true that Texas provides more consumer freedom than others.

But while we can ridicule the banning of plastic straws on the left coast, the state of Texas currently wields its authority widely, from preventing consumers from purchasing cars directly from manufacturers (or building them themselves) to protectionist restrictions that make it harder for craft breweries to compete and thrive.

Texans aren’t even allowed to buy raw milk in grocery stores or farmers markets. Instead, any purchases must be made directly from the farm where the milk is produced.

Though bills have been filed in recent sessions to remove such frivolous and onerous restrictions, the legislature has largely continued to move in the wrong direction. In 2017, the legislature passed House Bill 3287 — legislation that created additional regulations and mandates designed to protect giant companies by burdening small craft beer brewers.

Increased and unnecessary government intervention into businesses hinders the freedom of consumers, leads to higher prices and more inefficiency in the market, and kills jobs.

Texans should be allowed to buy the cars, milk, and beer they want, the way they want — free from the clumsy hand of the state government.

Only then can Texas truly live up to its image as the leader of economic freedom.

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