State Policy Network
Week in Review: February 9, 2024


Alabama Policy Institute released its list of the top 10 things the Alabama Legislature should accomplish in 2024, which includes unleashing educational freedom, resisting expansion on gambling, and eliminating the state’s certificate-of-need process.

The Buckeye Institute released a new report which found that America’s net-zero climate-control experiment has dire economic consequences for American farmers and families. Researchers found that farm operating costs will increase by 34%, annual grocery bills by $1,330, and the cost of basic food items by more than 70%. The report was featured on Fox Business and was released just days after a coalition of agricultural commissioners demanded that the country’s six largest banks come clean on their “involvement in NZBA [the United Nations’ Net-Zero Banking Alliance] and their net-zero goals.”

California Policy Center announced that Los Angeles attorney and child advocate Julie Hamill has joined the Center as the organization’s first full-time attorney.

Center of the American Experiment released a snapshot of Minnesota – a look at the beliefs and views of typical Minnesotans culled from the data of 21 polls taken over the past few years.

Empire Center released an analysis of data which showed that New York’s public school enrollment has declined significantly, particularly in New York City, reaching its lowest level since the mid-1950s.

Kansas Policy Institute exposed a city policy to silence conservative council members and a university that appears to ignore state law requiring separate accommodations for boys and girls.

Mountain States Policy Center’s Chris Cargill spoke about education policy to the City Club in Boise, where he pointed out that those opposing education reform are on the wrong side of history. The Center also released an analysis of data showing that taxpayer funded teachers unions who push progressive politics is common in Idaho.

Mackinac Center released its 2024 policy priorities, which include passing a sustainable state budget without tax hikes, empowering parents in public education, making government at all levels more transparent, and more.

Platte Institute analyzed a recent ranking from the Center for Practical Federalism which placed Nebraska 43rd in its Federalism Scorecard.

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

The Buckeye Institute joined Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty in filing an amicus brief in Eidson v. South Carolina Department of Education, defending school choice and calling on the South Carolina Supreme Court to allow the implementation of the state’s Education Scholarship Trust Fund program. 

Goldwater Institute is suing the school district of South Kingstown, Rhode Island so as to hold the district accountable for its numerous attempts to shield crucial information from parents and the public.

Liberty Justice Center and the Pelican Institute jointly filed a lawsuit challenging a new Biden Administration rule that threatens the livelihoods of millions of American workers by arbitrarily reclassifying independent contractors as employees. The Center also challenged an unconstitutional and discriminatory Blaine Amendment, which opponents of school choice are using to block independent schools’ access to educational funding.

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Success Stories

Arizona: The State Supreme Court handed taxpayers a victory in a decision that allows a Scottsdale business owner to challenge a biased decision by city officials, who violated their own procurement laws to award a multimillion-dollar city contract to their preselected favorite. The decision sets an important new precedent that will guard against abuse and favoritism in the public procurement process going forward (Goldwater Institute).

South Carolina: Healthcare in the state became a little freer and more accessible for residents with the passage of the Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act which allows patients to access medical care more efficiently, flexibly, and cost-effectively (Palmetto Promise).

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

Center of the American Experiment released a brief showing how California’s “net metering” policy allows wealthy Californians to pick the pockets of those who are not able to afford solar panels on their roofs.

Mountain States Policy Center issued a brief examining the good and the bad effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it relates to elections and the policy implications stemming from these effects.

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs released a brief examining a proposed bill that would subject Oklahoma parents to a Department of Human Services background check if they homeschool their children – an example of big-government excess.

Pacific Research Institute published a brief examining the city budget policies that are making some California cities grow while others are shrinking, showing that cities who employ irresponsible borrowing eventually are led to bad outcomes.

Platte Institute provided a brief unpacking the rising demand for repairable electronics and the policies that facilitate or hamper this demand – an example that highlights the benefits of market-based solutions.

