In case you missed it...

Culture

Young Americans, we’re told, are increasingly fond of so-called “Democratic Socialism.” However judging young Americans by the way they act in the economy, rather than merely by the way they speak or even vote, one could easily find them even more pro-capitalist than many of the generations that preceded them. So, what can account for this dichotomy? Simply put, the word “socialism” in modern American politics doesn’t mean what it used to — and, as a result, a Grand Canyon-sized opportunity is open for the liberty movement to win the hearts and minds of young Americans. (Read more)

 

Free markets

The Clark County Education Association has endorsed choice… Well, sort of. Actually, the CCEA came out in support of Ballot Measure 3 — the “Energy Choice” proposal that would provide Nevada with a competitive consumer energy market. In its official statement, the union blasted the concept of government-sanctioned monopolies. It was an especially noteworthy line of attack, given that CCEA itself exercises a state-granted monopoly over teacher representation — and in a school district that itself exercises a government-granted monopoly over publicly funded education. As Nevada Policy Senior Policy Analyst Daniel Honchariw pointed out in a recent letter to the editor, “It’s refreshing to see the teacher union embrace the economic reality that free markets and competition serve consumers better than a monopoly. Now it’s time to apply that same mindset to education.” (Read Nevada Policy’s reaction to CCEA here)

 

Fiscal and taxes

Hopefully you’re better at saving money than Nevada’s politicians. Nevada’s rainy day fund doesn’t even have enough money to keep the government running for a mere week. With a just 3.6 days-worth of reserve funds, Nevada was one of only eight states with less than a week’s worth of emergency funding available. The reason? Well, certainly government dipped into the fund during the recession — but since then, politicians have been too busy spending every dime they collect in tax revenue to put any away for emergencies. As Nevada Policy’s Robert Fellner told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s poor ranking is reflective of a classic “tax-and-spend mentality.” (Read more)

 

Supreme Court

The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court immediately devolved into little more than a political circus. Loony protests, wild-eyed outrage and over-the-top hysterics characterized the process. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) thinks he knows why: Americans no longer have a real understanding of what the Supreme Court is supposed to be, because our understanding of civics has been eroded by Washington D.C.’s dysfunction. Because federal lawmakers have increasingly passed off important political issues to unaccountable bureaucrats, the Supreme Court, according to Sasse, has become a “substitute political battleground.” His comments were long, but well worth it. (Watch the video)

 

Free speech

Recently, tech giants have decided to ban the blueprints for 3D-printed guns. And now, things have escalated. Not only have social media giants such as Facebook and YouTube censored “how-to” videos and guides for 3D-printed firearms, but even more mundane videos — such as press-conference videos and fundraising efforts — have been censored. (Read more about that here.) But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Calls have been made for government to step in and place an outright ban on blueprints for similar 3D-printed firearms as well. What advocates of this kind of censorship don’t seem to understand, however, is that banning information is not only a violation of the First Amendment (when government does it), but such efforts are guaranteed to be ineffective — especially in our current digital age. As Reason.com points out, “efforts to restrict the distribution of digital contraband have a pretty lousy track record.” (Read more)

 

Government corruption

Corruption, abuse of power and arrogance have always characterized government. That’s why the work done by investigative journalists like Kimberley Strassel is more important than ever. Her groundbreaking reporting on the abuse and corruption within the FBI probe of the Trump campaign has been making headlines for months now, and so, naturally, NPRI is thrilled to announce Strassel is returning to Nevada to speak to our supporters about her crucial work this very month! Tickets are still available, so don’t miss out on your chance to hear Kimberley speak at Nevada Policy’s Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th. Click here to register today!

