Were you at the hugely successful fifth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum last week? It was attended by more than 150 legislators, staff, government affairs and business representatives and interested citizens. One attendee wrote us: “For someone who is new to the arena of politics, I couldn’t imagine that I would receive that much insight in that short of a period of time.”
View photos of the event on our brand-new Facebook page, facebook.com/GAlegforum. Read the issues handout we gave attendees here; read the tax PowerPoint presentation by economist Liz Malm of the Tax Foundation here. Video of the event will be available on our YouTube site next week.
Quotes of Note
“The judge’s authority derives entirely from the fact that he is applying the law and not his personal values. That is why the American public accepts the decisions of its courts, accepts even decisions that nullify the laws a majority of the electorate or their representatives voted for.” – Robert Bork
“An economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.” – John F. Kennedy
“Let our children grow tall, and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so.” – Margaret Thatcher
November 18: Mark your calendar for a Leadership Breakfast with Chris Barbic, superintendent of the Tennessee Achievement School District, who will share how that state gets the bottom 5 percent of low-performing schools out of the doldrums.
Cooking the books: Texas is enjoying a burst of entrepreneurship after enacting laws that let anyone turn a home kitchen into a business incubator. Under “cottage food” laws, people can sell food baked or cooked at home, like cookies, cakes and jams, if it’s deemed to have a very low chance of causing foodborne illnesses. Source: Forbes.com
Reaching high: This week, Governor Nathan Deal welcomed 123 new students to the Georgia REACH scholarship program. Read the Foundation commentary on how this excellent, privately funded program puts college in students’ reach.
Showing class: Gwinnett County Schools and Orange County, Fla., are joint winners of the $1 million Broad Prize For Urban Education, in recognition of their distinct approaches toward improving student achievement.
Self-driving cars could soon roam Fayette County streets, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The County Commission has adopted a resolution allowing the county to be a pilot site for autonomous vehicles, and Chairman Steve Brown said he’s talked to Google about using Fayette as a test site. Now he’s hoping for a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal to hash out the plans.
Energy and environment
Money where your mouth is: As if health care costs are not high enough, the federal Environmental Protection Agency continued its mission creep this week by proposing standards under the Clean Water Act to help cut discharges of dental amalgam. “Mercury is discharged when dentists remove old fillings or remove excess amalgam when placing a new filling,” the EPA declares, claiming that studies show about half the mercury that enters water treatment works comes from dental offices.
Overreach: Fifteen Republican governors have sent a letter to President Obama that points out that the EPA’s proposed regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants “not only exceeds the scope of federal law, but also, in some cases, directly conflicts with established state law.” Read the Foundation commentary based on Benita Dodd’s testimony at the EPA’s Atlanta hearing session.
Who is choosing not to vaccinate? The most cases of whooping cough in California occur in Los Angeles County, home to some of the wealthiest and most exclusive suburbs in the country. The low immunization rates there “are the kind of immunization rates that can be found in Chad or South Sudan,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. These parents are almost uniformly highly educated, but they are making an uneducated and dangerous choice, not only for their children but to many who have ailments that prevent them from being vaccinated.
On September 21, 2004, the Foundation published the Crime chapter of its “Agenda 2005: A Guide to the Issues.” In it, we proposed that the state “consider more cost-effective alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders.” The good news is it’s happening, as Mike Klein reported recently!
Web site of the Week: The Foundation for Excellence in Education, http://excelined.org/, is your one-stop education shop, boasting a depository of education reform policies from all 50 states, model legislation, research papers, academic data and media reports.
Social media:Have you “liked” the Foundation’s Facebook page yet? More than 2,345 of our friends get daily updates on news and policy views as well as event alerts; more than 1,200 follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gppf!
The Forum: Read recent posts at georgiapolicy.org/category/the-forum/.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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“I am here today to thank the Georgia Public Policy Foundation for your role in building a fiscally conservative, pro-growth state. Not only did you help pave the way for a new generation of leadership, you continue to provide key policy advice and to hold us accountable to the principles we ran on. In short, you have had a transforming influence on this state. We are healthier, stronger, and better managed because of your efforts.