State Policy Network
Week in Review: April 19, 2024


The Buckeye Institute announced that President and CEO Robert Alt will discuss Ream v. U.S. Department of Treasury — The Buckeye Institute’s case to overturn the federal government’s ban on the home distilling of spirited beverages — at a forum hosted by The Federalist Society and moderated by Andrew M. Grossman, a senior legal fellow at The Buckeye Institute and partner in Baker Hostetler’s Washington, D.C. office.

Caesar Rodney Institute released its 2nd Annual ‘Delaware Report Card’ which reviews key areas of state governance including business taxes, education, environment, and more.

Competitive Enterprise Institute unpacked the Wyoming Liberty Group’s report, Civil Forfeiture in Wyoming: Cash by Incomplete Numbers, showing how it is a laudable step forward towards transparency in civil forfeiture.

Empire Center introduced their new Executive Director, Zilvinas Silenas, exploring how his unique experiences will propel the Empire Center and the Empire State forward to new heights.

Frontier Institute announced that Jim Ramlow has joined Frontier as Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence.

Georgia Public Policy Foundation released a report this week on the Georgia’s public school open enrollment environment, while offering recommendations on how these programs could be strengthened and expanded to better serve families.

Herzog Foundation published articles that cover Mackinac Center’s case asking SCOTUS to overturn Michigan’s Blaine Amendment and efforts to defend charter schools in the state. The Foundation also published about the California Policy Center’s efforts at maintaining literacy standards and Illinois Policy’s efforts to stem the most egregious demands from the Chicago Teachers Union.

John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Journal broke a story which has garnered national attention. The story revealed how a student was suspended for asking for clarification in an assignment while using the term “illegal alien”. The Foundation also released a video which aims to keep the legislature honest when it comes to their decision to allocate hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to venture capital pet projects.

Mackinac Center released a new report that breaks down how school districts have spent $2.5 billion of the $6 billion in federal pandemic aid between the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, revealing that that Michigan school districts spent their Covid-19 funds similarly to how they spend their general budget, with nearly half of the funds spent on employee compensation and benefits.

Making Waves Foundation competed in the Education Innovation Showcase at the ASU+GSV Summit, winning first place at the event in recognition of the Foundation’s innovative approach to helping young people finish their education and start careers.  

Mountain States Policy Center presented their Elevation Awards honoring legislators who have championed education reform in the past year. The Elevation Award is the Center’s highest honor, given to individuals committed to advancing and elevating free market principles and ideas throughout the Mountain States. The Center also released a suite of videos at the awarding event, including one that exposes problems with Ranked Choice Voting, shows why states need a Public School Transparency Act, announces the launch of the Center’s children’s books series, and more.

Opportunity Arkansas recently released a new parental empowerment dashboard which serves as a resource for Arkansas parents looking to learn more about the benefits of Arkansas’s Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs), created by the LEARNS Act. In addition to stories about families who are now thriving in the EFA program, the newly launched site shares frequently asked questions about EFAs, explainer videos, AR Department of Education resources, and a link to the EFA application portal.

Virginia Institute for Public Policy brought together several organizations to form the Virginia Conservative Leaders Coalition. Working together, the coalition released a package of veto recommendations to safeguard Virginia’s future and delivered it to Governor Glenn Youngkin and other state leaders. Now that the deadline for gubernatorial action has passed, the coalition praised Gov. Younkin’s decisive leadership which effectively stalled the proposed digital sales tax and the B2B tax and much more.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty held its first annual school board summit on April 12, which had over one hundred attendees, including school board members and administrators from districts around the state.

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Freedom through the Courts: The Latest Litigation Efforts across the Network

The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Gonzales v. Inslee, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the private property rights of landlords, arguing that regardless of whether the government physically takes your property or gives possession to someone else, it still violates the Constitution.

Liberty Justice Center and Pacific Legal Foundation jointly filed a lawsuit to challenge a federal law that unconstitutionally takes farmers’ property without compensation.

