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By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Once, Georgia’s most alarming criminal justice statistic was that one resident in 13 was under correctional supervision – imprisoned, jailed, on parole or on probation. Today, thanks to an ongoing series of criminal justice reforms, those numbers are shrinking. The most alarming statistic, however, remains the record number of Georgians on probation. In July 2016, a total of 167,714 offenders were on probation, the state Department of Corrections reports. Last year, nearly 45,000 were sentenced to probation. According to the National Institute of Corrections’ 2014 statistics, Georgia’s rate of 6,161 probationers per 100,000 residents is an astounding 321 percent higher than the national average, at 1,463 per 100,000. The next highest state is… View Article

Friday Facts: August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016 It’s Friday! MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  John Stossel The Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Freedom Award (honoring a notable Georgian) takes place November 11, 2016, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The keynote speaker is program host and analyst John Stossel of Fox Business Network. Ticket details to follow!  Quotes of Note  R.I.P. Sir Anthony Jay, co-creator of the British satirical political TV comedies, “Yes Minister,” and, “Yes, Prime Minister,” who died this week at age 86. This, “Yes, Minister,” excerpt reminds us of our efforts sometimes to explain free-market think tanks:  Sir Humphrey: Didn’t you read the Financial Times this morning? Sir Desmond Glazebrook: Never do. Sir Humphrey:… View Article

Atlanta Police Force on Track to Get Body Cameras

Amid the nationally ongoing and sometimes emotionally charged discussion of police interactions and transparency, Atlanta is moving toward body cameras for law enforcement officers. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta City Council voted to spend nearly $6 million to purchase 1,200 of the cameras, which are designed to capture officers’ actions without the ability for interruption or editing footage. This amount of cameras will cover over half of all active officers, as APD consists of approximately 2000 sworn police officers as of 2014, according to an annual Atlanta Police Department Report. In areas where body cameras have already been deployed, the response has been positive from both the officers and the communities they police. “I don’t know… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN It’s been a rough summer for health care. Sixteen of the 23 federally funded, not-for-profit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (co-ops) have now failed. Humana reduced its Georgia coverage area and Cigna, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna have completely pulled out of Georgia’s federally managed insurance exchange. Most premium rate increase requests for 2017 are in the double digits – the weighted average increase is 27 percent. We got ours in the mail last week: 16 percent. In some parts of Georgia, the outlook is worse. With little competition, rural Georgia has the dubious distinction of some of the nation’s highest health care prices and worst health care outcomes. Four rural hospitals recently were forced to close,… View Article

Friday Facts: August 19, 2016

It’s Friday!  Events  August 22: The registration deadline is today! Sign up now to attend, “Across the Pond: A Policy Update,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club on Monday, August 22. The keynote speaker is British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford. $35. Information here; register online here. Then and now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was founded, Georgia charter school enrollment was non-existent. Today (2015) there are 325,808 Georgia students enrolled in charter schools. The Foundation celebrates 25 years in Georgia in 2016. All year, we’re marking our milestone anniversary with a “Then and Now” Friday Facts category! Quotes of Note  “Far more important than… View Article

Checking Up On Health: August 17, 2016

Health Policy News and Views Compiled by Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD   Trucks line up on the Ambassador Bridge to cross from Detroit into Canada. I visited Canada briefly over the weekend, driving into Windsor, Ontario, from Detroit. Did you know? The first eatery visible after you cross the Ambassador Bridge into Canada is a McDonald’s; the second is a Popeye’s! What was really interesting, however, was the proliferation of pharmacies in Windsor. I assume — I can’t vouch for it — that it’s as a convenience for U.S. citizens who want to zip over there to purchase Canada’s lower-priced prescription drugs. That began a discussion in the car about why Canada drugs are cheaper: lower prices because of the… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Twenty-one more Georgia counties will reinstate food stamp time limits in 2017 for able-bodied adults without dependents, according to the Division of Family and Children Services. BENITA DODD August marks the 20th anniversary of the transformative Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This bipartisan welfare reform legislation signed by President Bill Clinton on August 22, 1996, dramatically transformed the nation’s welfare system, implementing strong welfare-to-work requirements and incentivizing states to transition welfare recipients into work. The law, which created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and replaced the 61-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children, also implemented stricter food stamp regulations. Those included time limits for some recipients and a lifetime ban for drug felons, which… View Article

Friday Facts: August 12, 2016

It’s Friday!  Then and Now: For 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, 2,713,800 individual income tax returns were filed in Georgia (pop. 4.8 million), reporting $51.3 billion in taxable income and $2.85 billion in tax liability. In 2015 (for calendar year 2014), there were 4,470,700 tax returns processed (a 65 percent increase. Filers reported about $168.4 billion in taxable income and $9.37 billion in tax liability, both an increase of 228 percent over 1991. During that time, the population increased 109 percent, to 10.1 million. (Of course, that 1991 taxable income is the equivalent of $89.2 billion in 2014 dollars.)  Events  August 22: The deadline is Friday, August 19, to register for “Across the View Article
California State Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell and various law enforcement groups in California have reached an agreement regarding the fate of a bill introducing various reform measures to the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws, according to The Los Angeles Times of August 5, 2016, The bill, S.B. 443, changes the requirement for seizing assets to a criminal conviction, but only for seizures of less than $40,000 in value.  This amount comes by way of a concession to the law enforcement community, who perceived the bill as too far-reaching without this addendum. “At its core, [the previous version of SB 443] sends basically a message to drug dealers that the cost of doing business has gone down,” said Ventura County… View Article

Friday Facts: August 5, 2016

  It’s Friday!  Then and Now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, Georgia poultry plants were in their ninth consecutive year of record-setting production: 867.3 million broilers. The state continues to be a record-holder. Last year, it was 1,339,600,000 broilers with a production value of more than $4.25 billion! Events August 22:  Register now for “Across the Pond: A Policy Update,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club on Monday, August 22. The keynote speaker is British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.  $35. Information here; register online here. Guide to the Issues 2016: What policies should Georgia adopt on education? Find out the Foundation’s proposals… View Article

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.

President George W. Bush more quotes