This weekly round-up shares the latest news about what the network is doing to promote state-based solutions that will improve the lives of families, workers, and local communities. If you are an SPN state think tank and have an update you’d like us to include in next week’s round-up, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (all submissions are subject to SPN approval).
- America’s Future Foundation: AFF is partnering with think tanks around the country to connect young professionals with the work being done in their home states. They recently held an event in Chicago on Illinois’ budget issues featuring staff and research from the Illinois Policy Institute.
- Alabama Policy Institute: The Institute’s founder is running for State Supreme Court Chief Justice.
- Benjamin Rush Institute: The Institute will be launching four new chapters this fall, including two international chapters.
- Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement: The finalists in each category have been announced and we’d like your help picking the winners. Cast your vote now! You can also check out all the nominations (and impressive accomplishments) in each category: Most Influential Research, Best Issue Campaign, and Biggest Win
- Capital Research Center: The Center’s vice president and chief investigative officer Steven J. Allen’s column in American Greatness was entered into the Congressional Record by Rep. Louie Gohmert on July 16.
- Mississippi Justice Institute: Shadrack White, director of the Institute, has been appointed State Auditor by Governor Phil Bryant. MJI is the legal arm of Mississippi Center for Public Policy, representing Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions.
- New websites: Take a minute to check out the Virginia Institute for Public Policy’s and The Philanthropy Roundtable’s new websites.
Education: Expanding options for families
- Arkansas Policy Foundation: The Foundation reports $47.2 million spent on public school employees in failing school districts.
- Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: The Institute released its latest research, Money for Nothing, on the relationship between additional school funding and student performance last week. WILL’s Dr. Flanders examined the relationship between test scores and the number of non-teachers in a school district, per pupil spending in a district, and teacher pay. His conclusion? None of these factors seem to be linked to higher student test scores.
Healthcare: Improving access to and affordability of care
- Cascade Policy Institute: The Institute highlights Direct Primary Care as a means of making healthcare more affordable and improving the quality of care.
- Empire Center: TheCenter has a new report, Shifting Shares: The Costly Challenge of a State Medicaid Takeover, that looks at the feasibility of a full-state Medicaid takeover in New York, including the costs and who would bear them.
- Ethan Allen Institute: The Institute reviews Overcharged: Why Americans Pay Too Much for Health Care.
- Goldwater Institute: The Institute has a new report, The Arizona Medicaid Expansion Experience: Beware the Peddlers of Cost-Shifting Claims, which reveals the unintended consequences of the ACA Medicaid expansion in Arizona.
- Idaho Freedom Foundation: The Foundation has a recent article highlighting new research from the Foundation for Government Accountability and its implications for Medicaid expansion in Idaho. The research shows that if new Medicaid expansion enrollees are not required to work, they won’t—more than half of the 12.4 million enrollees don’t have jobs.
- Texas Public Policy Foundation: Texas’ second attempt to sue the federal government to end the Affordable Care Act has a better chance of success this time around. Here’s why.
Jobs & Occupational Licensing Reform: Increasing jobs and opportunity
- 1889 Institute: The Institute’s paper, “Baked-In Corruption: The Need to Reform Boards and Commissions,” has spurred a conversation in Oklahoma regarding board memberships. The state’s newspaper of record, The Oklahoman, has had two lead editorials on the issue explicitly mentioning the Institute’s work.
- Alabama Policy Institute: In a recent op-ed, the Institute discusses how the game of Monopoly illustrates many of motivations prompting occupational licensing laws.
- Rio Grande Foundation: The Foundation applauds the New Mexico governor’s executive order requiring the review of the regulations and fees by the state’s 35 licensing boards.
Worker Freedom: Giving workers a voice and a choice
- Dues Skimming: A recent SPN op-ed in the Washington Examiner, Correcting an injustice: HHS moves to stop unions from skimming from Medicaid, provides an introduction to the issue of dues skimming, as well as to the home healthcare providers and patients being affected.
The deadline to submit public comments on the Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule to end the current union practice of skimming union dues from Medicaid home healthcare providers is August 13. Find out more on ProtectProviders.com
- Ending Fair Share Fees: The work of The Buckeye Institute, the Freedom Foundation, and the Mackinac Center is featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the end of mandatory fair share fees for government workers.
- Freedom Foundation: The Foundation filed a class action lawsuit last week on behalf of six state employees who attempted to resign from the Washington Federation of State Employees after the Janus decision, only to be told by the union they had to wait until unique,10-day escape periods occurring over the course of the next year.
- Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy: A new report from the Center finds New Hampshire state employees will save more than $1 million a year in compulsory agency fees.
- Lincoln Network: Lincoln has launched Edunity, an unsubscribe button from public sector unions. In partnership with several SPN member organizations, Lincoln designed and developed a completely digital platform to handle the end-to-end opt-out process from a public-sector union and provide leaving union members competitive benefits.
Energy: Protecting consumers and the environment
- Civitas Institute: The Institute highlights how developing North Carolina’s natural gas resources can help boost the state’s economic performance, particularly in rural areas, while helping reduce carbon emissions.
- Palmetto Promise Institute: The Institute covers everything that happened in the last year, and the reform that still needs to happen, since Santee Cooper nuclear reactor project fiasco was announced.
Taxes & Budgets: Encouraging fiscal responsibility and sustainability
- John Locke Foundation: A recent article by the Foundation advocates for reforms to address North Carolina’s $50 billion in unfunded liabilities related to employee retirement and healthcare, noting that one major reform would be for the state to convert to a fixed contribution retirement model.
- Goldwater Institute: The Institute won a major victory for Arizona taxpayers when the state tax court struck down Pinal County’s unfair and illegal tax. The tax court agreed with the Institute, holding that the county violated the law when it told voters that it would impose the tax only on retail businesses—which state law doesn’t allow—and then changed its mind and told state tax officials to collect the tax on all businesses in the county, which voters didn’t approve.
- Independence Institute: The Institute argues that the ballot initiative to increase taxes by $1.5 billion annually will hurt the economy and taxpayers who already are paying increased taxes.
- Montana Policy Institute: The Institute and the Mackinac Center partnered on an op-ed to discuss the consequences of a tobacco tax increase in Montana.
- Pelican Institute: Following the passage of a sales tax increase, the Center is focused on presenting a “new path” to prosperity. They will be releasing a series of recommendations for fundamental reforms over the coming months that lays out this vision to bring jobs and opportunity back to Louisiana.
Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform: Protecting individual property rights
- Rio Grande Foundation: The Foundation helped pass a bill in 2015 that abolished civil asset forfeiture in New Mexico, but some police departments claimed the law did not apply to their DWI vehicle seizure program. A federal judge just ruled that Albuquerque’s vehicle seizure program is unconstitutional, setting an important precedent within the state and nationwide.
Pension Reform: Achieving retirement security
- Bluegrass Institute: The Institute raises questions about the degree of animosity in the public-education sector towards reforming Kentucky’s imperiled public pension systems.
Criminal Justice Reform: Rehabilitating and restoring offenders’ lives
- Commonwealth Foundation: Pennsylvania made history earlier this summer with the passage of a landmark criminal justice reform known as “clean slate” legislation. The new law, House Bill 1419, authorizes three major changes that will help Pennsylvanians escape the unfair stigma attached to criminal records, allowing them to move on from past mistakes and look to their future.