- Freedom Foundation (Ohio) announced Lauren Bowen is joining the team as its outreach director. Before joining Freedom Foundation (Ohio), Bowen served as senior public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurers Josh Mandel and Robert Sprague. In her new role, she will coordinate the organization’s efforts to inform public employees in the Buckeye State about their rights to opt out of union membership and dues without fear of losing their jobs.
- Montana is getting a new independent think tank! The Frontier Institute will focus on “Montana-grown solutions to important public policy issues, promoting economic freedom and opportunity as alternatives to government control.” Check out the Institute’s new website to learn more and join their email list.
- Nevada Policy Research Institute launched a groundbreaking podcast: Free to Offend. The podcast “radically defends free speech… by regularly practicing it.” Watch the first episode here.
This Week on SPN.org
Michigan Supreme Court rules governor’s extended use of emergency powers is unconstitutional
Communications case study: Mississippi Center for Public Policy secures Mississippians’ right to buy and sell goat milk
- With a massive grassroots effort in support of their initiative, Independence Institute’s income tax cut, Proposition 115, made the ballot in Colorado. The proposal is an alternative to Initiative 271, a $2 billion income tax increase.
- After Timber Creek Elementary School in Kansas ordered 100 students to quarantine, the Kansas Justice Institute stepped in, questioning the legality of such an order. After receiving a letter from KJI, Blue Valley Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tonya Merrigan indicated, she would not prevent students from returning to school. Kansas Policy Institute CEO Dave Trabert noted parents should not accept anything at face value and should demand clear answers from school districts in situations like these.
- Thanks to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Michigan Governor will now have to work with the state legislature to issue policies related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a unanimous decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the Michigan Governor’s attempt to extend the state of emergency past April 30, 2020 is unconstitutional. The court also said in a 4-3 ruling that the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, which the governor used to justify unilateral control for an indefinite period, is unconstitutional. On Monday, the Mackinac Center released a video on what the decision means.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Wisconsin Legislature has standing to defend state law when the Attorney General does not defend it. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed an amicus brief that explained why it is critical to allow the Wisconsin Legislature to defend state law in federal court when others, typically charged with doing so, do not.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
Funding Students Instead of Systems The Economic Impacts of Statewide Education Savings Accounts in North Carolina
Civitas Institute and Reason Foundation
Business is Booming: How small business creation is driving the American comeback
Foundation for Government Accountability
Guide to The Issues 2020
Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Extinguishing the Wildfire Threat: Lessons from Arizona
Goldwater Institute and Mackinac Center
New Study Points to Funding Gap in Cooper’s Medicaid Expansion Scheme
John Locke Foundation
Border Security at a Crossroads: The Uncertain Future of America’s Southwestern Border
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Exposing Overreach: Harris County
Texas Public Policy Foundation
Policy news from the states
- The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee held a hearing on a bill that would make a $1,000 per-student stimulus available to eligible families to help them afford educational expenses. Commonwealth Foundation encouraged policymakers to act on this bill quickly and send families this much-needed education stimulus.
- The Pacific Research Institute discussed the importance of school choice, school reopenings, and the president’s education reform agenda with the US Secretary of Education. Watch the conversation here.
- The Show-Me Institute noted it’s time to rethink how we fund public education.
- As more Utah families are showing support for education choice, the Sutherland Institute encouraged lawmakers to offer professional development for online teaching, create education savings accounts, and provide more resources for homeschoolers at the state level.
2020 general elections
- Alaska Policy Forum argued this election should be conducted as normally as possible to minimize risks. APF noted trading in-person voting for universal mail-in voting makes a gamble that the widespread risks of fraud, disenfranchisement, and damaging the integrity of this election will not occur.
- Center of the American Experiment shared quick thoughts on the vice presidential debate.
- Civitas Institute considered how many North Carolinians will vote absentee-by-mail this year.
- Commonwealth Foundation released 10 questions to ask about voting in Pennsylvania.
- Empower Mississippi considered what the 2020 election could mean for Mississippi.
- Illinois Policy Institute created a tool to help Illinoisans find their early voting polling location and hours.
- The Josiah Bartlett Center considered how New Hampshire would handle a presidential vacancy before the election.
- Alaska Policy Forum pointed out Alaskans should be particularly careful to ask what exactly each presidential candidate promises regarding energy policy.
- The Thomas Jefferson Institute highlighted how the Virginia Legislature will consider the Transportation Climate Initiative, a proposal to implement a carbon tax, in January 2021.
- The John Locke Foundation explained why Joe Biden’s “public option” would double down on high hospital prices, not make them better.
- In part two of their series on why Americans pay too much for healthcare, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs considered why insurance is involved every time we go to the doctor.
Jobs and economic growth
- The Badger Institute hosted a virtual discussion with Missouri policymakers on how Missouri passed the best licensure reform bill in the country. Watch the video here.
