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).
- Kansas Policy Institute: Congratulations to KPI president, David Trabert! 435 Magazine named him one of Kansas City’s 50 Most Powerful People.
- Pelican Institute: Emily Davenport joined Pelican Institute as Vice President last week. Emily will direct Pelican’s policy platform and work closely with allies to advance free-market initiatives.
- Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity: The Center’s CEO and former Major League Baseball player from 1982-86, weighs in on the Players Association need to stand up for its own retirees and offer retroactive pension benefits to players from earlier eras.
Education: Expanding options for families
- Georgia Center for Opportunity: Lt. Governor Cagle may have pushed a bill for tax credit for private school scholarships to hurt an opponent, but the education bill will help thousands of lower-income kids in Georgia access the education that meets their needs and will increase per-pupil dollars available in public schools.
- Nevada Policy Research Institute: The serious problems at the heart of Nevada’s Clark County School district highlight the need for greater education options in the state.
- Texas Public Policy Foundation: A new report finds that by reducing state and local government spending growth, Texas can eliminate the Robin Hood school property tax and cut overall property taxes nearly in half.
- Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty: A study last year found that an Obama-era guidance meant to reduce racial disparity in school suspensions was not always effective and could undermine teachers. The Institute and several other organizations recently sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asking her to rescind the controversial policy, saying it violates federal law.
Healthcare: Improving access to and affordability of care
- Pacific Research Institute: Obamacare healthcare premiums will increase again in 2019, with the average cost jumping as much as 32% and some consumers facing 80% rate hikes.
Jobs & Occupational Licensing Reform: Increasing jobs and opportunity
- Beacon Center: The Center filed a lawsuit against the against the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barbers Examiners to contest a recent requirement that barbers have high school diplomas.
- Institute for Justice: Missouri has adopted a new stand-alone hair braiding bill that reduces the licensing requirements from 1,500 hours of training (at a cost of ~$12,000) to a $20 fee, a 4-6 hour instructional video and submitting to board inspections.
- John Locke Foundation: The Foundation debunks the concept of a “gig economy” — a recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that contingent work and independent contracting are down, not up.
- Platte Institute: The Institute just released a new policy brief, the 2018 Occupational Licensing Review. The brief reviews the events which led to the creation of a comprehensive job licensing reform process in Nebraska and lists the all the occupational licensing bills filed in 2017-18.
Free Speech: Protecting Americans’ First Amendment Rights
- Free State Foundation: Hear FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly speak on “An Update on FCC Process Reform Efforts: Possible Next Steps,” as well as a panel discussion on “Municipal Broadband, Net Neutrality, and the First Amendment” during FSF’s free lunch seminar Thursday, June 28 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
- Pacific Legal Foundation: On Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down a polling-place dress code in Minnesota, upholding free speech rights across the nation.
Worker Freedom: Giving workers a voice and a choice
- Ballotpedia: Union Station is a new newsletter that makes it easy to say abreast of the legislation, national trends, and public debate surrounding public sector union policy.
- Center of the American Experiment: Minnesota’s minimum wage increase might actually hurt workers with fewer jobs and higher prices for consumers.
- Mackinac Center: The federal government should follow Michigan’s lead in repealing “prevailing wage laws” that require government entities to pay inflated wages to people working on publicly funded projects.
- Rio Grande Foundation: A look at the the US Department of Labor’s union financial-disclosure forms offers insights into how much of union dues are spent on political activity. The Foundation examines some of the relevant union expenditures.
- Yankee Institute: Connecticut unions are holding rallies and working behind the scenes to limit members’ ability to opt out in the advent of a ruling for Mark Janus.
Energy: Protecting consumers and the environment
- California Policy Center: CPC notes that urban water consumption is only a small percentage of California’s total water consumption and the costs of reducing consumption further will be high without significantly increasing the water supply.
- Pacific Research Institute: California’s water woes are the product of poor public policy. The new draconian restrictions won’t increase the water supply, only government reforms can.
Taxes & Budgets: Encouraging fiscal responsibility and sustainability
- Civitas Institute: Here’s why North Carolina’s governor vetoed the state budget — and why it might not matter.
- Ethan Allen Institute: Vermont is facing a government shutdown and lawmaker delays and poor communication from both sides of the aisle are to blame.
- Independence Institute: Colorado’s population has grown by almost two-thirds since 1992 and it’s important that new residents understand the role the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights has played in the state’s continuing economic success.
- Pelican Institute: A new WalletHub study ranks Louisiana’s economic performance the worst in the US based on 28 metrics within three main categories of Economic Activity, Economic Health, and Innovation Potential.
- Tax Foundation: The Foundation has an updated version of their tax calculator to help you visualize how tax reform will impact taxpayers in every congressional district, state, and throughout the country.
Welfare Reform: Decreasing government dependence
- Idaho Freedom Foundation: What is the best way to bridge the Medicaid gap? Voluntary giving, not government programs, is a far more effective way of helping people in need.
Pension Reform: Achieving retirement security
- California Policy Center: Retiring California teachers will earn more than working teachers in 24 states. What is the right mixture of salaries and pensions when spending limited funds?
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation: There are two reasons why the future of Georgia’s teacher pension fund is not as rosy as it seems.