State Policy Network
Week in Review: May 24, 2024

Announcements  

Alabama Policy Institute released a recap of the 2024 regular session victories, showing that 17 of the 30 issues highlighted in the Institute’s Blueprint for Alabama were successfully adopted.

The Buckeye Institute submitted testimony to Ohio’s Joint Committee on Property Tax Review and Reform which outlined several reforms that lawmakers and local government officials can adopt to ease the property tax burden on Ohioans, which contributes to Ohio having the 12th highest local tax burden as a percentage of income in the country.

Common Sense Institute released Public Safety Competitiveness indices in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Oregon. The releases are a snapshot of public safety performance of each state relative to the other 49 states and the District of Columbia using the proprietary indexing system developed by the Institute’s Senior Economist Dr. Steven Byers. 

Empower Mississippi launched its tenth anniversary celebration with a video looking back at how the organization got its start.

Institute for Reforming Government released a new report outlining a new approach to government regulation that allows entrepreneurs and problem solvers to create innovative products and services – and much needed change considering how Wisconsin trails the rest of the nation when it comes to innovation and start-ups. 

John Locke Foundation, Palmetto Promise Institute, and the South Carolina Policy Council were awarded a 2024 Innovation Prize from the Heritage Foundation in recognition for their joint education initiative, the Carolinas Academic Leadership Network.

Kansas Policy Institute released research revealing that payrolls for employees at state agencies and universities totaled $2.48 billion in 2023, including $39.5 million in overtime and an analysis showing that education officials in Kansas are at the top of the 2023 KPERS ‘millionaires’ list.

Mountain States Policy Center released an analysis of new data from the Education Psychology Review which indicates students who attend private and parochial schools perform much better when it comes to obtaining well-rounded civics knowledge – a finding which brings down yet another anti-choice argument.

Opportunity Akansas’ Founder and CEO Nic Horton was selected as an inaugural inductee to America’s Future’s 1995 Society in recognition of the young leader’s successful efforts to promote freedom and limited government. The organization also announced a new initiative, For AR Families, intended to educate Arkansans about the misleadingly named “Education Rights Amendment of 2024,” and released a new video, Blank Check, and an in-depth analysis as part of the initiative.

 South Carolina Policy Council published a legislative session recap highlighting how South Carolina is pressing forward with changes to advance liberty, provide tax relief, and increase government transparency, among other improvements. Several of these measures are now signed into law, while others are just shy of the finish line.

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

The Buckeye Institute and Mountain States Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief in Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence Corp. v. School Committee for the City of Boston, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to end discrimination-by-proxy in elite public schools. 

Freedom Foundation filed petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court justices in defense of workers’ rights: Deering v. IBEW 18 and Tanishia Hubbard v. SEIU 2015 plus Kristy Jimenez v. SEIU 775.

Liberty Justice Center secured a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of a hastily-passed Illinois law that attempted to change the rules for ballot access in the middle of an election cycle. “We applaud the Court’s decision to uphold the rule of law and support voting rights for all people in Illinois,” said Jeffrey Schwab, Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “We look forward to continuing to defend these fundamental rights in court and will be pressing forward to ensure the preliminary injunction becomes permanent.”

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a Title VI complaint against the American Bar Association for several discriminatory programs, including its “Judicial Clerkship Program” and “Judicial Intern Opportunity Program,” which offer premier, exclusive opportunities to candidates based on race. The Institute also joined a broad coalition of other organizations to file an amicus brief in defense of government transparency in the Wisconsin Supreme Court case, Wisconsin Voters Alliance v. Secord. Finally, the Institute filed an appeal on behalf of Scarlett Johnson, a Wisconsin mom who is being sued for defamation for criticizing her school district on social media.

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Success Stories

Iowa: The governor signed a bill which will expand educational opportunities within the state by prohibiting a practice used to quash competition: public school districts preventing the sale of their vacant old buildings to private or charter schools (Liberty Justice Center). 

Minnesota: The legislative session ended, bringing with it news of defensive victories that prevented tax hikes on housing, internet and corporations and stopped a proposal to use $100 million of taxpayer money to fund a universal basic income scheme (Center of the American Experiment).

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

The Buckeye Institute released a new policy memo highlighting one of the largest single drivers of healthcare costs—rising hospital costs, noting that hospital costs account for 30 percent of all healthcare spending. Buckeye urged hospitals—and the policymakers that help oversee them to look for ways to control spending and alleviate known causes of higher costs.

Empire Center issued a brief which analyzes how eight in 10 towns in New York state are losing population and highlighting the demographics of the select areas that are experiencing growth.

Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s Kyle Wingfield wrote a brief about how the first completely new nuclear reactors have been brought online in this country in more than three decades in Georgia while the EPA continues their disastrous mission to outlaw coal-fired power plants.

John Locke Foundation published a brief which examines data that show many North Carolina counties lack a charter school and suggests policies that might provide solutions to this scarcity.

