State Policy Network
Week in Review: September 22, 2023


In Ohio, the legislature is debating a bill to end Ohio’s tax penalty for marriage. In testimony, The Buckeye Institute urged lawmakers to correct the problem in Ohio’s tax code that results in this unfair tax penalty and stressed that lawmakers need to adopt comprehensive tax and spending reforms.  

California Policy Center announced that it will be hosting a rally for parental rights in Simi Valley on Tuesday, September 26. Speakers include Chino Valley Unified Board President Sonja Shaw, PragerU’s Jill Simonian, and many more. 

Empower Mississippi announced the recipients of its 2023 Rise Award at its third annual policy summit, Unleash Mississippi, which drew a record attendance this year and highlighted conversation with author and charter school founder Ian Rowe, who outlined an approach to empower all Americans to pursue their dreams. 

Frontier Institute issued a statement in response to the order by District Judge Chris Abbott granting plaintiffs in Felchle v. Montana a preliminary injunction to partially halt implementation of the Community Choice Schools Act. Frontier’s Lawrence Read also published a column uncovering the “uncommonness” of Ella Knowles Haskell as a part of its continuing Frontier History series.  

Goldwater Institute announced the speaker for its 35th Annual Dinner and Anniversary Celebration taking place on Friday, November 3, 2023–U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. 

John Locke Foundation’s Bethany Torstenson broke down the latest effort to shift the North Carolina Supreme Court further to the left, highlighting newly appointed Allison Riggs’ limited judicial experience and her history of litigating for election laws like voter identification.   

Liberty Justice Center’s Emily Rae and Sonja Shaw, President of the Chino Valley Unified School District Board, discussed the Attorney General’s “parental notification” lawsuit in a Fox News appearance. Emily Rae was also interviewed by CatholicVote, American Family News, and Chino Valley’s Champion Newspapers. The Center’s Jacob Huebert also appeared on the National Review’s Radio Free California podcast to discuss the organization’s representation of Chino Valley Unified School District in its battle with the California Attorney General over this parental rights case. 

Mississippi Center for Public Policy released their 2023 Mississippi Fat Cat report, which revealed that the state’s top 50 public officials now cost the taxpayer over $10 million a year.  

Mountain States Policy Center released a new study which gathered the top 10 free market agriculture policy ideas, all of which are geared to move the legislative needle toward more farm independence and improved food self- reliance. 

People United for Privacy urged Arizona officials to let the courts rule on a constitutional challenge to the state’s new nonprofit donor disclosure law before issuing regulations under the act. 

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

The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Speech First v. Sands, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and find that Virginia Tech’s use of a ‘bias response team’ violates students’ First Amendment rights. Buckeye also joined the National Federation of Independent Business in filing an amicus brief in Foster v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Chevron—a “judicially created doctrine props up an aggressive administrative state” that imposes regulations far beyond what Congress authorized.  

Liberty Justice Center, joined by the Cato Institute, filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to hear Speech First v. Sands, a case challenging Virginia Tech’s “bias response” policies for violating students’ First Amendment rights. The Center also filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to hear Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board, a case challenging recently-implemented race-based admission policies at the nation’s top-ranked high school. 

Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a brief with the Texas Supreme Court, requesting the Court to overturn a recent lower court decision which held that all violations of Article 1, Section 2 of the Texas Bill of Rights are unreviewable by Texas Courts. 

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Success Stories  

Arkansas: After working towards a reduction to the Arkansas income tax over the last 6 months, Opportunity Arkansas secured another policy victory when the Arkansas legislature reduced the state income tax by nearly $200 million.  

Arizona: A Maricopa County judge declared Phoenix’s homeless “Zone” an illegal public nuisance after property and business owners in the area sued the city for encouraging hundreds of homeless people to reside in tents in a vast swath of downtown (Goldwater Institute). 

Washington: Governor Inslee’s office announced that the Governor would not be vetoing a provision of a bill which allocates funds for individual tutoring to help students recover from the learning losses resulting from the COVID school shutdowns, giving a huge win to Washington families (Washington Policy Center). 

