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).
This Week on SPN.org
Landmark Espinoza ruling provides families in 37 states with more K-12 education options
Find out what the Espinoza Supreme Court case means for families and how state think tanks are responding to this win
A majority of parents are making new plans for 2020-2021 school year
SPN’s Carrie Conko shares new polling research on parents’ attitudes towards the upcoming school year.
- In a momentous victory for students and families, the US Supreme Court ruled states cannot exclude religious schools from school choice programs. Read more about the implications of Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue here.
- The Mississippi Legislature took an important step to address prison overcrowding. Lawmakers passed a bill that will equip the state with greater tools to safely reduce the state’s dangerously high prison population and stabilize the conditions in the state’s troubled prison system. Empower Mississippi applauded the legislation and added it will help more Mississippians transition to productive work.
- The Florida Governor signed major occupational licensing reform legislation on Tuesday. The James Madison Institute noted it’s a bold step to advance the prosperity of Floridians seeking to start a career, advance in their profession, or establish a small business.
- The Mississippi Legislature unanimously passed a bill that will break down barriers to work for military families in Mississippi. The legislation will allow military members and their families to receive occupational licenses in Mississippi based on their education and training they received in another state, rather than having to re-apply for a new license. The Mississippi Center for Public Policy noted the impact this will have on military families, who on average every two to three years.
- The Pelican Institute congratulated the Louisiana Legislature for passing the Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020, legislation that will lift the burden lawsuit abuse places on all Louisianans.
- Another win for school choice: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Department of Revenue agreed to end an illegal policy that blocked Wisconsin families from enrolling in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). The decision came after the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit against the DPI on behalf of a family that was denied entry into the WPCP as a result of an illegal “one and done” policy that prevented families from applying more than once during an enrollment period—regardless of a change in circumstances.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
Controlling Health Care Costs in Alaska
Alaska Policy Forum
To Unleash the Economic Recovery, Congress Must Fix the Unemployment Debacle
Foundation for Government Accountability
Catch-UP ESAs Give Students Immediate Support
Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity
Research & Initiatives
- The Beacon Center released the City Freedom Index—Tennessee’s most comprehensive analysis of city policies. The report ranks the freest cities in the state.
- Cascade Policy Institute considered the Portland area’s minimum wage increase from $12.50 per hour to $13.25 and noted now is not the time to increase the costs of running businesses.
- A new poll from the Center of the American Experiment finds the majority of Minnesotans have “a great deal of confidence” in police and strongly oppose defunding the Minneapolis police department.
- The Civitas Institute explained how government makes healthcare more expensive and what we can do to reverse it.
- Commonwealth Foundation offered five ways lawmakers can avoid a coronavirus lawsuit frenzy.
- As New York faces a looming fiscal crisis, the Empire Center encouraged the governor to take his fiscal oversight role more seriously.
- New polling from the Foundation for Government Accountability finds more than half of likely voters want to see the $600 unemployment bonus expire as planned at the end of July.
- Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit against a Washington order that requires residents to wear a mask in public places. Freedom Foundation lawyer Shella Sadovnik discussed the case on the Todd Herman Show.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity released a summary of the legislation passed in the 2020 Georgia legislative session.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum will be hosted on Zoom as a series of weekly webinars. The opening keynote, on July 15, is “An Education Conversation,” with the US Secretary of Education.
- The Goldwater Institute released five ways courts can build on Janus’ free speech freedoms.
- Grassroot Institute of Hawaii submitted testimony on a bill in the Hawaii Legislature that would empower the state director of health, upon approval from the governor, to declare a public health emergency and give the director broad powers in that emergency.
- The Illinois Policy Institute highlighted that as many as 21,700 Illinois restaurants could close permanently from the coronavirus’ economic fallout.
- The John Locke Foundation reviewed how the coronavirus produced shocking decreases in supply and demand for hospital-based healthcare.
- The Kansas Policy Center argued the Kansas Governor’s K-12 budget plan favors government over taxpayers.
