The Leaflet: What’s in Your Legislative Toolbox?

Published January 5, 2018

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2018? Legislative sessions begin this month, and we hope state legislators’ resolutions will include passing bills that further free-market principles and making The Heartland Institute their go-to source for policy news and analysis.

Many of you have received your complimentary copy of Heartland’s new book, the fourth edition of The Patriot’s Toolbox, coauthored and edited by Dr. Herbert Walberg and Joseph Bast, with contributions from 18 other distinguished policy experts. The book outlines 100 important principles for making your state a freer, more prosperous place to live. When you finish reading The Patriot’s Toolbox, you will be more confident and knowledgeable about the hot-button issues being debated in your state capitols.

The book covers 10 of the most important public policy topic areas facing states today:

  1. Health Care
  2. Energy and Environment
  3. Elementary and Secondary Education
  4. Higher Education
  5. Privatization
  6. Firearms
  7. Telecommunications
  8. State Fiscal Policy
  9. Federal Tax Policy
  10. Constitutional Reform

As the coauthors write in the book’s preface, The Patriot’s Toolbox “offers an agenda for incumbent office holders, a platform for candidates for public office, and a report card for civic and business leaders and journalists following the policy moves of the Trump administration, Congress, and state lawmakers.”

More than 100,000 copies of the first three editions of the book have been distributed since 2010. Nearly 13,000 copies of the new edition were sent in December to important audiences across the country, including every state elected official and member of Congress, making it one of the most widely circulated and influential books on public policy in the United States.

The Heartland Institute is happy to provide additional free copies of The Patriot’s Toolbox to you or your staff. Many of the coauthors and contributors are available to answer your questions, provide additional research, testify before your committees, or even speak to your constituents!

Also, if you like the work Heartland does and would like on-demand help, travel scholarships to our events, and more, I hope you will consider joining our Legislative Forum. A membership is just $99 for two years or $179 for a lifetime membership. Sign up today!

If you have questions or comments, or would like additional copies or information regarding any of these topics, please contact Government Relations Director John Nothdurft by email at [email protected], or call 312/377-4000.


What We’re Working On

Energy & Environment                                                                                                                                 
Study’s Attempt to Link Hydraulic Fracturing to Adverse Infant Health Issues Is Flawed
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson discusses and provides a strong critique of a study examining hydraulic fracturing and its impact on infant health. The study, authored by researchers at Princeton University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of Chicago, allegedly provides “the strongest large-scale evidence of a link between the pollution that stems from hydraulic fracturing activities and our health, specifically the health of babies.” In this paper, Benson makes the case that the data contained in the study are contradictory and do not support the authors’ dire conclusion.

ESA Proposal Would Benefit Wisconsin’s Low-Income Gifted Students
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson details a new proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature that would provide education savings accounts (ESAs) for low-income “gifted and talented” students in the Badger State. Beginning with the 2018–19 school year, up to 2,000 students would be provided with an ESA of $1,000. Students enrolled in any school – public, private, or charter – who score in the top 5 percent statewide on standardized tests or are identified by an education official as demonstrating “evidence of high-performance capability in intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership or specific academic areas and needs services or activities not ordinarily provided in a regular school program” will be eligible for the program if they already qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program.

Budget & Tax
Eliminating Prevailing Wage Mandates Would Lower Cost of Ohio Public Projects
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans writes about a proposed constitutional amendment Ohio lawmakers are expected to consider that would repeal the state’s prevailing wage requirement. Glans explains, “A prevailing wage is the average wage paid to laborers in a designated region and requires contractors to provide union wages and benefits on government-funded construction projects.” Mandating contractors pay a prevailing wage raises the cost of doing business, reduces competition, and politicizes public projects.

Health Care
Dental Therapists Can Soothe Florida’s Dental Shortage Pains
In this Research & Commentary, Government Relations Manager Charles Katebi discusses a new Florida proposal to permit dental therapists, hygienists, and assistants to perform dental services, such as extracting primary teeth, managing dental trauma, and applying desensitizing medications. This proposal to expand dental care access comes at an important time, as more than 5.5 million Floridians reside in communities designated as “Dental Care Health Professional Shortage Areas,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

From Our Free-Market Friends
Texans Need More Education for Their Money
Vance Ginn and Stephanie Matthews of the Texas Public Policy Foundation have released a new report arguing the Lone Star State does not need to raise public education spending levels, but instead needs to increase the quality of education already delivered. Since 2004, real total public education spending and per-student spending in the state have increased 29.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. Unfortunately, a big chunk of education funds are not directed to teachers and students, but administrators. Administration and non-teacher staff rolls increased more than the number of students enrolled and the number of teachers hired from 1993 to 2015, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

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