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Week in Review: A New Year—and a New Push for Liberty in State Legislatures

January 18, 2020

This past week, several states—including the Goldwater Institute’s home state of Arizona—kicked off their state legislature sessions for 2020. And from sea to shining sea, legislators are already setting a liberty-focused agenda into motion, introducing bills meant to empower students and their families, preserve property rights, and eliminate barriers to work.

“Many of these reforms find their origin in legislative models and principles long advocated for and defended by the Goldwater Institute,” writes Goldwater Director of Strategic Engagement Heather Curry in a new In Defense of Liberty post. Legislators in several states have introduced bills to recognize out-of-state occupational licenses, to make it easier for new residents of their states to continue working once they relocate.

Education Savings Accounts (ESA) bills are also being considered in other states; by allowing parents to access funds to pay for resources like specialized learning materials and private tutoring, ESAs provide an educational lifeline for students whose needs are not being met by traditional systems. As Curry writes, the introduction of such bills “demonstrat[es] that legislators agree with the Goldwater Institute that parents are the best equipped to make educational choices for their children.”

Learn more about what states are doing in 2020 to bring Goldwater Institute reforms to their states by reading the full post.

Do You Know What Our Schools Are Teaching?

Parents can easily access a lot of information about their child’s school online, including student performance data, graduation and dropout rates, and enrollment practices. But when it comes to the very curriculum their child is learning in the classroom, that information is not always so easy to get—and it’s time for that to change.

In his new report De-Escalating the Curriculum Wars: A Proposal for Academic Transparency in K-12 Education, Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg offers a solution to the lack of information surrounding many schools’ K-12 curriculum. As Beienburg writes in a new In Defense of Liberty post, “that solution is to equip parents with the information they need to discern which schools are teaching academically rigorous, politically neutral content, and which are not.” Read more about how to bring sunlight into what our schools are teaching here.

Arizona Attorney General: New Sky Harbor Ride-Share Fees Likely Violate Constitition

The Goldwater Institute has argued that the Phoenix City Council’s imposition of new ride-sharing fees at Sky Harbor Airport is unconstitutional—and now, the Arizona Attorney General agrees.

This past Thursday, the state Attorney General completed his investigation into Phoenix’s illegal fees on ride-sharing services to and from Sky Harbor and agreed with Goldwater that the fee increases “very likely violate” the Arizona Constitution. In December, the Council adopted an ordinance that raised fees for ride-sharing services at Sky Harbor by more than 200%—in violation of Proposition 126, which amended Arizona’s Constitution to prohibit any city from imposing any new fees or raising any existing fees on services offered in the state.

The Attorney General said that he will now file an action directly in the Arizona Supreme Court and “expeditiously seek relief” against Phoenix’s illegal action. Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches writes at In Defense of Liberty that the Attorney General’s opinion “was an excellent outcome for ride-sharing drivers, passengers, and the many visitors to this state and will ensure that the city’s illegal action gets prompt and definitive resolution from the Arizona Supreme Court.”



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