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).
This Week on SPN.org
Announcing the 2020 SPN Communications Excellence Awards Finalists
The SPN Communications Excellence Awards recognize and encourage outstanding achievements in marketing, communications, and media across the state think tank Network.
“People’s minds are more open today than they were six months ago, and I think there’s an opportunity for every state think tank in this country to make ground on healthcare policy.”
SPN Senior Healthcare Policy Advisor Russ Walker shares his thoughts on how the coronavirus has shifted the focus of the healthcare debate and the opportunities this presents for state think tanks.
- A major workplace freedom win in Michigan: Michigan became the second state to issue a rule change that requires some public employers to obtain direct consent from their employees before deducting union dues from employee paychecks. The Mackinac Center has been an instrumental champion for giving workers this voice and choice in union membership.
- Louisiana passed a law that removes major hurdles to providing broadband access to people and businesses who sorely need it across the state. The Pelican Institute celebrated the new law, noting it’s great to see the passage of solutions-focused legislation like this.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
An Overview of Colorado K-12 Career and Technical Education
Workforce Development Can Improve Lives
Texas Public Policy Foundation
What Can Connecticut Learn From its Neighbors About Property Tax Limitations?
Yankee Institute and Tax Foundation
Research & Initiatives
- Americans for Fair Treatment released a video on the two-year anniversary of the landmark US Supreme Court decision, Janus v. AFSCME.
- The Beacon Center of Tennessee considered whether micro-schooling is the answer to pandemic-time education. Micro-schools have a maximum of 10-12 students and can be run from home with a single teacher.
- As Kentucky wrestles with putting together a plan for online learning, the Bluegrass Institute called attention to the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning (BAVEL). BAVEL is an online, Kentucky-based school system serving students in grades six to 12 who need an alternative to in-person attendance at their local school.
- The Caesar Rodney Institute encouraged the Delaware Governor to open Delaware now.
- The California Policy Center considered the United Teachers of Los Angeles’ assertion that it will cost $250 million to reopen schools.
- Cascade Policy Institute encouraged lawmakers to put more power over education choices into the hands of parents.
- Center of the American Experiment explained how school closings could significantly reduce future earnings of today’s students.
- Civitas Institute highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic is exposing the harm of burdensome certificate-of-need laws.
- The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering legislation that creates “Back on Track” Education Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to help families afford growing education expenses following coronavirus-related school closures. Commonwealth Foundation noted how these accounts would help families get the educational help they need to avoid falling further behind.
- Empower Mississippi provided a recap of what happened in Mississippi’s 2020 legislative session.
- The Ethan Allen Institute listed five compelling reasons for the Vermont Governor to veto the Global Warming Solutions Act. The legislation requires Vermonters to cut their yearly carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
- The Garden State Initiative reviewed the monthly jobs report for June 2020. GSI noted that, despite the rise in the unemployment rate, sectors most impacted by the pandemic are beginning to recover.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation held the opening keynote to its annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. The keynote featured a conversation on education with the US Secretary of Education.
- After the Hawaii Legislature adjourned this week, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii noted the Legislature’s failure to address Hawaii’s budget issues.
- The Illinois Policy Institute pointed out how Indiana is dropping its corporate tax rate while Illinois is increasing it.
- The Josiah Bartlett Center hosted a webinar on the Espinoza case and its impact on New Hampshire.
- The Kansas Policy Institute released the Green Book 2020, which provides an analysis on the burden of Kansas’ property taxes.
- Libertas Institute released a poll that finds Utahans overwhelmingly support police reform.
- The Mackinac Center reviewed the Janus ruling and noted private sector workers deserve to have the ability to choose where they want to spend their money, as well.
- The Mississippi Center for Public Policy argued schools should reopen at the normal time this August. If they can’t or won’t, parents should get a refund.
- Palmetto Promise Institute highlighted key takeaways from a South Carolina Senate hearing on school reopening plans.
- A Kentucky lawmaker pre-filed a bill that would limit declarations of emergency to 14 days, which could then be extended by the state legislature. The bill closely resembles recommendations from a recent Pegasus Institute report.
- The Platte Institute noted Nebraska is in a relatively good revenue position compared with other states.
- The Reason Foundation looked back through public pension history and found that public pension systems used to take a very different approach to investments—which may offer some lessons for policymakers today.
- The Show-Me Institute pointed out that Medicaid expansion is debt, and there are no “tax dollars” being “sent back” to any state, especially these days.
- The Yankee Institute highlighted how Connecticut property tax growth outpaces New York and Massachusetts.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Alabama Policy Institute argued the duty to educate a child, and the right to decide how best to educate the child, belongs to the parents.
- The Alaska Policy Forum considered why healthcare spending in Alaska is so much higher than other states.
- As Congress considers extending the $600 unemployment bonus in the CARES Act, Cascade Policy Institute suggested coronavirus unemployment benefits must be tied to incentives.
- In the Crookston Times, the Center of the American Experiment pointed out the economic suppression will hurt today’s graduates for years to come.
- On Supertalk Mississippi, Empower Mississippi discussed the governor’s decision to veto criminal justice reforms.
- The Foundation for Government Accountability supported the Health Care PRICE Transparency Act, federal legislation that would provide real prices to patients ahead of time.
- On Sunday’s Fox & Friends, former governor Mike Huckabee credited Freedom Foundation with helping teachers leave their union in California.
- The John Locke Foundation discussed North Carolina’s school reopening plans on Spectrum News’ Capital Tonight.
- In Human Events, the Pacific Research Institute noted public health and economic growth are two sides of the same coin.
- In the Lexington County Chronicle, the Palmetto Promise Institute explained why South Carolina should invest in building a robust online learning catalog.
- The Pioneer Institute highlighted two Catholic schools in Massachusetts that have adapted well to the challenges of the coronavirus.
- The Rio Grande Foundation argued the coronavirus crisis must spur long-overdue reform to New Mexico’s education system.
- In The American Conservative, SPN’s Tony Woodlief highlighted how local officials have a tendency to look to the federal government to solve problems.
Virtual Events & Opportunities
2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum
Georgia Public Policy Foundation | July 15-August 25, 2020
Constituting America: Why Our Founding Principles Are Still Relevant Today
John Locke Foundation | July 20, 2020
School Choice in the Courts: A Maine Policy Virtual Happy Hour with Special Guest Tim Keller
Maine Policy Institute | July 29, 2020