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Clark County Education Association

This week, the CCEA teacher union came out in support of Ballot Measure 3 — the “Energy Choice” proposal that would provide Nevada with a competitive consumer energy market. Explaining its endorsement, CCEA said that “Nevadans know that monopolies… don’t work for consumers.” Agreed, but the comment remains especially noteworthy, given that teacher unions themselves play a major role in the government’s monopoly control over education. Maybe CCEA should apply this same logic to education, given that almost 60 percent of Nevadans support expanding the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, and 70 percent support the concept of Education Savings Accounts for special-needs students. Or would that be a bridge too far? (Read more)

 

Employee Freedom: A voice and a choice

National Employee Freedom Week is over, but that doesn’t mean people are done talking about it. The national survey NPRI conducted this year was groundbreaking — as it demonstrated just how many unionized employees appreciate the outcome of the Janus case, which affirmed the right of public sector workers to leave their unions. As Nevada Policy Research Institute Communications Director Michael Schaus told the Free Beacon, “This study shows just how many union members value having a voice and a choice in the workplace. Workers expect value from their union, and they clearly value the right to vote with their dues.” (Read more)

 

Educational Choice

Activists against school choice have been gleeful about a new report that supposedly proves school choice vouchers actually harm children. There’s just one problem: The study doesn’t even look at a single private school serving a single student with a school voucher! Even more telling was that the study’s “results” were pretty much preordained from the beginning. As Patrick Wolfe, from the department of education reform at the University of Arkansas, notes, the study’s bogus finding were “obtained from an outdated, non-experimental, underpowered, sample-of-convenience analysis of places and people that were not participating in actual private-school voucher programs.” Hardly an indictment of educational choice. (Read more)

 

Partisan politics

Even your fast-food choices are apparently a political statement nowadays. This week, the head of the California Democratic Party called for a boycott of In-N-Out Burger after it was revealed that the company had donated $25,000 to the Californian Republican Party. Of course, not all Democrats are on board with the plan to turn their back on a famed fast-food restaurant simply because of political disagreements. Anthony Grigore, a registered Democrat in California, made it clear that the boycott idea was a step too far. “Eating at In-N-Out is such a standard thing to do across California,” Grigore said, dismissing the boycott idea as a bit silly. (Read more)

 

Free speech

As an undergraduate at ultra-liberal Williams College, Zachary R. Wood was part of a group that invited Suzanne Venker, an author critical of feminism, to speak to students. It wasn’t because Zachary agreed with her — in fact, he is a self-described “liberal Democrat” who supported Hillary Clinton for President. Instead, he invited the conservative critic of feminism because he believed in the value of hearing opposing views. Unfortunately, the liberal mob at Williams College disagreed, and his group was forced to cancel the invitation. Zachary sat down with Reason.com’s Nick Gillespie to discuss why universities have closed themselves off from intellectual diversity, and what can be done to fix the political censorship on campus. (Read more)

 

Government corruption

There is no shortage of corruption, abuse-of-power and arrogance in government. That’s why the work done by investigative journalists like Kimberley Strassel is more important than ever. Her groundbreaking reporting on the abuse and corruption within the FBI probe of the Trump campaign has been making headlines for months now, and NPRI is again bringing Strassel to Nevada this September to speak about her crucial work! Kimberley will be speaking to attendees at Nevada Policy’s Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th. So don’t miss the opportunity to hear her scintillating analysis of corruption, power abuse and political bias now besetting the nation! (Click here to register.)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Employee Freedom

Despite the nonstop scaremongering tactics union leaders have used in recent months, more than half of union members say the recent Janus Supreme Court decision is a positive development for workers, according to a new survey conducted for National Employee Freedom Week. (Click here to read the results!) The survey highlights a widening divide between union leadership and the workers they claim to represent. However, that is why it is more important than ever to keep pushing for labor policies that are focused on expanding the freedoms and rights of individual workers, rather than “union security” policies that merely enrich leadership. (Read more)

 

Election fraud:

According to a new study of U.S. Census data, there are roughly than 3.5 million more registered voters than there are living adults in the United States. Judicial Watch's Election Integrity Project reports that 462 counties nationwide had a registration rate exceeding 100 percent. And those aren’t necessarily counties in rural areas with poor record keeping practices — many are in major voting districts across the nation. San Diego County, for example, had a 138 percent registration rate! Without further investigation, it’s hard to determine how much of the over-registration is due to sloppy record keeping by local governments, and how much is potential fraud. However, one thing is for certain: it doesn’t bode well for voting integrity. (Read more)

