State Policy Network
Week in Review: December 1, 2023


Beacon Center of Tennessee released a statement on Governor Lee’s push for statewide Educational Savings Accounts, pointing out that the Center’s recent poll shows that nearly 70% of Tennessee voters support expanding our ESA program statewide. 

Foundation for Government Accountability’s Tarren Bragdon was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to Florida’s Government Efficiency Task Force. 

Institute for Free Speech published its 2023 Anti-SLAPP Report Card, showing a positive trend but cautioning that many states still fail to adequately protect free speech. 

Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation released a new edition of the Conservative Iowa Budget, showing how next year has the potential to be another historic year for sound fiscal policy in Iowa. 

James Madison Institute’s Sal Nuzzo was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to Florida’s Government Efficiency Task Force. 

John Locke Foundation released the findings from their latest Civitas Poll showing that nearly 93.5% of likely North Carolina voters believe open records laws are crucial in maintaining accountability and transparency. Locke also launched the “Locke Shop,” their brand-new online store, offering the unique opportunity to support the vision of a freer and more prosperous North Carolina while sporting some super stellar Locke swag. 

Libertas Institute’s Children’s Entrepreneur Market, an initiative which empowers children through entrepreneurial experiences, was selected as the winner of the 2023 Gregor G. Peterson Prize in Venture Philanthropy. 

Mackinac Center released a new study, How to Make Michigan Grow, on Michigan’s population growth. The study reviews and summarizes almost 100 publications related to this topic, primarily drawn from peer-reviewed, academic sources and government publications. 

Mississippi Center for Public Policy’s Leadership Academy began to post online videos from their economics 1.0 courses. These initial videos discuss the morality of free market capitalism.  

Mountain States Policy Center announced that former Congressman and FOX News host Trey Gowdy will be the keynote speaker at its 2024 Fall Dinner & Anniversary Celebration in Boise on Friday, October 4th. 

Opportunity Arkansas released the story of the Bline family, covering their use of Education Freedom Accounts and the positive impact it has had on their family. 

People United for Privacy Foundation released an analysis of public comments to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission concerning the impact of a recently passed ballot measure on the First Amendment rights of nonprofits and their supporters. 

Pioneer Institute released Restoring the City on a Hill: U.S. History and Civics in America’s Schools, a new U.S. history and civics book, featuring an introduction by NYT bestselling Churchill biographer, Paul Reid, and illuminating research the Institute has conducted over the past decade.  

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

The Buckeye Institute appealedDarling v. AFSCME on behalf of five hardworking Ohio public employees who had money illegally taken out of their paychecks— for months, and in some cases, years—by their employers and given to a government union. Buckeye also filed briefs in four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In Relentless v. U.S. Department of Commerce, Buckeye called on the court to assert judicial independence and overturn Chevron. In DeVillier v. Texas, Buckeye called for the court to reaffirm the constitutional right to seek just compensation in federal court when the government takes private property. In Sheetz v. County of El Dorado, Buckeye and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called on the court to protect the rights of property owners from government extortion. In Corner Post, Inc. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Buckeye and NFIB called on the court to allow citizens and businesses to challenge unlawful government regulations in court. Finally, in looking ahead to next week, U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Moore v. United States. In a brief in the case, The Buckeye Institute and NFIB called on the court to protect taxpayers and reverse a ruling out of the Ninth Circuit that would broaden the definition of ‘income’ so dramatically that if upheld, it would allow the federal government to not only tax actual income but also possible future income—income one might never receive. 

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Oklahoma in defense of a Catholic charter school. The Oklahoma Attorney General is attempting to defend state statutes that support only “sectarian” or non-religious charters. The Institute believes the highest court in the state of Oklahoma should deny that effort.   

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Success Stories  

California: The California Policy Center announced that their campaign to help government employees navigate the union opt-out process has resulted in 59,710 public employees, of whom many are teachers, opting out of union membership. This effort reduces the money union leaders use in politics, which is changing the state’s political landscape, and saves government workers thousands of dollars over their careers – a cause for celebration. 

Goldwater Institute scored a victory in protection of people’s rights against predatory civil asset forfeiture as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reaffirmed basic due process rights, ruling that the burden of proof in forfeiture cases is on the government, not property owners. 

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs   

Cardinal Institute’s Monica Moses penned a brief on empirical economics. In it, she examined the good and the bad of the so-called “empirical revolution” that has trended away from theoretical work and towards empirical research. 

Illinois Policy’s Josh Bandoch wrote a brief pointing out that Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson wants to help the homeless, but his plan for doing so likely involves creating more homeless people who will need help. 

James Madison Institute released a brief examining the technology driving the evolution of Small Business Saturday, and how proposed policies are threatening small businesses’ capability to access these technologies that are currently growing their businesses. 

