State Policy Network
Week in Review: June 21, 2024

Announcements  

Goldwater Institute announced the news of an upcoming special Goldwater Institute virtual event, their 2024 Supreme Court Rundown, where Goldwater Vice President for Legal Affairs Timothy Sandefur and Vice President for Litigation Jon Riches will take a closer look at the U.S. Supreme Court’s most important cases from the past year and provide their insights into the ramifications of those decisions. Goldwater also released the details of their 2024 Freedom Gala: Defending the American Dream.

Institute for Reforming Government announced the hiring of Nelson Ritthaler as Director of Donor and Stakeholder Relations.

Kansas Policy Institute and the Show Me Institute released a joint letter to Governor Kelly and Governor Parson opposing taxpayer stadium subsidies and a potential bidding war between Kansas and Missouri taxpayers over the location of the Kansas City Chiefs’ stadium.

Mountain States Policy Center joined a coalition of free-market organizations voicing strong opposition against the Biden Administration’s attempts to regulate broadband internet rates.

Opportunity Arkansas’ Nic Horton submitted testimony before the special session of the Arkansas General Assembly in support of the income tax reduction.

Palmetto Promise released a review of the South Carolina 2023-24 General Assembly’s progress related to the Palmetto Freedom Agenda, showing gains in the areas of education, healthcare, and more.

South Carolina Policy Council released its latest report tracking the livestreaming rates of the state’s legislative committees, showing how, since the project’s inception in 2022, there has been a greater trend towards streaming consistency – a positive step in government transparency.

Texas Public Policy Foundation and other state-based think tanks sent a coalition letter to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce stating their support for the spirit of the American Privacy Rights Act of 2024.

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

The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Laird v. United Teachers of Los Angeles, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to tell government unions that they cannot rely on obscure and arbitrary opt-out windows as a way to deny First Amendment rights to public employees and the unions cannot illegally take money from public employees’ paychecks once they have quit the union. 

John Locke Foundation filed a brief that urged the Supreme Court to restrict or eliminate all forms of administrative deference and restore the right to a fair trial for North Carolinians.

Liberty Justice Center filed a petition urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Smith v. Stillie, a case challenging Alaska’s intrusive election laws. The Center’s Educational Freedom Attorney Dean McGee also discussed the latest developments in a lawsuit defending Christian McGhee, a student suspended for asking a question containing the phrase “illegal alien”.

Pelican Institute and the Liberty Justice Center filed an opening brief in Frisard’s Transportation, L.L.C. v. United States Department of Labor, a jointly-filed lawsuit challenging a Biden Administration rule that threatens the livelihoods of millions of American workers by arbitrarily reclassifying independent contractors as employees. These organizations also teamed up to file an opening brief in their case National Legal and Policy Center v. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is challenging the constitutionality of the SEC’s recently issued climate “disclosure rule”.

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Success Stories

Arkansas: Governor Huckabee Sanders signed a bill which decreased the state income tax to 3.9 percent – great news for residents as state lawmakers continue their trend of cutting taxes (Opportunity Arkansas).

Oklahoma: Governor Stitt signed the Strong Reader Act, which requires teachers to be trained in the “science of reading” – instructional methods such as phonics which are proven to help students read. The legislation is a big win which promises to put kids on the path to education success (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs).

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

Empire Center released briefs which uncover how New York’s biggest public pension fund is on the rebound but requires continued prudent management and analyze how the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey saw a significant surge in overtime spending, totaling $193 million of tax-payer money.

John Locke Foundation released a suite of briefs that dive into how judicial deference impedes North Carolinians’ right to a fair trial and is in need of reform, look at the EPA’s power plant rule and examines how that translates into bad policy at the state level, and call for North Carolina’s Board of Elections to learn from their mistakes from the past election as another battle looms on the horizon.

Mackinac Center published a brief that examines the recently signed Maryland budget agreement that would raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco and vaping products, calling on lawmakers to rethink their plan in the light of the smuggling side-effects that have accompanied policies of this sort in the past.

Mountain States Policy Center issued briefs that points out that declining school enrollment and budget constraints require policymakers to fundamentally rethink their approach to education, examine the amount of money remaining in taxpayer hands through Idaho’s tax preference policies, and reviews concerns related to Idaho’s Lava Ridge energy project.

