Category: Issues

By Ross Coker The popularity of consumer-grade multi-rotor or quadcopter devices, the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly referred to as “drones,” has skyrocketed over the last several years. While previously a niche product for aviation and remote controlled vehicle (“RC”) enthusiasts, the buzzing contraption is now commonplace at weddings, beaches and scenic overlooks across the United States. Consumer demand for and use of drones has, however, outpaced regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations for similar products have heretofore contemplated mostly hobby-grade RC planes, loud, expensive, and uncommon devices that also mostly lacked the ability to record pictures and video. (See “A Brief History of Drones” at droneblog.com.) Current drone technology, by contrast, allows for sometimes shockingly effective (and potentially invasive)… View Article

Giving Perspective to Scholarship Programs

By Benjamin Scafidi A recent opinion piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked, “Are vouchers a failure?” Any answer requires examining the best evidence on the topic and placing research results into a reasonable policy context. First, the best evidence: Eighteen “gold-standard” studies followed students who were randomly offered a voucher to attend a private school and compared their outcomes with students who wanted a voucher, but were randomly denied one. Fourteen of these studies reported positive effects from vouchers for some or all students. Two studies found no real effects, and two studies – both from Louisiana – found negative effects. Interestingly, the Louisiana voucher program is the most regulated voucher program in the country, with significant “safeguards”… View Article
By Harold Brown Global warming (climate change) is not just a scientific subject but also a technical-social-political scramble. Several recent episodes illustrate this; just one has been widely reported. First, most recent and receiving the greatest media attention: Just days after the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency came the reports on the court-ordered release this week of thousands of emails between Pruitt and “fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries and Devon Energy” when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general. The Associated Press, noting Pruitt’s office contacted the lobbyist for his utility (AEP) after his power went out, reported the emails reveal “cozy ties” between Pruitt “and those that profit from burning… View Article

Testimony on Education Savings Accounts

Senate Education and Youth Committee Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Testimony of Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation I would like to focus my testimony on the impact of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) on public schools. Regarding student achievement, research shows that school choice improves outcomes modestly for public school students. As of last May, 33 empirical studies had been published that examined the effect of school choice on students’ academic outcomes in public schools. Of those, 31 found choice improved public schools. One found no visible effect. One found a negative effect.[1] Regarding fiscal impact, being fiscally conservative, we certainly appreciate any concern about the cost to taxpayers of any new state programs. Fortunately, any negative… View Article
House Ways and Means Tax Reform Subcommittee Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Testimony of Kelly McCutchen, President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation  I would like to focus on four positive aspects of HB 329. Pro-Growth: An almost universally held principle of good tax reform is the goal of broadening the tax base and lowering tax rates. This bill does both. Simplification: This bill simplifies the Georgia Tax Code by collapsing six tax brackets into one flat rate. Economic Competitiveness: Lowering Georgia’s top marginal tax rate to 5.4 percent moves Georgia’s rate below that of seven states, including our neighbor North Carolina, which recently reduced its top tax rate of 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 499 percent.… View Article
NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release February 10, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes Tom Price as HHS Secretary Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation and swearing in of Tom Price as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “As a Georgia legislator, as a U.S. Congressman and as a physician, Dr. Price has championed a patient-first approach that holds enormous promise for beleaguered Americans struggling to afford and access health coverage,” McCutchen said. “The Foundation has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Dr. Price and we look forward to continuing to work toward state-focused health care options that are affordable… View Article
By Jenn Hatfield When President Donald Trump was sworn into office on January 20, the clock started ticking on the 282 promises he made on the campaign trail. While his every move has garnered significant media attention, Trump has also pledged to make what happens in Washington matter less. In his inaugural address, he declared, “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.” So it’s only fitting to give a bit more attention to what governors are saying – especially on K-12 education, where Trump and Secretary of Education have both promised to respect state autonomy and make good on the states-rights spirit of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As a… View Article

Justice Day 2017

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation participated in the annual Justice Day Initiative in Atlanta on February 2, 2017, at which hundreds of attendees from numerous organizations aligned around the common cause of criminal justice reform. The event was inspiring in uniting groups with diverse backgrounds and stories all in one place as they discussed the best ways to push meaningful reform and educate lawmakers about what needs to be done for effective justice in Georgia. Speakers included Clayton County’s Judge Steve Teske, Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, who shared stories of successes that have already taken place in Georgia’s campaign for reform. He and others admonished that nobody should become complacent, as there is plenty more… View Article
Georgia Public Policy Foundation News Release For Immediate Release February 7, 2017 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Foundation Welcomes DeVos as Secretary of Education Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, had the following response to today’s Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education.  “The vote for Betsy DeVos is a vote for America’s children. “Mrs. DeVos has exercised her constitutional right to put her money where her mouth is – into school choice – and we’re excited to see her promote her preference to give families options for their children’s education. “Competition is a rising tide that lifts all boats; there’s especially no reason for an… View Article
Matthew Standsberry of the American Legislative Exchange Council wrote about pre-arrest diversion programs in Fulton County, Ga., in a February 3, 2017, article on ALEC’s website. The article is reprinted below; access it at ALEC at www.alec.org/article/georgia-examines-a-pre-arrest-diversion-program/. Georgia Examines a Pre-Arrest Diversion Program By Matthew Standsberry Politicians and citizens from both sides of the aisle have been pushing for criminal justice reform for years. In 2008, a study was released by the Pew Center on the States which identified that more than 2.3 million adults are currently incarcerated in the U.S. in some capacity — amounting to nearly 1 in 100 adults in the United States. In Georgia, this problem is even more severe as one in 13 adults View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes