In less than two weeks, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary with a September 16 event at the Georgia Aquarium. In 1996, the Foundation’s founder, Hank McCamish (right) and Georgia Gov. Joe Frank Harris (left) presented the prestigious Freedom Award to Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A. While McCamish died in 2013 and Cathy died in 2014, the seeds these two Georgia leaders planted have grown and continue to flourish in Georgia.
Quotes of note
“It’s a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.” – Will Rogers
“An expanding prosperity requires that the largest possible amount … be invested in productive enterprise under the direction of the best personal ability. This will not be done if the rewards of such action are largely taken away by taxation.” – Calvin Coolidge
September 16: Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of “Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell,” is the keynote speaker at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at the Georgia Aquarium. Find out how to attend or sponsor the event at www.georgiapolicy.org/dinner.
Safety: More than 83% of commercial trucks and buses passed muster in the 2021 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck conducted May 4-6, “little real improvement” over last year, according to EHS Today. The 29-year-old high-volume, high-visibility inspection program is conducted each year in Canada, Mexico and the United States. There were fewer inspections: 40,000 this year compared with about 50,000 last year and about 67,000 in 2019. In the United States, about 21% of the 20,000 vehicles inspected were removed from the road for violations, along with about 5.5% of drivers.
Energy and environment
Back in business: The Interior Department is looking to open around 80 million acres of water in the Gulf of Mexico and more than 700,000 acres of land across nine states to auction for oil and gas drilling early next year after being ordered by a federal court to resume its leasing program. The program was paused by President Biden when he took office. The sale could ultimately result in production of up to 1.1 billion barrels of crude oil and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas Source: Reuters
Energy-rich: More than half the nation’s primary energy comes from just six states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wyoming, West Virginia and Pennsylvania collectively accounted for 55% of the nation’s primary energy production in 2019, up from 39% in 2000. Source: Natural Gas Intelligence
Water rule: An Arizona district court judge has vacated the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule governing the federal environmental regulations for certain bodies of water. While citing “errors” in the rulemaking process and noting the rule could result in “serious environmental harm” if left in place while the Biden administration works on a replacement, the judge has yet to decide whether to order a return to the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule or revert to pre-Obama protections. Source: The Hill
Water wise: A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision has granted Georgia’s long pending water supply request for Allatoona Lake, which provides about 10% of the metro Atlanta water supply. The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority and the City of Cartersville – the only two water utilities with storage contracts at Allatoona – first made the request 40 years ago, sparking the “tri-state water wars” with Florida and Alabama, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The decision guarantees the supply they need through at least 2050.
COVID-19 guidance: The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is recommending that unvaccinated Americans not travel over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Meanwhile, a White House official declared that the share of “job postings that require vaccinations up 90 percent.” Source: Consumer Affairs
It’s official: The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the first to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for use in individuals age 16 and older. It will be marketed as Comirnaty and remain available under emergency use authorization for ages 12-15 years and as a booster (third) dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
Incentives: Governor Brian Kemp has announced a financial incentive for teachers and other state employees to get vaccinated, Georgia Health News reports. State Health Benefit Plan members will be eligible for a $150 Visa gift card, or credits for $480 toward healthcare expenses. The benefit is also available to those already vaccinated.
Covid count: In the last two weeks of August, 90,570 COVID-19 cases were reported in Georgia, according to the state Department of Public Health, which reports cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here. The state counts 1,091,007 cases reported since the pandemic began through the end of August.
Best in show: Kudos to Atlanta-based PadSplit, which takes existing single-family homes and apartments and divides them into individual bedrooms that share common living areas such as the kitchen, living room and washer/dryer. Founded in 2017, the company that has helped 4,200 individuals find affordable housing been recognized as the Affordable Housing Solution of the Year by the PropTech Breakthrough Awards.
Long lines for online: School districts across metro Atlanta are contending with a growing crowd of parents wanting virtual learning options for their children amid a back-to-school surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant and low vaccination rates in the state, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Reapportionment: The schedule of the General Assembly’s committee hearings can be found online, along with video links to the meetings. Visit legis.ga.gov/schedule/all.
This month in the archives: In September 25 years ago, the Foundation published, “Bringing Health Care Back to the Free Market.” It noted, “For legislators to avoid making a bad situation worse, they must understand government’s role in creating the current situation of high federal and state spending for medical care, the problems with providing coverage for pre-existing conditions, and the facts behind the large number of uninsured people.”
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Why Climate Activists and Environmentalists Should Support Nuclear Power.”
Have a great Labor Day 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.