Opportunity Arkansas published an analysis of the state’s next round of tax reform, explaining the three key points for state residents to know.

Pioneer Institute posted a brief that examines data that show that academic achievement was in decline prior to COVID – proof that the pandemic is not the only culprit of the downward shift in student performance.

Washington Policy Center published briefs that examine how cost increases for long-term care may drive the WA Cares program to tighten its eligibility by requiring nearly double the hours, report on the insolvency of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program and likelihood of an increase in the payroll tax, and argue that proposed initiatives to return taxes taken for voter-rejected programs are not a “cost to the state.”

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

California: Membership in the SEIU 1000, the state’s largest state employees’ union, has now fallen below 50 percent – a sign that these employees continue to exercise their right to cancel their union membership if they feel poorly served (Freedom Foundation).

New York: A commission has set about to revise the New York City Charter, and several good proposals have been put forward, including recommendations for mandated rainy day fund deposits accompanied by withdrawal and balance rules, improved legislative financial impact statements and financial plan estimates, and a cap on city debt service (Empire Center).

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Policy News from the States

Topics:

K-12 Education

Milwaukee Public Schools’ Referendum Will Sap Aid from Other Wisconsin Districts
Badger Institute

Building Strong Readers in Delaware: Applying the Science of Reading
Caesar Rodney Institute

HOAs Set Aside Funds for Major Repairs—School Districts Should, Too
California Policy Center

What The West Virginia Watch Gets Wrong About the Hope
Cardinal Institute

Jay-Z’s Support for Educational Freedom Irks Teachers’ Union
Center of the American Experiment

Nearly 2/3 of Minnesotans Think K-12 Education on Wrong Track
Center of the American Experiment

Reimagining Early Education
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Chicago Teachers Union Killing Charter School Access for Many Families
Illinois Policy

Introducing the Franklin Standards: New Model Content Standards for K–12 Science
John Locke Foundation

How to Accommodate Microschools
Libertas Institute

Scientific American Takes Aim at Homeschoolers
Mackinac Center

The Truth About Education in Our State
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Short School Year Hurting Oklahoma Students
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

State Budget Needs to Extend ESA Application Window
Palmetto Promise Institute

Steven Wilson on Charter Public Schools
Pioneer Institute

Examining the Academic Achievement Decline in New England Prior to COVID-19
Pioneer Institute

Teacher Retention and the Limits of Public Policy
Show-Me Institute

Missouri School Districts Are Held Permanently Harmless
Show-Me Institute

Questions to Candidates in Debates Reflect High Interest in Education Choice
Sutherland Institute

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Energy and Environment

New EPA Rule Is a Death Sentence for American Energy
Commonwealth Foundation

Public Comment on DEQ Work Group Recommendations
Frontier Institute

The Growth of Environmental Anti-Humanism
Mackinac Center

Why Are Maine’s New EV Charging Stations so Expensive?
Maine Policy Institute

Bipartisan Momentum in Nuclear Energy Continues
Show-Me Institute

A Refresher on the Virginia Clean Economy Act, Now Back Under a Legislative Microscope
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Connecticut Ratepayers to be on the Hook for EV Rebates
Yankee Institute

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Healthcare

Healthy Citizens: 2023-24 Freedom Agenda in Review
Palmetto Promise Institute

Suicide Trends in Natrona County – An Interview with Coroner Jim Whipps
Wyoming Liberty Group

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Housing Affordability

Property Taxes are a Big-Ticket Item in Everyone’s Budget
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

Breaking the Red Tape: Nevada’s Solution to the Housing Shortages
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Build More Housing with Bryan Caplan
Show-Me Institute

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Jobs and State Economies

Can an Abundance Agenda Unite Business?
California Policy Center

Montana Blockchain Innovator: Josh Schultz
Frontier Institute

Hard Look at Job Rules Can Pull More Illinoisans from Poverty
Illinois Policy

State Economic Rankings Suggest Michigan’s Path to Improvement
Mackinac Center

Their Pleasure: Legislators Cook Up a Law That Burns Fast Food
Pacific Research Institute

Part I: It May Be Better to Be Unemployed in Massachusetts than in Connecticut or New Hampshire
Pioneer Institute

