- New website alert! The Alabama Policy Institute launched a new version of their website. Take a look here.
- A Kansas county health officer updated an emergency order requiring restaurants and bars to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and close their doors at midnight, regardless of the establishment’s existing coronavirus mitigation procedures and protocols. The Kansas Justice Institute is representing a bar owner in a lawsuit against the curfew.
- The Idaho Freedom Foundation launched a new podcast, The Hoff Time Report. In the podcast, Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, delivers his take on how to maintain a free and prosperous Idaho. Listen here.
- A county public health officer in Wisconsin banned schools from offering in-person instruction in response to the coronavirus. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued because a single, unelected officer doesn’t have legal authority to issue a county-wide in-person school ban, and because parents have a constitutional right to make educational choices for their children. In addition to WILL’s arguments, Liberty Justice Center argues the school ban is arbitrary because it lets colleges and universities open while forcing grade schools to close. LJC will explain that this difference is not because of any medical science, but rather because of the political agenda of unions. State think tanks have an opportunity to sign LJC’s brief here. The deadline to sign on the brief is October 28, 2020.
This Week on SPN.org
Poll results: Who do Americans think will win the election?
Nearly half of Americans favor more education options
- In June, the Michigan Civil Service Commission announced proposed amendments that would bring the state into compliance with the Janus decision. Those proposed rules are now in place. Michigan workers are now free to opt out of union membership. The Mackinac Center noted that 4,346 of nearly 34,000 employees have decided not continue to support their union’s representational and political activities.
- The Michigan Governor signed a bipartisan bill package reforming Michigan’s criminal expungement laws. The legislation makes it easier for people with certain criminal offenses to have their record expunged. The Mackinac Center applauded the move and noted it will now be easier for Michiganders to move forward from their past mistakes and provide a better quality of life for their families.
- Aaron Rice, the director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, was named a recipient of Mississippi’s Top 50. The award recognizes those that, by virtue of their position and talent, help move the conversation in Mississippi forward.
- The Steamboat Institute held a successful in-person wealth tax debate at Middle Tennessee State University. Art Laffer, Hadley Heath Manning, and Leslie Marshall considered if a wealth tax and higher income tax rates increase or diminish prosperity and opportunity in America. The debate, part of Steamboat’s Campus Liberty Tour, has more than 37,000 views and counting. Watch it here.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
Coronavirus Restrictions by State: October 2020
Alabama Policy Institute
The November 2020 Constitutional Amendments
Alabama Policy Institute
The Failed Experiment of Ranked-Choice Voting
Alaska Policy Forum
California’s Public-Sector Unions Rake in $921 Million in Annual Revenue
California Policy Center
Voters’ Guide to the 2020 Georgia Ballot Initiatives
Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Money for Nothing: Taxpayer-Funded “Release Time” Gives Government Employee Unions No Work and All Pay
Independence Institute Voter Guide 2020
Evidence Required: A Critical Review of ‘Improving Oversight of Michigan Charter Schools and Their Authorizers’
Fraud in Your Pill Bottle The Unacceptable Cost of Counterfeit Medicines
Pacific Research Institute
Lessons from COVID-19: The Importance of Meaningful Contact between Foster Youth and Parents
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Objection! Law Schools Can Be Hazardous to Students’ Financial Health
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Surplus Property Law Results in Juts One Vacant Milwaukee School Sale to Charter School
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.
Policy news from the states
- Cascade Policy Institute shared a poll that reveals parents with children in school overwhelmingly favor school choice.
- Center of the American Experiment highlighted how parents are worried about learning loss from remote learning.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity released the results of a parent opinion poll that found 81 percent of respondents are in favor of using federal emergency relief funds to help parents cover some educational costs during the pandemic.
- The Washington Policy Center noted that 32,000 Washington families have pulled out of traditional public schools this year.
- Alaska Policy Forum argued ranked-choice voting disenfranchises voters.
- The Illinois Policy Institute shared information on how Illinois residents can verify their vote was counted.
- Independence Institute shared facts about Proposition 116, a proposal to cut Colorado’s income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%.
- The Caesar Rodney Institute argued the Delaware Governor should be added to US Attorney General’s list of states under investigation for sending coronavirus positive patients back to nursing homes.
- Freedom Foundation issued a report that finds the Washington Governor has issued 349 emergency proclamations in 2020.
- The Kansas Policy Institute’s media arm, The Sentinel, noted the Kansas Governor’s administration is irresponsibly trying to scare Kansans into submission.
- The MacIver Institute questioned what happened to the $445 million the Wisconsin Governor promised hospitals to prepare for a coronavirus surge.
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty pledged an appeal in its lawsuit challenging the Wisconsin Governor’s emergency declarations. A judge denied WILL’s motion for an injunction in a lawsuit challenging the ability of the governor to seize expansive emergency powers more than once to address the same crisis.
- Center of the American Experiment argued telehealth could improve healthcare access in rural Minnesota after the coronavirus.
State budgets and spending
- The Buckeye Institute shared some good news regarding Ohio’s revenue estimates.
