State Policy Network
Week in Review: March 29, 2024


Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Policy Innovation discussed the rise of protectionism and industrial policy and what that means for the American economy at the Dallas stop of the Free Market Road Show.

Empire Center issued a press release that reported that New York’s two teacher pension systems last year had 25 retirees eligible to collect pensions of more than $300,000.

Free State Foundation submitted comments opposing a so-called “amnesty” window during which winners of auctions to award government subsidies from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund could back out of their commitments to construct broadband infrastructure without meaningful consequence.

Goldwater Institute’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy launched a campaign to host robust U.S. civics and history professional development workshops for middle and high school teachers.

John Locke Foundation released the findings of its latest Carolina Journal poll which reveal North Carolina voters’ preferences in the upcoming national election.

Liberty Justice Center issued statements on the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, which held government officials accountable for violating American’s First Amendment rights through social media censorship and Fifth Amendment rights through government gamesmanship.

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs announced that Tom Newell, a former state legislator, has joined the Council as Vice President for the Center for Culture and the Family.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty released its newest redistricting report, Behind the Lines: Examining Proportional Representation in Redistricting. The report dives into the problematic concept of proportional representation in the gerrymandering debate, especially considering a recent Supreme Court of Wisconsin decision on the state’s legislative maps. The Institute also released videos that discuss proposed state constitutional amendments, and “the extreme rhetoric” surrounding alleged threats to democracy and how such reckless assertions come from both the Left and Right.

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

The Buckeye Institute filed amicus briefs in two important cases before the courts. In No on E v. Chiu, Buckeye called on the U.S. Supreme Court to protect America’s “honorable tradition” of anonymous political speech, and in Alliance for Fair Board Recruitment v. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Buckeye called on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to prohibit the SEC from forcing publicly traded companies to comply with arbitrary racial and gender quotas.

Liberty Justice Center issued a letter demanding that Meta Platforms provide an explanation for its actions after Facebook and Instagram displayed a public message falsely accusing Sonja Shaw—president of the Chino Valley Unified School District and outspoken advocate for parents’ rights—of child sexual abuse. Continuing the legal battle to hold elected officials accountable for violating state law, the Center and the Law Office of Nicole C. Pearson filed their opening trial brief in the case Protect Kids California v. Bonta. The case aims to hold California’s Attorney General accountable for providing a misleading, biased title to a proposed ballot initiative—instead of a neutral title and summary as California law requires. After the Center sent a letter demanding that the Denton County District Attorney investigate illegal election interference by school officials, registered voters in Harris County contacted the Center with a similar story of corruption in their own school district. In turn, the Center submitted a demand letter on their behalf, petitioning the Harris County District Attorney to investigate illegal electioneering in the Huffman Independent School District. Finally, the Center filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear No on E v. Chiu, a case challenging San Francisco’s compelled disclosures for political speech.

Mackinac Center filed an appeal against the Michigan Court of Appeals’ flawed decision which ruled that the personal income tax cut Michigan residents received last year was intended to be temporary.

Pelican Institute joined with the Liberty Justice Center to launch a Fifth Circuit case fighting against the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) onerous rule requiring all companies registered with the SEC to report extensively on climate-related activities.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin urging the justices to exercise caution when considering an argument made by Governor Tony Evers that could grow fundamentally alter how government works in the state.  

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Success Stories

Caesar Rodney Institute played a pivotal role in drafting the amendment to U.S. Senator Carper’s Atomic Energy Advancement Act which will grant a significant funding award for the first company to secure a license for a groundbreaking “nuclear reactor” fueled by reprocessed nuclear waste.

California: San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure that restored the city’s algebra standards – a sign that voters are stepping away from watering down math education in the name of “equity” (Pacific Research Institute).

Idaho: The Legislature adopted a bill which continues the state’s ongoing income tax reduction efforts. The combined corporate and personal income tax relief adopted by the bill is estimated to be around $59.1 million for Fiscal Year 2025, providing tax payers significant tax relief. In addition, state lawmakers also ended the practice of including political messages on taxpayer refund checks – a step which reflects the need to keep electioneering types of communication out of financial payments (Mountain States Policy Center).

Nebraska: Governor Pillen signed the Personal Privacy Protection Act (PPPA), which safeguards Americans’ personal information when donating to nonprofit causes. The PPPA is now law in 18 states (People United for Privacy).

Utah: Lawmakers authorized Intermountain Health and the University of Utah to operate pilot programs for psilocybin and MDMA psychotherapy treatment – an important step towards addressing the state’s ongoing mental health crisis and showing how legislators recognize the potential of these treatments (Libertas Institute). 

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

Caesar Rodney Institute issued a brief which urged Delaware policymakers to prioritize the future of Delaware’s students by focusing on policy that emphasizes financial accountability, strengthens graduation requirements, improves standardized testing and more.

