Quotes of note
“Problems arise when political decision-makers attempt to distort what scientific studies conclude, but also when scientists and others attempt to exert influence on policy decisions by selectively presenting, or even distorting, scientific findings. While there is extensive media coverage of the former, the examination of how science may be politicized inside federal regulatory decision-making processes has been largely limited to academia and the scientific community.” – Susan Dudley
“The government’s monopoly is what has allowed it to produce so bad a product for so long.” – David A. Henderson
“The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.” – Joseph Story (1833)
The fault is in us: Uber grounded all its self-driving cars after one crashed and flipped onto its side in Arizona last week. A police report found the crash was caused by human error – of the driver in the other vehicle involved. Source: Business Insider
A bus by any name: Lyft is testing a “Shuttle” commuter ride-sharing option that operates along a set route with specific pickup and drop-off points and a fixed fare, during regular commuting hours, with no “Prime Time” upcharge. Could this be the new face of mass transit? Source: TechCrunch
On the road again: President Trump’s 2018 “skinny budget” proposes a 13 percent cut in federal funding for transportation, targeting non-road spending. The proposal would end federal support for Amtrak’s long-distance train service and future funding for new transit projects. Future investments for new transit projects “would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects,” the budget blueprint states. Source: Mass Transit Magazine
Did you know? In 2006, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the city of New London, Conn., could seize Susette Kelo’s home to make way for a private development, the Foundation championed one of the toughest eminent domain laws in the nation to protect Georgia property owners. This week, the Legislature weakened those protections, voting to allow local governments to dispose of seized property for private use after five years instead of the current 20 years.
Energy and environment
Emissions down: Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency. The biggest drop came from the United States, where CO2 emissions fell 3 percent while the economy grew by 1.6 percent. The decline was driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power. U.S. emissions were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80 percent.
Climate: The Atlanta Regional Commission is sharing a survey for a Georgia Climate Research Roadmap, “to identify and rank Georgia’s Top 40 climate research questions” that, if answered, “would most help policymakers, practitioners and scientists to better understand and address climate-related challenges and opportunities in Georgia.” Participate here.
Ripe for review: In 2010, manufacturers removed phosphates from detergent nationwide in response to a 16-state ban begun after Washington State blamed phosphorus for algae blooms and fish kills. The result was grimier dishes and clothes. Compounding the problem is a 2001 federal “midnight rule” establishing energy and water efficiency standards for washers; “consumers bore costs in the form of higher prices, continued inconvenience, expense, time and bad odors from moldy washing machines,” according to the Regulatory Studies Center.
This month in the archives: In March five years ago the Foundation published, “Consumers Shouldn’t Bank on Savings from Debit Card Price Controls.” It noted, “Heaping unwarranted regulations on business puts a wet blanket on efforts to rekindle our economy.”
Foundation in the news: An article in Bloomberg BNA cited the Foundation on Georgia tax reform. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Kyle Wingfield quoted Lynn Westmoreland at the Foundation’s March Leadership Breakfast. The Daily Signal quoted Kelly McCutchen in, “What Georgia Could Teach Trump About How to Drain the Swamp.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Benita Dodd in an article on Georgia counties phasing out the federal waiver on time limits for food stamp recipients.
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read our latest commentary, “Direct Primary Care Delivers on Cost, Quality and Caring,” by Dr. Loren King.
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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