Friday Facts: January 27, 2023

It’s Friday!

As Georgia celebrates National School Choice Week, the legislature is already looking to expand the tax credit scholarship program. And other proposals might move forward that give parents new options in their children’s educational setting.

While such options are highly popular, one of the common claims used to peel away votes from Georgia legislators representing rural areas is that such programs either don’t benefit rural areas or harm rural districts. Setting aside the fact that those arguments are mutually exclusive, a new report from the Heritage Foundation shows families in rural areas have access to more education options than ever before.

The report looks at the options in rural areas, whether private schools, microschools or virtual schools. It also looks at the impact of widespread school choice with Arizona’s rural students schools.

Would school choice benefit rural students in Georgia?

One of our other priorities, in addition to education choice, is Certificate of Need repeal. The law requires entrepreneurs to receive permission from the state, and their competition, before opening or expanding a variety of healthcare services in Georgia. Chris Denson, the Foundation’s Director of Policy and Research, was recently on a panel at an event hosted by Americans for Prosperity – Georgia. The panel also included U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA-06) and State Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming).

Friday’s Freshest

The state of school choice in Georgia

As we celebrate National School Choice Week, we take a look at education choice in Georgia, including the progress the state has made, along with the steps we need to take to move forward.

📺 WATCH: Put parents in control of their children’s education

Post pandemic, new schooling options flourish

What started as a temporary necessity during the early days of the pandemic has turned into a new, permanent form of school for many in Georgia and around the country. 

Universal school choice would benefit all

A report released by the Foundation shows the benefits of universal school choice, not just for those enrolled in a program, but for the entire state. 

National School Choice Week showcases the various options in Georgia

Georgia Cyber Academy, serving about 9,000 students, is one of the many educational options available in the state. We talked with parents and students about why they chose a virtual school.

Georgia’s expensive rural broadband project

The feds continue to insist that government-funded broadband will transform Georgia’s rural communities.

Taxpayer-funded benefits should be for those that are supposed to receive them

Many who are no longer eligible for Medicaid may soon lose Medicaid benefits as a pandemic-inspired prohibition on reviewing eligibility expires. This is much different, however, than many of the headlines you may have seen on this story. But it shows, again, why governing by crisis leads to poor governance. 

📺 WATCH: End governing by crisis

At the Capitol

Here is your recap of the third week of the 2023 legislative session in Georgia.

  • On Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp delivered the first State of the State of his second term. He called for a “new era” in Georgia. His administration’s new priorities include education, housing and boosting pay for teachers and state employees. You can watch the full speech here.
  • Senate Republicans released their priorities for the 2023 session on Thursday, focusing on the economy, education, healthcare and public safety. You can watch the press conference announcing the agenda here.
  • Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta) introduced legislation to expand the scholarship tax credit program cap from $120 million to $200 million, thereby making the program available to thousands of additional students.
  • Speaker Jon Burns praised Carson for introducing the legislation saying, “We are committed to taking sensible steps to improve educational outcomes for Georgia’s children. Georgians have demonstrated overwhelming demand for this innovative program year after year, and I thank Chairman John Carson for his leadership on this issue.”
  • Georgia House Majority Caucus Whip James Burchett (R-Waycross) announced the appointment of his Majority Caucus Whip Team for the 2023-2024 legislative term. State Representative Rob Leverett (R-Elberton) will serve as the Chief Deputy Whip. View all members here.


Layoffs in Corporate America spread from tech to conglomerates

Layoffs roiling the tech sector have been the biggest economic story of 2023. And now it seems those layoffs are spreading into new corners of Corporate America.

Developer pursues second large project south of Atlanta

A developer known for pursuing areas south of I-20 for opportunities is adding another ambitious mixed-use project to its development pipeline. Macauley Investments is in the early stages of bringing hundreds of homes and a retail village to the city of South Fulton.


School choice legislation is likely from Georgia lawmakers this session

Georgia lawmakers are almost certain to discuss school funding and even school choice legislation during this year’s legislative session.

Iowa governor signs universal school choice bill

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a universal school choice bill called the Students First Act on Tuesday, allowing any Iowa student to use taxpayer funds to pay for private school tuition or other educational expenses.

Government accountability

Lawmaker pushes protection for ‘vital and precious’ Okefenokee from new mining proposals

A south Georgia Republican lawmaker is again attempting to head off any future attempt to mine an important site near the Okefenokee Swamp.

Georgia lawmakers take fresh aim at special-interest tax breaks

Georgia lawmakers are looking to take aim at the billions of dollars in tax breaks the state gives out after a state audit raised new questions about whether the state is getting its money’s worth from some of the tax breaks with the promise that they’d create jobs.


Repealing Georgia’s CON requirement will improve healthcare, panel says

When Katie Chubb wanted to open a new birthing center in Augusta, she wasn’t surprised the local community would support the new service. Rather, it was who opposed it: three local hospitals.

Medical marijuana gets approval to distribute to residents in Georgia

The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission voted to approve regulations for two companies that received licenses to manufacture and distribute low THC oil on Wednesday. Despite that, there’s still no timeline on when that could begin.

Quotes of the Week

“Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its children go. We are far from that ultimate result. If we had that, a system of free choice, we would also have a system of competition and innovation, which would change the character of education.” – Milton Friedman

“Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.” – Madeline Hunter

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

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