 

Socialism

Even some Democrats are getting fed up with the party’s embrace of so-called “Democratic Socialism.” Giancarlo Sopo describes himself as a “millennial JFK Democrat,” who voted for Barack Obama twice and even volunteered for Hillary Clinton. And yet, he’s furious about the way young progressives are constantly pointing to Scandinavia as “proof” that socialism can work. “If we’re going to have ‘good-faith arguments,’ a good place to start would be to abandon discredited myths about Scandinavia, [and] begin telling the full truth about ‘democratic’ socialism,” he writes for the Federalist. “Stop pretending that the experiences of 5 million Norwegians who live in one of the freest economies in the world better represent [socialism] than the lives of the 42 million people in Venezuela and my family’s native Cuba that suffer under this ideology daily.” (Read more)

By the way, if you want a stunning visual of what actual socialism does to an economy, take a look at these pictures from Venezuela. (Look through the pictures here)

 

Economic freedom

How free is Nevada? Well, we’re freer than many states… But not as free as we used to be. Ever since the state began to recover from the effects of the great recession, almost everything that makes Nevada free has been under constant attack by big-government cheerleaders and nannycrats who would like to regulate and tax at ever increasing levels. (Read more here) If we intend to remain one of (if not the) freest states in the union, it’s going to take some hard work.

Incidentally, this is precisely what we do every day at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. (NPRI: Nevada’s leading provider of liberty since 1991!) Of course, we can’t do it without you. Click here to support NPRI’s mission!

 

Culture

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian professor who talks about personal responsibility, culture and how to succeed in life — and, for some reason, the progressive left in America is terrified of the influence he’s having. But why? Well, in part, it’s because Peterson’s lectures are at odds with the corrupted system that allows many of the progressive left’s cultural ideas flourish. As Joy Pullman explains, Peterson’s no-nonsense lectures demonstrate that the leftist culture “has in fact entered its decadent late phase, and it is deeply vulnerable.” (Read more)

 

Don’t miss Kimberley Strassel in Las Vegas!

NPRI is welcoming the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel back to Nevada to speak to our supporters about the abusive, corrupt and downright arrogant nature of big government this September! Kimberley will be speaking at our Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear her document the plague of corruption, power abuse and political bias now besetting the nation! (Click here to register.)

 

 

 

In case you missed it...

Public employee retirements

One of the major obstacles facing any serious effort to reform public sector pensions is a massive deficit of knowledge. Unfortunately, many of the special interests that profit off the status quo—such as public sector unions—are happy to maintain this level of ignorance among the public. A recent proposal to have public sector retirement systems actually make the full cost of their pensions known has received dramatic backlash from government insiders. (Read more)

 

Government regulation

Government’s overzealous efforts to regulate every aspect of the economy sometimes has the unintended consequence of slowing growth, hampering innovation and restricting progress. The rest of the time, it has that effect on purpose. The European Parliament’s recent resolution to “abolish planned obsolescence” is a perfect example: The resolution actually aims to restrict how quickly technology can innovate, in an effort to “protect” customers from seeing their new technologies become outdated “too quickly.” (Read more)

 

Tax and fiscal

According to a new study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute, the tax cuts passed late last year are still showing dividends. According to the study, thanks to provisions within the tax bill, Nevada investor-owned utility residential ratepayers will save, on average, almost $200 per customer over the next five years. “It’s a good example of the widespread benefits of the tax reform,” said Michael Schaus, communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute. “Obviously, people saw extra money in their paycheck, but (the benefits) were broader than all that.” (Read more)

 

Transparency

Government agencies in Nevada are becoming even more brazen in their disregard for the state’s public records laws. The Washoe County School District, for example, recently refused to release a taxpayer-funded investigation concerning allegations of abuse and bullying within the special education department. Despite perfectly fitting the definition of a public record — the report was paid for with taxpayer money and reflects material of profound public importance — the school district refused to provide a copy to the RGJ, prompting the newspaper to sue. Nevada Policy Research Institute Policy Director Robert Fellner points out that this is just one of many cases that demonstrate the need for adding teeth to the current law. “Courts must be allowed to hold the government official who made the determination to withhold the record, charge an exorbitant fee, or similarly obstruct access in a bad-faith manner personally liable for the prevailing requester’s fees,” says Fellner. (Read more)

