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 member 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).
- The Cardinal Institute is launching its new podcast, “Forgotten America,” next week. Check out the first episode here on September 1, 2020.
- The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is celebrating 10 years of fighting for freedom! Read more about all the people the Foundation has helped over the years.
This Week on SPN.org
Healthcare, economy, and jobs are top issues for Americans
Summary of a recent poll conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies.
Coronavirus poll, Wave 17: Election 2020, labor, schools
This summary shares Wave 17 data (August 20-21, 2020) of SPN’s and Heart+Mind Strategies’ bi-weekly coronavirus poll.
Commonwealth Foundation reforms Pennsylvania’s broken criminal justice system
Thanks to Commonwealth Foundation’s sustained efforts, Pennsylvania passed legislation that helps reform the state’s criminal justice system
Center of the American Experiment protects the livelihoods of millions of Minnesotans through ‘Back 2 Work’ campaign
After the Minnesota Governor issued one of the strictest lockdown orders in the country, American Experiment launched a campaign to protect the livelihoods of Minnesotans.
- In May, the police confiscated Kevin McBride’s $15,000 car because his girlfriend allegedly used it for a $25 marijuana sale. After the Goldwater Institute challenged the seizure, McBride got his Jeep back from the government—without having to pay to release it from forfeiture.
- The Kansas Policy Institute discovered the Kansas Department of Health and Environment doctored a COVID-19 case chart to justify mask mandates. Without KPI, this manipulation would have gone unchecked. KPI’s work caught the eye of The Wall Street Journal this week, which cited KPI in a feature article on the story.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
The Second Chance Program At CKS Packaging: How Local Business Is Responding To Community Needs
Georgia Center for Opportunity
Common Themes from the Commonwealth: Puerto Rico’s growing role in Florida politics
James Madison Institute
Solutions for Nevada: Worker Freedom Nevada Policy Research Institute A lawmaker’s guide to empowering workers in the Silver State
Nevada Policy Research Institute
Accountability in Massachusetts’ Remote Learning Regulations
Study: States Can Lease Toll Roads to Fund Other Infrastructure, Pay Off Debt
Policy News from the States
- The Beacon Center argued the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for educational choice in Tennessee.
- The Caesar Rodney Institute received some attention from a Delaware State Senator and a local newspaper on their latest research revealing that Black, White, and Hispanic student proficiency test scores all correlate with the student’s socio-economic conditions, including low income, single parent household, etc.
- Civitas Institute considered if school choice harms public schools.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity noted the importance of field trips and listed ways the K-12 tradition can continue during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The John Locke Foundation highlighted how the coronavirus produced a strong increase in North Carolina’s massive homeschool population.
- After the New Hampshire Governor allocated $1.5 million out of $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief aid to scholarships for low-income students, the Josiah Bartlett Center responded to attacks on this new scholarship program.
- The Mackinac Center released its annual survey on school choice, showing that support for homeschooling, charter schools, tax credits, vouchers and more remain very strong. Mackinac featured the survey alongside a video of parents who have been exercising their school choice options to get the best education possible for their children in the face of COVID-19.
- Senator Rand Paul joined the Pegasus Institute podcast to discuss his proposal to give families more options and flexibility with their child’s education this fall.
- The Show-Me Institute noted school choice means making sure that no parent is stuck with only one option when that option is unacceptable
- Sutherland Institute encouraged Utah legislators to give parents flexibility in use of education funding.
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed an original action to the Wisconsin Supreme Court asking for a review of the Dane County health department’s order closing all schools, public and private, for grades 3-12.
- Cascade Policy Institute noted California’s recent blackouts should serve as a warning to officials in the Northwest as they continue to crowd out fossil-fuel plants in favor of renewable alternatives.
- Center of the American Experiment explained why transitioning to renewable energy leads to power outages.
- Ethan Allen Institute pointed out that Vermont is heading down the road toward California-style electric blackouts.
- The Rio Grande Foundation noted California’s electricity woes are a warning for New Mexico.
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii encouraged the governor to comply with an open records request to release government communications relating to the state’s COVID-19 response.
- Washington officials noted the Freedom Foundation is correct about over-counted COVID-19 deaths, but they still haven’t corrected the reporting method.