Mackinac Center released a brief that examines Michigan’s data privacy policy proposal, showing how it raises serious issues for companies operating across state lines and does little to help consumers.

Mountain States Policy Center released a set of briefs which break down how health insurance mandates increase the cost of healthcare, show how a performance-based budgeting policy will increase tangible outcomes for taxpayers, and call for a right-to-work constitutional amendment to protect workers’ paychecks.

Washington Policy Center released a suite of briefs which reveal how a proposed levy for Seattle’s transportation needs would only pave 2% of the city’s roads, examine a lawsuit that would increase farm labor costs and undermine the agriculture sector in Washington, and highlight how a recent piece in the Seattle Times fails to show the real cost of solar power.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

Florida: South Florida teachers will have the option of replacing the United Teachers of Dade, the third largest teachers’ union in the country, with an independent, local organization formed by activist educators looking to make a change in their representation, thanks to an order from Florida’s Public Employment Relations Commission that ensures the independent union a spot on the upcoming certification election (Freedom Foundation).

Pennsylvania: The Senate proposed a budget that focuses on reducing taxes and expanding educational options – a stark contrast to Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget which would necessitate tax hikes on working families (Commonwealth Foundation).

Oklahoma: A bill was proposed in the House that could improve flagging student attendance which has fallen to 80% in many state schools (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs).

South Carolina: Both the House and Senate advanced proposals to accelerate tax relief. Details of the state’s relief package are still being worked out in budget conference committee and will be finalized in June (South Carolina Policy Council).

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Policy News from the States

Topics:

K-12 Education

It’s Time for Tennessee: Double-Digit States Offer Universal Education Freedom
Beacon Center of Tennessee

New Report Debunks Anti-School Choice ‘Welfare for the Wealthy’ Narrative
Goldwater Institute

MPS Attack on Carmen Charter
Institute for Reforming Government

Iowa’s K–12 School Debt Hits New Levels
Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation

Opportunity Scholarship Expansion Hits a Snag in the North Carolina House
John Locke Foundation

Education Freedom Meant Better Education Outcomes for This New Hampshire Family
Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Debunking Myths About Utah Education Fits All Distribution
Libertas Institute

Transform Schools with NFL-Inspired Teacher Selection
Mackinac Center

Can We Revitalize Democracy through High School Students?
Maine Policy Institute

Kimberly Steadman of Edward Brooke on Boston’s Charter School Sector
Pioneer Institute

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Energy and Environment

Only Unity Can Challenge Environmentalism, Inc.
California Policy Center

Want Lower Electricity Prices? Move to a Poor Neighborhood.
Center of the American Experiment

On Energy: 2024 Legislature Ends with a Whimper
Center of the American Experiment

Copper Needs for Green Transition “Impossible” to Meet
Center of the American Experiment

How Does Minnesota Really Get Its Electricity?
Center of the American Experiment

Embracing Green Mandates and Giveaways Isn’t Path to Conservative Success
Pacific Research Institute

LNG Permit Ban Absurd
Rio Grande Foundation

Mark P. Mills Testifies Before U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Texas Public Policy Foundation

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Healthcare

Governor Ivey Should Reject Renewed Calls to Expand Medicaid
Alabama Policy Institute

Higher Hospital Costs Lead to Higher Prices
The Buckeye Institute

Medicaid Expansion Comes With Massive Fraud
John Locke Foundation

Health Insurance Mandates Increase the Cost of Healthcare
Mountain States Policy Center

History Speaks Clearly to SC Health Agency Reforms
Palmetto Promise Institute

WILL Highlights Mental Health Awareness in May
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Housing Affordability

How Does Government Policy Increase the Cost of Housing?
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Why Are Both Homelessness and Homelessness Spending Growing?
Independent Institute

Study Finds Supply Shortage at the Heart of Greater Boston Housing Crisis
Pioneer Institute

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Jobs and State Economies

Rideshare Fiasco Torpedoes DFL’s Legislative Agenda
Center of the American Experiment

Illinois’ Black Unemployment Rate No. 2 in U.S.
Illinois Policy

The Scourge of Fast Food Inflation
MacIver Institute

Examine Families When Deciding How to Grow Michigan’s Population
Mackinac Center

Government Intrusion in Market Only Hurts Consumers
Nevada Policy

Socialism by Any Name Is Impeding America’s Cities
Pacific Research Institute

Sacramento Wants to ‘CLEAR’ Out Private Sector Convenience for Millions of Travelers
Pacific Research Institute

New AEI Report Challenges Gloomy Views of Worker Pay
Show-Me Institute

HOME II, It’s Not Just a Phase
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Wyoming’s Business Landscape
Wyoming Liberty Group

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State Budgets

Why Is Rural Broadband So Challenging? Government Red Tape, Mostly.
Commonwealth Foundation

A Ritzy Mercedes, a Busted Mayor, and the Worst Chief Financial Officer You Ever Saw Made April a Month for Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Illinois Memorial Day Drivers Face 2nd-Highest Gas Taxes in Nation
Illinois Policy