 

Government excess

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Board sent CEO Rossi Ralenkotter into retirement Tuesday with roaring applause, lavish praise, a video tribute… and $455,000 on top of his already-rich public retirement, despite his involvement in a scandal involving serious mishandling of public funds. “The retirement deal shows that the board is nothing more than a club for cronies,” said Nevada Policy Research Institute Communications Director Michael Schaus. “The board had absolutely no obligation to offer any sort of deal, and their decision to use taxpayer money to further enrich someone that has clearly violated the public trust in such an obvious way shows just how unserious the board is about even attempting to be responsible stewards of public dollars.” (Read more)

 

Don’t miss Kimberley Strassel in Las Vegas!

NPRI is welcoming the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel back to Nevada to speak to our supporters about the abusive, corrupt and downright arrogant nature of big government this September! Kimberley will be speaking at our Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear her document the plague of corruption, power abuse and political bias now besetting the nation! (Click here to register.)

 

 

 

Lawmakers must allow Nevada businesses to continue helping low-income students

Earlier this week, 8NewsNow showcased the enormous benefits from Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship program — and the tremendous harm that would come if the state teachers’ union gets its way and successfully lobbies for the program's elimination next year.

150 valley children of all ages, most of whom reside in low-income families, were granted “life-changing” scholarships thanks to a more than $1 million donation from the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Sadly, the opportunity for businesses to make similar donations will be severely restricted next year, absent legislative action.

The Cosmo's donation was only made possible because of the Opportunity Scholarship Program — which allows Nevada businesses to fund scholarships in exchange for tax credits.

Unfortunately, there is a strict limit on the total amount of donations that can be made each year. And that limit is set to drop by roughly 65 percent next year — forcing hundreds of students like those featured in the 8NewsNow report off of their scholarships, just a year or two after they made the transition to a school that finally meets their needs.

Why would the Legislature want to restrict such an obvious win-win program? Politics.

The state teachers’ union — which has gone on record as wishing to see the program abolished outright — is fiercely opposed to any educational options that do not align with its political agenda.

So if you’d like to see more stories like the one above, where Nevada businesses are encouraged to give back to the community by providing scholarships for low-income children, it’s imperative that the Legislature stand up for children and expand the program’s scope, not slash it.

And to learn more about this program, please visit SchoolChoiceNV.com.

 

In case you missed it...

Kimberley Strassel in Las Vegas!

NPRI is welcoming the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel back to Nevada to speak to our supporters about the abusive, corrupt and downright arrogant nature of big government this September! Kimberley’s bombshell reporting in the Wall Street Journal over the last several months has chronicled the vast abuse of power within the FBI during the 2016 election, and her best-selling book The Intimidation Game demonstrates just how far people in power will go to keep the rest of us quiet. Kimberley will be speaking at our Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear her document the plague of corruption, power abuse and political bias now besetting the nation! (Click here to register.)

 

Free speech

In recent months, the world’s largest social-media companies have accelerated their crusade against anything they deem “hate speech,” online bullying or fake news. So-called “community guidelines” — written by progressive elites atop these giant tech empires — are increasingly being used as a tool to censor political speech that dares challenge progressivism’s “politically correct” dogmas of the moment. However, not all is lost for liberty-loving users of these platforms. After all, the social media industry is still in its infancy. Tech giants like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter won’t be running the show forever. So what will replace these Silicon Valley titans? Well, that depends on whether or not we teach the next wave of innovators to truly respect free speech. (Read more)

 

Fiscal and taxes

More than 10 percent of state and local governments’ combined own-source revenue is used to fund the state’s Public Employee Retirement System. That’s almost $2 billion per year that you and I are paying to fund the system — and yet the agency has systematically worked to keep its operations hidden from public view. (Using your tax dollars to do so, by the way.) So what, exactly, is PERS trying to hide from the people who fund it? (Read more)

 

