Category: Regulation

Eyes In the Sky Over Sandy Springs?

The use of drones has exploded over the last several years, with the (mostly) flying robots so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that even as recently 10 years ago, no consumer-grade versions of the devices were even available. (See the Foundation’s March 2017 article on the subject). The implications of the topic are coming to bear in a very real way for those in metro Atlanta, with a proposal to bring law enforcement drones to Sandy Springs. As reported in a city staff memo and by reporternewspapers.net, the city is considering the use of a new and ruggedly-equipped drone device for purposes including “Photographing and video recording crime scenes … [a]ssisting in reconnaissance for high risk… View Article
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

Price Gouging Laws: Good Politics, Bad Economics

Forbes Magazine published a column on September 23, 2016 by Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of economics at the University of Georgia, “Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics.” The column is published in its entirety below; access it online here. Price Gouging Laws Are Good Politics but Bad Economics By Jeffrey Dorfman A leak in a gas pipeline in Alabama this week caused a gasoline shortage in several states in the southeastern United States, including my home state of Georgia. Both luckily and unluckily for motorists in Georgia, the state has an anti-price gouging law. These laws, commonly employed by governors to stop price increases after natural disasters, make consumers happy but also stop markets from alleviating… View Article
The Wall Street Journal edition of September 23, 2016,  published an op-ed by Tracie Sharp, head of the State Policy Network (of which the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is a member) and our Darcy Olsen, head of our sister think tank, the Goldwater Institute. It warns against donor disclosure initiatives for nonprofits. The op-ed is published below; access it online at http://www.wsj.com/articles/beware-of-anti-speech-ballot-measures-1474586180. Beware of Anti-Speech Ballot Measures Forcing nonprofits to submit donor lists to government officials is unconstitutional.  By Tracie Sharp and Darcy Olsen When voters in Missouri, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon go to the polls in November, they will vote on ballot measures that are cleverly marketed as legislation aimed at reducing “big money” and “outside influence”… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Occupational Licensing

Principles Citizens have a right to pursue a legal occupation and the burden should fall on the government to justify any restrictions to that right. Restrictions on economic liberty should be targeted at protecting health and safety and policy-makers should demand proof that there is a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public. Government should use the least restrictive means to address any danger to the public. Recommendations: Create protections for economic opportunity: Protect economic opportunity by creating a statutory right to an occupation; requiring proof of a clear, likely and well-established danger to the public, and ensuring that less restrictive means have been tried before resorting to professional licensing. Reduce, convert and repeal: Examine existing occupational… View Article
The Savannah Morning News edition of June 12, 2016 published a commentary by Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen criticizing Savannah’s plans to consider city-owned broadband. The link is here; the commentary is published below in in its entirety. Kelly McCutchen: City-owned broadband a bad idea Last month, the city of Savannah issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a company to evaluate the state of broadband services available in the city and to develop a strategic plan that will address any current gaps in service. The RFP says the plan to address gaps should include ideas for public-private partnerships or outline “various business models for municipal broadband delivery.” That phrase makes it clear that officials in Savannah… View Article

An Assault on Nonprofit Giving

This commentary by Jon Riches appeared March 18 in Philanthropy Daily and is republished below. Access the commentary online at http://www.philanthropydaily.com/an-assault-on-nonprofit-giving/. An Assault on Nonprofit Giving By Jon Riches Do you donate to the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, or your local art museum? If so, you may soon be required to report your name, address, and contribution amounts to the government. Couched as “transparency” measures, a wave of regulatory action, legislative proposals, and ballot measures are aimed at eliminating, or significantly curtailing, private charitable giving. The first line of attack on donor privacy has come from partisan regulators. Attorneys General in both New York and California have been notifying nonprofit organizations that they must disclose private tax… View Article
Anonymous political speech has been essential to democratic discourse since the founding of our republic.  Ratification of the U.S. Constitution was primarily debated through a series of anonymous papers.  Yet in recent years, anonymous political speech has been under attack by so-called “dark money” critics, who demand that government expose the identities of individuals, businesses, labor unions and nonprofits that spend money to participate in political dialogue.  Couched as “transparency” measures, “dark money” disclosure mandates are often used as excuses to silence disfavored speech.  Troublingly, disclosure mandates are sweeping the country in the form of vague and overbroad regulations reaching the activities of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations – groups that operate in nearly every sector and industry in the United States… View Article

Municipal Broadband Puts Taxpayers’ Wallets at Risk

By Kelly McCutchen For centuries, too-good-to-be-true deals have snagged investors with promises that they can ignore past failures because “this time it will be different.” Peachtree City’s leaders appear to have been told a similar story. The Peachtree City city council approved a resolution last month to build out a government-owned broadband Internet network for municipal buildings and local businesses. The project will require a 10-year, $3.2 million bond issue to pay for the cost of laying fiber optic lines along the right-of-way of the city’s many golf cart paths. For those who don’t know their Georgia geography, Peachtree City is not a small, rural hamlet in the-middle-of-nowhere Georgia with limited broadband Internet access. It is located just 30 miles… View Article
By Kevin Glass Government Internet is coming to a city near you. The only question is if anything can be done to stop the politicians scheming to bring it. Across the country, there’s been an explosion in what are euphemistically called “municipal broadband” projects – government-funded and operated broadband services that are competing with community service providers that have been operating for years. All across the country, from Newark, Delaware, to Seattle, Washington, government officials are exploring the possibility of sinking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into these projects. This isn’t a new fad: Government broadband networks have been pursued by officials since the late ’90s, when smaller locales like Ashland, Ore., and Marietta, Ga., built out their own… View Article

The most effective and respected organization in Georgia—when they speak, the decision-makers listen.

The late U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell more quotes