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Success Stories

DeVillier v. Texas’s SCOTUS decision agreed with arguments in The Buckeye Institute’s amicus brief when the court unanimously ruled in favor of a Texas rancher whose land was flooded by the state. 

Kansas: Research and persistent exposure of low student achievement culminated in groundbreaking legislative reforms on literacy and tax relief legislation that will save $1.5 billion over the first three years (Kansas Policy Institute).

Maine: A bill which improved free speech protections became law this week, as the Governor did not veto a piece of legislation that enacted a robust Anti-SLAPP Law in the state (Institute for Free Speech).

North Dakota: Legal and legislative action backed by North Dakota elected officials has resulted in blocking a rogue Biden administration climate change rule on states in both the federal courts and Congress (Center of the American Experiment).

Ohio: The state saw a 68% increase in public employees choosing to opt out of union membership and dues, signaling a growing trend among public-sector workers towards exercising the First Amendment right to decline union membership and dues (Freedom Foundation).

Sheetz v. El Dorado County’s SCOTUS decision put government officials on notice concerning undue impact fees – a win for property owners across the country and for The Buckeye Institute, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Cato Institute, and Southeastern Legal Foundation, who all filed briefs in the case.

Washington: The president of the Washington Federation of State Employees apologized to a Washington state employee for implying to the employee that his representation was contingent on waiving his right to opt out of union membership – a win for workplace freedom in the state (Freedom Foundation).

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

The Buckeye Institute published a brief that highlighted how it helped reduce state taxes in Ohio and championed tax reforms with think tanks nationwide to help spur growth and relieve tax burdens. Buckeye also released a new policy memo that offers lawmakers additional solutions to address the growing need for classroom space in private and charter schools, given the success of the Ohio EdChoice program and the increasing demand for vouchers. 

John Locke Foundation released a brief which called out one of NC’s largest news outlets for changing headlines that are essential to keeping North Carolinians informed about the causes surrounding their rising energy costs.

Kansas Policy Institute published a brief which shows the Truth in Taxation legislation is helping control property tax increases in the state.

South Carolina Policy Council issued a brief making a case that a recently discovered $1.8 billion in unclaimed funds discovered by the state government should be returned to taxpayers.

Washington Policy Center released briefs which uncover how the Inslee Administration is using taxpayer resources to advocate for policies that add cost burdens to taxpayers, and examine how supply chain shortages are changing how restaurants source meat.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

Iowa: Taxpayers across the state are soon to be provided with another protection courtesy of the Iowa Legislature this week, as the House and Senate sent a bill to Governor Reynolds that bans local governments from participating in guaranteed income programs (Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation).

Minnesota: A school board member in the state’s largest school district threw down the gauntlet this week with a list of policies, practices and funding choices that need to change before he and his colleagues will vote to approve the next budget – a display of needed leadership, as the district faces a $20 million budget shortfall (Center of the American Experiment).

Mississippi: Hope is on the horizon for patients in Mississippi after lawmakers voted to send a new reform known as the “Lifesaving Treatment Act” on to Governor Tate Reeves for his consideration and approval. If enacted, this reform would remove government barriers to potentially lifesaving personalized treatments in the state (Goldwater Institute).

Missouri: The Missouri Legislature approved a bill that would expand school choice – the bill now heads to the governor’s desk (Show-Me Institute).