Justice and law

The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the US Supreme Court has turned into a partisan political brawl. New Jersey Democrat Senator Cory Booker, for example, has even gone so far as to say that voting to confirm Kavanaugh would make one “complicit in evil.” But not everyone on the progressive left is so partisan about Trump’s pick for the highest court in the nation. Self-described feminist Lisa Blatt, writing in Politico, described Judge Kavanaugh as a “superstar,” adding that his confirmation ought to proceed without drama. “The Senate should confirm him,” she writes, “because he will do the job with dignity, intelligence, empathy and integrity.” (Read more)

 

Wealth redistribution

One Canadian province has put an early end to its experiment with a universal basic income (UBI) welfare program. Despite originally being planned as a three-year pilot program, Ontario’s experiment has been deep-sixed after just one year. According to Provincial Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, the reason was simple: “It was certainly not going to be sustainable.” The announcement came just months after Finland closed down their version of a UBI program for similar reasons. Nonetheless, many cities and countries are still toying with the idea of their own UBI experiments. Here in the states, Chicago has discussed the possibility, and Stockton, California, has already prepared plans for its own program. (Read more)

 

In case you missed it...

Kimberley Strassel in Las Vegas!

Kimberley Strassel’s bombshell reporting in the Wall Street Journal over the last several months has exposed the vast abuse of power at the FBI during the 2016 election. In June, as the keynote speaker for NPRI’s Annual Celebration, Kimberley shared some of the “inside scoop” directly with Institute supporters — but if you missed it, don’t worry! Her appearance was so insightful, and her message so powerful, NPRI has welcomed her back to speak at our Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas on September 20th! Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Kimberley document the plague of corruption, power abuse and political bias that now besets the nation! (Click here to register.)

 

Free speech

Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen has announced she is a co-sponsor of the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act of 2018. Essentially, the bill would require virtually everyone to report themselves to the government for donating or spending a certain amount on political ads — even if the ads were not a direct part of a political campaign. What Rosen, as well as the other sponsors of the bill, fail to realize is that the right to anonymously support certain speech is, at its heart, the same thing as the freedom of speech itself. After all, there’s a reason the authors of The Federalist Papers (and the Anti-Federalist Papers) used pen names to write their essays. (Read more)

 

Economy and growth

The economy is moving right along, with an impressive 4.1 percent GDP growth in the second quarter of 2018. Some of that growth was, admittedly, a product of increased government spending (a silly thing to include in GDP, but that’s an issue for a different time) and the threat of tariffs (a disappointing policy proposal from the Trump administration). Beyond that, however, the numbers look promising. And another positive: The massive deregulation taking place on the federal level, along with the tax cuts of 2017, were big factors in creating such a strong second quarter this year. (Read more)

 

Educational choice

Lawmakers and candidates had better take notice: Parents are hungry for educational choice. In fact, some of the largest advocates of programs like Education Savings Accounts or Opportunity Tax Scholarships are minority parents and millennials. This dynamic means parents — not the special interests that run the current public-school monopoly — have a real opportunity to shape the policies that lawmakers will tackle in 2019. And with more and more parents demanding choice, those lawmakers had better get their priorities right. (Read more)

 

Unions

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that states cannot require public employees to pay “agency fees” to unions. The reason was simple: Workers should not be required to fund political activity with which they disagree — and public sector unions are inherently political organizations. Union experts recognize that the level of political activism has caused a rift with many members, leading large numbers of workers to opt out of union membership. Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, points out that many teachers, in particular, believe their union acts “too leftist” for their taste. She notes, for example, that “only half of all teachers voted for Hillary Clinton.” Given the rift political activism has caused among their members, one would think union leaders would be anxious to act less political moving forward. In reality, however, unions are doing just the opposite. (Read more)

 

Pre-kindergarten education

In recent years, the public-school establishment has pushed hard to get sweeping pre-kindergarten education programs implemented in many states. What the proponents of this campaign conveniently ignore, however, is that the evidence doesn’t justify forcing kids into an early educational program. Indeed, studies show it may even hurt the child’s later academic performance. A recent study of Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K program — like earlier studies — showed that children who took part in the program actually ended up with more discipline problems, higher special education needs and overall worse academic performance later on in their academic career. (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Clark County School District

