October 15: Just added to the list of experts at the Sixth Annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum: Nevada Sen. Scott Hammond, sponsor of that state’s Education Savings Account law. Register now to attend the event at the Renaissance Waverly Atlanta on Thursday, Oct. 15. Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, is the keynote. The theme is, “Wisdom, Justice and Opportunity.” Details here. Registration is $125 per person; an Early Bird rate ($100) applies until Friday, September 4. Register here. Sponsorships are available; contact Benita Dodd.
Quotes of Note
“That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.” – John Stuart Mill
“Is there any cause for concern that, while Congress is away, the agencies will play? Certain data trends seem to suggest ‘yes.’” – Daniel Goldbeck
“[T]he way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to.” – Thomas Jefferson
War on poverty: In 2014, on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, the Foundation commentary noted, “Improving education opportunities has a far greater effect on closing the income gap and increasing upward mobility than does a government handout.” The accompanying graph from the Heritage Foundation highlights how America is losing the war on poverty.
Criminal justice reform
Policing for profit: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging Arizona’s forfeiture laws, Forbes reports. The lawsuit argues civil asset forfeiture “results in a perverse, unfair, unconstitutional incentive to seize and forfeit as much money and property as possible as a means to ensure a slush fund available to them with little or no oversight.” Even worse, in Arizona property owners who fail to win their forfeiture cases must pay “the state’s costs and expenses of the investigation and prosecution of the matter, including reasonable attorney fees.” Read the Foundation commentary on civil asset forfeiture here.
Crime prevention: Since 2007, the number of concealed handgun permits has soared from 4.6 million to over 12.8 million, and murder rates have fallen from 5.6 killings per 100,000 people to just 4.2, about a 25 percent drop, according to a report from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Energy and environment
Clean Power Plan: “[Georgia has] reduced our CO2 since 2005 by over 30 percent, and real pollutants like mercury, sulphur and nitrogen oxide have been reduced by over 85 percent since 1990,” says Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols in an Atlanta Business Chronicle op-ed addressing why the Clean Power Plan is a mistake.
Sensible transit: The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority is adding three new cross-suburb Xpress routes. Buses originating in Cobb, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties will carry riders to the Perimeter Mall area. This is promising for the new toll lanes under construction: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week that in the I-85 HOT lanes, only 2 percent of the vehicles during morning rush hour are transit vehicles, but they carry more than a quarter of the people who travel through the lane.
This month in the archives: In August 1995, the Foundation published, “If Government Doesn’t Relieve Distress, Who Will?” by Leonard Read: “[W]hen government constructs a feeding trough and fills it with fruits forcibly extorted from the citizenry, it creates new claimants and aggravates the problem it set out to solve.”
YouTube: Watch Dr. Ben Scafidi’s presentation at the Friedman Legacy for Freedom event in Savannah on the Foundation’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Ce6ovnNEx5w.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)