August 22: The registration deadline is today! Sign up now to attend, “Across the Pond: A Policy Update,” the Foundation’s noon Policy Briefing Luncheon at Cobb County’s Georgian Club on Monday, August 22. The keynote speaker is British Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford. $35. Information here; register online here.
Then and now: In 1991, when the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was founded, Georgia charter school enrollment was non-existent. Today (2015) there are 325,808 Georgia students enrolled in charter schools. The Foundation celebrates 25 years in Georgia in 2016. All year, we’re marking our milestone anniversary with a “Then and Now” Friday Facts category!
Quotes of Note
“Far more important than any federal study of Baltimore or other city’s law enforcement system and how to homogenize its functions, are efforts by local and state political, law enforcement and civic leaders to address the problems manifesting themselves in their communities. Solutions such as replacing over-reliance on whiz-bang technology with traditional policing methods that include common sense, community knowledge, ethical training, and so much more – what retired Baltimore police officer David ‘Bo’ Bolgiano describes in his book of the same name as, ‘Virtuous Policing’ – will pay far more meaningful and lasting rewards than a dozen Department of Justice ‘Reports.’” – Bob Barr
“Welfare should be available to those who truly need it. But it shouldn’t be a handout in perpetuity to those who are able to work and make no effort to do so.” – Ed Feulner
Twenty years ago: In 1996, the Foundation presented the prestigious Freedom Award to Truett Cathy. Find out more about the memorable philanthropist and founder of Chick-fil-A here. Tributes in the video presentation came from then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former President Jimmy Carter, among others. Watch this space for news on the Foundation’s upcoming 25th anniversary celebration and Freedom Award ceremony.
The future of transit: Mercedes Benz demonstrated its self-driving bus last month in Amsterdam, according to Forbes.com. The vehicle uses cameras and radar to monitor surroundings and communicates with traffic lights to optimize speed and safety, which “saves wear and tear while lowering fuel consumption and emissions.” Uber ride-sharing service, meanwhile, is introducing a self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh, Pa., this month, Bloomberg News reports.
Energy and environment
Reversing course: Some universities are beginning to rethink their divestment from fossil-fuel interests as they consider environmental and social consequences, Lance Brown of the Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy writes in Georgia Magazine.
Renewable fuels: The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal would increase the mandated total renewable fuel production to 18.8 billion gallons in 2017. New information shows that the RFS program is likely causing significant environmental harm through increased greenhouse gas emissions and damage to water bodies and ecosystems, according to the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.
Jobs and the economy
Job losses? Presidential election campaign rhetoric has centered on lost U.S. manufacturing jobs. Economist Walter Williams notes: “It is true that the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been in steep decline for almost a half-century, but … U.S. manufacturing output has increased by almost 40 percent. The solution to such job losses, he maintains, is a robust economy. Source: Townhall.com
National Employee Freedom Week: This week’s annual celebration in 42 states highlights right-to-work reforms across the nation and aims to inform union workers about their right to leave a union without loss of employment, salaries, benefits or seniority. Georgia is a right-to-work state.
Freedoms: Why does Georgia rank lower than all but one of its neighboring states on freedom? The Cato Institute’s Freedom in The 50 States ranks Georgia at No. 22. It finds the one regulatory policy area where Georgia does poorly is occupational freedom, including health professionals’ scope-of-practice restrictions.
Fading glory: At the end of the 2015 open enrollment period for a health care plan through ObamaCare’s federally managed exchanges, Georgia’s enrollment was at 541,080. The year ended with just 347,394, a 36 percent drop in paying customers for the exchanges. This year, 587,845 Georgians enrolled by the Jan. 31 deadline, but by the end of March, just two months later, that had dropped 19 percent to 478,016.
Telemedicine: Georgia physician Dr. Jeffrey English talked recently to the Heartland Institute’s Health Care News about telemedicine’s innovation. Listen here.
In Checking Up On Health, Benita Dodd shares news and views on rising insurance premiums; the decline in ObamaCare insurers; saving for retirement health care; acetaminophen in pregnancy; 50 health care apps, and what helps relieve gout.
Foundation in the News: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cited Benita Dodd’s commentary in an article on Georgia’s food stamp program. The Citizen published Benita’s commentary on welfare-to-work reforms. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen in an article about Georgia’s occupational licensing. A Heartland Institute article quoted Kelly opposing a Madison, Ga., proposed increase in business taxes.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Applying the Lessons of Criminal Justice Reform to Health Care,” by Kelly McCutchen.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.