Friday Facts: August 14, 2020

It’s Friday!

The 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum has passed the halfway mark. Find information and registration for upcoming sessions:

August 18: “Affordable Housing or Housing Affordability?
August 25: “Healthcare: The Diagnosis, The Prognosis
August 27: Closing Keynote, with Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton

There is no charge to register for this series, but participants must have an authenticated Zoom account. Read more here. The Forum’s theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Adaptation,” a play on the state motto: “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.” The topics: Education; The Budget; Land Use and Transportation; The Economy; Housing; and Healthcare. View the program here to access the agenda and speaker bios.

Have you missed a session? Find each Zoom session on our YouTube channel!

  • View the July 15 opening keynote, “An Education Conversation” with Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, here.
  • View the July 21 panel session, “Opportunities for Education Adaptation,” here.
  • View the July 28 panel session, “Budget Calisthenics,”
  • View the August 4 panel session, “The Changing Views of Land Use and Transportation,” here.
  • View the August 11 panel session, “The Economy: Effects and Expectations,” here.

Quotes of Note

“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exception.” – James Madison

“There is in fact a manly and legitimate passion for equality that spurs all men to wish to be strong and esteemed. This passion tends to elevate the lesser to the rank of the greater. But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

Education

Regression: The National Center of Education statistics reports 7.1 million students, or 14% of all public school students between ages 3 and 21, received special education services in the 2018-19 school year. Many of their families face enormous challenges as their schools, shut since March by the pandemic, plan to start the new school year with online classes.

  • Rachel Campos-Duffy of Fox News, who has a daughter with special needs, shared: “Special needs children need much more consistency, they need to have their gains reinforced daily and so what we’re seeing is there is a huge regression. … Special needs kids are going backwards.”
  • Richard Engel of NBC News, who has a son with special needs, wrote, “For a child who interacts with the world through touch, this contactless society we’re living in has made his world smaller and less interesting.”

Due process: The Trump Administration’s due-process reforms for campus sexual-assault cases take effect today. Despite a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James to stop the rule, her effort to obtain a preliminary injunction was rejected this week by a federal judge. Source: Wall Street Journal

Propaganda arm: The U.S. State Department has designated China’s Confucius Institute a foreign mission of Beijing, The Hill reports. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, a Chinese government-funded program, is “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms” and is working to expand the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “global influence.” The institute can be found in at least five Georgia universities, according to a list compiled by the Daily Caller.

Economy

Rich States, Poor States: Georgia is ranked 10th in the United States for its economic performance and  21st for its economic outlook in the 13th annual edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” published this week by the American Legislative Exchange Council. View the PDF version to compare Georgia’s rankings with other states.

Getting better: Jobless claims last week dropped below 1 million for the first time in 21 weeks, when the pandemic shut down businesses. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, initial jobless claims were at 963,000, down 228,000 from the week before.

No free lunch: The Georgia Department of Labor has paid 92% of all valid unemployment benefit claims. The department reports it has rejected more than 135,000 claims from ineligible individuals because they “have not worked at all in the past 18 months.” Of the 65,000 outstanding claims, 20,000 were reviewed and deemed ineligible and over 38,000 are still being reviewed. Interestingly, the department reports 32,614 eligible individuals have not filed claims.   

Payroll taxes: President Trump’s recent executive order calls for a payroll tax deferral from September 1 through the end of the year. The order addresses the 6.2% share of Social Security taxes for employees with biweekly pre-tax income of less than $4,000. Flummoxed payroll-processing companies are awaiting IRS and Treasury Department guidelines on how to handle the rule before they can start processing paychecks next month. Source: Accounting Today

Healthcare

COVID-19 status updates: The Georgia Department of Public Health, which updates the number of pandemic cases and deaths daily at 3 p.m., has now updated its website map to provide more clarity on trends. The map provides reports on county-level cases and deaths. Visit the website here.

Mask mandates: After Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms failed to reach a settlement over the city’s mask mandate, the Governor announced Thursday that he would address the issue in his next executive order. The current executive order expires August 15.

Media

YouTube: View the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum sessions on the Foundation’s YouTube channel here.

Social media: Follow the Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In August 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “New City Promises New Hope for Limiting Government.” It noted, “With a focus on efficiency and more importantly effectiveness of public service, Sandy Springs has embraced the power of competition to determine how services will be provided.”

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Education Options Offer Hope to Struggling Students,” by Justin Tilghman.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here

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