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 (all submissions are subject to SPN approval).


Success Stories

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services have adopted The Buckeye Institute’s recommendations on waivers that could give states healthcare alternatives to the one-size-fits-all constraints of the Affordable Care Act. By allowing states to tailor solutions, individuals and families can have more affordable healthcare options.
  • Commonwealth Foundation research—and a partnership with the Foundation for Government Accountability—played a role in motivating Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass several bills that will help able-bodied, childless adults on Medicaid to find meaningful work. This is the second consecutive year that Pennsylvania has passed work requirements, thanks to Commonwealth Foundation’s research and advocacy.
  • Palmetto Promise Institute’s report on the Santee Cooper nuclear energy fiasco revealed the significant financial impact it would have on low-income families and prompted the creation of commission to review current and future energy policy.
  • Michigan’s Senate voted to eliminate “union release time.” Mackinac Center produced research that showed the costs of this practice. The legislation is now headed to the House.
  • The city of Tupelo, Mississippi, heeded Mississippi Justice Institute’s warning that regulations on food truck locations were constitutionally questionable. (Mississippi Justice Institute is the legal arm of Mississippi Center for Public Policy). Based on the Institute’s advice, the city adopted an ordinance without these limitations.
  • The Pacific Legal Foundation had a major Supreme Court victory with their case, Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a win that impacts and protects the property rights of all Americans. The Court issued a unanimous decision that the government far exceeded its constitutional authority and ended the practice of courts refusing to review regulatory agency decisions.
  • Platte Institute’s work on job licensing continues to receive national attention as an example for other states. The National Conference of State Legislatures have invited the Platte Institute and Nebraska legislators to share more at an upcoming conference on occupational licensing reform.
  • Young America’s Foundation won their free speech lawsuit at Kennesaw State University, eliminating the university’s speech code that discriminated against conservative students and resulting in student organizations’ equal access to university resources.

State Think Tanks in the News

Research & Initiatives


Legislative Resources


  • The Alabama Policy Institute is joining forces with school choice champions across Alabama to combat efforts to repeal the state’s tax-credit scholarship for low-income students in 2019.
  • A recent Mackinac Center survey found that 20 percent of charter school parents named bullying as a key reason they pulled their child out of a conventional school. The Center is calling for “bold action” like changing the Michigan Constitution to allow students who face bullying greater school choice options.
  • The Cato Institute’s latest Research Brief addressing Act 10 finds school districts do not calculate value-added nor do they explicitly use it to evaluate teachers, yet they choose to reward it when given the chance.
  • The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal’s new policy brief analyzes the relationship between affordability, debt, and postsecondary attainment at higher education institutions in North Carolina and proposes evidenced-based reforms to address the problems that cause students to struggle or drop out.
  • Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s recent school choice study explores the reasons for school growth and closures, finding parents choose schools based on performance and safety.


  • Palmetto Promise Institute has a new report detailing a simple but innovative solution that will lower electricity costs for South Carolinians.


Economy & Jobs


Taxes & Budgets


  • Prior to the mid-terms elections, the Alaska Policy Forum identified and highlighted the “outside” money from the lower-48 that was supporting Ballot Measure One in Alaska, an initiative that would have effectively shut down the Alaskan economy under the guise of protecting salmon streams.

Workplace Freedom

Compelling Commentary

  • Imagine a prisoner reentry program where the mentors include an FBI agent and a former federal prosecutor! The Badger Institute has created several videos profiling Partners in Hope, a new reentry program in Milwaukee modeled after an effective Las Vegas program, Hope for Prisoners, that has made this vision a reality.
  • Beacon Center of Tennessee launched a live talk show, Over-Caffeinated, which will host politicians, musicians, athletes, and other famous Tennesseans to talk about policy and other popular topics.
  • When testifying before the before an Ohio House committee on occupational licensing, The Buckeye Institute shared Jennifer McClellan’s story — a new mother forced to leave the state and her extended family when her massage therapy license was denied — to illustrate the negative impact overregulation has on Ohio’s minority communities.
  • Empower Mississippi has created a content series, Broken, to show how the criminal justice system is flawed, how that impacts people, and how it can be fixed. This week they published a touching story about a local Sheriff who has used his law enforcement career to help people break the cycle of criminal behavior resulting from difficult economic circumstances.
  • Foundation for Government Accountability CEO and founder, Tarren Bragdon, shares the events in his personal life that drove his professional goals and makes the case for why nonprofit leaders need to make business personal.
  • Goldwater Institute’s interview with their National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten highlights his experiences and insights from a career spent exposing problems and searching for the truth.