State Policy Network
Week in Review: November 3, 2023


The Buckeye Institute and Free the People co-hosted a blockbuster red-carpet premiere in our nation’s capital for the award-winning documentary, Everyone Is Welcome, and released the film nationwide. The 24-minute documentary features the David v. Goliath legal battle Buckeye’s client Eric Flannery faced to reopen his H Street neighborhood bar and grill, The Big Board. 

Caesar Rodney Institute urged “public comments” and warned the public about the federal government approving an offshore wind project just 10 miles off the coast of Delaware and Maryland for 2024.

Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany released a study that found that New York school districts used lower-turnout special elections to approve nearly $2 billion in projects and purchases. These measures had a higher likelihood of passing when fewer voters participated, possibly encouraging officials to schedule them at unusual times.

Illinois Policy Institute released an analysis of U.S. Census data that confirmed that Illinois’ massive tax burden is driving away residents: 97% of the nearly 116,000 residents who left Illinois last year went to states with lower taxes.

James Madison Institute released its 2024 Policy Priorities detailing a robust and visionary set of policy initiatives for the next year that advance the cause of liberty and prosperity. The Institute’s Sal Nuzzo also submitted testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce in favor of the BOSS and SWIFT Act and the Ticket Act.

John Locke Foundation released its latest research report: “Gateway to the World: A Report on North Carolina’s Ports,” discussing potential solutions to improve North Carolina’s vital seaports. The Foundation released their newest episode of “Policy Pizza” this last week, where they sat down with Daniel Di Martino, founder of the Dissident Project, to chat about the rise in socialism in the US and what he is doing to fight back.

Kansas Policy Institute published research showing that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have not closed achievement gaps for minority students in Kansas. In addition, the report shows that income-based achievement gaps are also worse.

Liberty Justice Center was featured on the National Review’s Radio Free California Podcast. The podcast highlighted the Center’s recent oral arguments in California v. Chino Valley Unified School District, a case on Chino Valley’s parental notification policy.

Mountain States Policy Center’s Jason Mercier released a Halloween-themed top five policy suggestions to use to ward off “scary” policy ideas.

Opportunity Arkansas released their latest education polling data, showing that bipartisan support for education freedom is on the rise.

Pacific Research Institute organized a one-day training program for elected school board members in Washington state. Washington Policy Center announced that their own Liv Finne will be a panelist speaking at the event.

Pelican Institute for Public Policy released the second part of its Peli-Guide to the Constitutional Amendments which unpacks the state constitutional amendments currently on the ballot.

South Carolina Policy Council released a roadmap showing how South Carolina can achieve universal school choice, and the Council’s Bryce Fielder was quoted in The Lion arguing the Palmetto State’s new school choice program is constitutional and good for students.

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

Goldwater Institute filed a brief in the North Carolina Supreme Court today in support of a group of business owners who are challenging that state’s anti-competitive certificate of need (CON) law.

Liberty Justice Center, following up on their win for free speech last month, urged the Ninth Circuit Court to issue a ruling in McDonald v. Lawson, providing legal precedent to challenge or prevent similar laws in the future. The case where the Center is representing Chino Valley Unified School District against a lawsuit by the California Attorney General was also featured in an opinion piece in the Federalist criticized the New York Times for “vilifying” Chino Valley Unified School District for “returning power to parents.”

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s “disadvantaged business enterprise” program, alleging illegal discrimination against two clients—Mid-America Milling Company LLC and Bagshaw Trucking Inc. 

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Success Stories

Heartland Institute announced a success in the rapid growth of its YouTube channels – The Heartland Institute and Stopping Socialism TV. In 2023, Heartland is on pace for posting more than 300 videos on YouTube, Rumble, and Facebook with more than 3 million views and more than 16 million minutes viewed.

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs  

California Policy Center’s Mark Moses wrote a brief examining why the California State Auditor has opted to forgo releasing a 2023 report on the fiscal health of “high-risk” cities – an action which eliminates a crucial resource for city officials, journalists, analysts, and residents with which to evaluate their cities individually and comparatively. 

Illinois Policy Institute released a policy brief examining the state’s “last stand” for school choice – the soon-expiring Invest in Kids Act – and made the case why this policy should be extended.