South Carolina Policy Council released a brief shedding light on concerns with a proposed bill that would reduce the financial options available to the state’s consumers and could force lenders to exit the state.

Washington Policy Center’s Live Finne issued a brief which critiques a policy that would effectively remove local school board control, while Pam Lewison provided a brief on a bill that would put more pressure on farmers and farm workers.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

Florida: Legislation proposed by Senator Jennifer Bradley and Representative Lauren Melo would reserve regulation of food delivery platforms to the state, meaning municipalities could not pass problematic data-sharing ordinances. If passed, it would be a step in the right direction that will ensure that municipal governments can’t compromise consumer data.

Idaho: The House Local Government Committee voted to advance a bill which would close a loophole that is being used by local governments to commit home equity theft – a needed policy change to protect property owners (Mountain States Policy Center).

Michigan: The Senate Oversight Committee heard testimony in favor of proposed legislation which would take positive steps towards increasing government transparency in the state (Mackinac Center). 

Oklahoma: The House passed a bill which cuts the state’s top personal income tax rate from 4.75 percent to 4.5 percent. This bill now moves to the Oklahoma Senate where a dozen senators have already signed a pledge to enact a tax cut this year (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs).

Washington: A ballot initiative that would make the state’s long-term-care program optional was certified by the Secretary of State. If made into law, it would allow workers to make their own long-term-care choices rather than being forced to pay into an unsustainable, inadequate program.

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

Fact Checking Claims on Education Freedom Scholarships
Beacon Center of Tennessee

Legal Update on Cayla J. Versus State of California
California Policy Center

Understanding Teacher Union Contract Salary Schedules
Center of the American Experiment

‘Woke Kindergarten’ Is Why Parents Need to Know
Goldwater Institute

Chicago’s Chronic School Absences Hit Hispanic Students Hard
Illinois Policy

North Carolina Parents Rush to Apply for Expanded Opportunity Scholarship Voucher Program
John Locke Foundation

Why Universal Access to Education Freedom Accounts Is Best Choice for New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Utah Microschools Face Outdated Regulations
Libertas Institute

Oklahoma Schools Using Virtual Days to Poach Teachers, Cook Records
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Widowed Mother of Three Among Oklahoma School-Choice Beneficiaries
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

The National Hybrid Schools Project with Eric Wearne
Show-Me Institute

So Close, and Yet So Far
Show-Me Institute

How Curriculum Transparency Can Boost the Parent-Teacher Partnership
Sutherland Institute

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Energy and Environment

Say NO! To the Push by Liberal Lawmakers to Enact California’s Stealth Gas Tax in Minnesota This Session
Center of the American Experiment

Isaac Orr Testifies in Ohio on Grid Reliability
Center of the American Experiment

Pricey Electrification Gets a Boost from Local Media
Independence Institute

The EV Buzz Is Muted
Pacific Research Institute

Smothering Gas Exports: President Sides with Environmentalists Over Environment
Pioneer Institute

TPPF Opposes EPA’s Burdensome Air Quality Standards
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Texas Stops EPA From Unnecessary Tightening of Ozone Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act
Texas Public Policy Foundation

HB 2286, to Provide Additional Support for Salmon Runs Near Recovery or Extinction
Washington Policy Center

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Biden Rule Unlawfully Threatens Penalties on States During Medicaid “Unwinding”
Center of the American Experiment

Goldwater Advances New Pathways to Treatment Ahead of Rare Disease Day
Goldwater Institute

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Housing Affordability

Michigan Needs Statewide Zoning Reform to Bring Down Housing Costs
Mackinac Center

Despite Big Budgets, Homeless Agency Is Clueless in Seattle
Pacific Research Institute

Look Who’s Talking About Housing Affordability
Texas Public Policy Foundation

WILL’s Legal Work Protects Pewaukee Taxpayers
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Jobs and State Economies

Social Capital Conundrum
Center of the American Experiment

What If We Stopped Making Childcare Needlessly More Expensive in Minnesota?
Center of the American Experiment