John Locke Foundation’s Dr. Bob Luebke with Locke’s Center for Effective Education offered an in-depth exploration of the recent legislative session’s impact on education throughout North Carolina, while Jon Sanders delved into the financial implications of North Carolina’s electricity generation sources and their consequential effects on consumers. 

Kansas Policy Institute’s Dave Trabert penned a brief presenting data that rebutted claims of “vast improvements” in student achievements in the state and debunks the policy proposition that more spending will lead to better educational outcomes. 

Libertas Institute’s Michael Melendez issued a brief which argues for policies that will allow innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) to continue to grow, using the example of the new Beatles song featuring all four Beatles which was salvaged with the aid of AI and released last month. 

Mountain States Policy Center’s Madilynne Clark released a brief illuminating how building permit could be fixed through bureaucratic fiscal penalties, and the Center’s Chris Cargill outlined three keys to making sure regulation does not suffocate citizens and our economy. 

Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy’s Nancy Almasi released a brief questioning whether the policy of making SAT/ACT tests optional is beneficial or detrimental for students. 

Washington Policy Center’s Pam Lewison wrote a brief in partnership with the Pacific Research Institute highlighting how California’s proposition 12 will raise pork prices across the nation, and the Center’s Mark Hemsworth examined the implications of the new overtime rates and how non-exempt employee layoffs will likely occur due to increasing the minimum wage and overtime pay scale. 

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates   

Wisconsin: The Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families held a public hearing on a bill would enable out-of-state mental health providers to practice via telehealth without first needing to be licensed within the state, so long as their license is in good standing. If passed, this bill – by knocking down red tape and barriers – will provide much needed options to many families waiting weeks and months for mental health care in the state. Also in the state of Wisconsin, lawmakers held a successful Assembly committee hearing for a bill that aims to incentivize businesses to help their employees find and pay for childcare (Institute for Reforming Government). 

Wyoming: The state’s Joint Education Committee approved draft legislation that would create Education Savings Accounts, and one of the primary opponents last time around – House Speaker Albert Sommers – says he now supports the effort, meaning that students in Wyoming are a step closer to having more education options (Mountain States Policy Center). 

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Policy News from the States 


K-12 Education  

Alaska’s Historical Performance on State Assessments 
Alaska Policy Forum 

The New York Times Finally Admits Devastating Impact of School Closures 
Center of the American Experiment 

The Circle of Education Funding™ 
Center of the American Experiment 

NY 2nd in the Nation for Homeschooling Growth 
Empire Center 

Don’t Tell the Grownups: NY Still Hiding State Test Scores 
Empire Center 

Opportunity Paves the Way for Clayborn to Find Success Beyond the Football Field 
Empower Mississippi 

It’s Time to Reassess Union Influence on Our Children’s Future 
Freedom Foundation 

The Dawn of Education Freedom in Montana? 
Frontier Institute 

Markets, Not Judges, Set Prices, Even for Education 
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy 

We Don’t Need to Control Education 
Libertas Institute 

With Tax Credit, Parents Excited by School-Choice Prospects 
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 

Oklahoma Private-School Critics Ignore Reality 
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 
Hillsdale’s Dr. Kathleen O’Toole on K-12 Classical Education 
Pioneer Institute 

Department Of Education Finally Begins Title IX Investigation into Sun Prairie Locker Room Incident 
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty 

Rising Truancy Numbers Highlight Grave Concerns for Policymakers 
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty 

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Energy and Environment  

Three Ways Minnesota’s Failing Electric Bus Fleets Are Debunking the Arguments Made by Electric Vehicle Advocates 
Center of the American Experiment 

Texas Increasingly at Risk of Winter Blackouts 
Center of the American Experiment 

Reform MEPA for a Better Climate 
Frontier Institute 

Green Industrial Policy Faces Threats of its Own Creation 
Independence Institute 

Colorado’s Quixotic Push to Boost Recycling Rates 
Independence Institute 

This Winter, Will the Power Grid Survive? 
Texas Public Policy Foundation 

DEEP Already Botching Gas Car Ban and It’s Not Even in Effect 
Yankee Institute 

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In a Tight Budget Year, New York’s Hospital Lobby Shoots for the Moon 
Empire Center 

Price Controls Lead to Drug Shortages 
Mackinac Center 

Nuclear Winter Is Coming for Biopharma 
Pioneer Institute 

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Housing Affordability 

Home Affordability Lags in Georgia because of Too Little Supply 
Georgia Public Policy Foundation 

The State’s Housing Shortages Have Consequences 
Pacific Research Institute 

Reform before the Storms: Can Louisiana’s New State Leaders Fix the Homeowners Insurance Crisis? 
Pelican Institute for Public Policy 

