March 27: Second Chance Month in April, sponsored by Prison Fellowship, celebrates brighter futures for those who have repaid their debt to society. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation played a leading role in Georgia’s criminal justice reforms. The Foundation’s March 27 Leadership Breakfast, “Second Chances,” features three Georgia leaders who champion “second chances:” Bill McGahan of Georgia Works, Jay Neal, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia, and Andrea Shelton of Heartbound Ministries $30. 8 a.m., Georgian Club. Registration information at georgiapolicy.org/events.
Quotes of note
“No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history. – William Hazlitt
“Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good.” – Confucius
“If we truly wish to remain the No. 1 state in which to do business … if we want to attract more companies to our communities and more jobs for our growing populace … if we want to remain a truly competitive hub for global commerce and not be overshadowed by neighboring states, then we need to address the concerns of all in a dignified manner and with a maturity that our people deserve.” – Nathan Deal, Georgia Governor
Friendship and honor: The American Korean Friendship Society, founded by former Foundation Board Member Sunny Park, hosted its annual award dinner in Atlanta on February 23. Featured speaker Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy performed a surprise trumpet solo for the 200 guests. Congratulations to the three Korean Americans honored. Han C. Choi of the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Former state Representative and current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, along with Steve Stirling, CEO of MAP International, received the New American Hero award. Source: Global Atlanta
Collections: Tens of thousands of Medicaid enrollees in the five states that added premiums during the past four years opted not to pay the premiums, Kaiser Health News reports. Michigan last year sent 68,000 Medicaid enrollees who owed premiums a notice that they would garnish any state income tax refunds or lottery winnings; about 7,000 recipients paid. The state then collected premium money from 19,400 through their tax refunds and another 59 from their lottery winnings.
Dissociation: As many as 4.3 million people are projected to leave the ObamaCare individual and small group insurance markets to enroll in association health plans over the next five years if the Trump administration’s recent proposal to expand those plans is approved, raising prices in those markets, according to a new analysis by health care consulting firm Avalere Health. Source: Modern Healthcare
Slipping through the cracks: Between 2011 and 2016, at least 500 physicians were chastised by one state medical board and yet able to hang their shingles in another state with a “clean” license, according to an investigation by MedPage Today and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Past the halfway mark: The Trump administration has already implemented 64 percent of the 334 agenda items called for by the Heritage Foundation. At this stage of his presidency, Ronald Reagan had completed 49 percent of Heritage’s “Mandate for Leadership” blueprint, which he had embraced.
Halfway there: Governor Nathan Deal announced the Savannah harbor expansion project has reached its midpoint, with the outer harbor deepened to 49 feet at low tide. Next is the inner harbor channel, which will be expanded from its current low-tide depth of 42 feet to 47 feet. Deepening the harbor will allow Neo-Panamax vessels to take on heavier loads and transit the Savannah River with greater scheduling flexibility. Source: Metro Atlanta CEO
Way up there: U.S. consumer confidence jumped to a 17-year high in February as optimism about employment prospects grew and Americans began seeing additional money in their paychecks from recently enacted tax cuts. Source: Accounting Today
Criminal justice reform
By the numbers, from the Georgia Council on Justice Reform:
36: The percentage drop in total youth commitments to Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice since reforms were implemented in January 2014.
149: The number of accountability courts operating in Georgia’s 49 judicial circuits.
75 million: The dollars Georgia averted in incarceration costs by managing cases through accountability courts.
68 million: The dollars of averted costs Georgia has reinvested in the adult system through accountability courts, vocational and on-the-job training, the state’s reentry initiative and residential substance abuse treatment facilities and programs.
Renewed: The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia approved renewal petitions for eight state charter schools at its February board meeting: Atlanta Heights Charter School, Cherokee Charter Academy, Coweta Charter Academy, Fulton Leadership Academy, Georgia Connections Academy, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Gwinnett, Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood and Pataula Charter Academy. Since its inception in 2013, the commission has authorized 32 state charter schools.
This month in the archives: In March 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Proposed Tobacco Tax Hike Deserves To Be Snuffed Out.” It noted, “The ultimate sin is that the government would become increasingly dependent on a sin tax to prop up its budget while carrying out the charade of caring about the health of the sinner.”
Foundation in the news: The Heartland Institute cited Georgia Public Policy Foundation research in an article on certificate of need reform. FreedomBunker.com quoted Benita Dodd on work requirements for food stamp recipients.
YouTube: Visit here to view the Foundation’s February 20 event on teacher pensions and insolvency with Len Gilroy of Reason Foundation and Georgia Rep. Chuck Martin.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Education Reform Hobbles Through the Legislative Session,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend.
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.