Ian Adams

Egads! – a Hurricane Harvey recovery tax

Hurricane Harvey appears likely to go down as the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. The estimates are wide-ranging - from $70 billion in damages projected by catastrophe modeling …

Waymo’s Arizona rollout is a black eye for the Golden State

California is home to Silicon Valley, some of the world’s top research universities and of Waymo, the recently spun-off self-driving vehicle arm of the search giant Google. Yet when …

CEI and R Street Comments to NHTSA on Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety

On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (“CEI”) and the R Street Institute (“R Street”), we respectfully submit these comments in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety …

Taxing affiliate reinsurance could cripple the New Madrid Zone

Between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, natural catastrophes are top of mind for many Americans. Yet, the nation’s exposure to catastrophic risk is not limited to wind and waves. …

Jones’ bark risks Congress’ bite on McCarran-Ferguson

California's elected insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, is in the habit of picking fights he can't win. From his perch atop the nation's largest insurance regulatory body, he's sought …

Congress should update the Gipper’s coastal barrier law

According to a popular aphorism that may or may not have originated with Albert Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome …

A hurricane tax? You cannot be serious

In the midst of the most active hurricane season in recent memory, Congress is contemplating tax reform measures that could lead to an additional $1.21 billion in property-casualty …

Letter: Support H. 2263 and S. 756, Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Laws

September 11, 2017 Senator William Brownsberger Chairman, House Joint Committee on the Judiciary 24 Beacon St. Room 136 Boston, Mass., 02133 Representative Claire D. Cronin Chairwoman, House Joint Committee on the Judiciary 24 Beacon …

It’s crucial that STB noms support railroad deregulation

The Surface Transportation Board, a federal agency with broad authority over the nation's railroads, is currently weighing a petition that could undo most of the progress made since …

End corporate welfare in the sky: Privatize air traffic control

Under the well-known practice that economists call "rent-seeking," those who enjoy government subsidies will fight tooth and nail to keep them in place. In the field of air …

Is the US about to get more free trade with the EU?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Trade Policy Analyst Clark Packard. In a twist that surprised some, the Treasury Department is signaling its intent to sign a bilateral agreement …

Why a border-adjustment tax would be a bad deal for states and localities

State and local governments are no strangers to dealing with the unintended side effects of federal policies. This year's congressional tax-reform efforts could leave them scrambling again. That's because …

NCOIL, NAIC on collision course over delegation authority

A conflict is brewing between the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), even though neither side wants to admit it. …

Study shows many homeowners would do better with private flood insurance

It's no great revelation that when prices are centrally controlled, they tend not to reflect reality. In some cases, this means that consumers pay less than the true …

Letter: SUPPORT for SB 182 (Bradford) as amended June 29, 2017 – Single Business License for TNC Drivers

Honorable Ed Chau Chair, Assembly Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee Legislative Office Building, Room 156A Sacramento, CA 95814 Re: SUPPORT for SB 182 (Bradford) as amended June 29, 2017 – Single Business …

A border tax is bad news for the insurance industry and consumers

As Congress ponders how best to implement tax reform, it should bear in mind that the border-adjustment tax, a key part of House Republicans’ expected proposal, would raise …

LETTER: Support Lee-Gardner Amendment to S. 1405

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson: Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., have introduced an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act that would …

Self-driving cars are setting the stage for regulatory battle between feds and the states

The autonomous future is coming, provided regulators don't kill it first. Of particular concern on that front is a growing turf battle between the federal government and the …

Letter to Maine Governor LePage: Veto internet sales tax bill L.D. 1405

Dear Gov. LePage, On behalf of the R Street Institute, I write in strong opposition to L.D. 1405, regarding sales-tax collection from remote sellers and online marketplaces. This legislation …

Border-adjustment tax would cost North Carolinians dearly

The following op-ed was co-authored by Kory Swanson, president and CEO of the John Locke Foundation. A controversial proposal Congress is considering as part of comprehensive tax reform could lead …

California crackdown on brand advertising hurts state’s newcomers

California is an ethnically and culturally diverse state, and it is becoming more so with each day. That diversity brings with it economic strength, but also a need …

How a border-adjustment tax would hurt Louisiana’s insurance market

Louisiana already has some of the highest property insurance rates in the nation. But they could creep higher still—an estimated $1.11 billion higher over the next decade—should congressional …

