Sunday is Veterans Day. The federal holiday will be observed Monday. Take a moment to honor our military veterans. “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” – Alexander Hamilton
November 14: Register for “Free Trade and the Impact on Georgia,” a Policy Briefing Luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Georgian Club. Speakers are Griff Lynch, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority, and Tori Whiting, the Heritage Foundation’s Jay Van Andel Trade Economist. This event is a partnership of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and Heritage; seating is limited. Register here.
Quotes of note
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1791
“Those who believe that ‘basic necessities’ should belong to people as a matter of right ignore the implication – that people are to work only for amenities, frivolities, and ego. Will that mean more work or less work? And if less, where are all those ‘basic necessities’ coming from that the government is supposed to hand out?” – Thomas Sowell
“Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The framers created our constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.” – Clarence Thomas
Georgia turnout: There were more than 3.9 million votes cast in Georgia’s mid-term elections, about 61 percent of the state’s 6,428,581 registered voters. The highest turnout was in Taliaferro County (pronounced Tolliver!) with more than 77 percent voting; the lowest was about 35 percent, in Chattahoochee County. Republican Brian Kemp declared victory in the governor’s race; his Democrat opponent, Stacey Abrams, was reported to be preparing for legal action. Statewide runoff elections will take place December 4 for a Public Service Commission seat and the Secretary of State post.
Education: With control of only the U.S. House, Democrats in Washington will have trouble passing any new education legislation, writes Robby Soave for Reason.com. “But they have gained the power to hold hearings, and a likely target will be Education Secretary Betsy DeVos” and her education reforms.
Marsy’s Law: Victim’s rights constitutional amendments passed in six states, including Georgia, where it passed with 81 percent of the vote. More than $72 million from billionaire Henry Nicholas, whose sister Marsy was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, funded the initiative.
California: Sixty-one percent of California voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have allowed cities to impose more rent control on new construction and single-family homes. In San Francisco, 60 percent of voters approved a tax increase on large businesses to boost services for the homeless, an initiative opposed by the mayor and dividing leaders of the city’s booming technology industry. They appear to have forgotten: Businesses don’t pay taxes; people do.
Colorado: Golden, Colo., voters rejected by 65-35 percent a measure to allow 16-year olds to vote in municipal elections. Critics noted that while political decisions may affect 16-year olds, they are not legally responsible for themselves until they turn 18, and should not have the same say as legal adults.
Amendments: All five constitutional amendments on the Georgia ballot passed overwhelmingly. Read about them here in the Foundation commentary.
Health Care: Voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah approved expanding Medicaid; voters in Montana rejected Medicaid expansion. Expansion raises Medicaid eligibility for qualified adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Source: MedPage Today
Choice: Public support has grown for charter schools and universal vouchers, according to the 12th annual EdNext Poll, which also found support grew for increases in teacher pay and education spending. The survey was conducted in May and is published in the Winter 2019 edition of EducationNext. It found 63 percent of respondents in the six states that experienced teacher strikes in early 2018 favor boosting teacher pay, as compared to 47 percent elsewhere.
Energy and environment
Cost of electricity: A Wallet Hub report that ranked Georgia as having the nation’s third highest monthly energy cost “deserves context and clarification,” writes University of Georgia professor David Gattie in his blog. “The Wallet Hub analysis reported only consumption data, without reference to key factors that impact consumption – two of these factors being average household income and local climate.” Gattie adds, “Overall monthly electricity costs are dependent on several variables, not the least of which is electricity rate. To this end, utilities and state public service commissions have a direct impact on rates, and in this regard, Georgia is more than nationally competitive.”
This month in the archives: In November 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Activists Peddle Bikes and Buses, not Cars, to Working Poor.” It noted, “Because transit is slow and reaches only a fraction of the places offering employment in any metropolitan area, many … experts have come to realize that ready access to an automobile is the key to a good job and a prosperous work career.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Opportunity Lost Now that Congress is Divided,” by Ryan Young.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.