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

School Freedom Billboard Initiative Sparks Urgent Call for Education Reform in Delaware
Caesar Rodney Institute

School Board Member Throws Down the Gauntlet in Anoka-Hennepin
Center of the American Experiment

Okay, Graduation Rates Haven’t Slipped, Now for the Rest of the Story
Center of the American Experiment

What Is the Georgia Promise Scholarship?
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Chicago Public Schools’ Chronic Absenteeism Worst of 5 Largest Districts
Illinois Policy

How Maine Schools are Failing Students on GHRT
Maine Policy Institute

Maine Policy Releases New Analysis on Decline of Maine K-12 Education
Maine Policy Institute

One-Year Delay for Oklahoma School-Choice Program Harms Children
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

School Choice Isn’t Rare, Weird, or Fiscally Irresponsible
Palmetto Promise Institute

Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner on Educational Pluralism & Democracy
Pioneer Institute

The Rise of the Four-day School Week in Missouri
Show-Me Institute

How Transparent Are School Districts About Curriculum?
Sutherland Institute

Responding to Bryan ISD Budget Crisis Claim
Texas Public Policy Foundation

New Braunfels ISD’s Staffing Decision Hints at a Larger Problem
Texas Public Policy Foundation

DPI Report on Teacher Shortage Misses Mark
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Energy and Environment

How Much Water Will $30 Billion Buy?
California Policy Center

Wisconsin Utilities Seek Massive $19/Month Bill Increase to Pay for Wind, Solar, and New Natural Gas Plants
Center of the American Experiment

North Carolina Think Tank Will Promote Our Legislative Idea to Prevent Utilities From Cashing in on Unreliable Assets
Center of the American Experiment

Blackout Costs Colorado Business $1,458 Per Hour
Center of the American Experiment

Shapiro’s Energy Proposals Threaten Affordable, Reliable Energy in PA
Commonwealth Foundation

On Earth Day, Thank A Logger
Frontier Institute

Will Electric Vehicle Push Make Any Difference in Lowering Emissions? Science Says Probably Not.
Pacific Research Institute

Green Monster Bill: Monstrous Costs to Ratepayers
Yankee Institute

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Why Medicaid Seems Immune to Reform
Idaho Freedom Foundation

Why the secrecy? Pioneer Calls for Open Meetings Dealing with Steward’s Impact on Patient Care.
Pioneer Institute

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Housing Affordability

We Aren’t Building Enough Houses. Why?
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

The Policy Shop: Cut Bureaucracy, Build Homes
Illinois Policy

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Jobs and State Economies

The Boom of Vocational Programs Across the Country—and in Tennessee
Beacon Center of Tennessee

California’s Unplanned Obsolescence
California Policy Center

Loosening Rules Could Ease Childcare Labor Shortages
Center of the American Experiment

3 Degrees of Separation: The Inevitable Rideshare/ Feeding Our Future Connections
Center of the American Experiment

Migration Data Show That Minnesota Is Losing Retirees as It Is Losing Everyone Else
Center of the American Experiment

Star Tribune Article Shows Again How American Experiment Leads the Conversation on Minnesota’s Economy
Center of the American Experiment

Montana Blockchain Innovator: Leigh Drogen
Frontier Institute

The Right Way to End Federal Student Loans
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

The United States is the Leader of the Digital Revolution – Pro-Tech Policies are Key
James Madison Institute

NorthGate: A Case Study in Political Development
Mackinac Center

Are Poor Urban Districts Really Underfunded?
Mackinac Center

Scatology 101
Pacific Research Institute

Crucial Legislation for Workforce and Social Services Passes U.S. House of Representatives
Pelican Institute

Massachusetts’ Workforce Growing Older and More Diverse, Remains Highly Educated
Pioneer Institute

Industrial Policy Reimaged: Can Government Improve Free Markets
Pioneer Institute

Nebraskanomics: Jonathan Williams on How Nebraska Ranks
Platte Institute

Help for Starting a Small Business in Nebraska
Platte Institute

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State Budgets

Report: California Ranks No. 43 for Government Finance
California Policy Center

Capitol Watch: Ray of Hope on 2024 Session Spending
Center of the American Experiment

Hennepin County Appropriates Half Million Dollars to Help Their Employees Cancel Their Student Loan Debt
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Schansberg: Let’s Index Indiana Income Tax
Indiana Policy Review Foundation