California looks to finally end the Cold War

The Cold War ended decades ago, but vestiges of the conflict still surround us. In the California Legislature, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, has introduced Assembly Bill 22, which …

How Trump’s border tax could boost your property insurance rate

As Congress and the White House begin talks to reform the U.S. tax code, Texans should be particularly concerned. The taxes on imports that federal lawmakers are considering …

Mistakes cloud self-driving vehicle regulations

Now that the California Legislature, the autonomous vehicle industry and the general public all have had their say, California’s self-driving future is in the hands of bureaucrats at …

AB 1679: Reining in insurance department’s regulatory authority

After years of falling rates, the cost of auto insurance is now once again increasing across the nation. The problems of distracted driving and rising repair expenses are acting together …

Free-market groups comment on California DMV autonomous vehicle rules

On behalf of the R Street Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, TechFreedom and the International Center for Law & Economics, we respectfully submit these comments in response to …

Ex-offenders need jobs, not handouts. But there are too many regulatory barriers.

There's a tragic irony at the heart of American criminal-justice policy. While we invest billions of dollars each year to house inmates in state and federal correctional facilities, …

Bill handicaps the self-driving car industry

Regulating something before it even is exists is as tricky as it is ill-advised. But that's exactly what California state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, wants to do with …

Letter to Maine Committee on Insurance and Financial Services on anti-rebating laws

Distinguished chairs and members of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered …

Judge rail industry by performance, not processes

As Congress prepares to consider as much as $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending, it bears remembering that among the nation's most essential infrastructure industries is one of …

Replacing fuel-economy rules with clean tax cuts

The federal approach to fuel-economy regulation is a bad deal for Americans. Consumers pay for costlier vehicles, but receive few discernable benefits. Making the situation worse is that fuel-economy …

H.B. 80 is short-sighted and would levy a tax on safe drivers

Delaware is poised to go back to the future with its approach to auto insurance. Inspired by California’s 1988 ballot initiative, Proposition 103, new Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro …

R Street’s criminal justice project goes to SXSW

R Street was busy at the recent South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, including co-hosting a series of discussions on criminal justice reform with the Texas Public Policy …

State lawmakers increasingly work to accommodate the ‘gig economy’

Washington state lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow companies to extend to workers some of the benefits commonly associated with full-time employment, but without triggering a presumption of …

California DMV takes a ‘self-driving’ news dump

Friday news dumps are a long and proud tradition, and one in which the California Department of Motor Vehicles took part today by releasing its long-awaited “Proposed Driverless …

California legislators consider self-driving vehicles and the need for Prop 103 reform

Proposition 103—California’s restrictive regulatory regime for insurance—may need a few tweaks as fewer and fewer cars on the road have human drivers. During a March 8 informational hearing, …

The problem of legislating from inside a silo

In a recent example of how the best intentions often lead to the worst policy, Massachusetts legislators are considering a bill that would tax autonomous vehicles based on …

Setting the right course for self-driving cars

We’re still just weeks into the Trump administration, but Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has already signaled she will review a number of Obama administration policies related to developing, …

At NCOIL, state lawmakers look to claw back power from NAIC

Newly assertive leadership of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators appears eager to confront what it views as an ongoing usurpation of authority from state legislatures. Thomas B. Considine—now …

A cyber mandate isn’t the way to address cyber-insurance takeup

To improve cyber preparedness and help companies recover from cyberattacks, it's essential that the takeup rate for cyber insurance continues to rise. The insurance capacity plainly exists to …

It’s time to reel in and replace fuel economy standards

More than four decades after they first were introduced, federal fuel-economy standards just aren't working. They force Americans to pay more for cars and light trucks while providing …

How the federal government could lead by example in cyber insurance

The takeup rate of cyber insurance is rising, but the market's growth to date has been uneven. Anne Hobson, a technology policy fellow at the R Street Institute, …

Congress should take hands off the wheel of self-driving cars

Manufacturers developing the self-driving cars of the future haven't had the straightest regulatory road. States across the country each have pursued unique legislative and regulatory paths—to date, at …

Trump should force California to pay for its own earthquake risk

The brewing conflict between President Trump and the state of California has captured headlines. The nation’s chief executive threatened to “defund”  the Golden State, while California politicos promise …

