September 7: Early Bird registration ends SUNDAY for the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum! Register now for this daylong event on Friday, September 7, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel, which includes an exciting lineup of speakers on health care reform, education innovation, pension reform and more! Early Bird registration is $75 until August 12; $100 from August 13. see the agenda here.
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Quotes of note
“When Men are employ’d they are best contented. For on the Days they work’d they were good-natur’d and chearful; and with the consciousness of having done a good Days work they spent the Evenings jollily; but on the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork, the Bread, and in continual ill-humour.” —Benjamin Franklin (1771)
“We live in a time when partisan affiliation and ideological worldviews serve as substitute religions. And if we’ve learned anything from the last few years, the capacity for outrage on the left and right is near infinite. There’s nothing wrong with forcefully expressing disagreement, but the constant hunt for scalps will leave everyone bald and bloodied.” – Jonah Goldberg
August 23: Join the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on Thursday, August 23, at the 1818 Club in Duluth for a Leadership Breakfast, “Policy Over Politics,” with keynote speaker Kyle Wingfield, the Foundation’s president. Welcome by Georgia State Rep. Brett Harrell, a longtime friend of the Foundation and Gwinnett County resident. 8 a.m. (Registration, networking 7:30 a.m.) $20. Register here.
Criminal justice reform
Fact-checking session: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked down Georgia’s criminal-justice reforms during a recent visit to the state, but a review of the data shows his criticism was off-base. While Sessions claimed violent crime in Georgia has risen by almost 8 percent, “the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s data shows that since 2014, despite upticks in specific crimes like aggravated assault, the state’s overall violent crime rate has actually decreased,” Sara Totonchi and Marissa McCall Dodson of the Southern Center for Human Rights wrote in an op-ed for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Cyber thrift: Facing an expected labor shortage of 1.8 million cybersecurity workers by 2022, Georgia Tech and edX will offer an Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity starting in January 2019. Perhaps the biggest innovation is the cost: just $10,000. While Tech has offered the degree on campus since 2002, it costs $20,000 for in-state students and $40,000 for out-of-state students.
Stifling innovation: New York has become the first major American city to halt new vehicle licenses for ride-share services. The City Council capped the number of for-hire vehicles for a year while the city studies the booming industry. The bills also allow New York to set a minimum pay rate for drivers. Source: New York Times
Telecommuting: Job seekers are enticed by work-from-home options, according to research from global staffing firm Robert Half. More than three quarters of professionals surveyed (77 percent) said they are more likely to accept a job offer if there’s the possibility of telecommuting at least some of the time.
Shifty narrative: One of the reasons offered to justify Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare is to reduce “cost-shifting,” by which hospitals charge private payers more to offset their losses from the uninsured. But a new study by the Goldwater Institute shows that, in Arizona, “instead of alleviating the so-called ‘hidden healthcare tax,’ hospitals have further increased their prices and, if one is to believe in the cost-shifting claims, the situation is even worse today.” Read the whole study here.
Expanding options: The Health and Human Services Department has finalized a rule change that will allow people priced out of the ObamaCare exchanges to enroll in low-cost, short-term plans that offer limited coverage for up to three years. Under the Obama administration, such plans could last just three months so as to prevent younger, healthier Americans from abandoning the higher costs under ObamaCare. Source: Patriot Post
Mimosa’s moment: Over 50 city and county governments will hold referendums to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold at restaurants starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays, following the passage of the “brunch bill” in the General Assembly earlier this year. However, some governments are choosing to hold off the vote until 2019. Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This month in the archives: In August 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Local options: Augment Federal Aid or Wallow in Water Woes.” It noted, “[S]tronger price signals are needed to alert consumers to the actual costs of infrastructure, to provide greater revenues for repair and replacement, and to communicate the true value of water.” The Metropolitan North Georgia Water District’s success with price signals is reflected in the region’s declining per-person water usage.
Social media: Visit us on Facebook to see the photos from the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum. The Foundation has earned 3,358 “likes;” our Twitter account has 1,860 Twitter followers! Join them!
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “The South Did Rise Again!” by Harold Brown.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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