Montana 2050: Data Centers
Frontier Institute

Understanding How Benefits Cliffs Impact Those in Poverty
Georgia Center for Opportunity

Upward Mobility Tougher in Illinois than Rest of Midwest, Most of U.S.
Illinois Policy

Confound It All with the Same Old Business Subsidies
Mackinac Center

Harris County’s Attack on Dignified Work
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Inside Wyoming’s Mining Industry
Wyoming Liberty Group

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State Budgets

Falling Commercial Real Estate Prices Are Hitting Local Budgets
Center of the American Experiment

KSTP Poll Finds Minnesotans Dissatisfied with State Government Spending Hikes
Center of the American Experiment

The Legislature Builds Its Taj Mahal
Center of the American Experiment

Turning NY’s Yellow Buses Green Could Cost $8B+
Empire Center

Go Figure: Most Americans Feel They Pay Too Much in Taxes
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Minnesota One-Party Rule Gets Failing Grade on Taxing & Spending
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Prudent Tax Reforms More Than Welcome
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Are The Poor Really Losing Out from North Carolina’s Income Tax Cuts?
John Locke Foundation

Right of First Refusal Creates Anti-Free Market Monopolies
MacIver Institute

Michigan Earns Dishonorable Mention for Broadband Funding Plan
Mackinac Center

Tax Policies Have Consequences
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Stitt: Time to Put Income Tax on Path to Zero
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Paying Down Debt Yields the Savings Promised
Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Pioneer Statement on Continuing Slide in Massachusetts’ Revenue
Pioneer Institute

City Manager Salaries Have Run Amok
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Two Big Tax Hikes Still Alive at Assembly, But Governor’s Tax Cut Package Has Failed
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

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Workplace Freedom

Where Was Their Reverence for the Court When Janus Was Being Ignored?
Freedom Foundation

Union Scheme to Steal Everyone Else’s Money Goes to Court
Goldwater Institute

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A Word for You Old Fellows
Indiana Policy Review Foundation

The Ticking Federal Tax Time Bomb
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan!
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

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The Network in the News

At National Review, American Juris Link’s guest Derek Muller measures how much big law firms skew left in highly politicized cases.

In the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Cardinal Institute‘s Amanda Kieffer highlights how social safety nets entrap West Virginians.

In her column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Jennifer Stefano highlights how Democrats in the Pennsylvania House are holding bipartisan reforms hostage.

At Penn Live, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Stephen Bloom notes that before fixing college, Gov. Shapiro should fix Pennsylvania’s failing K–12 system.

In his recent column, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield notes prudent tax reforms are more than welcome.

In the Hawaii Reporter, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Keli‘i Akina points out lawmakers should use tax policy to help Hawaii residents thrive and prosper. 

In his recent column for The Denver Gazette, the Independence Institute‘s Jon Caldara highlights an absurd Colorado bill that creates a statewide pet registry requiring the licensing of livestock and pets.

In the Florida DailyThe James Madison Institute‘s Dr. Robert McClure notes Florida parents need more online education options.

In the Wall Street Journal, Liberty Justice Center Board Member Corey DeAngelis and Educational Liberty Attorney Dean McGee argue that school choice is the solution to teachers union strikes.

In The Federalist, the Liberty Justice Center’s Dean McGee discusses the Center’s work to challenge unconstitutional limits on parents’ free speech.

In The Detroit News, the Mackinac Center‘s James Hohman highlights how the Michigan Legislature is taking another swing at expanding FOIA. 

In her column for Newsmax, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes Americans want value for healthcare, not another welfare plan.

In The Dallas Morning News, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes considers if the FDA is opening a door for counterfeit drug trade.

In the Deseret NewsSutherland Institute‘s William C. Duncan considers what Utah’s version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would look like.

In the CT Mirror, the Yankee Institute‘s Bryce Chinault considers why Connecticut needs fiscal guardrails.

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Categories: News