- The Michigan Supreme Court announced that it will hear the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s case challenging the Michigan Governor’s unilateral extension of emergency powers. Mackinac’s case jumped ahead of other litigation because they started in federal court and the federal judge asked the state Supreme Court to address questions about the governor’s powers.
- Maine Policy Institute submitted a petition to the Maine Legislature’s presiding officers with more than 3,000 signatures in support of reconvening the Legislature.
- The Maryland Public Policy Institute refuted the claim that the Maryland Governor’s proposed budget cuts are draconian.
- After Oklahomans voted to approve Medicaid expansion, lawmakers will now face pressure to increase taxes. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs encouraged residents to communicate to legislators that tax increases are unacceptable.
- Pegasus Institute highlighted how nearly half of Kentucky’s workforce has filed for unemployment.
- On “The Learning Curve” podcast, the Pioneer Institute interviewed Kendra Espinoza, lead plaintiff in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, and Erica Smith, an attorney with the Institute for Justice.
- The Platte Institute held a webinar with two key legislative leaders to discuss the scheduled return of the 2020 Nebraska Legislature.
- On the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity podcast, “In the Dugout,” CEO Mike Stenhouse and Ray Rickman discussed the state of race relations in Rhode Island. Rickman heads Stages of Freedom, a nonprofit that works with hundreds of minority families.
- The Show-Me Institute advised policymakers to say no to a proposed second round of coronavirus-related bailouts to state and local governments.
- Sutherland Institute’s President & CEO Rick B. Larsen considered what Independence Day means this year. He noted America is, in the end, an idea that depends upon a collective belief in the Founders’ vision and a voluntary compliance with the principles of freedom.
- Tax Education Foundation of Iowa reviewed Iowa’s FY 2021 budget and asserted Iowa should practice fiscal prudence by adhering to conservative revenue estimates, conservative budgets, and avoiding tax increases.
- As Connecticut’s contractual wage increase for unionized state employees went into effect, the Yankee Institute noted it is wrong that Connecticut’s elected officials continue to choose powerful special interest over taxpayers.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Alabama Policy Institute encouraged state leaders to expand broadband access in rural communities.
- In The Wall Street Journal, the Empire Center argued New York should look outside government for a truly independent probe into the city and state’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Ethan Allen Institute outlined the problems with police unions and qualified immunity.
- In the California Globe, the Freedom Foundation reviewed the impact the Janus ruling has had on California.
- As New Jersey faces a looming budget crisis, the Garden State Initiative encouraged the governor to follow the lead of other states and cut spending.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation argued that, despite headlines, Georgia’s school districts will be able to survive recent budget cuts.
- The Goldwater Institute appeared on KJZZ Radio to discuss what the Espinoza decision means for Arizona’s religious schools.
- The Illinois Policy Institute took issue with the Illinois Governor’s failure to stop the automatic $261 million in pay raises for the state’s biggest government worker union.
- Kansas Policy Institute highlighted a complaint of waste, fraud, and abuse of power at the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.
- In The Detroit News, Libertas Institute explained how no-knock warrants endanger citizens and police.
- In The Washington Examiner, the Mackinac Center showed how the move to comply with Janus v. AFSCME is snowballing across the states.
- The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy on Mississippi’s decision to change the state flag.
- The Nevada Policy Research Institute pointed out that responding to emergencies like the coronavirus doesn’t require abandoning the principles of democratic self-government.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs reviewed why the Supreme Court’s Espinoza decision is so important.
- The Pacific Research Institute reviewed how the Affordable Care Act has driven up the cost of healthcare and highlighted how the law may finally come to an end next year.
- On the Lars Larson Show, the Washington Policy Center discussed federal versus local decision making when it comes to reopening the economy.
Virtual Events &
Carolina Rebound Virtual Town Hall: Education
John Locke Foundation
July 11, 2020
Doomed to Repeat: Learning from the American Revolution
Texas Public Policy Foundation
July 6, 2020