Self-driving cars should disengage from public reporting

New data released last week by the California Department of Motor Vehicles offered bright news for fans of autonomous vehicles. Based on so-called “disengagement reports” submitted by developers …

Trump should eliminate state lines for professional licensing

Perhaps not surprisingly, President Trump hasn't spent much time letting us know his thoughts on the ins and outs of insurance regulation. But to the extent he has …

Politicians should stay out of cybersecurity market

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Tech Policy Fellow Anne Hobson. As online crime has come into its own, ransomware—a particularly insidious type of cyber attack—has emerged …

Testimony on Washington state’s anti-rebating law

Madam Chair and members of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am a fellow at the R Street Institute – a free-market think tank headquartered …

Self-driving car bill would authorize Cal DMV to do what’s already done

New legislation introduced in the California Assembly would mandate the state Department of Motor Vehicles revoke the registration of any autonomous vehicle that isn't operated in compliance with …

Yes, fewer traffic fatalities is a good thing!

Outlet bias is a hallmark of the bored and lazy, and also of The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro. Taken by the recent headline of a piece I wrote with …

In internet of things era, cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles will require restraint

The following op-ed was co-authored by Darren Teshima, a litigation partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in San Francisco. Concerns about the vulnerability of America's physical infrastructure have long …

Uber and California DMV fight over definition of self-driving cars

In highly regulated private industries, the law means what it says – right up until a regulator decides that it doesn't. For that reason, Uber, a company with …

R Street panel on NHTSA rules for self-driving cars

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its much anticipated self-driving vehicle guidelines, instant reaction was generally favorable. But upon further reflection, a more complicated picture was …

The promise and limits of private cyber insurance

The wonders of the Internet Age have brought with them a previously unimagined level of interconnectedness among people and institutions around the world. The power and mobility of …

The kids suing over climate change better *not* be our best hope

Following election results and a subsequent transition period that probably has been fairly dispiriting to those concerned about tackling the problem of climate change, recent days have seen …

Self-driving car makers shouldn’t have to ask NHTSA ‘mother, may I?’

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recently issued safety guidelines for self-driving cars would upend five decades of federal auto-safety policy by embracing a system of pre-market approval. The …

R Street, CEI and TechFreedom comment on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Automated Vehicles Policy

See attached pdf. …

Don’t over-regulate driverless technology

Self-driving vehicles promise an exciting future, but whether the technology will see widespread adoption in the near term is anything but certain. Among the first hurdles to clear …

Free-market coalition calls for improvements to California self-driving car regs

The California Department of Motor Vehicles' second round of draft regulations on testing and deploying autonomous vehicles are better than the iteration the department previously introduced last December, …

The new federal safety guidelines for self-driving cars are too vague… and states are already making them mandatory

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earned plaudits from across the tech sphere for its recently released safety guidelines for self-driving cars. With the NHTSA looking to offer guidance …

Don’t over-regulate driverless technology

Self-driving vehicles promise an exciting future, but whether the technology will see widespread adoption in the near term is anything but certain. Among the first hurdles to clear …

Coalition provides comments on California’s proposed regulations for autonomous vehicles

 To:  Mr. Brian Soublet General Counsel California Department of Motor Vehicles Via: LADRegulations@dmv.ca.gov Date: October 14, 2016 Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments concerning these proposed regulations. We believe the revisions …

These unneeded rules for freight railroads would cost consumers

By virtually any measure, America’s freight-rail system is one of the best in the world. In fact, rail transports a full 40 percent of freight moved in the …

You can’t regulate self-driving cars into existence

The following blog post was co-authored by R Street Technology Fellow Anne Hobson.  The editorial board of The New York Times apparently knows precisely the autonomous vehicle future that …

New rules for driverless cars aim to fix what ain’t broke

The folks at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) are a lot like other regulators: When they see that a given power exists, they covet it. Charged with …

California’s draft self-driving car regulations: second time’s a charm?

Quietly slipped in to the Friday afternoon news dump were updated draft regulations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that signal a pivot from the much-maligned rules …

Contra Costa pilot program will put fully autonomous cars on the road

Vehicles without steering wheels and pedals will soon be on California’s roads, if only in very specific areas, thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown's signature on A.B. 1592, sponsored …

NHTSA forces Cal DMV to walk back self-driving car rules

The California Department of Motor Vehicles attempted to force one of the most promising automotive innovations in history to do what people waiting to register their cars do …

Is Pittsburgh the Kitty Hawk (or St. Petersburg) of self-driving cars?

