Category: Commentaries

Education is Key to Redeeming Lives in Prison

By Gerard Robinson and Van Jones Every year, more than 650,000 men and women leave prison and return home to communities across America. They are often released with little more than some spare change, a bus ticket and a criminal record that bars access to some of their most basic rights and privileges. Facing deep social stigma, many returning citizens feel as though they have left the grips of a physical prison only to find themselves engulfed in a new, social prison. It is tragic but not surprising that 50-75 percent of them end up incarcerated again within five years. In today’s knowledge economy, higher education is one of the first rungs on the ladder to economic freedom and social… View Article

Global Brightening and Hazy Predictions

By Harold Brown Global warming, simplified: Burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide into the air, trapping energy radiated from the globe. The earth is made warmer because this energy is prevented from escaping into outer space. But then there are air pollutants that reduce the radiant energy from the sun that reaches the earth. Reducing those pollutants that cool the earth would be expected to warm it. The main cooling pollutant is sulfur, mostly as sulfur dioxide (SO2), from burning wood and fossil fuels. Sulfur and other pollutants mixed in the air are referred to as aerosols, and they reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth. Water, as vapor and droplets in clouds, is a major component of these… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Rising health care costs are squeezing middle-class families, as this chart published by the Wall Street Journal based on Brookings Institution analysis clearly shows. These families could care less about AHCA vs ACA, they just want some relief. The good news is that a new analysis shows that implementing the reforms in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives today will lower premiums across the board. The analysis by the Milliman actuarial firm analyzed the impact of changing the 3:1 age rating limit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the 5:1 ratio in the AHCA bill and implementing an Invisible Risk-Sharing Program (also known as an Invisible High-Risk… View Article

Education Reform Requires More Than Tweaks

By Benita M. Dodd It’s no secret that a 2017 legislative session begun with a smorgasbord of meaningful education reforms disintegrated into crumbs for Georgia families struggling to find viable alternatives when public schools fail to meet their children’s needs. This week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law some education legislation that survived anti-choice sentiment under the Gold Dome. Last year, voters defeated a constitutional amendment for a statewide “Opportunity School District” covering Georgia’s chronically failing schools. It fell victim to a well-funded opposition campaign. Foes themed their opposition around Georgians’ fierce loyalty to local control, claiming it would take money and control from the local school board and superintendent. Lost in the kerfuffle, unfortunately, was that providing parental… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year around Earth Day (April 22), people everywhere are harshly reminded just how “unnatural” environmentalists consider humans.  Humans, they argue, are against nature, and nature is being destroyed by humans. It’s unfortunate. Creating this dichotomy of humans against nature not only confuses the environmental narrative, it claims a separation that doesn’t exist and disregards enough relationships to make it preposterous. A striking recent example is the oft-repeated claim that species are threatened with extinction by human activities. National Geographic, the Public Broadcasting System, the World Wildlife Foundation and others have repeated the theme that “Current rates of extinction are 1,000 to 10,000 times the background (before humans) rate… View Article

Return Insurance Regulation to the States

By Ralph T. Hudgens Much of the impasse in Washington regarding health care reform relates to health insurance regulation and mandates. There is a very simple solution: Return the power to regulate insurance back to the states, where it rightly belongs. Certainly, Congress should be able to find common ground in the desire to lower costs, improve quality and empower states. Much of the talk in recent months has been about how difficult it will be to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The focus of the conversation should instead be on the consequences to the American people if Congress does not repeal this failed overhaul of the health insurance industry. When the ACA was first implemented, as the Commissioner… View Article

Legislature 2017 Misses Many Opportunities

By Kelly McCutchen KELLY McCUTCHEN Last year, we wrote that the General Assembly is often, and appropriately, chided for passing last-minute bills with little debate or study. Once again this year, major legislation was crammed into the waning hours of the last day of the session. It was as ugly as the North Carolina-Gonzaga championship game. Several bills were hurriedly voted on after midnight; many legislators seemed more focused on tearing up papers for confetti in anticipation of Sine Die instead of studying the bills. Sadly, a major reform of adoption law, an income tax rate cut for Georgians and a minor expansion of school choice fell victim to the clock. Legislators wisely passed the 2018 budget before March 30,… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Be careful when you set a new precedent, because your decision could come back to haunt you. Senate Democrats executed the first partisan filibuster of a U.S. Supreme Court nominee in our nation’s history this week. In response, Senate Republicans are expected to vote to change Senate rules to allow confirmation by a simple majority vote – the “nuclear option” – instead of the current 60-vote majority rule. Republicans cite precedent to justify their actions. Democrats changed Senate rules in 2013, ditching the 60-vote rule to allow a simple majority vote on Cabinet nominees and lower-court judges. The Wall Street Journal cites a floor speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Nov. 13, 2013, where she called… View Article

AJC Publishes Op-Ed on Atlanta, MARTA TSPLOSTs

The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 2, 2017, published an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the new transportation special purpose local option sales taxes for MARTA and Atlanta. Her op-ed is published in its entirety below; the AJC link is here: http://www.myajc.com/news/opinion/opinion-look-future-not-past-gain-most-from-atl-splost/5h0CTF5gG9cK2ppp2ZRL4O/. OPINION: Look to future, not past, to gain most from ATL T-SPLOST By Benita Dodd April marks the full implementation of two transportation special-purpose local option sales taxes (TSPLOSTs) overwhelmingly passed by Atlanta voters in November 2016. A 0.4-cent, five-year Atlanta TSPLOST to raise $300 million has joined the 0.5-cent, 40-year TSPLOST begun in March to raise $2.6 billion for MARTA projects. The massive support is no surprise, given lofty campaign promises… View Article

Criminal Justice Reform Legislative Post-Game

By Ross Coker As the dust settles from the 2017 legislative session, among the legislation heading to the Governor’s desk are three significant criminal justice reform-related measures initiated in the Senate. The first, Senate Bill 174, focuses on Georgia’s Accountability Court system and grants more intelligent leeway to use measures that they might feel are appropriate on a case-by-case basis. For example, the legislation would allow the Board of Community Supervision to offer educational or skills-based programs to those on probation to encourage gainful employment and reintegration into society. The bill also sets up the creation of a certificate to be issued to those who complete reentry programs, marking a readiness to reenter society as a productive citizen. SB 174… View Article

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