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Elections Commission announced that it complied with a judge’s order to stop allowing use of the National Mail Voter Registration Form, a major win in defense of election integrity (Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty). 

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Solutions from the States: This Week’s Policy Briefs   

Alaska Policy Forum’s Quinn Townsend showed how policymakers can increase healthcare access by repealing the state’s certificate-of-need (CON) laws. 

Beacon Center of Tennessee’s Ron Shultis penned a brief arguing that the best  artificial intelligence (AI) regulatory policy is the free market. 

Empire Center’s James E. Hanley unpacks how the mandate to convert to electric school buses may lead New York school districts to cut educational and athletic programs to cover the cost.  

Frontier Institute’s Trish Schreiber released a brief unpacking how Montana’s Tax Credit Scholarship offers an opportunity to engage in the education freedom ecosystem while simply fulfilling your tax obligations. 

Indiana Policy Review Foundation’s Dennis Ganahl wrote a brief illustrating the power of incremental policy changes with examples such as the recent success of tax relief for seniors in the state or trying to lose two pounds instead of 20. 

John Locke Foundation’s Center for Effective Education released a research brief examining state test scores released this week by the North Carolina Department of Instruction, showing a slight improvement over last year’s scores but still trailing pre-pandemic levels. Also, Locke’s Brian Balfour examined the recently released 600-plus page state budget plan, identifying “the good, bad, and ugly” and what it means for North Carolinians. 

Mountain States Policy Center’s Chris Cargill analyzed the policy and economic implications of the proposed merger of Albertsons and Kroger supermarket chains. 

Pacific Research Institute’s Kerry Jackson issued a brief unpacking California policymakers’ decision to pour $300 million into building new hydrogen fueling stations, despite the fact that there are only about 12,000 hydrogen vehicles in the state. 

Pelican Institute for Public Policy published a brief examining the federal government’s recent moves signaling an intent to influence how we access information via search engines. 

Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers penned a brief laying out the logic behind his definition of the state’s new climate law as a “tax”, a description which state bureaucrats wish to avoid.  

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Policy News from the States 


K-12 Education  

New Group’s Mission: Support Choice, Equip Teachers, Stress Civics and Offer Ed Solutions 
Bluegrass Institute 

Portland Students Could Strike Out Because of Teachers’ Union 
Cascade Policy Institute 

Research Finds that SROS Reduce Some Violent Incidents in Schools by 30%, Increase Disciplinary Incidents by 90% 
Center of the American Experiment 

Battle Over School Levy and Bond Referendums Heating Up 
Center of the American Experiment 

Pennsylvanians Deserve the Truth on Education Spending 
Commonwealth Foundation 

KASB Celebrates Low Achievement 
Kansas Policy Institute 

Michigan Test Results Quantify COVID-Era Learning Loss 
Mackinac Center 

Opportunity Scholarship Foes Hurt Students and State 
Nevada Policy Research Institute 

Union Bosses Pay Lobbyist Big Bucks to Kill School Choice as He Sends His Kids to Private School 
Illinois Policy 

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Energy and Environment  

EPA, Federal Agencies Fail to Provide Regulatory Clarity with Latest WOTUS Rule 
Mountain States Policy Center 

East Coast, Blue-State Governors Want You to Pay for Their Offshore Wind Turbines 
Center of the American Experiment 

Enough Talking. It’s Time to Deliver Affordable and Reliable Energy to New Jersey 
Garden State Initiative 

Oklahoma House Speaker Warns of ESG’s Economic Harm 
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 

Deal on Offshore Power is Latest Fool’s Game on Green Energy 
Pacific Research Institute 

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Housing Affordability 

One Small Victory for Illinois Homeowners 
Illinois Policy 

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Jobs and State Economies 

Inflation and the Supply Side: How Auto Strikes Will Impact the Economy 
Center of the American Experiment 

Federal Bill Would Provide Choices for Consumers and Strengthen the Supply Chain 
Mackinac Center 