The wonders of our modern age have left many of us immune to the kinds of feelings of astonishment that once were triggered by spectacular events. So, if only …

Michigan makes its play to be center of self-driving car universe

In the race to innovate, there often are rewards for being first. Just as technology firms and automakers vie to roll out the first scalable autonomous vehicle, so …

NAIC San Diego: Self-driving cars and regulatory renewal

Insurance regulators are a diverse bunch. Some are elected, while others are appointed. Some are Republicans, while others are Democrats. At the triennial meeting of the National Association …

Self-driving cars could cut parking revenues

There were groans all across Sacramento when the City Council approved yet another expansion of parking zones around Golden 1 Center, the city’s new $507 million arena. The …

Even Sacramento Nazis have rights

In the 1979 comedy movie classic "The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Ellwood Blues undertake an odyssey to put their band back together, all in an effort to raise …

A first step toward Anglosphere

By voting (by a narrow margin) to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom has decided that near-term economic pain is a price worth paying in exchange for …

Pennsylvania lawmakers bat around regulations for self-driving cars

Not unlike curious cats, lawmakers often show inordinate interest in the newest and shiniest objects to pass their field of vision. In Pennsylvania, recently hailed as a center …

China’s self-driving future

In Beijing, a young car culture is going through teething pains. The pressure of urban density, in combination with growing demand for personal transportation in an ever-more-affluent city, …

Service-animal fraud throws the ADA to the dogs

A wave of animal friendliness has swept, and continues to sweep, the nation. Once relegated to waiting for his owner to return from a trip to the store, …

Mile-for-mile, TNCs beat taxis hands down

It's always a pleasure to have one’s intuition confirmed. Last week, we at R Street were mighty pleased when a new working paper from the National Bureau of …

State lawmakers seeking ways to grapple with ‘big data’ in insurance

Insurance is about information. Outside of the technology industry itself, few sectors are better situated to seize the advantages of so-called “big data” than insurance. Such was the …

Thoughtless bureaucrats and driverless cars

California’s Legislature set out in 2012 “to encourage the current and future development, testing, and operation of autonomous vehicles on the public roads of the state”—but now, the …

Oklahoma ponders ‘California model’ for earthquake insurance

Oklahoma lawmakers are in the early stages of considering legislation to create a state-level “earthquake reinsurance program” that its author claims will be modeled on the California Earthquake …

Greens tangled in the Evergreen State’s political thicket

Washington state's environmental community continues to fail to escape the tangle of its own political allegiances, even when it comes to addressing a crisis that, by its own …

A tale of two sovereigns

Canute was a king of Denmark who ruled over an empire that included large parts of Sweden, all of Norway and almost all of England. He ruled over …

Philly taxi cartel’s ‘public-private partnership’

Regulators have a long and lamented history of picking winners and losers among businesses and industries. But they typically at try to appear to be demonstrating impartial judgement …

New Mexico tries once again to legalize ridesharing

New Mexico is the latest state to undertake an effort to make the operation of ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, legal within its borders. With the blessing …

California regulator looks to open the FAIR Plan’s floodgates

In those periods of respite when the State of California is not rocking and rolling atop its various fault lines, it’s often quite literally on fire. In fact, of …

Portland’s sees big gains in transportation market freedom

Portions of Portland’s transportation-for-hire market – that is, the market for taxis, limos and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft – have improved faster this year than in …

What’s the cost of caution?

Everyone cares about safety. And no one can agree on what that term means or what it entails. That was the only bit of consensus to be found during …

DMV is off track on proposed rules for self-driving cars

The rise of self-driving vehicles is not the much-feared rise of the machines that some make it out to be. But try explaining that to the California Department …

California gets it very wrong on self-driving cars

Nearly a year since its last workshop on autonomous-vehicle regulation, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has released draft regulations for consumer-oriented self-driving cars. While patient deliberation is …

Seattle picks a fight with Uber

Under federal labor law, drivers for transportation-network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft are currently considered contractors, not employees — and thus they don't have a right to …

Study finds consumers benefit from aftermarket crash parts

There’s a good chance that you are paying more for repairing your vehicle after an accident than you need to be. A new study has found that car …

