This week was election week for lawmakers in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia. In Virginia power in the state senate for Republicans hinges on a slim 226 vote lead in the 17th district. Ballot initiatives in Ohio made national news as voters rejected the legislature’s law limiting collective bargaining while overwhelmingly rejecting the federal individual mandate included in President Barack Obama’s health care law by a 2–1 margin. In Colorado Proposition 103, the only statewide tax increase in the country was overwhelmingly rejected, with 63 percent of voters saying no.
Also, congratulations to all the lawmakers who won re-election or were newly elected. For you veteran lawmakers, if you like the work The Heartland Institute does, please pass our information along to the new lawmakers.
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary from The Heartland Institute addressing state chemicals of concern lists, Peyton Manning and FDA reform, eco-fads, eliminating Oklahoma’s income tax, terrorism insurance, and cable mergers.
Director – Government Relations
Research & Commentary: State Chemicals of Concern Lists
Environment & Climate
At least eight states have implemented de facto regulations on chemicals they deem “hazardous” by creating “chemicals of concern” lists. Proponents claim the lists are necessary to protect consumers from potentially hazardous chemicals in products, and they argue a lack of federal regulations means states must step in. Opponents say the lists are based on the false assumption that there is a bright line dividing “dangerous chemicals” from “safe chemicals.”
Regulating chemicals that pose clear, significant health or environmental risks is justified. But chemicals of concern lists often fail to take into consideration the quantity at which these chemicals potentially pose any significant danger, falsely assuming any quantity poses a significant risk to the public. The Green Chemistry Alliance notes, “Some involved in the debate insist that the [California] Department of Toxic Substances Control must not prioritize its work—it must identify and regulate absolutely every chemical used in commerce today as if each posed an equal threat to consumers.”
Find out more about chemical regulation here.
What We’re Working On
We Need FDA Reform – Just Ask Peyton
In this editorial, Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier discusses the need to reform the FDA drug approval process and streamline drugs to patients. It introduces “Free To Choose Medicine,” a Heartland Institute solution to federal drug regulation.
Research & Commentary: Oklahoma Income Tax Elimination
Budget & Tax
Lawmakers in Oklahoma are saying tax reform involving the reduction of personal income tax rates will be one of the top priorities this upcoming legislative session. The proposal likely would eliminate hundreds of tax credits, deductions, and subsidies in exchange for a broad-based rate reduction. This Research & Commentary explains doing so would put “the state on a path toward fully eliminating one of the most economically destructive taxes and make the state a more attractive place for jobs and high-quality workers.”
Regulating For-Profit Colleges in Ohio
Unfortunately it seems our federal government is dead-set on demonizing for-profit colleges and universities. More unfortunate still, state legislatures are starting up their own battles patterned on the Obama administration’s call for new rules specific to for-profits. Ohio’s Rep. Luckie was quick on scene with a bill that calls for the creation of tuition-setting boards and hordes of new regulation … only on the for-profit sector. This Policy Brief illustrates many of the reasons we should tread lightly on for-profits and turn our criticism to those public colleges that take billions of dollars in government funds.
Research & Commentary: Alternatives to Federal Terrorism Insurance
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act can claim broad support, but it has deep flaws and imposes billions of dollars in liabilities on taxpayers. Signed into law in 2002 by President George W. Bush, TRIA offers up to $100 billion in government-backed terrorism coverage to the private sector. Congress would almost certainly lift the $100 billion cap if claims exceeded that amount. Although many in the insurance industry argue TRIA is necessary to maintain a viable market for terrorism insurance, little effort has been made to find alternatives to the nearly limitless liability TRIA potentially imposes on taxpayers. Before another extension is passed in 2014, Congress should consider other options in the private market. In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans examines several alternatives to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
Research & Commentary: Section 652 and Cable-CLEC Mergers
Section 652 of the Communications Act sounds like a boring topic … and it is. But it carries with it some huge implications for how mergers and buyouts happen in the cable and telecommunications industries. Under the section, the FCC reserves the power to block cable companies from buying or merging with failing local phone companies – even when those companies exist in a competitive market, so called CLECs. Even if the FCC doesn’t outright block the mergers (a task already associated with those in charge of antitrust matters), its actions often give power to local franchising authorities to make the final call.
Containing Medicare/Medicaid Costs
Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 202,
Washington, DC 20510
November 14, 2011, 12:00 PM
If you would like to attend this event, please contact Deborah Bailin at [email protected] or at 202/525-5717.
The November 2011 issue of Health Care News reports on a hidden camera investigation into the Medicaid payment practices of several states. Volunteers for Project Veritas, posing as drug smugglers engaged in child prostitution and other illegal activities, exposed waste, fraud, and abuse in several state Medicaid offices.
States Gorge Themselves on Obesity Taxes
David Brooks: Shale Gas Revolution