Institute for Reforming Government released a new tax reform policy brief as lawmakers in Madison continue to debate how best to deliver tax relief to Wisconsinites. In it, the Institute proposed a plan would eliminating income tax on overtime wages – saving the average Wisconsin manufacturing worker $323 annually.

Mackinac Center issued a brief unpacking the Michigan energy plan, which would potentially raise individual electricity rates by thousands per year with no effect on the global climate.

Mountain States Policy Center’s Chris Cargill released a brief examining the Obamacare promises that have not come to fruition.

Pioneer Institute released a brief examining the fiscal policies that led to Massachusetts falling from 34th to 46th in the Tax Foundation’s 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index. This was the largest fall among all states ranked this year.

South Carolina Policy Council’s Bryce Fiedler penned a brief examining how the state’s unfair civil liability system is bad for business and charted a path for reform.

Texas Public Policy Foundation’s John Bonura wrote a brief examining the policies driving the worsening homeless situation in the Lone Star state capital.

Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy’s Stephen D. Haner issued a brief examining the suspicious timing of the approval for the construction of Dominion Energy Virginia’s Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project and the policies driving the project.

Washington Policy Center’s Elizabeth Hovde penned a brief revealing that paid leave isn’t primarily helping people in need but is going to middle and upper-income wage earners.

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Tracking Positive Reforms: Updates from Network Affiliates  

Nebraska: After experiencing tax reform in 2023 that has been described as the “best in the nation,” tax reform is still in the air in Nebraska, where legislators are considering reforms to property, inheritance, and sales taxes (Platte Institute).

New York: A package of proposed regulations that included a $10.18 fee for filling most drug prescriptions was withdrawn Tuesday by the Department of Financial Services in the face of broad opposition (Empire Center).

Ohio: Under a process championed by The Buckeye Institute, Ohio lawmakers must review and renew occupational licensing boards at least once every six years, or they automatically expire. As the Ohio House begins its latest review, Buckeye identified 47 licenses that the state should eliminate or reform to make Ohio more economically competitive and make it easier for people to earn a living. 

Texas: Governor Abbott announced a promising development for Texas parents: he has reached an agreement with House Speaker Phelan on school choice. Though details of that agreement are not yet available, Texas Public Policy Foundation CEO Greg Sindelar stated that “we look forward to working with the House to ensure Texas puts parents first.”

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Policy News from the States


K-12 Education

Home Education Up 39% in Minnesota Since 2017 School Year
Center of the American Experiment

Minnesota ACT Scores Continue to Drop
Center of the American Experiment

The Georgia Promise Scholarship (SB 233): What Private Schools Need to Know
Georgia Center for Opportunity

Another Year of Lousy School Test Results Proves State Officials Aren’t Interested in “Accountability”
Idaho Freedom Foundation

Most Chicago Students Still Read, Perform Math Below Grade Level
Illinois Policy

Oklahoma A-F Grades Provide Transparency
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

0 out of 5—What a Score
Show-Me Institute

Two Decades in the School Choice Trenches
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Media Misses the Mark on Latest SAT Numbers
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

Wisconsin’s School Choice Programs Serve Students with Disabilities
Badger Institute

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Energy and Environment

Climate Data Refutes Crisis Narrative
California Policy Center

Fixing Forest Litigation
Frontier Institute

Michigan Lawmakers Should Aim for the Least Harmful Net Zero Plan
Mackinac Center

California Reverses Itself in its Latest ‘Turf War’
Pacific Research Institute

Show-Me Energy: Today’s Energy Sources
Show-Me Institute

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Tragic Incentives and Transgender Medical Care
Caesar Rodney Institute

Original Opponents of Georgia Pathways Continue to Oppose Georgia Pathways
Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Good Ideas Done Poorly in Jefferson and Perry Counties
Show-Me Institute

WI Patients Stand to Benefit Most from Healthcare Price Transparency
Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

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Housing Affordability

Monsters of Our Own Making
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

Cook County Property Taxes Up $909 Million
Illinois Policy

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Jobs and State Economies

Right-To-Work Was Key to Pandemic Recovery
Mackinac Center

Transit Reformers Ask All the Wrong Questions
Mackinac Center

Swimply’s Fight for Individual Liberty in Henderson
Nevada Policy Research Institute