Empire Center published briefs that analyze data on New York state’s growing school spending, question a recent move by the state climate agency to hire a public relations firm that brings out concerns over transparency, shed light on a politically favored medical group which was given $29 million in “distressed” provider funds, report on an independent review that shines a harsh light on New York’s controversial nursing home directive during the Covid-19 crisis, and critique a state budget plan that includes a $4 billion pension giveaway that particularly benefits higher-paid employees.

John Locke Foundation published briefs which comment on how markets can help mitigate artificial intelligence (AI) bias in K-12 education, reveal how the North Carolina Governor is seeking to shut out universal school choice, and rundown the recent launch of new election reforms.

Mountain States Policy Center released briefs which synthesize the school choice policies currently on the books in 29 states, expose how school choice policies could fix startling special education violations, and analyze ideas of how artificial intelligence (AI) could provide opportunities to reduce taxpayer funded spending.

Washington Policy Center wrote briefs that expose the continued faults of the WA Cares program despite the state assuring taxpayers of the program’s portability and illustrate how modern food expectations depend on Washington’s agriculture community.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty issued a brief which breaks down the potential impact of a proposed $252 million annual referendum that will raise taxes on those in the city of Milwaukee in perpetuity.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

California: Lawmakers have proposed a bill which aims at reducing retail theft by targeting professional retail thieves and stolen goods resellers, allow repeat offenders to be held in custody, and more. If passed the bill would be an important step to reducing the retail shrinkage rate – $7.8 billion of which is estimated to stem from retail theft in the state (Pacific Research Institute).

Kansas: A few bills in the Topeka state house are offering opportunities to reduce property taxes – a much needed step as the state has the highest property taxes in the country for Rural Commercial properties and hundreds of thousands of Kansas home owners are experiencing higher property taxes due to a recent valuation spike (Kansas Policy Institute).

Michigan: The federal government announced that it will give a $1.5 billion loan to restart the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station – a good first step to righting the government’s wrongs. At the time of its closure, the nuclear plant provided 6.5% of the state’s electricity and 15% of the state’s clean energy (Mackinac Center).

Mississippi: The Senate advanced the Lifesaving Treatment Act, meaning patients with rare diseases are one step closer to accessing innovative medical treatments designed just for them. The bill now awaits further action in the House (Goldwater Institute).

South Carolina: There are opportunities in play on the Senate floor to reduce intrusive governmental occupational licensing requirements by allowing mobile cosmetology and nail salons as well as deregulating hair-braiding and blow-dry styling. In addition, a bill advanced out of subcommittee that would instill a “Right to Shop” in healthcare by eliminating “surprise billing” and giving state residents transparency in healthcare costs (Palmetto Promise).

Washington: The Seattle City Council is considering reversing a food delivery fee policy that’s driven up cost and hurt small businesses (Washington Policy Center).

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

Navigating Reform: Legislative Priorities to Improve Delaware K-12 Education
Caesar Rodney Institute

Minnesota Public School Enrollment Drops for 4th Consecutive Year
Center of the American Experiment

What’s Driving Minneapolis School District’s Declining Enrollment?
Center of the American Experiment

When the New York Times Admits School Closures Were Bad – They Were Really, Really Bad
Freedom Foundation

A New Path for Montana Education
Frontier Institute

Out of Options, One Granite State Family Turned to EFAs Only to Find Out They ‘Made Too Much’
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Obscure Election Dates Undermine Parents’ Influence
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Public Schools Serve All Children? Oklahoma Parents Find That’s Not So
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Breaking Down 2024-25 ESTF Application Data
Palmetto Promise Institute

How Will the Four-day School Week Progress in Light of SB 727?
Show-Me Institute

Forging New Ground in Education
Texas Public Policy Foundation

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Energy and Environment

Republican Support for Solar Falls 17 Percent Since 2016, But Still Is More Favorable Than Fracking
Center of the American Experiment

Hail Storm Destroys Thousands of Solar Panels in Texas
Center of the American Experiment

Bloomberg: Wind and Solar Will Need Subsidies Indefinitely
Center of the American Experiment

Shapiro’s Senseless Expansion of Alternative Energy
Commonwealth Foundation

Shapiro’s Carbon Tax Plan Is Unnecessary, Unpopular and Harmful
Commonwealth Foundation

More California Dreaming: Banning Plastic Bags = More Use of Plastic Bags
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Make Berkeley Pit Great Again
Frontier Institute

Car Wars and Other Progressive Fantasies
Pacific Research Institute

Can We Power the EPA’s EV Fantasy?
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Re-Energize Connecticut
Yankee Institute

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Bill Would Mandate State Academic Health Standards
Center of the American Experiment

While New York’s Medicaid Budget Soared, Public Health Funding Languished
Empire Center

How One Licensing Requirement Limits Patient Access to PAs
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

A Medicinal Pilot for Psychedelic Therapy in Utah
Libertas Institute

Transformative Medical Therapy Will Require New Cost-Benefit and Pricing Models
Pioneer Institute

