State Policy Network
Week in Review: April 5, 2024


American Enterprise Institute announced that its Housing Center will host convenings across the state of California that will share insights on using light-touch density, also known as middle housing, to craft solutions to America’s growing housing supply crisis.

The Buckeye Institute released a new report, A Healthcare World Reimagined: How Big Government Threatens Healthcare AI and What to Do About It, which outlines policy solutions and regulatory changes lawmakers need to address to capitalize on the benefits of artificial intelligence to improve healthcare services. 

Empower Mississippi announced that Joanna Polk has been named Executive Assistant and Development Manager on the Empower Team.

Garden State Initiative announced that Regina Egea, the organization’s longtime President, is taking on the role as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and current Policy Director, Audrey Lane, has been promoted to the role of President.

Institute for Reforming Government’s Center for Investigative Oversight recently uncovered that the City of Madison has approved $700,000 of taxpayer dollars in COVID relief money to local nonprofits for “Services to Residents who are Undocumented” nearly five years following the pandemic.

John Locke Foundation’s Donald Bryson published his wish list for the North Carolina legislative session. Foremost on the list – that the session be short and sweet.

Mountain States Policy Center released Idaho’s 2024 Legislative Session Recap, which showed that there were several exciting reforms advanced, a few disappointing roadblocks hit, and a couple of head-scratching moments this year.

Palmetto Promise launched a new campaign to celebrate its 11th birthday, inviting their followers to rank which Palmetto Promise initiative deserves the distinction of being named its greatest policy win. 

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

The Buckeye Institute’s Robert Alt joined Anna Staver on the All Sides podcast to discuss Buckeye’s case, Ream v. U.S Department of Treasury, challenging a federal law which makes home distilling illegal.

Goldwater Institute urged the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case of a Boston-area dad, Scott Pitta, who is suing his son’s school district in federal court after it tried to arbitrarily remove critically important, special needs services.

Mackinac Center filed an appeal brief which argues that Michigan would become significantly less transparent if a court’s interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is upheld and asking the Michigan Supreme Court to reverse a decision that fundamentally alters the scope of FOIA by putting severe restrictions on how it applies to local government. Mackinac also filed a writ of cert to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to hear Mackinac’s challenge to Michigan’s Blaine amendment, which stands in the way of students accessing true school choice. 

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Success Stories

Arizona: The Sunrise Reform Act was signed into law, meaning that healthcare professionals are now empowered to better serve patients to the full extent of their education and training without redundant legislative review processes (Goldwater Institute).

Idaho: Gov. Brad Little signed legislation that ensures fairness in the judicial system and guarantees the proper separation of powers in Idaho by ending judicial deference to agency interpretations of statutes or rules and requires courts to instead interpret the relevant questions of law themselves (Goldwater Institute).

Kansas: The Kansas Justice Institute won a civil asset forfeiture case that claps back at the abusive and unjust asset forfeiture laws in the state. As a result, the Institute’s client, Dewonna Goodridge, received her car back after it was seized by the state government even though Ms. Goodridge was never charged with a crime (Kansas Policy Institute).

Virginia: Governor Youngkin vetoed bills which would have raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour – a move which protects farmers and lower-skilled workers (Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy).

Wisconsin: Voters approved a measure to keep private funding out of impartial election administration – an important step ensuring fairness and integrity of state elections (Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty).

Washington: More than 1,300 public workers, a record-breaking number, opted out of their union in the first quarter of the year (Freedom Foundation).

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

The Buckeye Institute issued a policy memo recommending that Ohio lawmakers limit capital budget spending at public universities to right-size campuses and build a 21st century workforce in light of growing student debt, rising tuition, and stagnant and declining enrollment.

Empire Center released a brief which reveals how New York state’s economy continues to underperform when compared to the national average

John Locke Foundation published briefs that examine how energy policy is driving up energy bills across North Carolina, and warn the state to learn from Texas’ cautionary tale and avoid using taxpayer dollars to invest in private sector ventures.

Kansas Policy Institute examined school funding policies and reported on how both Democrat and Republican legislators are lying by claiming a special education funding increase was just an accounting trick. 

Mountain States Policy Center published a set of briefs that show why the free market and Western Civilization need defending and examine why policies that seek to end animal agriculture are driven by a misunderstood fear of factory farming.

Platte Institute issued a brief examining data that shows that 96% of Nebraska’s income losses go to lower tax states and urging policymakers to improve the state’s tax code by reducing income and property tax burdens.

