Category: Legal Reform

Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd wrote an op-ed on civil asset forfeiture in Georgia for the July 17, 2015, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It appeared behind the paywall (link here); the complete text appears  below. Theft by another name By Benita Dodd Dictionary.com describes “theft” as “the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another.” That also describes “civil asset forfeiture” by law enforcement authorities. Law enforcement agencies have argued civil asset forfeiture is a necessary crime-fighting tool; others admit, more honestly, it’s a cash cow. Seminars list the profitable items to seize. News reports highlight agencies’ abusive spending on parties and vehicles, and even how police stop suspects’ vehicles in the cash-carrying… View Article
Civil Asset Forfeiture: Undue Process and Overdue Reforms” featured two great panel discussions featuring Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, moderator John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation, Jason Pye of Freedomworks, Walter Olsen of the Cato Institute., Derek Cohen, senior policy analyst for the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime, Robert Frommer from the Institute of Justice, and Evan Armstrong, legislative counsel to Rep. Tim Wahlberg (R-MI) and Joseph Rivers, who was a recent victim of asset forfeiture as he was headed to Los Angeles to begin a career in music. Rivers–who lost $16,000 after being questioned by a DEA agent–put a human face on asset forfeiture, and his story serves as a… View Article

Principles for Professional Licensing Reform

Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced plans to reform professional licensing in Michigan, writes Mackinac Center for Public Policy policy analyst Jarrett Skorup. Gov. Snyder has proposed a set of principles to guide reform: There must be a substantial harm or danger to the public health, safety, or welfare as a result of unregulated practice, which will be abated through licensure. The practice of the occupation must require highly specialized education or training. The cost to state government of regulating the occupation must be revenue neutral. There must be no alternatives to state regulation of the occupation (such as national or third-party accreditation) which adequately protect the public. The scope of practice must be clearly distinguishable from other licensed, certified,… View Article
Abstract Despite civil asset forfeiture’s noble intentions, the many stories of innocent victims and law enforcement abuses prove that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of law enforcement. In reforming forfeiture laws, however, we must be careful not to swing the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. The process should be made fairer and more transparent, the profit incentive of forfeiture should be abolished or severely constrained, and there should be greater oversight. Civil asset forfeiture should be returned to its original purpose: penalizing those who seek to profit from their illegal activities. If such funds were deposited into the general treasury, nothing would preclude law enforcement authorities from going to Congress or their state legislatures and… View Article
A bill introduced this month would modernize Georgia teachers’ pensions to be more in line with private-sector retirement plans. The proposal is modeled after the successful reform of Georgia’s pension plan for new state employees 7 years ago. Senate Bill 152, sponsored by Sen. Hunter Hill, would only apply to teachers hired after January 1, 2017.  These newly hired teachers would automatically be enrolled in a hybrid pension plan that combines a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, with a smaller traditional defined benefit component. This is exactly what happened with state employees in 2008 in response to a survey showing that state employees under age 30 earning less than $35,000 annually – who made up the… View Article
EVENT INVITATION February 18, 2015 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Federal Overreach is Focus of March 18 Event with AG Sam Olens Atlanta – Under the Constitution, our Founding Fathers assigned the federal government specific, limited powers. How times have changed. As Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens pointed out to Congressional lawmakers in 2013, “With increasing and dismaying frequency, constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers have been set aside in favor of administrative end-routes to a preferred policy outcome.” Insidious mission creep and overreach now pit states against the federal government and the courts as they are forced to defend their rights. From the Dodd-Frank Act to the ObamaCare Halbig v. Burwell case before the U.S.… View Article

Outlaw Policing for Profit in Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Back in 1966, Bobby Fuller sang about, “Robbin’ people with a six-gun, I fought the law and the law won.” And rightfully so: Robbery is a crime. But what happens when it’s the law doing the robbing and the law wins? Civil asset forfeiture is supposed to be a process in which law enforcement agencies seize property and cash they have reason to believe were involved in a crime. A spate of stories from around the nation, however, reveals that too often, it’s a matter of “policing for profit:” seizing property and money of innocent people because agencies benefit directly from the proceeds. For years, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Institute… View Article

A New Approach to Medical Malpractice Reform

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHENPresident, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Preventable medical errors kill more people in the United States each year than automobile accidents or guns. Billions of dollars are wasted each year on “defensive” medicine – unnecessary procedures and tests ordered to protect health care providers in case of a lawsuit. Instead of focusing on reducing medical errors, however, Americans are trapped in a system based on a false sense of access to justice that thwarts efforts to improve patient safety. As one paper put it, “The current tort system does not promote open communication to improve patient safety. On the contrary, it jeopardizes patient safety by creating an intimidating liability environment.” This quote is not from a conservative… View Article
By Ross Mason Ross Mason, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation When the governor paints the state’s financial picture as “daunting” and Medicaid is at least $700 million in the red, you know it’s time to get serious about the state budget. Such is the task before Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia General Assembly when the Legislature convenes in January to adopt a 2014 fiscal plan that not only is in balance but meets all the state’s critical needs. With less revenue and a lingering recession, the state could reduce its health care costs by more than $700 million annually if it scrapped its broken medical malpractice system and replaced it with a no-blame, administrative compensation system that gives… View Article
By Joanna Shepherd-Bailey Jennifer Shiver knows what it means to not only be a young widow, but a widow with two young boys to be raised on her own. The Cumming mother is among thousands of silent victims of medical malpractice each year who are either harmed by a doctor or lose a family member due to medical negligence. When Jennifer’s husband died from complications from a botched bariatric bypass surgery, her life only got worse when no lawyer would take the case. As a result, she received no compensation from her husband’s death and has struggled to raise her family. The lawyers said they just couldn’t make enough money off the case. Many know the current medical liability system… View Article

Name one other organization in the state that does what the Foundation does. You can’t.

Independent survey of Georgia business leaders on the Foundation. more quotes