Despite Michelin, State Remains Attractive to Business
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

Revitalizing Downtowns Means Focusing on the Basics
Pacific Research Institute

The Economy Isn’t All that Rosy–Louisiana Economic Situation October 2023
Pelican Institute for Public Policy

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State Budgets

Flying Squirrel Research Garners Golden Turkey Nomination
Center of the American Experiment

DEED Commissioned Report Finds PFML Payroll Tax Burden to Increase by 23% in Four Years
Center of the American Experiment

Few Voices Making Big Choices for NY Taxpayers
Empire Center

Pausing for a Silent Moment of Malfeasance
Indiana Policy Review Foundation

Time for a 180 on Michigan 360
Mackinac Center

State Budget Update: Bigger State Budget Deficit on the Horizon?
Pacific Research Institute

Louisiana Bumps Toward the Bottom of Yet Another List
Pelican Institute for Public Policy

Houston’s Coming Financial Crisis
Texas Public Policy Foundation

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Workplace Freedom

Teachers’ Union Labels School Choice Policies ‘Schemes’
Center of the American Experiment

The NEA Sues South Carolina: Does Their Tillman Constitution Claim Have Merit?
Palmetto Promise Institute

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Unintended Consequences: “I Didn’t Think of That…”
Cardinal Institute

We Don’t Need a Ministry of Truth
Cascade Policy Institute

Montana’s Love Affair with William Jennings Bryan
Frontier Institute

When It Comes to Ballot Measures, A Two-For-One Deal Isn’t So Good
Mountain States Policy Center

Leslie Klinger on Sherlock Holmes, Horror Stories, & Halloween
Pioneer Institute

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The Network in the News

At Penn Live, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Charles Mitchell encouraged Gov. Shapiro to lead on educational freedom in Pennsylvania.

At Broad + Liberty, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Kevin Mooney relates how state Senator Ward sees momentum for Lifeline Scholarships despite union pressure and state house turmoil.

In The Regulatory Review, Free State Foundation’s Randolph May explains why urging supporters to “make some noise”  is the wrong message to send at the beginning of net neutrality new rulemaking.

In Restoring America, the Freedom Foundation’s Jason Dudash examines how Oregon illustrates how union policies are ruining public education.

At National Review, the Freedom Foundation’s Aaron Withe questions if Miami teachers will free themselves from union shackles.

In the Daily Record, the Garden State Initiative’s Danielle Zanzalari notes government lawsuits threaten consumers’ pockets and do little to help the environment.

In his recent column, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield highlights how some Georgia leaders are ready to pull the plug on Gov. Brian Kemp’s limited expansion of Medicaid, known as Georgia Pathways.

At RealClearPolicy, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Brad Wesienstien considers the fate of Illinois’ Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit program.

In his recent column for The Denver Gazette, the Independence Institute‘s Jon Caldara highlights how there will be a special session to lower property taxes in Colorado.

In his recent column, the John Locke Foundation‘s John Hood notes North Carolina excels in tax reform.

At RealClearPolicy, the John Locke Foundation‘s Dr. Andy Jackson breaks down why North Carolina does not need to use racial data to be compliant with the Voting Rights Act.

In The Salt Lake Tribune, the Libertas Institute‘s Caden Rosenbaum and Gavin Hickman consider how to fix Utah’s cybersecurity problem.

In his recent columnOCPA‘s Jonathan Small notes arguments against religious charter schools fall short.

In his recent column, John Hood notes poor schools already get more funding.

In Forbes, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes notes open enrollment is a warning, not a cause for celebration.

In The Center Square, the Pelican Institute‘s Vance Ginn points out Louisiana’s poor economic health requires fast action.

In the Deseret NewsSutherland Institute‘s Beth Akers argues colleges and universities shouldn’t be in the business of making political statements.

In the Spokesman-Review, Washington Policy Center’s Pam Lewison goes over the proposed changes to the H-2A program that would increase labor union strength while sacrificing farmworker rights and privacy.

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Categories: News