State Policy Network
Week in Review: March 22, 2024


The Buckeye Center’s Robert Alt testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Administrative State, Regulatory Reform, and Antitrust where he outlined the inherent problems when government agencies adjudicate their own cases. On the eve of oral arguments, Alt also joined a FedSoc Forum to discuss what is at stake in Murthy v. Missouri and NRA v. Vullo. The two “jawboning” cases are before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

California Policy Center’s Will Swaim joined Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It podcast to discuss AB5, a recently enacted California law which affects every independent contractor in America. The Center also partnered with Golden Together to release a new report, Modern Forest Management, which breaks down the decline of California’s forests and makes reform proposals. Finally, the Center also released an explainer on Lindke v. Freed, which set the guidance on social media use for public officials.

Empower Mississippi announced the election of Abb Payne as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. Payne will succeed Gerard Gibert, who has served with distinction in the role for the last ten years.

Mackinac Center released its Sustainable Michigan Budget proposal, which limits spending to no more than the growth of the state’s population and inflation and seeks to ensure the state budget doesn’t grow faster than the average taxpayer’s ability to pay for it. Mackinac also partnered with Northwood University to create a new national energy report card which shows that natural gas and nuclear top the list of reliable and affordable energy sources.

Mountain States Policy Center announced its 2024 Elevation Award recipients, recognizing legislators in Montana and Idaho who have championed education reform. The Center also celebrated a recent Moody’s credit report that confirmed that the state of Idaho is leading the way in economic growth, maintaining strong reserves, while also having low long-term liabilities.

Sutherland Institute released the findings of a recent poll the Institute conducted in partnership with Y2 Analytics that found that most likely voters in Utah strongly support curriculum transparency policies in public schools.

Texas Public Policy Foundation launched the National Center for Energy Analytics (NCEA), a new national energy think tank led by distinguished fellow Mark P. Mills and comprised of a team of world-class scholars dedicated to reality-driven energy analyses. The NCEA will produce credible, unbiased research on energy issues, both proactively and reacting to and correcting misinformation about the “energy transition” narrative.

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

The Buckeye Institute weighed in on two important cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In KC Transport v. Su, Buckeye called on the court to end the government’s abuse of its regulatory power. In Metal Conversion Technologies v. U.S. Department of Transportation, Buckeye called on the court to protect small businesses and ensure that in government regulatory hearings, businesses are extended fundamental rights they routinely enjoy in federal courts.

Freedom Foundation attorney Tim Snowball made the case that government labor unions have refused to follow the ruling of Janus v. AFSCME and illegally kept money flowing from public employees’ paychecks in two oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

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Success Stories

Idaho: Governor Little signed an unemployment insurance tax savings bill – a step which promises to bring down the cost of doing business in the state (Mountain States Policy Center). 

Illinois: Chicago voters vehemently rejected Mayor Johnson’s plan to raise the real estate transfer tax which threatened businesses and failed to ease homelessness (Illinois Policy). 

Maine: The Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection rejected costly and ineffective electric vehicle (EV) mandates – a decision which leaves EV adoption free of government coercion in the state (Maine Policy Institute). 

South Dakota: Lawmakers banned guaranteed income/universal basic income programs in the state – a wise step as cities across the country are implementing universal basic income pilot programs and trapping Americans into dependency (Foundation for Government Accountability). 

Wyoming: Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed legislation that creates a school choice program in the state.  

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

The Buckeye Institute released a piece on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) rule, highlighting the high costs of the draconian rule and points out that Americans will be worse off if it is implemented. 

Mountain States Policy Center issued briefs unpacking proposed school choice policies in Idaho and setbacks that the policies are experiencing, showing how the Idaho House is the model for legislative oversight policies of Artificial intelligence, and celebrating Sunshine Week by calling for an open government ombudsman policy in Idaho.

South Carolina Policy Center released an analysis raising concerns about a proposed energy bill that would micromanage the state’s utility regulator and force it to consider economic development at every juncture, which could clash with ratepayer interests. 

Washington Policy Center released a set of briefs which explain the recent collapse of CO2 prices in the state – showing how companies are betting big that voters will repeal the cap and trade system – and unpack proposed efforts to resurrect a bill that would have given unemployment benefits to striking workers.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

Arizona: Regulators voted to remove restrictive energy rules that have cost the state $3.5 billion since they were implemented in 2005 – a commendable step in protecting ratepayers from rising prices and grid instability (Center of the American Experiment). 