California improves by not getting worse

Sometimes, small victories are worthy of celebration. A qualified celebration of just that variety is in order at the California Department of Insurance headquarters in Sacramento to mark …

The real history and meaning behind ‘the State of Jefferson’

Green flags emblazoned with a yellow circle encompassing twin Xs are an increasingly common sight in the Gold Country. That standard belongs not to a county or a …

R Street at the Thanksgiving table

Every year, various publications wish their readership a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Some go further. They provide their readership with advice about how to navigate political conversations around …

In wake of record fine, Pennsylvania lawmakers scramble to legalize ridesharing

The Pennsylvania Legislature is having to act fast to settle on a way to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s because administrative law judges for …

Time for a progressive approach to insurance regulation

It’s time for a truly progressive approach to insurance regulation in California. Unfortunately, the state’s deeply Democratic blue politics conceal an unexpected pocket of regulatory conservatism. California adopted Proposition …

No matter what the kids say these days, the sky is not the sea

A Washington state court has found that navigable waterways are linked to the planet’s atmosphere to such a great degree that the law governing one must apply to …

Readopted credit-scoring model highlights NCOIL’s annual meeting

Cyber insurance, international regulatory efforts, the sharing economy and the successful state credit-scoring model dominated the agenda of this past week's National Conference of Insurance Legislators meetings in …

The flexible future of work

Working with partners from the worlds of business, labor and academia, the R Street Institute recently took part in crafting an open letter to policymakers that lays out …

Companies are best equipped to regulate themselves

The last thing that this nation needs is a more active regulatory state, but once again, an incalculably stupid firm – in this case, Volkswagen – has given …

Prop F fails, but news not all rosy for Airbnb on home turf

On a night of statewide and city races across the country, the highest-profile vote may have occurred in San Francisco. There, voters decided by a 55 to 45 …

Bench-slapped by anti-SLAPP

Judges occasionally descend from the august pedestals on which they sit to offer decidedly human rebukes to the parties before them. Among attorneys, these moments have a tongue-in-cheek …

Portland’s ridesharing pilot could come crashing down

The Portland City Council demonstrated remarkably good judgement when it instituted its transportation network company pilot program back in April, allowing firms like Uber and Lyft to operate …

A landslide of bad ideas

Landslides are a problem for which the United States has yet to come up with an answer. A recent essay by Penn State University law professor Christopher C. …

Consumer Watchdog should want a more dynamic, competitive market for California insureds

Yesterday, I published a paper about, and titled, "The troublesome legacy of Prop 103." Shortly thereafter, an organization called Consumer Watchdog published a startlingly quick response. The speed of …

The troublesome legacy of Prop 103

In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 103 by a slim margin, 51 percent to 48 percent. Over the more than a quarter-century since its passage, implementation of the measure has …

An open debate about compulsory voter registration is critical

Assembly Bill 1462, signed earlier this month by Gov. Jerry Brown, will utterly transform California's electorate, adding 6 million new voters overnight. Whether this transformation will be for the …

Don’t strangle the cyber insurance market in its cradle

We live in an era of disruption. Technology redefines our world on a regular basis, as the wonders of networks that allow data to be transferred virtually without …

Flipping out

Baseball's ongoing debate concerning the propriety of exuberant behavior exhibited by players in the throes of celebration has been settled. The final verdict was rendered to thunderous applause …

Washington state could set conservative example on climate-change action

When it comes to climate-change action, conservatives like me find ourselves today in the same position we occupied during the health-care debate: opposition coupled with no alternative vision. …

Colorado utility looks to charge solar customers for energy they don’t use

The laws of supply and demand are straightforward. Prices reflect the interplay between what people want and how realizable what they want is. But in the world of …

Emissions bill failed at capitol for a reason

For a Sacramento administration unaccustomed to failure, the end of the state’s legislative session had an air of unique disappointment. An effort backed by Governor Jerry Brown and …

What the GOP contenders got right about climate change

The marathon second Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley California will be remembered for many revelations: Jeb Bush smoked pot 40 years ago …

California should keep its energy incentives straight

A quietly crucial debate is going on within the California Public Utilities Commission about the future of distributed electricity generation. At stake is the Self-Generation Incentive Program. Created in …