Remember 2015, when Nevada lawmakers passed the largest tax increase in state history? Remember how Carson City pols told us the money would go toward boosting education funding? Well, that was then and this is now. Clark County School District, despite all the new tax dollars it received, not only ran a deficit last year but is now asking for even more taxpayer funds. Why is the district so low on money after the massive tax increase? Turns out there are more major expenses sucking up your tax dollars. (Read more)

 

Taxes and fiscal

San Francisco seems to be determined to tax everything under the sun. In addition to a city-wide gross receipts tax, numerous sales taxes and various business taxes, one local politician is suggesting a slew of new taxes aimed at ride-sharing companies, self-driving cars and even Internet sales. This particular pol attempts to justify his tax hike by asserting such steps are required to “maintain a high quality of life and continued economic growth.” It’s an almost laughable comment, given the city’s recent role in facilitating the city’s rising homelessness rates, drug usage and excrement dotting the sidewalks. It seems unlikely regular San Francisco residents will think paying more for common 21st century technologies will somehow improve their quality of life. (Read more)

 

Employee Freedom

Public-sector unions in many states have long depended on legal coercion to maintain membership levels. Those days, however, are coming to a swift end, thanks to the recent Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. As Nevada Policy Research Institute Communications Director Michael Schaus recently told the Heartland Institute, “Every employee always had a Constitutional right to make a decision about union membership, and the Janus case makes that clear.” With National Employee Freedom Week coming up in one month, Schaus explained why employee freedom is more important than ever before in a post-Janus world. (Listen to the podcast)

 

Social media

More and more often, it seems that social-media companies are using their “community guidelines” to censor conservative and libertarian messages. Public pressure on these social media giants, however, is forcing some Silicon Valley executives to start backtracking. Facebook’s head of global policy management even went so far as to apologized to pro-Donald Trump vloggers Diamond and Silk during a congressional hearing earlier this week, saying the tech giant really “appreciates the perspective that they add to our platform.” (Read more)

 

Environmentalism

Pushing for an all-out ban on plastic straws is, apparently, the newest way for celebrities, politicians and “progressive” city councils to signal their environmental magnificence. Of course, there’s just one problem: Such a ban would do next to nothing to help curb the plastic pollutants that litter our world. Like many other items on environmentalist agendas, the ban isn’t really about protecting Mother Earth in the first place — it’s about showing that your heart bleeds for the politically correct cause du jour. (Watch the video)

 

 

In case you missed it...

 

Declaration of Independence

In the early 20th century, the “progressive” movement was in full swing. It was a movement rooted in the belief that America’s founding principles were largely standing in the way of economic and social progress. President Calvin Coolidge, however, was not among this group. Unlike the 20th century progressives that dominated the era, Coolidge understood that big-government advocates had things exactly backward. In 1926, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Coolidge gave a moving speech in defense of American principles, declaring, “We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them.” (Read more)

 

The American Revolution

When we talk about the American Revolution, it’s important to remember the exact reason the Founding Fathers decided to take up arms against the most powerful military of the day. After all, American colonist were taxed less and had more autonomy in their affairs than British subjects in Europe, or colonies in most of the rest of the world. The American Revolution, however, wasn’t primarily about high taxes or punitive governments. It was a rebellion against Europe’s “Old World” thinking, where blasé kings and parliaments held themselves unaccountable to the very people they governed. (Read more)

 

Labor unions

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public employees cannot be forced to financially support a union in which they don’t want membership. (Read NPRI’s press release here.) It was a major step toward at last assuring workers’ rights to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to join a union. It is not, however, going to be an easy win for workers to preserve. As we’ve already seen in Nevada — which enjoyed this right even before the Janus ruling — union leaders often make it difficult for workers to “opt-out.” (Of course, this is why NPRI runs a campaign to let teachers know they can opt out between July 1st and July 15th each year. Click here to learn more about this opt out period, and forward the link to a teacher that wants out of their union!) But some states are going even further to make sure government unions don’t have to worry about actually earning the loyalty of their members. An assemblyman in New York has promised to introduce a bill that would require local government to “reimburse” unions for workers that decide to opt out of paying dues. (Read more)

