Then and Now
Did you know? In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, there were 7.5 million cellphone users across the nation. One year later, the number surpassed 10 million and the first commercial text message was sent. This year, smartphone users in the United States are expected to surpass 207.2 million; by 2015, text messages were at 169.3 billion a year in the United States! It’s why we’ll be launching our new Web site soon!
February 17: Register now for, “Georgia Criminal Justice Reform: Looking Ahead, Staying Ahead,” an 8 a.m. Foundation Leadership Breakfast at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The keynote speaker is Judge Michael P. Boggs, co-chairman of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Reform Task Force. Information here; register here.
Voting PSA: If you plan to vote in the presidential primaries in Georgia, you must register to vote by February 1. Find out more here.
Quotes of Note
“Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters.” – Samuel Adams, 1775
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” – George Washington Carver
“If we come together we can have equal opportunity education. … Education savings accounts empower all children to be able to access a great education.” – Ludacris (If you’re over 40, he’s a rapper!)
“Our country is too great and our state is too great to not have a greater sense of urgency when it comes to educating our children. It is our responsibility and moral obligation to help our children and one of the ways that we can unite and accomplish that is by supporting educational choice.” – Keisha Knight Pulliam (If you’re under 40, she was Rudy Huxtable in the Cosby Show!)
Land of the fee: The Georgia House is considering legislation that would require fee- and exam-based licensing of lactation consultants because “the rendering of sound lactation care and services in hospitals, physician practices, private homes, and other settings requires trained and competent professionals.” Read the Foundation’s views on the impact of professional licensing in Georgia.
Land of the not-so-free speech: Legislation under consideration in the Georgia Senate would waive penalties for 2010-2014 candidates’ late disclosure statements and give refunds if candidates ask. Worse, it would subject to disclosure rules any groups involved in “election targeted issue activity” communications within six months of an election. This could stifle local and national groups’ efforts to educate Georgians on constitutional amendments and referendums and on where candidates stand on issues. The Foundation believes Georgians have the right to privacy when supporting causes and issues they believe in, without worrying their names and addresses are being reported to a government list or fear of intimidation or retaliation.
Civil asset forfeiture: Kudos to Rep. Scot Turner, whose legislation would require a court to stay forfeiture proceedings until a criminal case is decided. The Foundation opposes “policing for profit;” meaningful reform has been resisted by some law enforcement agencies, which share in the proceeds of civil asset forfeiture.
A deal brewing: Georgia craft breweries agreed to drop attempts to introduce legislation for direct sales in exchange for an adjustment to Department of Revenue regulations, according to news reports. The DOR is rescinding rules that prohibited brewery tours at variable prices based on the kind of beer offered. Unfortunately, Georgia remains one of two states where a brewery does not have the right to sell their product directly to the consumer as wineries can do today.
Tax cut: Legislation sponsored by Sen. Judson Hill would lower Georgia personal income taxes to 5.4 percent – lower than North Carolina’s. The 6 percent rate has been in effect since 1937.
Looking ahead: The “driverless” revolution on roads is coming. According to a report from KPMG, there will be an 80 percent drop in accident frequency by 2040. Humans are responsible for 90 percent of the accidents on the road. As for the auto insurance industry, “the burden of indemnity could switch from drivers to the software and systems powering the vehicles,” according to TechRepublic.
National School Choice Week: As the celebration of options education continues through January 30 across the nation, visit Facebook for photographs of the Foundation’s National School Choice Week event and the subsequent rally at the State Capitol.
Money matters: “Stop taking any more money from Atlanta Public Schools,” Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Maria Carstarphen is quoted as saying said this week. The district has the state’s highest per-student spending ($13,630) and highest central office spending per student ($4,932), according to a Foundation analysis. The 2015 four-year graduation rate was 71.5 percent. For comparison, Bryan County, with about half the APS per-pupil spending and less than a tenth of APS central office spending, has a four-year graduation rate of 89 percent.
This month in the archives: In January 2011, the Foundation published, “Foundation’s Role Pivotal in Georgia’s Lessons in School Choice.” It noted, “In 1991, when the Foundation was established, school choice became one of its first priorities. Its first major publication was, ‘Reach for the Stars: A Proposal for Education Reform in Georgia.’”
Foundation in the news: The Marietta Daily Journal and Cherokee Tribune quoted Benita Dodd on National School Choice Week. The Atlanta Business Chronicle quoted Benita on transit options for metro Atlanta.
The Forum: Benita Dodd resumes her health care blog, “Checking Up On Health” in 2016, discussing “Groupon” dental care, the cost of Medicaid, and how health care costs, charges and payments are different, among other issues.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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The best way to make a lasting impact on public policy is to change public opinion. When you change the beliefs of the people; the politicians and political parties change with them.