Quotes of note
“Most men use their knowledge only under guidance from others because they lack the courage to think independently using their own reasoning abilities. It takes intellectual daring to discover the truth.” -Immanuel Kant
“I attack IDEAS. I don’t attack people. And some very good people have some very bad ideas. And if you can’t separate the two, you gotta get another day job.” -Justice Antonin Scalia
“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.” -P. J. O’Rourke 1947-2022
On Our Desks
Pie in the sky GBI? This week, Kyle Wingfield appeared on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Political Rewind to answer the question “Can guaranteed basic income programs help Georgians get out of poverty?” Listen here.
Something or nothing? In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield compares the two Promise Scholarship bills in the state legislature – concluding that either one is better than the status quo.
We’re hiring! Are you a journalist with a love of investigation and the desire to use your skills to lead meaningful change? We’re hiring an investigative journalist to join the Foundation team. Learn more here.
At the Capitol
Mental Health: The Georgia House Health and Human Services Committee held its first hearing on the mental health bill that was introduced on January 26. A vote was not held since the committee met to discuss recent changes to the legislation.
Data dump: A bill that would require the Department of Community Health to publish county-level financial data for State Health Benefit Plan and Medicaid beneficiaries passed the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Right-to-farm?: The House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee heard testimony on a bill that would expand protections for farmers against nuisance lawsuits for agricultural operations one year after their established date of operation.
New faces: Governor Brian Kemp announced that he will appoint Court of Appeals Judge Andrew Pinson to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Georgia created by the retirement of Justice David E. Nahmias.
Energy and Environment
Power from crane to train: Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern is replacing diesel cranes with hybrid versions to reduce noise and greenhouse gas emissions as they unload shipping containers in rail yards. According to WABE, the cranes generate much of their own energy as containers are lowered. Amid the truck driver shortage, and in an effort to reduce congestion and emissions on the roads, freight by rail is being emphasized.
Pain at the pump: Gas prices in Georgia have gone up $0.24 compared to last month’s prices. Prices are up $1.01 annually, according to GasBuddy. GasBuddy attributes these increased prices to rise in oil prices and outages in Texas’ major refineries.
Taxes and Spending
This is fine… Data from the federal government shows that consumer prices rose 7.5% from January 2021 to 2022, the highest rate of price inflation in 40 years, according to FEE.org. An analysis from Moody’s Analytics indicates that the average American household is paying $250 more per month, which is most damaging to low- and middle-income households. The primary cause of the current inflation is the decision by the Federal Reserve to create trillions of dollars of new money to stimulate the economy, which Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admitted in an interview with CBS.
Tax incentives: Georgia H.B. 992 would exempt law enforcement personnel in the state from paying Georgia income tax as an incentive to attract and retain officers without adding strain to the agencies’ budgets, especially those of small counties and municipalities. The Police Executive Research Forum indicates that only 93% of available positions are being filled, and there has been a 45% increase in the retirement rate among all the police departments surveyed, with the highest retirement rates among smaller agencies. Source: The Center Square
COVID-19: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
No More Masking? This week, Governor Kemp unveiled the “Unmask Georgia Students Act,” a new bill that would give parents the option to “opt-out” of compulsory mask wearing in the classroom. Enforcement mechanisms are still unclear, and If passed, Gov. Kemp’s bill would expire in June of 2023.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Guaranteed Basic Income not a Guaranteed Solution to Poverty”
Have a great weekend.
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