California Supreme Court and the coming assignment-of-benefits gold rush

The California Supreme Court recently decided to break with its own precedent and declare that insurers can't stop policyholders from assigning the benefits of their policies before a …

Delta’s plan to get ahead by leading from behind

For the aviation industry, air shows are a showcase of the best manufacturers can muster, where cutting-edge aircraft like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are put …

GOP lawmakers and the ‘gig economy’

The partisan battle over the "gig economy" — epitomized by ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and space-sharing services like Airbnb — has crept into the early stages …

Courts need a better appreciation of the principles of depreciation

Post-World War II, the United States experienced a simultaneous boom of babies and buildings. To keep pace with the need for new development, homes literally could be ordered …

California Earthquake Authority prepares to go into ‘hyperspace’

The California Earthquake Authority – the state's quasi-public earthquake insurance pool – long has had a problem with take-up. Only about 10 percent of homeowners in this most …

When it comes to EPA standards, California has a gas problem

California's reaction to the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan has been a collective mix of self-congratulation and confidence in the state's ability to comply with the rule's demands. …

Fracking drives NAIC earthquake conversation

Hydraulic fracturing – the process of extracting oil and gas resources that requires breaking rock through the high-pressured injection of liquid into the ground, popularly known as "fracking" …

An EPA-inspired muscle car renaissance

USA Today recently proclaimed "the golden age of muscle cars is now." Based upon sales numbers of large-displacement and high-power motors, it's hard to say they're wrong. New automotive …

It’s time for dialogue, not demagoguery, on price optimization

Social activist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals" was written as a how-to guide for community activists looking to compel political change. Yet …

TNC rain dance shows how NCOIL is all wet

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance." – Unknown Cowboy aphorisms have a lot to offer contemporary culture, in spite of their dubious …

Letter supporting S.B. 602, California seismic retrofit financing

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit think tank headquartered in Washington. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, …

Support civil asset-forfeiture reform in California

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

In midst of drought, Sacramento needs to prepare for flood

In the midst of a serious drought, it's time to become concerned about a coming flood. Orbiting high above the Pacific Ocean, a Japanese weather satellite has spied …

What California’s anti-SLAPP law can teach the country about free speech

Once seen as a singular source of new and useful public policy ideas, California has slowly devolved into a judicial and business hellhole, with the inevitable loss of …

Procedural quagmire dooms California vaping ban, for now

In a victory for commonsense, the California Assembly's Governmental Organization Committee has voted to amend a bill that would have classified vapor products as tobacco products. As a …

A tale of two nations and one very important pig

We at the R Street Institute would like to wish our Canadian friends a happy Canada Day. Institutionally, R Street owes a debt of gratitude to Canada. A former …

After Supreme Court’s mercury decision, what now for environmental law?

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Michigan v. EPA will force the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate its recently promulgated rules governing mercury emissions by coal-fired power plants. …

California committee stands up to the fourth branch of government

Like other myths and fairy-tales meant to conceal and excite, California's school children are taught to believe that there are three branches of government. In fact, there clearly are …

‘Disloyal competition’ — here and abroad

Commuters on their way to Paris' major airports and train stations were disrupted this week by the presence of a rolling blockade. Taxi drivers, under pressure from competition …

Letter to Washington House Finance Committee on distributed generation

My name is Ian Adams and I am Western region director of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, with five offices spread throughout …

Letter to California Legislature supporting S.B. 602

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, free-market think tank based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

Utah TNC bill makes optional coverages mandatory

When Utah's brief legislative session came to a close in March, proponents of ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies rejoiced. The state had passed S.B. 294, sponsored …

Washington state lawmakers should save solar for another day

Washington state's second special legislative session was made necessary by lawmakers' earlier failure to pass a budget that remedied the state's chronic shortfall in education funding. But some lawmakers …

California’s conservatives should draw from the Tory playbook

California is a deep blue state, but there is reason for California conservatives to be optimistic. And it's not just that the structural apogee of liberal influence in …

It’s time to raise the oil spill liability cap

Santa Barbara County is the latest seaside community to watch its coastline dirtied by an all-too-recognizable black sludge. Early estimates project that more than 100,000 gallons of oil …

Why AB 24 is a bad idea

Just as a cook’s creation is only as good as the ingredients she uses, so too is public policy only as good as the premises that undergird it. That’s …