Washington Policy Center released briefs that provide analysis on the school shutdowns and how public officials knew there was no medical danger to reopening, analyze underlying issues with the transportation plan that remain unsolved, point out how bad policies beget more bad policies – using Washington state’s recent ban on natural gas as an example, and reveal how the WA Building Code Council is refusing to show the added burden the ban on natural gas hookups will place on families and businesses.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

California: Parent advocates are on the move in the state. A bill was introduced in the Senate that would establish Education Flex Accounts and Special Education Flex Accounts for California K-12 students. Another bill was introduced that would stipulate that if material cannot be read or displayed on broadcast television or public radio channels it should not be in the public-school classrooms and libraries of elementary or middle schools (California Policy Center).

Kansas: Legislators in the House and Senate overwhelming passed a bill which exempts sugaring from the state’s cosmetology licensing requirements, meaning that sugaring practitioners around the state are a governor’s signature away from being able to ply their ancient trade without an expensive and time-consuming licensing requirement from the State Board of Cosmetology (Kansas Policy Institute).

Mississippi: Bills were introduced that would replace end-of-course tests – mandates that eliminate creativity and time in the classroom – with national testing options and restore the voting rights of former non-violent offenders in the state (Empower Mississippi).

Missouri: An education bill has made quick progress through the state legislature and is now in the Missouri House. Although there are a number of reforms in the proposal, including an expansion of the state’s Education Savings Account (ESA) program, there is still time to make the bill stronger (Show-Me Institute).

Oklahoma: A bill that would reform the education policy by providing better protections and transparency to special needs children who are current targets for discrimination has passed out of committee and heads to the Senate floor (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs).

South Carolina: Bills that would balance the state’s liability system, increase healthcare transparency, and help entrepreneurs thrive are alive in the Legislature with a chance to pass a chamber by the April 10. In addition, the House passed a bill which bans state colleges, universities and technical schools from considering an a potential new hire’s political views on diversity, equity and inclusion – a win for free speech. The bill now moves to the Senate (South Carolina Policy Council). In addition, the Legislature is still considering a bill which would empower women’s haircare professionals to go mobile (Palmetto Promise).

Tennessee: Lawmakers are planning to advance legislation this year that would repeal all certificate-of-need (CON) mandates in the Volunteer State, just as their counterparts in South Carolina did last year.

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

Survey Says: Voters Want Balance in K-12 Education
Center of the American Experiment

For Education Freedom Accounts, Capping Income at 400% of Poverty Would Exclude These Moderate-Income Families
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Parents Rally for School-Board Election Change
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Hilary Crow on K-12 Civics Education
Pioneer Institute

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Energy and Environment

Unraveling Deception: Delaware’s ‘Energy Solutions’ Act
Caesar Rodney Institute

Growth in Electric Vehicle Sales Slows as Normal People Remain Skeptical of Them
Center of the American Experiment

How to Destroy the Myth of Cheap Wind and Solar
Center of the American Experiment

Dakota Resource Council Supports EPA’s “Death Penalty” for North Dakota Coal
Center of the American Experiment

American Experiment Calls for Creation of Strategic Wind Reserve
Center of the American Experiment

Mills’ Change Package Bribes Environmentalists to Support Controversial Offshore Wind Project
Maine Policy Institute

CAPITAL IDEAS: Hey, Californians, How Do You Like the Governor’s EV Mandate Now?
Pacific Research Institute

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How Minnesota Compares on Medicaid Spending
Center of the American Experiment

Health Scare Stories Rarely Add Up
Mackinac Center

March Healthcare Highlight: New Biden Rule Restricts Insurance Options
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Housing Affordability

Housing Sites Everywhere but No Way to Build
Cascade Policy Institute

Georgia Landowner’s Eminent Domain Case Could Force Judges to Resolve Long-Lingering Questions
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

How the Big “HOMEnibus” Housing Bill Would Do More Harm Than Good
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Constitutional Property Taking: Exclusionary Zoning’s Costs to Owners and Society
Pioneer Institute

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Jobs and State Economies

Will Government’s Heavy Hand Make Business “Go Galt”?
Badger Institute

Twenty States Have Some Form of Universal License Recognition. Why Not Tennessee?
Beacon Center of Tennessee

Stalled Labor Pick Julie Su Lets Herself Off the Hook for California’s Missing Billions
California Policy Center

Cities Torch State Zoning Bill Overriding Local Control
Center of the American Experiment