 

Free speech

The New York Times recently ran an opinion piece arguing that conservatives have “weaponized the First Amendment.” The article marks a distinct shift in the left’s attitude toward freedom of speech, as more and more “progressives” openly advocate for various forms of censorship or restriction on the speech of political opponents. Even the left-leaning justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have taken aim at the concept of free speech. Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting in the Janus case, argued that “the First Amendment was meant for better things” than protecting a worker’s right to opt out of an organization with which he disagrees politically. Writing for The Federalist, Robert Tracinski explains the progressive’s newfound disdain for free speech this way: “many of the old liberals fought for free speech largely because they wanted to protect people like them from overbearing authorities. But now people like them are the overbearing authorities.” (Read more)

 

Progressive policies

California has some beautiful and amazing cityscapes. Unfortunately, in recent years, many cities such as San Francisco have become overrun with homelessness, drugs and urban decay. The reason for the bay area’s decline is simple, according to Steven Greenhut at The American Spectator: “One of the world’s most beautiful cities has turned into a cesspool, but officials seem more interested in pursuing grandiose progressive ideals than dealing with basic civic duties.” (Read more)

 

 

In case you missed it...

Labor unions

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down a massive win for employee freedom and worker rights. In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled that union members who opt out of membership cannot be forced to continue paying fees to the union. In other words, every public sector worker in the nation now enjoys the same freedom Nevada teachers have enjoyed for years: The ability to fully opt out of union membership and keep the hard-earned money they would have otherwise spent on expensive dues. The Supreme Court’s timing is spot-on, given that July 1 through 15 is the short window of time within which Nevada teachers can reclaim significant dollars. (Indeed, teachers can click right here, during the next 14 days, to learn all about opting out.) The opt-out practice has become extremely popular among many education professionals, with over 40 percent of Clark County teachers having said “goodbye” to the union over recent years. (Read more)

 

Property taxes

In the 2017 Nevada Legislature, a bill was introduced to “reform” Nevada’s property tax structure. Of course, as is so often the case when tax-and-spend lawmakers use the word “reform,” the bill was really all about hiking property owners’ tax burden. Basically, the bill would have replaced the state’s current limits on property taxes with minimum increases. It would have revised “the formula for calculating the partial abatement so that the annual cap on increases of the property taxes on certain single-family residences and residential rental property cannot be less than 3 percent.” The bill ended up dying — but, depending on the outcome of the November elections, tax-happy politicians may try to revive the ill-advised proposal. (Read more)

 

Climate policy

It has been 30 years since a NASA scientist testified to the U.S. Congress about the looming perils of global warming — igniting a decades-long debate over environmental regulations, carbon emissions and energy production. So, how well have 30 years’ worth of climate- zealot predictions held up? The answer: Not well at all. (Read the WSJ opinion piece here.) But getting things consistently wrong for 30 years certainly hasn’t slowed down the gloom-and-doom climate alarmists. In fact, almost every metric we can see says that political agendas, not science, are increasingly driving the conversation over climate change. (Read more)

 

Privatization

The Trump Administration is ambitiously trying to restructure much of the federal government, and one specific proposal has caught the attention of libertarians: Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service. Despite the massive benefits privatization would provide, the change would be a massive political lift. Think of it: Postal unions, junk mail businesses and (of course) politicians have plenty to lose if the USPS fell into private hands. (Read more)

 

Educational choice

Opponents of educational choice often like to argue that choice programs only really help the upper-middle class and the “wealthy.” Reality, however, shows that precisely the opposite is the case. Latest official data from the Department of Education shows that Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship program overwhelmingly helps Nevada children who, historically, have been underserved. Students receiving these scholarships are not only from low-income families, but are disproportionately from minority and other underserved communities. If Nevada is serious about making sure every student has the opportunity for a quality education, the state’s only funded educational choice program is showing us exactly how to do it. (Read more)

 

 

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