For the current legislative session, WILL has released studies, penned articles from school choice to welfare reform.
April 28, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – Since last summer, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has released multiple reports and our attorneys and researchers have written several opinion pieces in local and national media outlets, all aimed at informing and guiding the public policy debates happening in Madison during the current Legislative Session.
Next week the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will begin the arduous task of preparing the single most important piece of legislation in any given session: the state budget. The state budget, as proposed by Governor Scott Walker, would spend over $75 billion. The Legislature will most likely adjust those spending priorities over the next couple of months.
The state budget impacts every Wisconsinite by providing policy guidance and funding for programs such as K-12 education, welfare, transportation, and the state’s justice system.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty has sought to impact the debate in Madison by proposing policy solutions for many of the challenges facing our state.
On School Choice:
- The Wall Street Journal profiled our report, “The Economic Benefit of School Choice,” which showed that because of reduced crimes rates and higher graduation rates associated with the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, Wisconsin would realize a $500 million economic benefit.
- In addition to the economic benefits of school choice, our recent report, “The Case for School Choice in Rural Wisconsin,” showed that rural communities and families would see greater educational outcomes from an expansion of Wisconsin’s statewide school choice program.
- And perhaps most importantly, and to quell the debate surrounding educational outcomes between students in traditional public schools and in voucher and charter schools, WILL released, “Apples to Apples | The Definitive Look School Test Scores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin”.
- If policymakers in Madison are serious about changing the educational landscape in Wisconsin, they should look to our report from last summer, “Education Savings Accounts – a primer for 21st Century Education Policy.”
- Wisconsin’s policymakers should also consider expanding educational options for special needs children, who are often overlooked in policy debates. We think there is room and opportunity for that debate.
- Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers notices our work, even though he misunderstands it.
On Occupational Licensure Reform:
- Last fall, WILL’s report, “Fencing Out Opportunity | Occupational Licensing in the Badger State,” showed how burdensome occupational licensure requirements keep too many Wisconsinites from pursuing rewarding and good-paying jobs.
- Following up on that report, in “Fencing Out Opportunity | The Effect of Licensing Regulations on Employment,” we looked at certain professions and found that, indeed, onerous licensure requirements drive down employment rates. WILL’s Collin Roth and Dr. Will Flanders recently explained the issue in more detail in Forbes.
On Welfare Reform:
- WILL’s Lauren Parrottino and CJ Szafir explain in The Hill how, as Wisconsin once was a leader in welfare reform, Governor Walker is proposing nation-leading reforms.
On Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools’ refusal to sell vacant schools:
- We note in our March report, “The Never-Ending Story of Milwaukee’s Vacant School Buildings,” Milwaukee continues to hoard empty school buildings despite efforts by legislators like Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Dale Kooyenga to force their sale through state policy. This is an issue that we first brought to light years ago. We believe that their refusal is a direct challenge to education reform efforts that could help thousands of children and families in Milwaukee.
On the Every Student Succeeds Act:
- Congress recently updated federal education policy (No Child Left Behind) and in addition to renaming the policy, it required states to draft new policies that empower students, schools, and families. As the Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction prepares the federally compliant policies, we have cautioned and urged the State Legislature to assert its role in education policy.
- Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers has taken notice (again).
On Right to Try:
- Perhaps government shouldn’t impede access to medications that can ease end-of-life suffering or give families more time together. These drugs can offer peace of mind to families and patients.
On Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform:
- Too often, government impinges on the rights of the accused and exonerated in an effort to swell their own local budgets. This is a practice that should be reviewed and reform is long overdue.
All of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s work is available at www.will-law.org or follow-us on Twitter and Facebook at @WILawLiberty for updates.