Condolences: We were saddened to hear of the passing this week of former Congressman Mac Collins at age 74. Collins represented a Macon-based U.S. House district from 1992 until 2004. He stepped down to run for Zell Miller’s old U.S. Senate seat, a contest he lost in the GOP primary to Johnny Isakson. Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Quotes of note
“From a free-market perspective, the consequences of licensure requirements for ridesharing are little different than similar requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, taxidermists, food truck operators, florists and numerous other occupations. These permission-to-work laws hurt not only consumers but also aspiring entrepreneurs with limited access to capital. They harm business creation and employment opportunities in communities that typically have too little of both.” – Jason L. Riley
“Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired. Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution. On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” – Joseph Warren (1775)
Results: Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp was declared Georgia’s next governor after absentee and provisional ballots underwent court-ordered reviews. After the review, 160 votes were added: 67 provisional and 93 absentee ballots. Kemp received 1,978,408 votes, or 50.22 percent; Democrat Stacey Abrams received 1,923,685 votes, or 48.83 percent. Official turnout was 61.44 percent of registered voters, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s website.
Taxes and spending
Black Friday shopping? With the exception of the five golden rings, the 2018 shopping list for the “12 Days of Christmas” will cost consumers quite a bit more, according to the 35th annual PNC Chrismas Index. The total price for all 364 gifts, from the 12 Drummers Drumming to the Partridge in a Pear Tree, is $39,094.93, or $450 more than last year. If you plan to order it all online, expect to pay $41,165,95 for all the gifts, $2,071.02 more than in-store.
Use it or lose it: One out of every nine dollars spent by the federal government occurs in just the last seven days of the fiscal year, according to Openthebooks.com. Partnering with Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau and reporter Justin Gray, the organization “found federal agencies purchasing booze, snowboards, pianos, guitars and fancy gym equipment, and much more.” Watch the segment here.
Shrinking rolls: Arkansas is one of five states with a Section 1115 waiver to condition Medicaid eligibility on meeting work and reporting requirements. Beginning in June, enrollees ages 30 to 49 had to engage in 80 hours of work or other qualifying activities each month and report their work (or their exemption status). September was the first month enrollees could lose coverage for failure to meet the requirements for three months; nearly 12,300 people were disenrolled. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Criminal justice reform
Federal reform I: The criminal justice reforms in legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia and endorsed by President Trump have broad support for Senate passage. Reason.com reports the FIRST STEP Act could shorten the terms of 2,700 or so drug offenders who are already in prison and perhaps another 2,200 who are sent there each year. That amounts to 1.5 percent of the current federal prison population and 3 percent of the federal defendants sentenced in fiscal year 2017, respectively.
Federal reform II: Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform weighed in on the FIRST STEP Act: “With persistence and bipartisanship, Georgia Congressman Doug Collins has demonstrated a commitment to meaningful criminal justice reform at the national level. His sponsorship of the FIRST STEP Act, which easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support and is now in the Senate, deserves speedy passage. This legislation can bring to federal prisons the same type of reform being successfully implemented in his home state. Offering a second chance, this legislation provides the tools needed to improve the odds that federal inmates, once they have paid their debt to society, will be able to reenter their communities and return to their families as productive citizens.”
Stifling innovation: The Washington, D.C., City Council passed an ordinance this month that could devastate the short-term rental market in the district, which is known for its expensive hotel rooms. Supported by the hotel Worker’s Union and the hotel industry’s trade group, the ordinance prohibits Airbnb hosts from renting out properties in which they don’t reside. Those renting out their own spare rooms and couches must obtain a license, report their activities to the city on a monthly basis, and be present during a stay, with the exception of up to 90 days a year. Source: Reason.com
YouTube: Did you miss the November 14 event on free trade? The Foundation hosted the Heritage Foundation and Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. View it on YouTube here.
This month in the archives: In November five years ago, the Foundation published, “Some Organic Food for Thought.” It noted, “Because the organic movement is about so much more than food safety and nutrition, its practice is riddled with ethical choices, many of them arbitrary. Are human and animal labor preferable to the use of chemicals to rid crops of pests? Why, then, is the use of fossil fuel preferable to animal power for farm implements? Why not prohibit the use of fossil fuels, claimed to cause global warming, in producing organic food?”
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.