A Sub-Minimum Wage or No Wage at All?
Center of the American Experiment

Minnesota’s Advantage Over United States in GDP Per Person Fallen from $3,237 to $43
Center of the American Experiment

Banning Menthol Cigarettes = More Money for Terrorist Organizations
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Montana 2050: Artificial Intelligence
Frontier Institute

How to Revive Hawaii’s Downtown Centers
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Universal Licensing Bill Would Help Professionals Move to Illinois
Illinois Policy

Why Your Netflix Bill is Higher in Florida
James Madison Institute

Digital Divide and Conquer: Effective Coordination Between Broadband Programs Is Key
James Madison Institute

Book Review: ‘Transit’s Growth, Decline and Pending Demise’
Pacific Research Institute

A Better Way to Work: Louisiana Embraces the One Door Solution
Pelican Institute

Mayor Wu’s Commercial Property Tax Proposal: A Solution or a Snuff?
Pioneer Institute

Second Chances Make Communities Safer and State’s Workforce Stronger
Texas Public Policy Foundation

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State Budgets

Long Overdue Financial Report for California Brings Bad News
California Policy Center

California Has Largest Unrestricted Net Deficit in US
California Policy Center

California’s Deficit: Bring Your Alibis
California Policy Center

Golden State Budget Fantasy
California Policy Center

Lakeville Development Proposed for Parcel Allegedly Bought with Feeding Our Future Proceeds
Center of the American Experiment

Illinois Has Worst Rainy-Day Fund in Nation
Illinois Policy

Iowa’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Begins to Take Shape: Spending Will Determine Future Tax Relief
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

‘Fiscal Restraint’ Merely a Slogan for Mills’ Supplemental Budget
Maine Policy Institute

Louisiana Economic Situation March 2024: Employment Declines by 16,000 Since March 2023
Pelican Institute

Constitutional Property Taking: Exclusionary Zoning’s Costs to Owners and Society
Pioneer Institute

Sometimes, Sanity Wins
Show-Me Institute

Virginia’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act Deserves a Veto 
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

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Workplace Freedom

New York: Union Exodus More Than a Number; It’s a Movement
Freedom Foundation

SEIU 1000 Loses 130 Members in a Single Day
Freedom Foundation

FACT-Government Union Reforms Empower Workers, Not Union Executives
Pelican Institute

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The Political Class in an Industry
California Policy Center

G.K. Chesterton on Love, Loyalty, and Political Reform
Cardinal Institute

2024 May Be Bumpy, But We Can Skip the Predictions of Doom
Sutherland Institute

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The Network in the News

In the Wall Street Journal, the Caesar Rodney Institute’s David T. Stevenson and Robert M. Bauman call for a nuclear energy makeover.

In The Washington TimesCenter of the American Experiment‘s Isaac Orr highlights Biden’s problematic far-left energy nominees.

In the Buffalo News, the Empire Center‘s Ken Girardin notes money isn’t the problem for New York schools—the lawmakers are. 

In the Wall Street Journal, the Empire Center’s Bill Hammond reveals how California and New York are exploiting a Medicaid funding loophole.

In RealClearMarkets, The Free State Foundation’s Randolph May explains the basis for remaining hopeful about the current state of affairs in America.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Joshua Bandoch notes Illinois could lower unemployment with more apprenticeship programs. 

In his recent column for the Colorado Gazette, the Independence Institute‘s Jon Caldara highlights the importance of donor privacy. 

In The Epoch Times, the Independent Institute’s Benjamin Ginsburg argues against framing American history entirely through the lens of oppression.

In the Orlando Sentinel, the Independent Institute’s Christopher Calton commends Florida for adopting opposite homeless policies from California.

In the New Hampshire Journal, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy‘s Andrew Cline considers how to fight big healthcare systems and their high prices.

In the Wall Street Journal, the Mackinac Center’s Molly Macek reports on a Michigan district that would rather bulldoze a school building than let it become a charter.

In The Center Square, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy‘s Douglas Carswell notes we should be wary of politicians in the business of banning things.

In her column for Newsmax, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes the House GOP is embracing markets in new health reform plan.

In the Boston Herald, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes states use Medicaid as credit card without limit.

In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Philanthropy Roundtable’s Jack Salmon notes that Virginia is lacking protections for donor intent.

In the Washington ExaminerSutherland Institute‘s William C. Duncan highlights the benefits of federalism. 

In The Daily Caller, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Greyson Gee highlights the problems with net neutrality. 

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Categories: News