Feds Target Oklahoma Business Over Customer Misuse of Product 
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs 

California Cities Face New Challenges as Their Populations Age 
Pacific Research Institute 

AI and the Discouraged Worker 
Platte Institute 

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State Budgets  

Cities Scramble to Spend $210 Million Windfall on Public Safety Projects 
Center of the American Experiment 

Let’s Jumpstart Comprehensive Tax Reform 
Palmetto Promise Institute 

Poll Shows Strong Support for Tax Reform as Pelican Unveils Plan 
Pelican Institute for Public Policy 

An Airing of Grievances about Sewer Sales in Festus 
Show-Me Institute 

E-bike Voucher Equity Fail, Only 2% Reach Lowest-Income Residents 
Yankee Institute 

Good (Responsible) Budgeting Options for Local Governments 
MacIver Institute 

It’s Time for Lasting, Transformative Changes 
Georgia Public Policy Foundation 

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Workplace Freedom 

Unsung Hero: New Jersey Janitor Becomes an Advocate For Freedom 
Freedom Foundation 

Giving Public Sector Workers Their Individual Voices Back 
Nevada Policy Research Institute 

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Feeling Déjà Vu About Abuse of Emergency Powers 
Mackinac Center 

Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting: A Conversation with WA’s Secretary of State 
Mountain States Policy Center 

University Science Research Is Under Threat 
Pioneer Institute 

How the U.S. Constitution Is Like the Mast of Ulysses’ Ship 
Sutherland Institute 

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The Network in the News 

On RealClearPolicy, The Buckeye Institute‘s Rea S. Hederman, Jr., touted Ohio’s success on regulatory reform as a model for the nation.  

In Broad + Liberty, the Commonwealth Foundation‘s Guy Ciarrocchi highlights how Pennsylvania parents are making the common sense case for Lifeline Scholarships. 

In the Washington Examiner, the Free State Foundation’s Randolph May exposes how the FCC is about to propose — without any justification — reimposing public utility regulation on Internet service providers. 

In the Daily Record, the Garden State Initiative‘s Regina Egea notes it’s time to deliver affordable and reliable energy to New Jersey. 

In his recent column, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation‘s Kyle Wingfield notes inflation, taxes, and gasoline prices are going to remain intertwined for some time to come. 

At Townhall, the Goldwater Institute‘s Heather Curry criticizes the Department of Justice’s antitrust trial against Google. 

In The Daily Caller, the Libertas Institute‘s John Yelland considers the problems with TSA’s facial recognition technology. 

In The Daily Caller, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Brad Weisenstein notes there’s still time to save kids’ dreams of a good education. 

 In the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois Policy Institute‘s Paul Vallas considers how Chicago could fund affordable housing without hiking its real estate transfer tax. 

In his column for The Denver Gazette, the Independence Institute‘s Jon Caldara compares the homeless policies of Denver with Colorado Springs.  

In the Miami Herald, Independent Institute’s Mary L. G. Theroux and Christopher Calton argue that punitive approaches to combating homelessness can never produce humane, long-term solutions.  

In The Orange County Register, Independent Institute’s Christopher Calton notes that relaxed building regulations now enjoyed by churches and schools should apply to all to ease the housing shortage in California. 

In The County Press, the Mackinac Center‘s Jarrett Skorup gives two cheers for Governor Whitmer’s permitting order. 

In  The Alpena News, the Mackinac Center‘s Jason Hayes and James Hohman note political preferences are increasingly driving the market for personal vehicles, rather than customer preferences. 

In the Idaho Statesman, the Mountain States Policy Center’s Jason Mercier argues that a “Truth in Taxation” bill could bring property tax clarity. 

At Townhall, the Pacific Research Institute‘s Sally Pipes points out Americans disenrolled from Medicaid have other health insurance options. 

In the Deseret News, Sutherland Institute‘s Brad Wilcox and Derek Monson consider ‘two-parent privilege’ in Utah. 

In The Washington Times, the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s notes Texas has moved the conversation about illegal immigration to New York City. 

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Categories: News