The Rock won’t save you from earthquakes; retrofitting might

It has been a big week for earthquake news in California. Hollywood gave us “San Andreas,” a thrill a minute dystopian drama starring Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) as …

Comments to Federal Trade Commission on the sharing economy

Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the Federal Trade Commission's Sharing Economy Workshop. I offer the following comments on behalf of the R Street Institute, …

Nevada lawmakers send bill legalizing ridesharing to Gov. Sandoval

There was no rest for lawmakers in Carson City over the weekend as the Nevada Legislature was hard at work in the early hours of Saturday morning. The …

Nevada should embrace disruption in energy markets

Things are changing rapidly in America's energy markets. The shale revolution of the past decade already has brought about enormous changes both in the price of energy and in …

Testimony to City of Sonoma on e-cigarette flavoring

Mayor Cook, ladies and gentlemen of the council, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. Thank you for …

Legal ridesharing comes to Portland…sort of

Uber is operating legally in Portland, for now. A pilot program adopted by the Portland City Council has given transportation network companies the green light to operate for …

Nevada Senate gives green light to ridesharing

With just three weeks to go in Nevada’s legislative calendar, a bill that will give the green light to hitherto illegal ridesharing activity has cleared an important hurdle …

Kansas overrides Brownback veto on TNC bill

In a disappointing development, the Kansas Legislature has overturned Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of S.B. 117, the so-called “Uber bill.” While S.B. 117 is not without redeeming qualities – …

California is learning to pay its own way

California is a land of calamity. The ground shakes, it runs dry and, with underappreciated frequency, it catches fire. Surprisingly, the cost of modern life in the Golden State …

Whether they like it or hate it, conservatives must look to California

The State of California is fun to mock, easy to condemn and, particularly for many conservatives and libertarians, simple to write off. A little perspective from outside the …

The question of raising taxes

It was shrewd of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board to choose its words carefully when it called for tax reform (“There’s no time like April to talk about …

Testimony on Oregon carbon-pricing proposals

My name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a non-profit, free-market think tank, headquartered in Washington, …

Hawaii considers bill to regulate ride-sharing…in 2112

No two states are the same. What passes for polite in New England may be considered downright abrasive in the Pacific Northwest. What a Californian finds politically correct, …

Moving toward real water prices

Gov. Jerry Brown has taken a dramatic, but dangerous, step by issuing an executive order to cut non-agricultural water usage by 25 percent. The unprecedented and problematic step …

Testimony on California Earthquake Authority resolution

Chairman Daly, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. R Street is …

The West not yet fully won for ridesharing

On the heels of last week’s cross-industry compromise on insurance requirements for ride-sharing drivers, and with some legislative sessions drawing to a close, it's a good time to …

NAIC rises above ‘No Action Is Contemplated’ on ride-sharing

Regular attendees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' thrice-yearly meetings are known to joke that NAIC actually stands for “No Action Is Contemplated.” At the group’s latest meeting …

Tempest brewing around California uninsured motorist coverage

A tempest is brewing around California’s otherwise functional system of uninsured and underinsured automobile insurance. At an informational hearing held in the great Shakespearian tradition of dialogue capped …

Prop 103’s authors argue for changing Prop 103

Scottish poets from the 18th Century are rarely credited for their insights into California politics. Yet the architects of Proposition103, California’s 25-year-old attempt to rigidly control prices in …

Lofgren and Issa take on patent law that inflates repair costs

In this era of hyper-partisanship, it's notable that a bipartisan pair of California members of Congress, Republican Darrell Issa and Democrat Zoe Lofgren, are together proposing reforms to …

It’s time for insurance reform in Louisiana

Louisiana is vulnerable to extreme weather and natural catastrophes in ways only a few other states experience. By all indications, that exposure will only grow worse, as a …

Earthquake risks are rising, but take-up isn’t

The West Coast's risk of ruin is even greater than we previously feared. According to the just-released Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, the likelihood that California could …

TNCs, state flood insurance among hot topics at NCOIL spring meeting

For those whose travel plans weren't interrupted by the inclement weather, the spring meeting of the tri-annually convened National Conference of Insurance Legislators – held in Charleston, S.C. …

Olympia could punish early adopters of rooftop solar

When it comes to technology, so-called “early adopters” understand they are taking a risk. Those who choose to pay more for unproven or unscaled technologies do so with …

