On December 9, The Heartland Institute hosted its final 2015 Emerging Issue Forum (EIF). More than 80 state elected officials and policy experts attended the EIF-South event in Nashville, Tennessee.
West Virginia Del. Michel Moffatt (R-Putnam) praised Heartland’s EIF-South event, stating, “The day was well worth the trip. The panels were direct and had a great grasp of the issues and solutions. I look forward to attending in the future.”
If you missed Heartland’s EIF-South event, you can watch the each of the four panels held during the event, as well as the keynote address, online on Heartland’s YouTube channel.
The energy and environment panel featured North Carolina state Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherford), Georgia Public Policy Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd, Heartland Institute Research Fellow Bette Grande, and Tom Tanton, the director of science and technology at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute. The panelists discussed what states can do to push back against the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), covering diverse and important topics, such as renewable power mandates, EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and hydraulic fracturing. Video
The education panel featured Mississippi state Sen. Angela Burks Hill (R-Picayune), Civitas Institute attorney Elliot Engstrom, and Heartland Senior Fellow Bruno Behrend. The panelists spoke about recently passed education savings account programs in Mississippi and Nevada, the state of education across the United States, and how to fight back against Common Core State Standards. Video
The budget and tax panel featured Heartland Director of Government Relations John Nothdurft, Georgia state Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta), American Legislative Exchange Council Director Jonathan Williams, and John Locke Foundation Vice President Becki Gray. The panelists discussed the best ways to address tax reform in their states, tax increases on hotels and “sin” products, and spending reforms. Video
The health care panel featured Dr. Hal Scherz of Docs4PatietCare, Heartland State Government Relations Manager Logan Pike, and Vice President of Policy for the James Madison Institute Sal Nuzzo. The panelists spoke about the rise and future of direct primary care, Medicaid reform, Obamacare after the King v. Burwell U.S. Supreme Court decision, and certificate of need laws. Video
The keynote address was delivered by Zeke Turner, founder and CEO of Mainstreet. His presentation, titled “Beyond Health Care Reform: How Mainstreet Is Transforming Lives and Disrupting Bureaucracy,” showed how certificate of need laws and other regulations are hindering the growth of his company. Video
Stay tuned as Heartland plans on hosting two EIFs, one in Chicago and another in Orlando, in 2016.
What We’re Working On
AltSchool Private School Network Expands to Chicago
A network of small private schools called AltSchool, founded by a former Google executive Max Ventilla, is expanding to Chicago in fall 2017. Illinois will become the third state with an AltSchool. Tom Gantert, senior capitol correspondent for Michigan Capitol Confidential, details in this Heartlander article the history of AltSchool and how a “micro-school” philosophy, which keeps schools to about 80–150 students, provides a more flexible and personalized educational experience than a traditional school environment, according to AltSchool. Investors in AltSchool include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has reportedly contributed $100 million the project. AltSchool currently has campuses in California cities San Francisco and Palo Alto and in New York City. Read more
Energy & Environment
Research & Commentary: Idaho Lawmakers’ Doubts about the Climate ‘Cosnensus‘
On January 2, the Twin Falls Times-News released a highly deceptive story, “At Idaho Legislature, Many Doubt Scientific Consensus on Global Warming Cause,” containing many dubious assertions about the debate between scientists over the effects of climate change, how much of global warming is caused by humans, and what the actual scientific “consensus” is. In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson explains several of the author’s claims, including, “Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree: The earth is warming at a dangerous rate, and we are responsible for it,” are inaccurate. Although the article mentions a “wide range of surveys and literature reviews,” Benson notes the author does not cite any to back up his arguments. Benson says this is because there are no surveys or literature reviews showing a “scientific consensus” in support of the catastrophic, man-caused global warming hypothesis. Read more
Research & Commentary: Should Wisconsin Limit Transitional Care Facilities?
Since 1981, Wisconsin law has capped the number of nursing home beds in the state. This cap, along with a fee charged for each licensed bed in the state, has reduced the number of licensed beds in skilled nursing facilities in Wisconsin by 16 percent between 2003 and 2013. Like many certificate of need laws, limits on the construction of new health care facilities fail to achieve many of their stated goals and often reduce the availability of health care services. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans argues statutory limits on construction increase costs for consumers by hindering competition and forcing patients into older facilities. Glans says markets should be allowed to determine whether there is a demand for new health care facilities, not bureaucracies. Read more
Research & Commentary: Indiana Tobacco Taxes and Infrastructure Funding
Lawmakers in Indiana are considering increasing the state’s tobacco tax to help fill its dwindling infrastructure fund. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans and State Government Relations Manager MaryAnn McCabe argue all of the revenues from the current 7 percent sales tax on gasoline should be allocated to the state’s roads fund as an alternative to increasing the state’s gas tax and the cigarette tax. Read more
Heartland Daily Podcast – Kyle Maichle: Compact for America
In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Kyle Maichle, project manager for constitutional reform at The Heartland Institute, joins host Donald Kendal to talk about the Compact for America (CFA). Compact for America is one of five major groups seeking an Article V convention. Maichle talks about the background of the organization and its successes in the Article V movement, and he explains how CFA offers a unique strategy for accomplishing the task of carrying out an Article V convention. Maichle also discusses the recent endorsement of an Article V convention by presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a development that’s causing quite a stir in the mainstream media. Read more
From Our Free-Market Friends
Mercatus Center Study: State Certificate of Need (CON) Health Care Laws Limit Patient Access
In 2016, Virginia legislators will be discussing reforms to the state’s “certificate of public need” (COPN) laws. Research from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that rather than protecting patients’ access to care, COPN laws reduce access to important health care services. Economists Thomas Stratmann and Matthew Baker examine state data on MRI, CT, and PET scans, three critical services restricted by COPN regulations in 21 states, and they find COPN laws lead to fewer health care options for patients. Baker and Stratmann say patients in states that restrict imaging services have 20–30 percent fewer provider options than patients in other states. It also finds that there are 30–65 percent fewer scans in COPN states. Read more