2019 Legislative Policy Forum Aims to Mobilize Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd

Since 2010, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has invited some of the nation’s brightest and best experts to Atlanta to share forward-thinking proposals on ways for Georgia’s legislators and policymakers to tackle challenges the state faces, using practical, limited-government, state-specific approaches.

Through the years, the Foundation’s annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum has targeted issues as diverse – and sometimes interwoven – as criminal justice, education, healthcare, poverty, privatization, transportation, taxes and the tri-state water wars. Each forum plays on Georgia’s motto of “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation,” and this year is no exception. The theme for the 2019 forum, on November 15 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly, is “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.”

2010 Forum
At the first Georgia Legislative Policy Forum in 2010, legislators heard about digital learning and criminal justice reform; today, Georgia is a leader on those issues.

How do you ensure, for example, that each child gets the best start possible to move ahead successfully in life, no matter how humble his or her beginnings? Is it kindergarten? Pre-K? Katharine Stephens, resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, will explain the science of when to begin, and to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in disadvantaged communities.

How do you ensure a trajectory of upward mobility for Georgians? “Expanding Horizons,” as one part of the program is titled, discusses how individuals can become part of the skilled and accessible workforce that draws even more economic investment to Georgia. It starts with education and job opportunities, and the transportation options that expand their job horizons.

A panel on education and upward mobility will discuss the innovative alternatives to traditional public schools, approaches that provide families with greater choices tailored to the individual needs of their children, no matter their ZIP code or family income. And a panel including leaders in the Legislature, the public transit arena, the trucking world and autonomous innovation will discuss where Georgia goes next to enhance mobility for workers and commuters.

But even after obtaining an education and transportation, many Georgia workers still face hurdles. Nearly a half-million Georgians must obtain a license from the state to do their jobs. In “Opening Doors,” James Broughel of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will discuss his organization’s recent analysis of Georgia’s regulatory environment.

Scott Hilton, executive director of the Georgians First Commission, and Cade Joiner, the commission’s co-chair, will discuss their mandate from Gov. Brian Kemp to make Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation for small businesses, as well as their proposals for streamlining government and removing inefficiencies.

The final session in the daylong forum, “Healthcare Reform in Motion,” is a panel discussion highlighting state efforts toward innovations that could make the state a national leader as it seeks “waivers” from the federal government to ensure Georgians have access to affordable, quality healthcare. The panel includes legislative, state and national policy experts.

The governor has been invited as luncheon keynote speaker. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan will provide opening remarks to welcome attendees, with Georgia House Speaker David Ralston providing closing remarks at the event. One legislative leader described the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum as “the opening shot” to the legislative session, and for good reason: It’s the engine that revs up commonsense policy for Georgia.

View the agenda here. Register by September 20 to obtain the Early Bird Rate.

Benita M. Dodd is vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, an independent, nonprofit think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the U.S. Congress or the Georgia Legislature.

© Georgia Public Policy Foundation (September 13, 2019). Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and her affiliations are cited.

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