Friday Facts: June 04, 2021

It’s Friday! 

Memory Lane

A legacy of bureaucracy: The obfuscation in data from the Georgia Department of Education is a longstanding problem, as shown in this 1996 letter from the Georgia Public Policy Foundation to the editor of the Winder News. As the Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021, it’s obvious that “the more things change, the more they stay the same:” An April 2021 article published as part of the Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Initiative highlighted the data overload from the agency.

Quotes of note

“Business takes risk with the idea of a greater reward. [Intellectual property] protection in any industry is the insurance policy for the risk. Waiving IP protection, even in the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic, will dampen a willingness to take risk in the pharmaceutical industry, lessening innovation, and potentially depriving future generations of medical advances.” – Richard D. Kocur

Thanks to human ingenuity and free markets, we have more food, oil, water and clean air than ever before in the history of the planet. As the climate changes in one direction or another, which it certainly will continue to do, humans will react through innovation and technology and changes in the way we live and work.” – Stephen Moore

“If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?” – Frederic Bastiat

On Our Desks

Don’t miss the story: Catch up on all of the investigative work we’ve done, and be sure to sign up to get our next investigation right in your inbox.

Last Days of School: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield looks back at what was either a relatively normal or a very strange school year.

In Case You Missed It: Certificate of Need can be tricky to understand. Our freelance investigator examined what Certificate of Need regulation means for Georgia in our latest investigative journalism series.


Around the State

Also, don’t forget to breathe! This new campaign is reminding Georgians to drink water.

Don’t panic, but … There’s a national chicken wing shortage, and Atlanta menu prices are beginning to reflect it.

But does it have wings? Fitzgerald city leaders are building a 62-foot-tall chicken topiary sculpture to help boost tourism.

It’s National Doughnut Day: You know what to do.


Energy and environment

All the tools: Georgia is among a growing number of states to adopt laws that prohibit municipalities from banning residential fuel choice. This comes as several cities, including San Francisco and Denver, are either enacting or considering laws to ban the use of natural gas in new homes and buildings as part of a push to “decarbonization,”

Improving output: In 2020 the U.S. nuclear fleet of 94 reactors produced 789.9 terawatt hours of electricity, more than 122 reactors produced in 1990, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Nuclear plants have maintained a 90% median capacity factor (a measure of reliability) for 20 years and expectations for advanced nuclear predict future capacity factors of nearly 95%. Two units under construction at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, are the first new nuclear units to be built in the nation in 30 years.


Economy

Home or away: Only 11% of employers in a recent Conference Board survey report that they expect to require all their workers to return to the office over the long term, although 27% of respondents said their plans were unknown and about a third say that 40% or more of their workforce will be primarily remote. Estimates suggest that after the pandemic, 25% of work time will be from home, versus 5% before the pandemic.

Hurricane Prime: This week marked the official start of hurricane season and Amazon’s first ever Disaster Relief Hub opened in Union City, south of Atlanta.

We’re #1! This Cato Institute report ranks Georgia as the No. 1 state with the fewest regulatory barriers for entrepreneurs.

And more good news! Georgia is one of nine states to secure a AAA bond rating in 2021.


Taxes and spending

Clucking all the way to the bank: Georgia’s state budget includes $37 million to fund five programs at the University of Georgia including a new $21.7 million poultry science facility.


Criminal justice

Suspended: Gov. Brian Kemp suspended  Clayton County sheriff Victor Hill after review of his indictment on federal civil rights charges.

On the run: A Georgia man was arrested in Oklahoma … six years after he faked his death.


Healthcare

Slow service: Atlanta officials say they may need their own city ambulance service after repeated issues with Grady Memorial Hospital’s ambulance response times.

Certificate of need: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed into law several changes to the state’s certificate-of-need (CON) requirements. CON laws require hospitals to seek state approval before building new facilities, adding services or increasing bed counts. Among the changes, the law exempts mental health hospitals and hospital-based outpatient treatment centers from the CON program, allows hospitals to add beds at their main facility without approval, and raises annual fees for facilities in the CON program.

COVID-19 update: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.


Friday Flashback

This month in the archives: In June 25 years ago, the Foundation published, “Why Our High School Graduates Should Take a Citizenship Test.” It noted, “I have met so many Americans, fortunate to have been born American, who know history but fail to grasp the advantages, duties and responsibilities of their citizenship.”


Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “For Schools to Return to Normalcy, Community Must Do Its Part,” by Ben Scafidi.


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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