Lansing Bets on a Tax Hike
Mackinac Center

Maine Requests $456 Million Grant for Sears Island Wind Port
Maine Policy Institute

Politicians, Bureaucrats Have Public Budgets Backward
Nevada Policy

Tribes Seek Share of Turnpike Revenue
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Louisiana House Passes Supplemental Funding for the Current Fiscal Year
Pelican Institute

Let’s Just Get Rid of Personal Responsibility for Everyone
Show-Me Institute

Who’s Profiting from Taxpayer Spending on Education?
Texas Public Policy Foundation

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Workplace Freedom

New Yorkers Moving to Florida—and Government Unions to Blame
Commonwealth Foundation

Illinois Leaders Who Pushed Pro-Union Amendment Thwart Their Own Staffers
Illinois Policy

Congressional Testimony Exposes Union Tactics to Undermine Elections
Mackinac Center

We Need a Right-to-Work Constitutional Amendment – Here’s Why
Mountain States Policy Center

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Other

Fort Benton: A Small Town with a Famous Name
Frontier Institute

American Founder Jonathan Smith’s Inspiring Speech
Independence Institute

The Great John Marshall: Part 1
Independence Institute

Is Your Car Actually Spying on You?
Libertas Institute

Russian Cyberterror Attacks Should Be Wakeup Call to DHS: Less Censorship, More Security
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Manipulating the Masses – The Rise of Social Media Algorithms and AI
Wyoming Liberty Group

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The Network in the News

In the YellowHammer News, the Alabama Policy Institute‘s Stephanie Holden Smith notes Governor Ivey should reject renewed calls to expand Medicaid.

In The Newberg Graphic, the Cascade Policy Institute‘s Kathryn Hickok considers if school choice will be on Oregon ballots soon. 

At RealClearPolicy, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s David R. Osborne and Andrew Holman highlight how New Yorkers are moving to Florida—and government unions are to blame.

At Penn Live, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Nathan Benefield highlights several state Senate bills centered around lower taxes and energy costs for working families and educational opportunities for low-income students.

In The Center Square, the Foundation for Government Accountability‘s Sofia de Vito points out Conservative AGs are breaking down the blue wall Biden is building.

In the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii‘s Mark Coleman and Jonathan Helton note Hawaii’s proposed income tax cuts are a net positive for the state’s economy. 

In his recent column for The Denver Gazette, the Independence Institute‘s Jon Caldara highlights how Governor Polis plays is playing hero putting out his own fire. 

In The American Spectator, the Independent Institute’s Lloyd Billingsley calls for student achievement, and nothing else, to be the primary determiner for so-called selective majors.

In The Epoch Times, the Independent Institute’s Benjamin Ginsberg warns that some campus protesters have adopted the view that America is the Great Satan that must be brought to its knees.

In The Orange County Register, the Independent Institute’s Christopher Calton notes that the more money spent on the “Housing First” strategy, the faster the homelessness crisis grows.

In The GazetteIowans for Tax Relief Foundation‘s John Hendrickson and Vance Ginn highlight the benefits of conservative budgeting and tax cuts. 

At RealClearMarketsIowans for Tax Relief Foundation‘s Sarah Curry and John Hendrickson encourage other states to follow Iowa’s lead and ban universal basic income. 

In USA Today, the Mackinac Center‘s James Hohman and Jarrett Skorup note people are hurt when “economic multipliers” are used to justify wasteful taxpayer subsidies.

In The County Press, the Mackinac Center‘s Mike Reitz outlines the problems with business subsidies. 

In The Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Public Policy Institute‘s Christopher Summers considers Who will rescue Baltimoreans from their tax nightmare

In The Center Square, the Mountain States Policy Center‘s Madi Clark encouraged lawmakers to adopt strong constitutional right-to-work protections for workers and the economy.

In the Pauls Valley Democrat, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs‘ Jonathan Small provides a solution to student absenteeism.

In the Washington Examiner, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes mandating dental coverage will drive up the cost of insurance.

In the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes Congress should take action to make telemedicine permanent.

In her column for Newsmax, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes points out the Inflation Reduction Act will destroy drug access.

In The Post and Courier, the Palmetto Promise Institute‘s Oran Hatch considers why the establishment of the Executive Office of Health and Policy in South Carolina is a good reform. 

In the Nebraska ExaminerPeople United for Privacy’s Heather Lauer and ACLU of Nebraska’s Spike Eickholt hail the unanimous passage of a new law to shield nonprofit donors’ names and home addresses from state agencies.

In the Nebraska Examiner, the Platte Institute‘s Jim Vokal notes foundational property tax relief is within reach in Nebraska. 

In the Deseret NewsSutherland Institute‘s William C. Duncan explains Why religion is good for society.

In RealClear Energy, the Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers shows how some conservatives opposing private companies seeking to promote clean energy are relying on big government environmentalist tactics.

In his recent column, John Hood encourages North Carolina policymakers to cut the state tax on capital gains.

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