Friday Facts: August 21, 2020

It’s Friday!

The 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum enters its final week!

Register today for the healthcare panel discussion on Zoom August 25, “Healthcare: The Diagnosis, The Prognosis.”

Click on the links for information and registration for next week’s Zoom sessions:

There is no charge to register, 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.

Register today for the closing keynote session of the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on August 27: “A Constitution Conversation,” with Harold D. Melton, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Quotes of Note

“When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else’s money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you.” – Milton Friedman

“Dear entrepreneurs, you can start a thousand businesses, launch 100 projects, and take dozens of companies public, but you only have one shot at being part of your kid’s childhood. Your kid doesn’t care about your platform, they care about your presence.” – Jon Acuff

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass

Energy and environment

Blackout amnesia: Californians are dealing with power blackouts in the summer heat. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared they “occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation.” But, as The Wall Street Journal noted,  California’s Independent System Operator (Caiso) has warned for years that the state’s increasing dependence on intermittent renewables endangers reliability. Renewables make up about 36% of California’s electric generation. Democrats set a 60% mandate for 2030 and 100% for 2045.

Education

ABCs from FEE: The Foundation for Economic Education offers free high school classroom resources here, featuring expert instruction from top professors in classrooms around the country. FEE offers digital lesson plans, custom in-person programs and lesson kits shipped to the classroom.

The ABCs of OPM: The city of San Antonio, Texas, plans to spend $27 million of federal CARES relief funds toward building its own wireless network in an effort to connect some 20,000 low-income students to the internet. Users will be able to access only their local school’s filtered web connection and will be restricted from the entire internet. Worse, the project will take more than a year to complete, which means “the vast majority of low-income students will have to wait” to use the city’s network, the Institute for Policy Innovation points out. “A wiser expenditure of these funds would be to partner with existing broadband service providers and provide subsidized access to the internet.”

Timely review: The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA) has announced it is conducting a performance audit of the state Department of Education’s Remedial Education Program, which is funded by the Quality Basic Education formula. This includes a survey of all school systems and charter schools to understand how each administers the program. This is especially needed as students return to school after a lengthy absence. Source: Georgia Charter Schools Association

Healthcare

COVID-19 status updates: The Georgia Department of Public Health updates the number of pandemic cases, deaths and daily at 3 p.m. Visit the website here.

Masks: Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order August 15 that allows local governments to enact mask mandates with some limits. Local governments may mandate masks on county property; broader mandates may be implemented if a county has 100 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days. Only individuals, not businesses, can face fines, fees or penalties; fines exceeding $50 and prison time are not allowed, and local governments must make a good-faith effort to provide facial coverings.

No surprise here: California’s 3-year-old surprise medical billing law is hurting patients, according to a new brief by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the Pacific Research Institute. The law, which imposes price controls on the rates that out-of-network physicians can charge at in-network facilities, has resulted in lower quality care, reduced access, and higher health care system costs.

Not so needed: A new report  from the Institute for Justice shows that 24 states and Washington, D.C., suspended or loosened their certificate-of-need (CON) programs during the pandemic – the opposite of what would happen if these laws actually improved conditions. “Who benefits from these barriers to competition?” write the report’s authors in The Wall Street Journal. “Big hospitals, which file formal objections to block would-be competitors.” Just last week, they write, a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s CON requirements for home health agencies and asked what would have happened “if Michigan had told Henry Ford he couldn’t build a Model T factory because the market had enough Buicks.”

Economy

Restricting: Airbnb on Thursday introduced a global party ban that prohibits parties and event of all types at its listings worldwide and caps house occupancy at 16 people. It aims to address continued public health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. Violators face a ban from the Airbnb program and possible legal action. Source: CNET.com

Retreating: Uber and Lyft announced plans to halt their business in California after a state court on Monday gave them until August 20 to reclassify their drivers in the state as employees. Reclassification of the independent contractor drivers would raise the cost of doing business because of laws covering the minimum wage, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and paid sick leave. Both companies already are struggling from the pandemic fallout as people stay home.

Media

YouTube: View the 2020 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum Zoom 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 five years ago, the Foundation published, “Counting the Costs of Renewable Energy and Traditional Energy Source.” It noted, “Because there cannot be an independent, reliable wind or solar facility standing alone without needing backup from a traditional resource, it cannot be said their energy costs are free nor that they emit nothing (well, unless their backup is nuclear).”

Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Arresting Law Enforcement Abuses Begins with Police Unions,” by Noelle Du Bois.

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. Visit our website at georgiapolicy.org.

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