We’re at the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum today. Are you? The daylong conference at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel features an exciting lineup of experts on state-focused reforms in criminal justice, health care, education and teacher pensions! Find out more in commentaries here and here or view the agenda here.
September 21: “Rethinking American Highways,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Bob Poole, director of Transportation Policy at Reason Foundation. 11:30 a.m., Georgian Club. $50. Register here; a limited number of Poole’s books are available to order.
September 27: Health Connect South 2018 brings more than 400 health leaders to the Georgia Aquarium to talk about “the future” in health, the current challenges, and collaborative solutions. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Georgia Public Policy Foundation supporters receive a 30 percent discount on the registration fee at this link.
Quotes of note
“Judges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.” – John Adams (1776)
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” – James Madison (Federalist No. 48, 1788)
“What is unique about our great country is not the absence of conflict but rather that it occurs openly and honestly – and that we survive it, time and again, with our national institutions intact. So it is not confrontation that bothers me. It is dishonesty.” – Star Parker
Traffic’s a wreck: Metro Atlanta is a dismal No. 186 in Allstate’s 200-city Best Drivers Report 2018. The report found Georgia’s best drivers are in Augusta (No. 69), where drivers said they were involved in an insurance claim every 8.8 years. In Atlanta, drivers go an average of just 6.2 years between claims. The nation’s worst drivers were in Baltimore, where drivers reported a claim every 3.8 years; the best were in Brownsville, Texas, with 13.6 years between claims.
Congestion relief: The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes, approximately 30 miles of express lanes along I-75 from Akers Mill Road to Hickory Grove Road and I-575 from I-75 to Sixes Road, will open to southbound traffic mid-morning on Saturday, the Governor’s Office reports. For the first two weeks, vehicles with a Peach Passes transponder can use the lanes at no charge. As early as 2005, the Foundation and Bob Poole proposed this approach; don’t miss Poole at the September 21 Policy Briefing Luncheon!
The future of ride-share services: A study by the University of Texas modeled the population density of Austin, Texas, and simulated an average weekday of travel within a 10-by-10-mile zone of the city. Assuming that 5 percent of trips would made by shared services, it found that each shared vehicle in the Austin model replaced about 11 private autos. The roughly 20,000 people who made up this shared network required just 1,700 shared vehicles. Travelers waited an average of only 20 seconds for their rides to arrive. Source: Mass Transit
Turning the tanker: Despite the opportunity under the Trump administration to repeal regulations, just 2 percent of the regulations placed on the books over the past 16 years have been repealed, Cass R. Sunstein notes in Bloomberg; “closer to a trickle than a flood.” He suggests that people get “accustomed” to regulations after a while and, “Companies aren’t eager to have to make large-scale adjustments, especially if they have changed their practices to adapt to previous requirements.”
Cost of compliance: The increased fixed costs of complying with loan regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act have reduced the incentives for individual banks to make small loans and have induced greater consolidation of the banking industry away from small banks that disproportionately have lent to small businesses, a new Cato Institute study concludes.
YouTube: The Foundation left “home” in August, holding an event in Duluth’s 1818 Club that drew about 70 attendees. Look for more trips across the metro area and the state soon; meanwhile, watch Kyle Wingfield in Gwinnett County here on our YouTube channel!
Foundation in the news: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kyle Wingfield in an article on Medicaid expansion in the Georgia gubernatorial race. WSB-TV interviewed Benita Dodd in a segment about MARTA’s capital improvement program audits. The Heartland Institute cited the Foundation in an article on Certificate of Need reform.
Accreditation vs. innovation: Research suggests the inconsistencies among college accreditors and within a particular accreditor at different times leads to uncertainty for college administrations and stifles innovation, especially at colleges with limited resources, Michael Horn writes in Forbes. He argues that accreditation is too “input driven,” instead of being based on outcomes at colleges.
Unexpected bills: Americans are more worried about being able to afford unexpected medical bills than about being able to afford other health care costs, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
Obamacare lawsuit: A lawsuit heard this week in federal court in Texas, filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general, argues the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down. The lawsuit challenges the legitimacy of the law now that Congress has repealed the ACA’s tax-based penalty on people without health insurance. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 as constitutional, it cited the taxing power of Congress under the Constitution. Sixteen Democratic attorneys general are intervening in the lawsuit. Source: News reports
This month in the archives: In September 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “Obstruction of Justice: The State Crime Lab in Crisis.” It noted, “The present atmosphere of fiscal restraint will make it difficult for the state legislature to fund the full crime lab revitalization, and it may become necessary to couple government funding with aggressive private-sector partnerships and initiatives.” Today, with a 2018 GBI budget of $108.5 million (FY 2018) and seven crime labs, the latest data show 68 percent of lab case findings are released within 90 days and 60 percent within 30 days.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “What Goes Into Education Rankings Affects What Comes Out,” by Benita M. Dodd.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield 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.)