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Housing Affordability

Cost of NIMBYism Way Too High
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Turnout Determines Property Tax Increases in March Special Election
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

A New Hope for Texas Homebuyers
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Poor Housing Incentives: Tax Credits Reward Politicians Not Neighbors in Need
Pioneer Institute

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Jobs and State Economies

Drain the Reservoirs, Return California’s Stolen Land
California Policy Center

What Ancient Jewish Wisdom Has to Say About Dignity Through Work
Cardinal Institute

Lawmakers Reject Financial Liberty in Favor of Special Interests
Idaho Freedom Foundation

March Madness Pushed Illinois Sports Wagers to $335M Last Year
Illinois Policy

The Policy Shop: The Real Causes of – and Solutions to – Chicago Poverty
Illinois Policy

The Feds Target America’s Innovators, Again.
James Madison Institute

Whatever Became of Michigan’s Population Council?
Mackinac Center

Naked Favoritism Becoming Michigan’s Economic Strategy
Mackinac Center

Happy Fourth Anniversary, COVID Lockdown!
Mackinac Center

Solution to CA’s Farm Loss Is Through Proactively Working with Ag Community
Pacific Research Institute

Congestion Pricing Mainly about Punishing Suburbanites
Pacific Research Institute

Digital Divide and Conquer: Effective Coordination between Broadband Programs is Key to Connectivity
Pelican Institute

Reforming Welfare and Workforce Policy Elevates Work
Sutherland Institute

The Good Life: Fighting for Affordability, Opportunity, and Prosperity in Texas
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Who is Behind the Push to Eliminate the Subminimum Wage on Tipped Workers?
Yankee Institute

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State Budgets

Star Tribune Peddles ‘Pink Tax’ Myth Using Paper That Debunked It
Center of the American Experiment

DFLers Push Bill to Protect ‘Home Equity Theft’
Center of the American Experiment

The Arizona Constitution’s Ban on Government Subsidies—Past, Present, and Future
Goldwater Institute

Despite Surplus, Gov. Mills and Democrats Seem Poised to Raid Maine’s Rainy-Day Fund
Maine Policy Institute

Why Did Gov. Mills Bury an Unpopular Streaming Tax in Her Budget Proposal?
Maine Policy Institute

KC Stadium Tax Debate with Patrick Tuohey, Sly James and Jim Rowland
Show-Me Institute

Fact Checking That Stadium Tax Event
Show-Me Institute

Veto the Budget, Governor!
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

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Workplace Freedom

Washington Education Association Gives Big to Progressive Causes, Tax Return Shows
Freedom Foundation

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Residents of Glidden and Jacobs a Rare Breed — and Getting Rarer
Badger Institute

Humans Are Snowflakes
Frontier Institute

The Constitution and Elections, Part III: 20th Century Changes
Independence Institute

Conservatives Shouldn’t Get Into the Banning Business
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

UCLA’s Ronald Mellor on Tacitus, Roman Emperors, & Despotism
Pioneer Institute

Protecting Constitutional Liberties
Platte Institute

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The Network in the News

At RealClear, the Cardinal Institute‘s Amanda Kieffer highlights how workplace licensing holds back ex-convicts.

In the Portland Tribune, the Cascade Policy Institute‘s John Charles notes repealing Oregon’s EV mandate should be next on Gov. Kotek’s list.

In the New York Post, the Empire Center‘s Ken Girardin highlights how New York Republicans betrayed taxpayers in favor of pricey union pensions.

In his recent column, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield highlights Georgia’s new school choice program. 

In The HillGoldwater Institute‘s Naomi Lopez notes Right to Try 2.0’ would bring innovative medicine to desperate Americans.

In The TennesseanGoldwater Institute‘s Brian Norman encourages policymakers to let Tennessee developers pay for third-party inspectors so they can build more housing.

In the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Paul Vallas notes the governor and mayor’s response to the migrant crisis is an abuse of executive power.

In the Des Moines RegisterIowans for Tax Relief Foundation‘s John Hendrickson highlights why the new tax notice you got in the mail is an important tool for transparency. 

In the Washington Examiner, the Independent Institute’s William J. Watkins, Jr., examines how the First Amendment is under attack in American’s Oceania.

In the Washington TimesThe James Madison Institute‘s Robert McClure highlights how Florida ensures election integrity.

In his recent column, the John Locke Foundation‘s John Hood considers how licensing laws shackle labor markets in North Carolina

In The County Press, the Mackinac Center‘s James Hohman criticizes Michigan’s unsustainable budget. 

At CalMatters, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes points out that if expanding quality healthcare access is California’s goal, Medi-Cal is not the solution.

In The Advocate, the Pelican Institute‘s Erin Bendily explains how an ESA program will help Louisianans. 

In the Washington ExaminerSutherland Institute‘s Nic Dunn notes reforming welfare and workforce policy elevates work.

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Categories: News