Research Note: Utah’s Regulatory Sandbox
Platte Institute

Research Note: The Texas Example
Platte Institute

Longer Days and Fewer Hours with James V. Shuls and Avery Frank
Show-Me Institute

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State Budgets

Is a New, Earthquake-Ready Burnside Bridge Necessary?
Cascade Policy Institute

It’s Time to Empower State Auditor to Fight Waste and Fraud
Center of the American Experiment

Port Authority’s Overtime Surge Wiped Out ‘Cashless’ Savings
Empire Center

Three Civil Servants and an Embattled City Auditor Made May a Month for Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Overdue for Being Updated
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Property Taxes are a Big-Ticket Item in Everyone’s Budget
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

Property Tax Rates Under Iowa’s New Notification Law
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

House Budget Overview: A Snapshot of Policymakers’ Vision for the State
John Locke Foundation

Massachusetts Punishes NBA Champs by Taking Extra Half Million in Taxes
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Business Subsidy Bill Would Set New Records
Mackinac Center

Michigan Can Learn About Sustainable Budgeting from Other States
Mackinac Center

Smuggled Smokes Will Maul Maryland
Mackinac Center

Arkansas Cuts Income Tax Rates (Again)
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

A Look at Transportation Spending
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Spending Watch: More Debt Is More Taxes
Pacific Research Institute

Louisiana Legislature Passes a Budget that Shows Mixed Results for Responsibility
Pelican Institute

Puzzling “Relationship” Between Police Expenses and Crime Rates in Middlesex County
Pioneer Institute

State Should Stop Hoarding Taxpayer Dollars
Rio Grande Foundation

Connecticut’s Diesel Fuel Tax to Increase 6.5% on July 1
Yankee Institute

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Workplace Freedom

Judge Orders Union to Halt UC Campus Strikes
California Policy Center

Buckeye Brief Backs Freedom Foundation’s SCOTUS Appeal For LA Teacher Glenn Laird
Freedom Foundation

Financial Discrepancies Suggest United Teachers of Dade Corruption
Freedom Foundation

Nearly 40% Of Illinois Government Workers Reject AFSCME Membership
Illinois Policy

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Other

The Jews of Montana
Frontier Institute

The American Dream Remains
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Will Maine’s Supreme Court Limit the Governor’s Executive Power?
Maine Policy Institute

More Divided Than Ever: Will Examines How Technological Advancements and Social Media Undermine Interpersonal Relationships
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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The Network in the News

In The Federalist, The Free State Foundation’s Randolph May celebrates the 809th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

In The Center Square, the Georgia Center for Opportunity‘s Randy Hicks considers how we can uplift lonely and detached men by helping them reintegrate into the workforce and reconnect with positive relationships. 

In The Hill, the Georgia Center for Opportunity‘s Joshua Crawford points out there’s a crime divide between Americans and politicians, and voters are watching.

In The Daily Caller, the Idaho Freedom Foundation‘s Fred Birnbaum highlights what politicians aren’t telling you about social security ‘reform.’

In The Orange County Register, the Independent Institute’s Lloyd Billingsley argues that voters may be more interested in candidates’ actual record than their association with Ivy League campuses.

In the St. Cloud Times, the Liberty Justice Center’s plaintiff Tayah Lackie discusses why she partnered with the Center to sue her alma mater.

In The Salina Journal, the Kansas Policy Institute‘s Dave Trabert explains why Kansas legislators should consider passing a constitutional amendment on tax relief.

In The Detroit News, the Mackinac Center‘s Mike Retiz points out job announcements are not jobs. 

In her column for Newsmax, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes highlights the problems with mandating coverage for adult dental care under Obamacare.

In The Detroit News, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes encourages policymakers to limit Medicaid enrollment to alleviate wait times.

In The Dallas Morning News, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes considers why Bernie Sanders’ Ozempic crusade is misguided.

In the Washington Examiner, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes people think Medicare is going bankrupt.

In The HillSutherland Institute‘s William C. Duncan notes the secret recording of Alito reveals something — but not about Alito.

In his recent column, John Hood considers how to spend North Carolina’s recent revenue surpluses.

In his recent column, John Hood notes policymakers should avoid relying on averages when making decisions.

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Categories: News
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