Georgia: The Legislature passed a bill that creates the state’s first education scholarship account (ESA) program (Georgia Center for Opportunity and Georgia Public Policy Foundation). In addition, the Senate passed legislation that lowers the state’s income tax and proceeded a measure to make reforms to some aspects of Georgia’s restrictive certificate-of-need (CON) laws, while the House passed legislation that will protect workers from coercive unionization efforts (Georgia Public Policy Foundation). 

Idaho: The Idaho Farm Bureau condemned reports that the Bureau was attempting to sway undecided legislators to oppose school choice in the state – a positive sign for future efforts to bring choice to the state. In addition, legislators introduced the Public School Transparency Act, which requires districts to report their budgets clearly on the first page of their website (Mountain States Policy Center). 

Kentucky: New legislation called the Safer Kentucky Act passed both the House and Senate. The Act contains policy reforms that will restore safety and better opportunities to Kentucky communities and returns to the House for a concurrence vote on changes to the bill (Georgia Center for Opportunity). 

Louisiana: Governor Jeff Landry recently unveiled his first budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025 and it promises to reduce excessive government spending while supporting much-needed future pro-growth tax reform – a demonstration of much needed responsible budgeting (Pelican Institute). 

Missouri: The Missouri Senate advanced a bill that would expand school choice for some Missouri families. The legislation dramatically increases the number of children eligible to receive a scholarship and now moves to the House (Show-Me Institute). 

Montana: The state’s Attorney General joined 19 other state AGs in sending a letter objecting to the Biden Administration’s overreach into the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as part of the ongoing battle to protect the autonomy of the private sector and champion limited regulation (Mountain States Policy Center). 

New Hampshire: Lawmakers are considering bills that would forbid municipalities from banning new residential development in commercially zoned areas and prohibit municipalities from banning unrelated individuals from sharing a home. In addition, legislators are considering a bill which would increase access to childcare by requiring local zoning regulations to allow family childcare programs in all primary residential homes. Finally, legislators voted down bills which would add onerous red tape to the state’s Education Freedom Account program (Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy). 

South Carolina: The state continued its trajectory towards becoming the 12th state with universal school choice as lawmakers in the House voted to pass legislation that would expand the Education Scholarship Trust Fund – the bill now moves to the Senate… stay tuned (Palmetto Promise). 

Wisconsin: The legislature passed bills which propose amendments to the state constitution that strengthen the state’s separation of powers, protect taxpayers, and ensure that all Wisconsinites are treated equally by the state’s government. If passed again next year, these proposed constitutional amendments could be on the ballot in April 2025 (Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty). 

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

Why School Choice? Just Look at Latest Reading Evidence from Education-Choice-Rich Florida
Bluegrass Institute

More is Never Enough: NY’s School Spending
Empire Center

Case Study: Mesa Charter High
Empire Center

Median Teacher Pay Tops $100K In Five Counties, Two Boroughs, 1/4 of NY Districts
Empire Center

From Compliance to Competence: A New Paradigm for Educational Accountability
Frontier Institute

Long Beach Unified School District Pays Kids $1,400 to Join Progressive Political Clubs
Goldwater Institute

Cooper Seeks to Stop Opportunity Scholarships, Close Out Educational Options
John Locke Foundation

On the Ballot: How to Fact Check Your School District
MacIver Institute

Tufts Prof. Elizabeth Setren on METCO’s Proven Results
Pioneer Institute

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Energy and Environment

Modern Forest Management
California Policy Center

Isaac Orr Testifies on Bill Requiring Customers Opt-In to Smart Meters
Center of the American Experiment

How to Stop Utility Green-Plating: The Only Pay for What You Get Act
Center of the American Experiment

Fast Facts About Electricity in Colorado in 2023
Independence Institute

Limiting Solar Farming?
Show-Me Institute

Wind Lawsuit Proposes a Whale of a Problem
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

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The Hospital 340B Program – Helping the Poor Afford Prescription Drugs or Helping Hospitals’ Financial Status?
Mountain States Policy Center

Bills Adding Health Benefit Mandates Undermine Access to Affordable Premiums
Center of the American Experiment

A Politically Active Medical Group Gets $29 Million in ‘Distressed’ Provider Funds
Empire Center

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Housing Affordability

Make Zoning Make Sense: Three Tools for Clarity & Prosperity
Libertas Institute

Why For-Profit Housing Succeeds When Subsidized Housing Fails
Pacific Research Institute

