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Research

Latest Report

  • July 6, 2020    |    Strategic Research

    Over the course of the last few decades, the law has gradually changed to recognize the constitutionality of educational choice programs and that its beneficiaries are students, not schools. The most recent development is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the United States Supreme Court declared that the Constitution forbids states from excluding…

Strategic Research Team

Recent Reports

  • June 22, 2020    |    Perspectives on Economic Liberty

    Barred From Working

    A Nationwide Study of Occupational Licensing Barriers for Ex-Offenders

    Earning an honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work, thwarting their chances of successful reentry. Along with other “collateral consequences,” like losing the right to vote or the ability to receive government assistance, ex-offenders can be denied a license to work simply because of their criminal record.

    This report provides the most up-to-date account of occupational licensing barriers for ex-offenders and will be regularly updated whenever a state changes its laws. Using 10 distinct criteria, this report grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their legal protections for licensing applicants with criminal records. (See Methodology.)

    • The average state grade is a C-. Nationwide, only 11 states—Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Utah—earned a B- or better. Reflecting the surge of interest in this issue, 10 of those 11 states have reformed their licensing laws since 2015.
    • Indiana ranked as the best state in the nation for ex-offenders seeking a license to work, earning this report’s only A grade. In contrast, six states—Alabama, Alaska, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont—were tied for last, receiving a zero on a 100-point scale for their lack of protections for felons seeking licenses.
  • April 30, 2020    |    Strategic Research

    Cities and towns nationwide use their power to enforce traffic, property code and other ordinances to raise revenue rather than solely to protect the public. And, as this report finds, a wide range of state laws may enable or even encourage such taxation by citation. This report is the first comprehensive accounting of state laws relating to municipal fines and fees. It uses 52 legal factors to rank the 50 states based on the extent to which their laws may contribute to municipal fines and fees abuse. The rankings offer a systematic way to diagnose possible relationships between state laws and municipal behavior—and to identify potential policy solutions.

  • December 3, 2019    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents with financial aid to help their children opt out of the traditional public school system—are a hallmark of meaningful educational reform. Yet despite widespread news coverage of such programs, polls show most Americans are unfamiliar with how educational choice programs work. Opponents of educational choice routinely…

 

Strategic Research

  • July 6, 2020    |    Strategic Research

    Over the course of the last few decades, the law has gradually changed to recognize the constitutionality of educational choice programs and that its beneficiaries are students, not schools. The most recent development is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, in which the United States Supreme Court declared that the Constitution forbids states from excluding…

  • April 30, 2020    |    Strategic Research

    Cities and towns nationwide use their power to enforce traffic, property code and other ordinances to raise revenue rather than solely to protect the public. And, as this report finds, a wide range of state laws may enable or even encourage such taxation by citation. This report is the first comprehensive accounting of state laws relating to municipal fines and fees. It uses 52 legal factors to rank the 50 states based on the extent to which their laws may contribute to municipal fines and fees abuse. The rankings offer a systematic way to diagnose possible relationships between state laws and municipal behavior—and to identify potential policy solutions.

  • November 19, 2019    |    Strategic Research

    Barriers to Braiding

    Illinois Analysis

    This report supplements our 2016 study Barriers to Braiding: How Job-Killing Licensing Laws Tangle Natural Hair Care in Needless Red Tape. That study investigated whether (1) braiding licenses keep people out of work and (2) braiding poses risks that justify occupational licensing. This report uses data from Illinois that we intended to include in Barriers…

 

Legal and Policy Studies

  • December 3, 2019    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents with financial aid to help their children opt out of the traditional public school system—are a hallmark of meaningful educational reform. Yet despite widespread news coverage of such programs, polls show most Americans are unfamiliar with how educational choice programs work. Opponents of educational choice routinely…

  • August 9, 2018    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Expropriation in Puerto Rico

    Policy Brief and Report Card

    In a new report (released August 6), the Institute for Justice (IJ) gives Puerto Rico’s eminent domain laws a grade of “F.” IJ is a nonprofit, civil liberties law firm dedicated to ending eminent domain abuse:  when the government seizes private property not for traditional public uses, but for private development. The report examines Puerto…

  • November 13, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The Inverted Pyramid

    10 Less Restrictive Alternatives to Occupational Licensing

    When it comes to occupational regulation, policymakers may see their options as action or inaction: licensing or no licensing. In fact, policymakers can choose from a plethora of alternatives that provide the purported benefits of licensing, without the downsides. This paper discusses 10 less restrictive alternatives to licensing that can protect consumers as well as…

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