Back for the second year, the Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement celebrate state think tanks doing exceptional work to develop and disseminate credible policy research and ideas that can help states implement free-market solutions that will have national impact.

The awards are named in honor of our network’s most iconic policy maven and a friend to many, Bob Williams. They will be presented at SPN’s 26th Annual Meeting on Thursday, October 11.

You are invited to nominate a state think tank in one of the following categories:

Nominations will close on June 29, 2018.


2017 Award Winners

Looking for inspiration? Here are the winners from last year:

Best Issue Campaign

Washington Freedom Foundation: Opt Out Today
From 2014 to 2017, the Washington Freedom Foundation ran an extensive issue campaign to inform home health care workers and other union members of their right to opt out of union membership after the Harris v. Quinn decision.

The campaign, which faced strong opposition, included multi-media messaging, direct door-to-door outreach, litigation, policy advocacy, and legal complaints. The results were striking. In one union, over 4,500 home healthcare workers exercised their right to opt-out, saving their family thousands of dollars.

Most Influential Research

Goldwater Institute: Campus Free Speech: A Legislative Proposal
The Goldwater Institute’s research not only shined a light on the growing problem of free speech suppression on college campuses, but it also offered a unique policy solution and a model campus free speech bill.

The media and legislative response was immediate and positive. Halfway through 2017 the research had already been cited by media over 1,500 times. And even though the report was released at the end of January, when many state legislatures were already mid-session, it quickly became influential. Legislation based on the Institute’s model was introduced in nine states.

Most Innovative Policy Solution

Texas Public Policy Foundation: Conservative Texas Budget
Faced with years of excessive state government spending, insufficient constitutional budget restraints, and the inability for anyone to hold members of the Legislature accountable for their decisions in real time, the Texas Public Policy Foundation developed the Conservative Texas Budget (CTB) concept in 2013. CTB, which is simply two numbers, set a limit for spending state funds and a limit for spending all funds.

The effect was impressive. In the first year it was introduced, the Texas Legislature had a major budget surplus. In subsequent years the Legislature stayed within their spending limits and were even able to provide a major tax cut to Texans.

2017 Bob Williams Award Winners

The 2017 Bob Williams Award Winners received their awards at the SPN 25th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.