The Realpolitik of State Business Subsidies
Mackinac Center

Appropriations Committee Walks Back Most of Its Controversial, Last-Minute Budget Changes
Maine Policy Institute

Why Are Maine Republicans Endorsing an Income Tax Hike?
Maine Policy Institute

Who Is Left to Defend CA Homelessness Spending?
Pacific Research Institute

Documents Give Conflicting Numbers on the Cost of New Stadium
Show-Me Institute

Collecting the Earnings Tax on Remote Work is Illegal. ‘Nuff Said
Show-Me Institute

Harsh Budgeting Truths
Show-Me Institute

To Replace the Francis Scott Key Bridge Quickly, Turn to a Private Owner/Operator
The Maryland Public Policy Institute

Youngkin Budget 2.0 Meets Democrat Demands, Except Demand to Raise Taxes
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Wisconsin’s Fiscal Cliff? Will Examines Fiscal Calamity if Act 10 Repealed
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Workplace Freedom

Vincent Vernuccio and Stephanie Holden Smith: How Alabama Can Protect Its Workers’ Privacy
Alabama Policy Institute

Demand More from CT Public Sector Union Officials
Commonwealth Foundation

Why Blue Valley Educators Love Their Independent Union
Freedom Foundation

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Bullish On AI
Frontier Institute

The Legislature, the Courts, and the Constitution – Part I
Frontier Institute

Book Review: ‘Centers of Progress: 40 Cities That Changed the World’
Pacific Research Institute

CEI Recognizes Our Recent Publication
Wyoming Liberty Group

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The Network in the News

In Lawyers QuarterlyThe Buckeye Institute’s David C. Tryon looks at the end of Chevron deference and what comes next.

In the Courier Post, the Garden State Initiative‘s Audrey Lane points out businesses will leave New Jerwsey if they face more corporate taxes.

At National Review, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield encourages Georgia policymakers to seize the opportunity for deeper tax cuts. 

At, the Goldwater Institute‘s Parker Jackson notes the Arizona Supreme Court should protect access to public records.

In The Orange County Register, the Independent Institute’s Christopher Calton urged local leaders in San Francisco to encourage housing construction by ending overbearing regulations that stand in the way.

In The GazetteIowans for Tax Relief Foundation‘s John Hendrickson argues Iowa taxpayers deserve constitutional protection against higher taxes.

In the Wall Street Journal, the Liberty Justice Center’s Corey DeAngelis and Dean McGee discuss how school choice is winning in Texas despite efforts to fight it—including school administrators’ illegal use of taxpayer resources to promote favored candidates in local elections.

In National Review, the Liberty Justice Center’s Jeffrey Schwab argues that Jewish public defenders shouldn’t be forced to support union speech they find antisemitic.

In The Dispatch, the Liberty Justice Center’s Reilly Stephens discusses what’s behind recent “squatters’ rights” disputes.

In the Daily Caller, the Liberty Justice Center’s Loren Seehase sheds light on how the federal government is violating farmers’ rights through an unconstitutional takings scheme, and discusses the new lawsuit challenging it.

In The Detroit News, the Mackinac Center‘s Steve Delie and Patrick Wright note the return of union dues skim threatens home health workers.

In his recent column, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs‘ Jonathan Small notes there’s no need to “fix” Oklahoma elections with “ranked choice” voting.

In the New York Post, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes highlights how government programs are widening black-white health disparities.

In The Center Square, the Pelican Institute‘s Daniel Erspamer notes Louisiana lawmakers have a historic opportunity to curb lawsuit abuse.

In The Federalist, the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s Austin Prochko points out Stalin would have killed for the FISA reform Congress just passed.

In The Seattle Times, Washington Policy Center’s Paw Lewison laments the loss of fourteen farms a week in Washington for the past five years, and highlights the policies that are driving farmers to sell.

In The Spokesman-Review, Washington Policy Center’s Eleanor Baumgartner makes the case against the WA Cares long-term care payroll tax.

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Categories: News