November 8: “Brew & Review,” an evening of pundit perspectives on the 2018 election outcome at 5 Seasons Westside. Hosted by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. (Networking begins at 6:30 p.m.) $10; light appetizers and the first beer are on us! Information, registration here.
November 14: Mark your calendar for a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon tackling international trade and its impact on Georgia. Guest speaker is Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. Georgian Club. This event is a partnership of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Heritage Foundation; seating is limited. Register here.
Quotes of note
“If a nation expects to be ignorant – and free – in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” – Thomas Jefferson (1816)
“Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’?”
“No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Most begin with, ‘If I am elected.'” – Jon Caldara
“Free speech is to social progress and its policies what the scientific method is to scientific process. Without the freedom to articulate new ideas in public, we’d be forever stuck with the ideas that once prevailed. Consider these once unacceptable ideas: women’s suffrage, strong environmental protection, civil rights protection for minorities, the right to form labor unions, representative government (vs. monarchy), gay rights, intolerance of drunken driving, and interracial marriage. … Restrictions on speech are fine if you like being ruled by people who know they are always right. Free speech, by contrast, is the foundation for the work of think tanks, or for any person or institution interested in social progress, and it must not be infringed.” – Joseph Lehman
Signatures: A judge’s injunction in a lawsuit against the Gwinnett County elections board and the Georgia Secretary of State prohibits rejection of absentee ballots based on suspect signatures. Instead, the ballot must be considered provisional and a voter notified and given the opportunity to correct the discrepancy. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s attorneys called the injunction “unworkable given the need to have votes counted and the election certified by the Monday after the election.” Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Early voting: Data up to Wednesday on the Secretary of State’s website puts early voting ballot totals at 845,092. Of those, 729,823 voted in person since early voting began on October 15 and 115,269 ballots were mailed in. Still outstanding are 126,951 mail-in ballots requested. Check daily vote totals here; check your registration status at mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.
Getting better: For the third year in a row, Georgia students who took the ACT college entrance test outperformed their peers nationally, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The state’s average composite 2017-18 score of 21.4 (out of a possible 36 points) was flat from the prior year, according to data released by ACT, while the national average dropped slightly to 20.8. The average composite score for black students in Georgia was 18.0, compared to 16.9 nationally. For Hispanic students in Georgia, the average composite score was 20.4, compared to 18.8 nationally.
Trading up: The Georgia ports handled 630,000 cars, trucks and tractors in fiscal year 2018, primarily at the Port of Brunswick, Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA), reported Thursday in his annual Brunswick State of the Port address. “By tonnage, Brunswick is already the second busiest Ro/Ro (Roll-on/Roll-off) port in the nation, behind only Baltimore,” he said. Source: Georgia Ports Authority
Corporate care: More large companies are opening on-site medical clinics for employees as they aim to control their health care spending, according to an employer survey conducted by Mercer and the National Association of Worksite Health Centers. Thirty-three percent of companies with 5,000 or more employees offer such general medical clinics; another 11 percent are considering adding a clinic by 2019. That represents a significant increase from 2012, when 24 percent of large companies offered on-site clinics. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review
Regulation and litigation
Settlements: The Competitive Enterprise Institute is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt abuses in class action lawsuits that result in settlements providing nothing to class members and allow attorneys to funnel settlement money to unrelated third-party organizations. In Frank v. Gaos, CEI challenges a settlement that provided zero dollars to class members, more than $2.1 million to the lawyers, $1 million for administrative costs, and the remaining $5.3 million to third-party organizations unrelated to the case.
Paperwork: Based on government-wide estimates, the public spent 9.8 billion hours responding to federal information collections in fiscal year 2015, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Energy and environment
Hurricane: Hurricane Michael’s destructive path through Georgia left many farmers with ruined crops or dead animals. Senior Fellow Jeffrey Dorfman’s commentary last week discussed the devastation. Governor Nathan Deal has called a special session starting November 13 to discuss assistance to the agricultural industry.
Media: Kyle Wingfield stopped by The Savannah Morning News for a chat while he was on the coast this week. Listen to him here.
This month in the archives: In October 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Activists Peddle Bikes and Buses, not Cars, to Working Poor.” It noted, “In 1999, President Bill Clinton earned the ire of anti-car environmentalists when he succeeded in changing food stamp eligibility standards to ensure that the working poor could buy a car without jeopardizing their benefits. Subsequent studies by scholars at the Brookings Institution and the Progressive Policy Institute have shown the value of auto mobility to upward mobility. According to one recent Brookings Study, ‘Most welfare recipients do not have access to a dependable automobile, and research indicates that lack of access to an automobile is one of the most prevalent barriers to employment.’”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “The 5 Amendments Explained,” by Kyle Wingfield.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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The Foundation’s Criminal Justice Initiative pushed the problems to the forefront, proposed practical solutions, brought in leaders from other states to share examples, and created this nonpartisan opportunity. (At the signing of the 2012 Criminal Justice Reform bill.)