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
Community engagement amidst civil unrest
How can our Network begin to understand today’s cultural and social issues and develop meaningful action?
The power of affiliation: Why participation in professional groups is vital during and after a crisis
SPN’s Meredith Turney explains why and how connecting and collaborating with peers helps us thrive.
Protecting Americans from government overreach
State think tanks empower states to protect Americans’ constitutional rights during the coronavirus.
- The Badger Institute opposed and defeated a proposed rule from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) that would limit smoke damper inspections to fire inspectors. By prohibiting other qualified parties from providing a service, those with a state-sanctioned monopoly get all the work and set the prices, raising the cost for consumers.
- Three Buckeye Institute-championed policies passed the Ohio House: permanently expanding telehealth, allowing restaurants and bars to offer alcohol on their carryout and delivery menus, and eliminating unnecessary occupational license restrictions to allow more trained medical professionals to help patients. These policies will boost Ohio’s healthcare system and support Ohio’s workers, small businesses, and the economy.
- The Idaho Governor announced he will direct $200 million of Idaho’s CARES Act funds toward property tax relief (out of $1.25 billion available). The Idaho Freedom Foundation suggested this reform to the governor in April, noting how it would provide much-needed relief to Idahoans and foster the economy long-term.
- In May, the Michigan Governor allowed businesses to reopen only if they adhered to “strict workplace safety measures.” Any businesses that did not follow this pace for reopening were subject to a three-year felony and a fine of up to $70,000 per occurrence. On May 22, the Mackinac Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan and a private landscaping company. On June 8, the Circuit Court ruled these penalties are illegal.
Solutions from the states:
This week’s policy briefs
Alaska’s Budget Deficit Worsened Due to COVID-19 Tax Alaskans or Tighten Our Belts?
Alaska Policy Forum
States are About to Be Hit By a Medicaid Tidal Wave
Foundation for Government Accountability
Research identifies benefits of spending more on police, not defunding it
John Locke Foundation
2020 Green Book: KPI Fact Book Exploring the Relationship between the Size of Government and Economic Growth
Kansas Policy Institute
Quick Facts on Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Declaring an Emergency: Cross-State Comparisons and Recommendations for Reform
As COVID-19 Pandemic Spurs Consumer Shift to E-Commerce, the Massachusetts Sales Tax Collection System Deserves Renewed Scrutiny
Class Dismissed: Massachusetts’ Lack of Preparedness for K–12 Digital Learning During COVID-19
Albuquerque Public Schools v. Southwestern Regional School Districts: How Does Spending and Student Performance Stack Up?
Rio Grande Foundation
State think tanks respond to
police force and racial injustice
- California Policy Center argued the best thing we can do to reform police is rein in police unions, which work hard to prevent any sensible reform, protect bad actors, and have no accountability.
- Center of the American Experiment considered reforms to address problems with police departments, including outsourcing some of the services the police provide.
- Empire Center highlighted how New York City Council members calling for defunding the police were pushing the New York major to give city police a big pay hike just a year ago.
- The Georgia Center for Opportunity commented on the unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, noting GCO stands with the many communities who face these injustices.
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kyle Wingfield observed that whatever our own race and history, we can agree on the desperate and urgent need to bring an end to the travesties of justice that grow increasingly incendiary.
- Goldwater Institute argued a first step toward reforming police behavior is reforming America’s city courts.
- The Illinois Policy Institute asserted that policing and criminal justice reform require attention, deliberation, and action from state leaders now—not after a faraway election.
- Independence Institute pointed out that in order to reform police, you first have to reform unions.
- John Locke Foundation noted police misconduct is everyone’s problem and offered actionable reforms to address unjust force. The Foundation also added that while freedom may be messy and imperfect, it’s our last best hope to ensuring that black lives matter.
- The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy noted police accountability starts with fixing “qualified immunity.”
- In The Salt Lake Tribune, Libertas Institute outlined needed police reforms for Utah.
- The Pacific Research Institute discussed the debate over criminal justice policy in California in the aftermath of the George Floyd riots.