Howard County is Stepping Into a Rent Regulation Minefield 
The Maryland Public Policy Institute 

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Jobs and State Economies 

Businesses Failed by the City of Minneapolis Fight Back 
Center of the American Experiment 

Word, Excel, and Powerpoint Are Becoming Things of the Past … Are You Proficient in AI? 
Mountain States Policy Center 

Proposed OSHA Rule Opens Door for Abuse in Iowa 
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation 

Florida vs. California: By the Numbers 
The James Madison Institute 

Democrats Propose 11% Property Tax Hike on Farms, Other Businesses 
Kansas Policy Institute 

Michigan Barbers Bob, Weave Around Punishing Regulations 
Mackinac Center 
Holiday Meals Always Begin on the Farm, Even When We Can’t See Them 
Pacific Research Institute 
Illinois Licensing Makes Escaping Poverty Harder than in Other Midwestern States 
Illinois Policy 

4 Reasons Why ‘Mansion Tax’ Bad for Chicago Business 
Illinois Policy 

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State Budgets  

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Minnesota Is Spending Millions to Fund Marijuana Companies 
Center of the American Experiment 

Public Authority Payrolls Updated on SeeThroughNY 
Empire Center 

Snips, Strikes and Skaters: NY Borrows to Cover Pork Habit 
Empire Center 

Let’s Not Fall for All the Aloha Stadium Hype 
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii 

Exposing the Eco-Devo Game 
Indiana Policy Review Foundation 

Phony Altruism and an Apple Plethora 
Indiana Policy Review Foundation 

No Sales Tax Means Real Black Friday Savings for NH Shoppers 
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy 

Michigan Taxpayers Lose on Ford Deal 
Mackinac Center 

Clark County Rewards Employees Handsomely 
Nevada Policy 

Will New LA Government Agency Reduce ‘Food Inequality’? 
Pacific Research Institute 
Nebraska’s Path to the Top Ten, Four More Years of Tax Reform 
Platte Institute 

Jackson County Taxpayers Have Had Enough 
Show-Me Institute 

State Lacks Plan Stopping Kramer-esque Recycling Scams as Deposit Rate Increases to 10-cents 
Yankee Institute 

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Workplace Freedom 

Giving Credit Where It’s Due: Private Sector Union Takes Stand Against Theft 
Freedom Foundation 

Biden Administration Covering Up Taxpayer-Funded Union Activities in the Federal Workforce 
Freedom Foundation 

Janus Had Large Impact on Union Membership, Five Years Later 
Mackinac Center 

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What We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving 
Cardinal Institute 

Thank You to All Americans Who Stand Firm for Freedom 
Goldwater Institute 

Appeals Court Disallows Private Action Under the Voting Rights Act 
John Locke Foundation 

The Myth of Increased Voter Turnout Through Vote By Mail 
Mountain States Policy Center 

Nevada’s Connection to the Argentine Liberty Movement 
Nevada Policy 

Study Shows Bias in Washington State Supreme Court Donations and Decisions 
Washington Policy Center 

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The Network in the News 

In Politico, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Guy Ciarrocchi notes the GOP needs to get serious about mail-in voting or it’s doomed. 

In The Washington Times, the Georgia Center for Opportunity‘s Joshua Crawford considers a solution to teen violence in Washington DC. 

In his recent column, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield notes innovations are needed to improve housing affordability. 

In the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Jonathan Helton encouraged Hawaii to expand interstate licensure compacts. 

In the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Paul Vallas argues the Chicago mayor is failing to prioritize the needs of city businesses. 

At RealClearPolicyIowans for Tax Relief Foundation‘s John Hendrickson and Center of the American Experiment‘s John Phelan compare the fiscal policies of Iowa and Minnesota. 

In the Tampa Bay Times, the James Madison Institute‘s Sal Nuzzo notes Florida consumers should reject⁠ big government⁠ regula⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons of cred⁠i⁠⁠t⁠ card fees. 

In The Hill, the James Madison Institute‘s Robert McClure points out Florida’s policies could bring a dying California back to life. 

In The Daily Caller, the Libertas Institute‘s Caden Rosenbaum and Pablo Garcia Quint note curbing AI disinformation requires innovation, not regulation. 

At Fox News Online, the Mackinac Center‘s Steve Delie highlights a potential Supreme Court case that could be the next Janus for labor unions. 

In the Washington Examiner, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy‘s Douglas Carswell highlights how school choice has momentum in Mississippi.  

In The New York Post, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes doctors lobbying for Medicare for All should be careful what they wish for. 

In the Farmington Daily Times, the Rio Grande Foundation‘s Paul Gessing points out it’s time to eliminate Social Security tax in New Mexico. 

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Categories: News