- Civitas Institute reviewed the North Carolina State Controller’s monthly General Fund report and argued the state is still well positioned to weather the economic downturn caused by the governor’s economic shutdown, thanks to years of wise, conservative fiscal responsibility.
- Empire Center argued the New York Governor needs to push for legislative reactivation of the state Financial Control Board, which he chairs, and which should be statutorily empowered to freeze all city wages.
- The Platte Institute reviewed where all the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money went in Nebraska and noted more transparency is needed.
- The Reason Foundation identified six local governments that were delayed in filing financial statements.
- The Show-Me Institute argued St. Louis County, Missouri, should find budget cuts before hiking taxes.
- The Washington Policy Center noted that even with a $2 billion reduction, Washington state spending would still increase by 16% from 2017-2019.
Jobs and economies
- Alaska Policy Forum analyzed the results of a Legatum Institute report that found Alaska was one of only four states that experienced a decline in prosperity.
- Center of the American Experiment highlighted a new study by two Harvard economists that estimates the coronavirus will cost the United States $16 trillion.
- The Garden State Initiative reviewed New Jersey’s monthly jobs report and pointed out the astonishing collapse in labor force participation.
- The Pelican Institute detailed some of the economic repercussions of Louisiana’s shutdown.
- The Platte Institute highlighted the bipartisan support for removing burdensome occupational licensing requirements.
- The Rio Grande Foundation highlighted a new report that finds New Mexico is not recovering from the coronavirus economic interruption as fast as other states.
- The Ethan Allen Institute considered a Cato Institute’s report that ranks the Vermont Governor as the seventh most fiscally responsible governor in the country.
- On Coffee and Conversation, Empower Mississippi interviewed restaurateur Robert St. John on how he overcame alcoholism and other challenges in his life. The conversation touched on Mississippi’s prison crisis.
- Freedom Foundation criticized a court decision that ruled the First Amendment does not apply at all to any employee who at any point joins a union.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity shared a powerful story about a former felon who received a second chance through work, and who now contributes to his community. Watch Kevin’s story here.
- The James Madison Institute released the Fall 2020 version of The Journal, the Institute’s magazine.
- The John Locke Foundation made the case against public sector collective bargaining.
- In an episode of the Free to Offend podcast, the Nevada Policy Research Institute noted if Congress did its job, the Supreme Court would matter a whole lot less.
- The Pacific Research Institute considered if Generation Z will make America socialist.
- On the podcast In the Dugout, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity sat down with nationally renowned conservative Stephen Moore to talk about economics, the president, and politics.
- Sutherland Institute considered Utah’s new plan to bring the current spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations under control.
Think tanks in the news
- The Alaska Policy Forum pointed out America’s lack of healthcare options.
- On the Rick Jensen Radio Show, the Caesar Rodney Institute pointed out that CDC data shows the vast majority of people’s lives are not at risk from the coronavirus.
- In the Washington Examiner, Civitas Institute noted funding students rather than institutions would be a school choice victory.
- In The Hill, the Commonwealth Foundation considered if Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor could deliver Trump the election.
- Empower Mississippi noted identifying and reducing policy barriers in Mississippi would boost opportunities for workers.
- In Forbes, the Foundation for Government Accountability considered what Americans think is broken in healthcare.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation responded to the Georgia Board of Education’s plan to make tests worth half as much as usual.
- The Illinois Policy Institute noted Illinois’ progressive income tax would create 50.3% income tax rate for small businesses.
- John Locke Foundation’s John Hood pointed out split-ticket voters still shape elections.
- In RealClearPolicy, the Libertas Institute explained how regulatory sandboxes can lead to more proactive and meaningful regulatory reform and create a system with the flexibility necessary to adapt in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
- In The Hill, the Mackinac Center noted the Worker Flexibility and Small Business Protection Act appears to be a direct attack on independent contracting, as well as the franchise industry, and a gift to unions and trial lawyers.
- The Pacific Research Institute criticized a new law that requires any California-headquartered, publicly traded company to have at least one board member from an “underrepresented community” by the end of next year.
- The Palmetto Promise Institute reviewed what happened in the South Carolina General Assembly’s two-week legislative session.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation highlighted how the president’s policies help Black men.
- The James Madison Institute explained how DC control of healthcare and green energy will impact state economies.
Events & Opportunities
An Evening with Dennis Prager: Virtual 2020 Annual Dinner
Goldwater Institute | October 16, 2020
Virtual Town Hall with Grover Norquist – Tax Reform and America’s National Debt Crisis
Show-Me Institute | October 22, 2020
Who is Amy Coney Barrett?
Thomas Jefferson Institute | October 22, 2020
Washington Policy Center Virtual Farm Hall
Washington Policy Center | October 22, 2020
20th Anniversary Liberty Ball
Rio Grande Foundation | October 24, 2020
2020 Freedom & Opportunity Virtual Event
Maine Policy Institute | October 29, 2020
Post-Election Economic Priorities
Thomas Jefferson Institute and National Review Institute | November 10, 2020