- Center of the American Experiment highlighted how some restaurants are considering closing down for the winter due to in-door dining capacity limits.
- Garden State Initiative reviewed a new report that analyzes New Jersey’s GDP for the second quarter of 2020. GSI highlighted the state’s weaknesses in healthcare, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, and warehousing.
- Georgia Center for Opportunity shared five recommendations for federal agencies on economic mobility.
- Kansas Policy Institute pointed out that the Kansas Governor’s restrictions and lockdown made Kansans poorer.
- The Mississippi Center for Public Policy highlighted how Mississippi is the most regulated state in the south.
- The Platte Institute held their 2020 Virtual Legislative Summit where they discussed licensing in a remote economy and regulatory reform.
- After a judge ruled that the Pennsylvania Governor’s business shutdown order and stay-at-home order is unconstitutional, the Alabama Policy Institute noted the ruling contains important lessons for officials and lawmakers in other states.
- Goldwater Institute discussed their lawsuit against Peoria, Arizona—a city that is giving away public money for private purposes.
- The Mackinac Center encouraged policymakers to eliminate stipulations in state law that confer special favors upon a small group of beer and wine corporations.
- Nevada Policy Research Institute explained why it filed a lawsuit requesting the courts to finally enforce Nevada’s Separation of Powers doctrine and prohibit anyone from serving in multiple branches of government at the same time.
State budgets and spending
- Idaho Freedom Foundation considered why some Idaho counties and cities did not offer their residents lower taxes through the Idaho Governor’s Public Safety Grant Initiative.
- Illinois Policy Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of three retired Illinoisans challenging the language that will appear on the November 3 ballot asking whether voters want to scrap Illinois’ constitutional flat tax guarantee—opening the door to a retirement tax.
- The Reason Foundation‘s Marc Joffe investigated the pension holdings of many transit agencies and argued that the federal government should back away from bailouts.
- Yankee Institute considered the Connecticut Governor’s proposed budget that relies on the state’s rainy day fund and a hiring freeze to bridge a projected $2 billion deficit.
- California Policy Center shared information about how to inform employees and employers about their Janus rights.
- With free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, William J. Sona is taking his case against the United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union Local 171 to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charge says Sona’s union illegally failed to disclose financials and restricted Sona’s right to opt out of union political spending.
- The Beacon Center outlined several problems with using antitrust laws to “break up” or further regulate big tech companies.
- Civitas Institute pointed out completing the census is the right, and constitutional, thing to do.
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii argued the best plan for more housing in Maui is to scale back county housing plans.
- In a new series, the Maine Policy Institute considered how protected free speech is at colleges in Maine.
- The Pioneer Institute published a letter thanking their board members and generous supporters.
Think tanks in the news
- Arkansas Policy Foundation highlighted a way for Arkansas to increase medical supply in response to the coronavirus.
- The Ethan Allen Institute considered how Vermonters should respond to newcomers moving to Vermont to escape big cities.
- In National Review, Freedom Foundation highlighted Joe Biden’s plan to revitalize labor unions. Several media outlets also covered Freedom Foundation’s recent lawsuit on behalf of small business owners.
- The New York Times cited the Garden State Initiative in an article on why some millionaires are staying put in New Jersey despite a new tax.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation considered the debate over how to help those with pre-existing conditions.
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii argued the great lockdown crash of 2020 is a wake-up call for Hawaii lawmakers.
- Fox Business cited the James Madison Institute’s new report on the policy agendas of the two presidential candidates.
- The John Locke Foundation pointed out that, on the whole, we are healthier, wealthier, happier, and freer than ever before.
- Kansas Policy Institute’s media outlet, The Sentinel, published a powerful story about teen depression and suicide related to schools not providing in-person learning.
- In the Deseret News, the Libertas Institute explained why we need stringent policy change on how warrants are proposed and carried out.
- In The Detroit News, the Mackinac Center noted the Michigan Governor’s unrelenting pursuit of unilateral control should be concerning to anyone who believes in the value of a balance of power in government.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs noted it’s time for Oklahoma to incorporate managed care into Medicaid.
- In Fox Business, the Pacific Research Institute pointed out Kamala Harris is no moderate on healthcare.
- The Rio Grande Foundation argued the American economy thrives when government takes a step back and allows free-market principles to drive activity.
- In The Hill, the Texas Public Policy Foundation called for transparency in higher education so potential students can be smarter consumers when choosing which institution to attend.
Events & Opportunities
An Evening with Dennis Prager: Virtual 2020 Annual Dinner
Goldwater Institute | October 16, 2020
20th Anniversary Liberty Ball
Rio Grande Foundation | October 24, 2020
Post-Election Economic Priorities
Thomas Jefferson Institute and National Review Institute | November 10, 2020