Author: Mike Klein

By Mike Klein Governor Nathan Deal signed criminal justice reform legislation Wednesday, triggering the most aggressive rebranding of the state’s approach to criminal perpetrators in several decades.  But one question that needs to be resolved is who’s responsible for making sure this all happens? It sounds like the answer begins with the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform whose work provided the structure for Georgia’s new law.  Governor Deal signed House Bill 1176 during an upbeat signing ceremony just below the north steps at the State Capitol in Atlanta. Answering a question from the Public Policy Foundation, the Governor said he would extend the Special Council by executive order, something he has previously discussed.  “We believe we should maybe expand… View Article
By Mike Klein Cherokee Charter Academy almost never happened.  Last spring it seemed possible – maybe even probable — that Cherokee Charter would never open because of a state Supreme Court decision.  What a difference a year makes.  Governor Nathan Deal will visit the school Thursday morning when he signs legislation to create the structure for a new state charter schools commission. “We’re very excited that not only is the Governor pro-charter but he is coming to our school to sign House Bill 797,” said Cherokee Charter Principal Vanessa Suarez.  “At the end of the day, all politics aside, we are here for the kids.  We are here for our students that want a choice.” This signing ceremony could… View Article

Don’t Hide Energy Innovation Under a Bushel

By Benita Dodd It’s easy being green these days for environmental activists – green with envy. The darnedest thing has happened in the energy arena, something that this Foundation frequently cites in opposing heavyhanded government mandates and regulation. It’s the innovativeness of Americans. Not that it’s slowing activists’ efforts to rein in innovation. A long time ago, Americans faced predictions that oil was running low. “Peak oil” hasn’t happened, thanks to innovation. Vehicles became more fuel-efficient, going farther on less, and businesses and appliances got more energy efficient even as their numbers increased. Improving technology enabled oil producers to locate and extract more resources. So “global warming” became the reason to push for “renewable” energy such as wind, solar, biomass… View Article
By Mike Klein This summer the U.S. Supreme Court will decide what authority if any states have to determine immigration policies within their borders.  This year the Georgia agriculture industry hopes to avoid a repeat of last year’s fiasco when just the possibility of a new state law caused seasonal workers to leave or avoid the state; an estimated $400 million in crops rotted in the fields. Wednesday morning the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Obama administration effort to stop Arizona’s immigration law.  Arizona says the federal government has failed to stop the migration of illegal immigrants from Mexico.  The Obama administration says states have no legal authority to control any aspect of immigration law. This is the reality… View Article
By Dr. Hal Scherz Dr. Jeff English the Docs4Patient Care, Georgia Chapter President and the Director of Clinical Research at the MS Center of Atlanta and I have seen looming problems with the implementation of ObamaCare. Like all practicing physicians we know that it is time to get serious about medical liability reform. Two years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is now clear the law fails to control healthcare costs – the very reason advocates called for its passage. In fact, costs have accelerated faster under Obamacare than if Congress never took up health reform. Part of the reason is that the ACA never addressed the two major drivers of healthcare spending – the disconnect between… View Article
By Allen Buckley While President Obama’s recent displeasure with the U.S. Supreme Court’s power to determine the constitutionality of the health care law is well documented, less documented are his agencies’ improper regulatory actions.  Substantively, agencies have been making law.  Together, these actions show a disdain for the legislative and judicial branches by the executive branch, thus threatening the balance (and separation) of powers provided by the U.S. Constitution.  In short, the Obama administration has shown a constant objective of making the executive branch supreme during Mr. Obama’s tenure. With gridlock in Congress, the Obama administration has taken regulatory powers to a level never before experienced and is, in substance, creating laws.  It is doing so by having its agencies… View Article
(This editorial was published April 21 by the Augusta Chronicle) There was a “Save Our Schools” rally Saturday in Hephzibah to oppose state-approved charter schools.  Save our schools? From what? Other schools? And why? Because today’s schools are doing so well? “I think we ought to be talking about Saving Our Children,” says Dr. Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. Absolutely. And that’s what the Georgia General Assembly had in mind when it approved House Resolution 1162 this year. The proposed constitutional amendment, which must be approved by voters in November, would grant the state explicit authority to approve and fund public charter schools when local districts refuse to do so. You would think the… View Article
By Mike Klein When Advanced Catheter Therapies announced a new technology patent in January, the dateline was Chattanooga, Tenn. The press release noted, “The Company recently announced a name change from Atlanta Catheter Therapies.” No longer located in Georgia, Advanced Catheter raised almost $3 million from Tennessee-based investors after it became frustrated with Georgia’s inadequate venture capital opportunities. One of the investment requirements was relocation to Tennessee. “Everybody I talked to in Tennessee, it was like, how can I help you?” said ACT founder Paul Fitzpatrick, who commutes to Chattanooga from his home in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. He recalled conversations that went something like, “What doors can I open to help you succeed?” Advanced Catheter is one among many examples… View Article
By Mike Klein Magic Johnson’s parents never earned high school diplomas.  However, they made it clear to all ten children that failure to graduate from high school was not an option.  “They were on top of us every day,” Johnson said in Atlanta.  Today five of his six sisters are Michigan public school teachers and the sixth is an elementary school principal.  “I am looking at all these educators in my family after my mom and my dad finished seventh or eighth grade.” Magic Johnson is one of the most recognizable people in the world.  Famous initially for his ability to do things with a basketball that mere ticketholders could only imagine.  Famous now because in life after basketball Johnson… View Article
(This article was published in the Sunday April 15 Atlanta Journal-Constitution) By Mike Klein This year, Georgia legislators took down some barriers in tax, pension and criminal justice reform but they whiffed on creating a state-assisted venture capital investments model. Next January, they need to take another step forward in tax reform, monitor the start of criminal justice reforms, enact juvenile code reforms and create a real strategy around venture capital investments. Tax reform this year included sales tax changes to benefit industry, the beginning of the end for the hated annual tax paid on personal vehicles, sales tax added to some online purchases and a gimmicky sales tax holiday. That is not enough. Comprehensive tax reform must include a… View Article

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