Ask Famous Missourian Bob Barker if the Price Is Right?
Show-Me Institute

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Jobs and State Economies

Rideshares: A Literature Review
Center of the American Experiment

MN’s Largest County Lost 50,000 to Domestic Out-Migration in Past 3 Years
Center of the American Experiment

The “Area’s Most Vulnerable Population” Will Suffer Most in Uber and Lyft Decision
Center of the American Experiment

Six Charts to Change Your Mind About Michigan
Mackinac Center

Economic Growth Allows Tax Cuts, Not Just Spending
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

California’s Sourdough Politics
Pacific Research Institute

Lamont’s Paid Sick Day Bill Revised to Now Cover ‘Close Associations’
Yankee Institute

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State Budgets

How Much Does Minnesota Spend on Welfare Per Person in Poverty?
Center of the American Experiment

What Share of the Minnesota Budget Goes to Welfare?
Center of the American Experiment

Capitol Watch: Green Regulations Drive Up Cost of State Borrowing
Center of the American Experiment

DWD Picks Winners and Losers: Grant Money Subsidizes Wisconsin Industry
MacIver Institute

Act 10’s True Savings to Taxpayers: $31 Billion
MacIver Institute

Michigan’s Budget Isn’t Sustainable…Yet
Mackinac Center

Senate Dem Plan to “Shrink the Shortfall” is Destined to Fail
Pacific Research Institute

KC Stadium Tax: “They Are Asking Us to Give Them $2 Billion”
Show-Me Institute

Is Austin’s Project Connect About to be Derailed?
Texas Public Policy Foundation

A Digital Sales Tax that Legislators Don’t Understand Deserves a Veto
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Sine Die and Veto Recommendations
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

What The Milwaukee Referendum Could Cost You…
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Workplace Freedom

Freedom Foundation Crashes UTD’s Annual Picnic
Freedom Foundation

The Policy Shop: How the Chicago Teachers Union Benefits from Failure
Illinois Policy

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Never Forget Why We Do What We Do
Freedom Foundation

The Constitution and Elections, Part II: Ideal Voters and Changes by Amendment
Independence Institute

How Oklahoma’s Presidential Votes Officially Count
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Time to Legislate our Happiness?
Pacific Research Institute

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The Network in the News

In the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Policy Forum‘s Bob Griffin notes Alaska should add charter school authorizers.

In The OC Register, the California Policy Center‘s Lance Christensen points out the harmful consequences of COVID-era school closures will be with us for years to come.

In The Daily Caller, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s André Béliveau notes Biden struggles to provide any substantive discussion of energy policy.

In The Center Square, the Georgia Center for Opportunity‘s Buzz Brockway explains why school choice is needed to prepare Georgia’s workforce for the future.

At Southern California News Group, the Goldwater Institute‘s Timothy K. Minella highlights how Long Beach Unified School District in California is training students in progressive activism. 

In The Well News, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Melissa Newsham notes Jones Act reform is not a party issue.

In the Honolulu Star Advertiser, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Malia Hill points out more tourist taxes are bad for Hawaii’s economy.

In The Epoch Times, the Independent Institute’s Lawrence McQuillan references a study that shows it’s not Big Oil that’s responsible for California’s high gas prices but the politicians in Sacramento.

In the Daily Herald, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Matt Paprocki highlights what suburban businesses and residents need to know about the Illinois Governor’s budget.

In the Telegraph Herald, Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation’s John Hendrickson and Utah Taxpayers Association’s Rusty Canon put forth that Iowa’s new budget and tax notices will provide needed transparency for taxpayers.

In his recent column, the John Locke Foundation‘s John Hood notes North Carolina candidates still have to flirt with swing voters.

In the Deseret NewsLibertas Institute‘s David Iglesias highlights how Utah is finding harmony with technology and privacy.

In The American Spectator, the Mackinac Center‘s Patrick Wright highlights how college sports is marching toward unionized madness.

In The New York Post, the Mackinac Center‘s Jason Hayes notes Biden’s war on gas cars will cost Americans a fortune.

In The County Press, the Mackinac Center‘s Jennifer Majorana notes free community college will cost taxpayers—and hurt students.

In The Federalist, the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s Chuck DeVore notes D.C. doesn’t just spend too much money—it spends it on the wrong things.

In the Spokesman-Review, the Washington Policy Center’s Eleanor Baumgartner lays out the case that the legislature missed major opportunities to help out our agriculture community.

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Categories: News