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 email@example.com (all submissions are subject to SPN approval).
- The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation was awarded $6,000 in attorney’s fees for its lawsuit against Wayne State University. The lawsuit was launched on behalf of Virginia Tech professor, Dr. Marc Edwards, in response to Wayne State deliberately ignoring multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.
- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and National Mediation Board (NMB) recently implemented extra protections for workers thanks to the National Right to Work Foundation. The NLRB Counsel instructed regional directors to issue complaints when union officials failed to inform employees of the amount of reduced union fees they can pay by objecting to union membership. Union officials are required to do this thanks to the Foundation-won CWA v. Beck decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Research & Initiatives
- The American Enterprise Institute launched a new docuseries, “Faces of Policy.” In the series, AEI scholars listen to the individuals whose lives are most affected by the research fields they study and the policies they advocate.
- New Jersey has one of the most expensive road and bridge networks in the country. A new report from the Garden State Initiative outlines a path to saving $2 billion on the state’s infrastructure.
- The Illinois Policy Institute found that corruption in Illinois costs taxpayers at least $550 million per year. Also in financial jeopardy: the state’s pension system. In July, Illinois Policy Institute found that at least 651 workers retired, averaging $1.3 million in lifetime pension benefits. The only way to solve Illinois’ pension problem, the report states, is constitutional pension reform.
- Overly restrictive environments often prevent states from modernizing and updating their infrastructure. A new study by the Pioneer Institute argues the Massachusetts Legislature should free the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) from unnecessary restrictions to improve Boston’s subway system.
- A new policy study from the Reason Foundation examines the effectiveness of “backpack funding” in school districts. John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, considers how state education funds are distributed in North Carolina, and recommends the program be reformed so dollars are tied to student needs.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Dallas alleging the city’s paid sick leave ordinance violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is warning that Obama-era school discipline regulations that are set to go into effect soon may result in unconstitutional racial quotas. WILL has done prior research showing federal policies aimed at softer discipline policies have resulted in lower academic performance. WILL also partnered with other SPN groups to ask Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind those regulations. DeVos did so in December 2018.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Alabama Policy Institute discusses overcrowding in Alabama’s prisons and considers a plan that would create new prisons without raising taxes.
- The California Policy Center notes that California’s defined benefit pension system can be sustainable again, but only if the so-called “California rule” is overturned. This rule allows benefits to be adjusted up, but never down.
- The Civitas Institute considers the benefits of intentionally embracing joy at work. Civitas explains how joy is a proactive mindset that can improve your life and save you from burnout.
- According to a new report from the Empire Center, police pensions over $100,000 a year are becoming the norm.
- The Ethan Allen Institute considers Bernie Sanders’ recent decision to limit his staff’s hours to pay them the $15 minimum wage.
- People shouldn’t be forced into a broken healthcare system, says Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Wingfield explains how a Medicaid waiver can make the program work better and lower prices.
- In an op-ed for The Washington Post, the Goldwater Institute and Senator Mike Lee urge the FAA to allow flight-sharing, a new concept that will provide Americans with more travel options at lower prices.
- The free speech rights of pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and healthcare providers is under attack, according to the Goldwater Institute. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims it’s illegal for drug companies to discuss the off-label uses of products. Goldwater explains why this is a violation of free speech in their new report, “Restoring Free Speech in Medicine.”
- The Nevada Policy Research Institute considers whether government employee emails on audits, budgets, and the Legislature should be made secret.
- “There’s plenty of recent evidence to suggest ‘temporary’ taxes, in practice, are about as rare as unicorns.” The Nevada Policy Research Institute applauds lawmakers for challenging the unconstitutional modified business tax extension.
- In 2017, Michigan passed the “Good Jobs for Michigan” program, which gave tax breaks to big corporations. With a sunset provision in the law set to take effect later this year, the Mackinac Center urges lawmakers to let the harmful program expire.
- The Mackinac Center explains how all residents can benefit from gentrifying neighborhoods.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs points out that Medicaid is an all-or-nothing proposition. As an alternative to expansion, Oklahoma should implement real, state-level reforms that improve outcomes.
- The Pacific Research Institute highlights the hostile tactics unions use to keep teachers under their control in The Orange County Register.
- As Louisiana’s hair braiding licensing requirements remain on the books, The Pelican Institute notes the political difficulty of reforming these oppressive laws.
- As the city of Albuquerque works to make its spending more transparent, The Rio Grande Foundation applauds the effort, and considers the problem with unclassified and miscellaneous budget categories.
- Why are superintendents retiring in Missouri and continuing to work in other states? The Show-Me Institute highlights this trend and notes it’s a result of the state’s broken pension system.
- The Texas Public Policy Foundation considers Maryland’s recent public education legislation, arguing the plan is unlikely to help students. To fix Maryland’s schools, TPPF argues, there should be public reading goals at the school level.
- How far does your paycheck go in your state? The Texas Public Policy Foundation considers why there are such large cost of living differences around the country.