- Illinois Policy Institute considered a study that finds corruption costs Illinois an estimated $556 million per year.
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued the Wisconsin Governor over a second COVID-19 emergency declaration.
- The Yankee Institute considered what will happen after the Connecticut Governor’s emergency powers expire in September.
Police and criminal justice
- The Buckeye Institute’s Robert Alt reviewed the legal landscape of criminal law changes across the country in a new paper for The Federalist Society.
- Center of the American Experiment noted a riot isn’t always the language of the unheard.
- On the latest episode of Coffee and Conversation, Empower Mississippi sat down with Alabama state Senator Cam Ward to discuss criminal justice reform.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation argued the best way to curb undue police power is to go after the unions that protect bad cops and prevent sensible reforms.
- A new analysis from the Pegasus Institute shows that increases in self-initiated police activity reduce homicides.
- Alice Marie Johnson, a Senior Fellow for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right on Crime project, took the stage at the Republican National Convention to tell her story of redemption and purpose.
State budgets and spending
- The Alabama Policy Institute encouraged the governor to use remaining CARES Act funds for statewide tax relief.
- The Badger Institute sat down with Senator Ron Johnson to discuss the debt crisis, federal spending realities, the likelihood of entitlement reform, and the likelihood of restoring federalism as a governing philosophy.
- The Bluegrass Institute encouraged Congress to limit aid for states and localities to expenses directly related to the coronavirus.
- California Policy Center considered if a wealth tax will make California’s wealthy flee.
- Garden State Initiative responded to the New Jersey Governor’s recent budget address.
- John Locke Foundation reviewed North Carolina’s budget and pointed out the need for even more spending restraint.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs highlighted how Oklahoma voters continue to oust tax-increasing incumbents.
- Pelican Institute reviewed Louisiana’s latest unemployment numbers and argued expanding unemployment insurance would harm the state’s recovery.
- Empire Center highlighted how New York’s per-recipient Medicaid spending has soared to the nation’s third-highest rate.
- The Idaho Freedom Foundation explained how legislation that supporters say will protect businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits will actually invite lawsuits, especially those aimed at small businesses.
- Mississippi Center for Public Policy launched an initiative to expand food freedom in Mississippi with a video featuring local business owners and an op-ed outlining the benefits for both consumers and small businesses.
- In looking through the multiple occupational licensing reform bills that were signed into law just this year, the Platte Institute listed all the careers in Nebraska that now have reduced barriers to entry.
- TEF Iowa recommended Iowa join the 12 other states who have repealed their certificate-of-need (CON) laws. TEF Iowa noted doing so would help expand healthcare access and make it more affordable for everyone.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Beacon Center of Tennessee imagined if Tennessee led the nation in innovation freedom.
- The Buckeye Institute argued the School Choice Now Act should be part of any federal COVID-19 relief package designed to get America back to work and school safely.
- The Caesar Rodney Institute reviewed Delaware’s eye-opening middle student test scores.
- In The Daily Signal, the Commonwealth Foundation explained how the proposed “Back on Track Education Scholarship Accounts,” up for consideration in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, can empower parents with the resources and tools they need to address any “gaps in learning” that emerged while schools have been closed.
- The Commonwealth Foundation argued to fix Philadelphia’s “bad cops” problem, policymakers should end special privileges for unions.
- As parents try to figure out how to send their children back to school, the Freedom Foundation highlighted how teachers’ unions are increasingly erecting roadblocks to returning to some semblance of normalcy.
- In the Washington Examiner, the Foundation for Government Accountability considered the South Dakota Governor’s decision to help small businesses and support workers by forgoing any further financial boosts to the unemployment insurance program.
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation highlighted learning pods—small groups of children who, rather than sitting at home alone, tackle remote learning together.
- Illinois Policy Institute considered how Illinois finances fell apart and how pension reforms would go a long way toward solving the state’s crisis.
- The John Locke Foundation argued North Carolina should trim budgets.
- The Pacific Research Institute highlighted how retail health clinics could soon be coming to neighborhood retailers such as Walgreens and CVS.
- In The American Conservative, the Texas Public Policy Foundation argued the president’s executive orders will make prescription drugs more affordable.