Policy Documents

The Leaflet: Policybot: The "Google" for Free Market Research

May 22, 2014

PolicyBot: The "Google" for Free-Market Research

The Heartland Institute understands the value of effective and comprehensive research and commentary for elected public officials and policy experts. We know elected officials and policy experts often lack the time to filter through the incredible amounts of information available online. PolicyBot provides the solution.
 
What Is PolicyBot?
 
PolicyBot is a database and search engine created and managed by The Heartland Institute that houses more than 32,000 policy documents. PolicyBot is not a search engine exclusively for Heartland’s own publications; we have conveniently consolidated all of the “best available research” from more than 350 research and advocacy organizations into one searchable location. Instead of having to navigate through each organization’s Web site, PolicyBot allows users to access all of these documents in one search.
 
The documents in PolicyBot are hand-sorted and tagged into some 2,000 categories and tags, making it easy for a legislator or researcher interested in free-market research and commentary to find documents with the tap of a key and click of a mouse. For example:
 
 
 
 
 
If you have any questions regarding PolicyBot, please do not hesitate to reach out to The Heartland Institute’s government relations coordinator, Alex Monahan, at amonahan@heartland.org.

Energy & Environment

A bill to scale back Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) has passed the state Senate and has a good chance to pass the House. Doing so would make Ohio the first state to successfully roll back its mandate. A successful rollback effort in Ohio could lead to several more such bills being introduced in other states, many of which adopted renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandates in the 2000s. Read More

Education

Education tax credits allow individuals, businesses, or both to deduct from their tax bills donations to private nonprofit organizations that use the money to help kids attend schools outside their assigned district school. Currently, 13 states offer tax-credit scholarships and four offer individual education tax deductions. In this Research & Commentary, Heartland Research Fellow Joy Pullmann notes, “Offering more kinds of choice expands the opportunities for families to find a good education that matches their children’s needs.” Read More
 
Budget & Tax
 
Missouri legislators in May overrode the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon to enact the state’s first income tax cut in nearly 100 years. In this Heartlander article, Research Fellow Steve Stanek notes, “Hundreds of thousands of people involved in business partnerships, limited liability corporations or individual business ventures would benefit from the 25 percent deduction for business income reported on personal tax returns.” Read More
 
Health Care
 
Medicare Part D has been a great success by most objective measures. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines the positive role the program has played in providing prescription drugs to senior citizens, in contrast to a proposal being considered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to change the pricing rules. Glans concludes, “Medicare Part D has saved billions of taxpayer dollars by replacing price controls with market discipline, and it provides medications to the neediest of Americans at a lower cost than was expected. The CMS proposal would increase costs for providers and beneficiaries, limit competition, and decrease seniors’ access to vital prescription drugs.” Read More
 
Telecom
 
The Federal Communications Commission this week voted 3–2 to establish new net neutrality rules that would prevent broadband networks from selectively blocking traffic, but allowing those companies to enter into deals with content providers for preferred access to their networks in “commercially reasonable” ways. Read More
 
The FCC’s proposed rule can be viewed here.
 
Comments from the public are welcome through July 15, 2014. Leave yours here.
 
From Our Free-Market Friends
 
In a post to Reason magazine’s blog Hit & Run, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum summarizes and comments on the findings of a study published in the journal Addiction that found e-cigarettes can be an effective cessation mechanism for people addicted to traditional combustible cigarette smoking. Sullum concludes, “Based on the evidence collected so far, e-cigarettes are at least as effective as the NRTs favored by the CDC, and probably more effective.” Read More

 
 
The May issue of Environment & Climate News reports on the findings of a new, federal-government-funded study showing cellulosic ethanol made from corn residue emits more carbon dioxide than ethanol. “The findings are a severe blow to the biofuel industry,” writes Heartland Senior Fellow James M. Taylor, “as fuels must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent relative to conventional gasoline to qualify as a renewable fuel for federal subsidy programs.”

School Reform News 

Budget & Tax News