- Palmetto Promise Institute’s Ellen Weaver emphasized the importance of listening to learn and make a difference in your community.
- Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios released a statement on the need to address police brutality, racism, and economic inequality.
- Yankee Institute released a statement regarding the death of George Floyd and included policy recommendations for a path forward.
Research & Initiatives
- After the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to take up the Education Savings Account (ESA) case, the Beacon Center explained the effect on the families who wish to participate in the program.
- Bluegrass Institute encouraged all Kentucky residents in Jefferson County to sign a petition recalling a proposed property tax increase.
- The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony to the Ohio House Insurance Committee on the policies in House Bill 679, which would permanently expand telehealth. Buckeye noted the bill “goes a long way towards expanding health care access in Ohio.”
- Caesar Rodney Institute considered whether Delaware “flattened the curve.”
- Civitas Institute highlighted how North Carolina’s budget has grown four times as fast as population since 1989.
- On Coffee and Conversation, Empower Mississippi interviewed two Mississippi charter school leaders to discuss how they are adjusting to remote education.
- A new poll by the Foundation for Government Accountability finds nearly two-thirds of small business owners are worried about their employees not returning to work.
- Free the People released a video on the unstoppable human spirit and how people are working together to solve problems from the coronavirus.
- The Georgia Public Policy Foundation argued the coronavirus pandemic bears a striking resemblance to the Spanish flu epidemic that peaked in October 1918.
- Goldwater Institute asserted the ultimate decision of when and how to open the economy cannot be based solely on scientific data.
- As Hawaii faces significantly reduced tax revenues, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii encouraged lawmakers to put all possible spending cuts on the table.
- Illinois Policy Institute highlighted how Illinois lawmakers made no serious attempt to balance the new budget.
- The James Madison Institute held a webinar featuring the former governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker. The discussion centered on the coronavirus and reopening the economy.
- Libertas Institute highlighted how federal agencies and the military are purchasing an upgraded technology to spy on people’s phones.
- To give Maine residents a voice in the state’s economic recovery, the Maine Policy Institute launched a petition to reconvene the Maine Legislature.
- The Mississippi Center for Public Policy listed what liberty bills are still alive in the Mississippi Legislature.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs questioned if federal bailouts will create state budget problems like they did in 2009.
- Palmetto Promise Institute highlighted how some South Carolina businesses are afraid of being sued if someone gets sick in their establishment.
- The Pegasus Institute testified before the Kentucky Interim Joint Committee on the Judiciary about its new report on cross-state comparisons of declarations of emergency statutes.
- The Pelican Institute released a new video that shows the importance of broadband connections for Louisiana students.
- The Show-Me Institute encouraged state lawmakers to revise a law that requires parents of students who wish to enroll in the Missouri Course Access Program to receive permission from their local school district first.
- TEF Iowa considered how Iowa can provide property tax relief for all Iowans.
- Texas Public Policy Foundation commented on May’s jobs report, noting the report is good news for states opening back up after the shutdowns.
- The Washington Policy Center reviewed Washington’s budget outlook and recommended actions lawmakers can take to address the revenue shortfall.
- The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asked the Wisconsin Elections Commission to ban ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting is when a third-party requests absentee ballots for a voter, or a voter requests and receives an absentee ballot, and that ballot is collected and returned to the relevant municipal clerk by a third party.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Washington Times cited the Commonwealth Foundation in a story about the Pennsylvania Legislature taking the significant action of passing a resolution to end the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
- The Freedom Foundation’s lawsuit against the Washington Governor on behalf of a family-owned waterpark received considerable media coverage this week.
- The Chicago Tribune cited the Mackinac Center and the Overton Window in a column on defunding the police.
- The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs highlighted how many parents aren’t happy with the schools that stopped teaching students in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
- In Human Events, the Pacific Research Institute illustrated how China and Russia are spreading coronavirus disinformation.
- In the Des Moines Register, Tax Education Foundation of Iowa reviewed the impact the coronavirus is having on Iowa’s economy.