The difference between wanting a carbon tax and getting one

Negotiation is the process by which value is determined by the intensity of the involved parties’ desires. The more that one party wants something the other controls, the …

Testimony to Utah House Business and Labor Committee

Chair Peterson, ladies and gentlemen of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am the Western region director of the R Street Institute. Thank you for …

Letter to NAIC Sharing Economy Working Group

The attached comments were sent to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Sharing Economy Working Group in response to the group's draft white paper TNC Insurance Principles for …

Move to ban e-cigs stifles innovation

California lawmakers aren’t afraid of innovation, or so they say. Members of the Legislature in Sacramento will have their commitment to innovation tested this session when an attempt …

Rocking homeowners

“California Rocks.” That’s the clever slogan for a new advertising campaign by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), the state’s privately funded, publicly managed earthquake insurance fund. The message is …

Anti-rebating laws and the Utah experience

Most free-market proponents recognize there can be a productive role for sensible regulation, but the bar is relatively high. First, one must identify some clear and compelling consumer …

Utah struggles to stay in tune

Legislators in Utah have responded quickly to concerns expressed by technology leaders that the state’s insurance department has struck a dissonant chord. Now they have an opportunity to …

Before the Flood: Reducing Louisiana’s vulnerability to severe weather through market-based insurance reforms

This paper will examine Louisiana's vulnerability to severe weather and suggest market-based reforms to adapt to extreme inherent risks, which could be exacerbated by a changing climate. It is …

California opens fast lane to approve TNC insurance products

The California Department of Insurance has approved the state's first private passenger auto policy endorsement specifically crafted to cover drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. …

NAIC seeks input on TNC white paper

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has begun a 30-day comment period on a draft white paper (available here) that no doubt will shape the development in states …

Inslee’s vaping tax bad for taxpayers, public health

It is often the case that partisans of one political cause or another obscure their real motivations for the sake of expediency. Non-politicos are likely to characterize such …

Insuring a way out: Modernizing the California Earthquake Authority

California faces severe earthquake risk, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake insurance take-up rates create a scenario in which …

Obama dredges Sacramento’s mire for SOTU

California’s left-leaning political chattering classes were tweeting with enthusiasm last night as President Barack Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address. To their delight, the president …

Politics, regulations are ruining state insurance market

Much has been made of the so-called California comeback, and it’s certainly true that the state’s economy is beginning to show signs of life. But in some ways, …

Crafting a carbon tax Oregon conservatives can support

Three West Coast governors wrote recently of a regional model for addressing climate change. Each of their three states — California, Oregon and Washington — is taking a …

In Vegas, CES parties like it’s 2009

It is estimated that 150,000 participants will flock to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. CES is a citywide forum for the introduction of novel …

Two steps forward, one step back

When news broke that the Utah Department of Insurance found that popular new benefits company Zenefits was not in compliance with state insurance law, and would have to …

The CEA considers a tax by any other name

The California Earthquake Authority has a heady legislative agenda on-tap for 2015, and Californians without earthquake insurance coverage could be made to foot the bill. The CEA’s CEO, Glenn …

Fannie and Freddie: Proving that insanity is good for business

Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Even a casual observer of the U.S. economy since its collapse in 2008 is …

Utah takes a rare insurance misstep

An administrative agency has again found itself at odds with free-market innovation. In this case, Utah’s Department of Insurance has demanded that a popular new web based human …

College football: An effort to win at the cost of progress

Every fall, on campuses across the nation, fans journey to watch collegiate athletes take the field to play America’s most popular amateur sport, football. The appeal of college …

U.S. regulators, insurers skeptical of global capital standards

A new report commissioned by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has found there would be significant economic costs …

Don’t overregulate taxis, ride-sharing

The hallmark of downtown Sacramento’s renaissance has been the emergence of a high-quality restaurant and bar scene. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Sacramento, geographically diffuse as it …

Fresno hits right note on for-hire ride services

When it comes to getting around town, Fresno has struck a good balance between regulation and innovation. A newly released study by my colleagues at the R Street Institute, …

CDI ready to review ride-sharing insurance

Reasonable observers of California government must give credit when credit is due. In this case, the good news is that the California Department of Insurance reports it is …

Election post-mortem in California

If the key to success is maintaining low expectations, California Republicans had a great election night. Over the past several years, every objective measure of the party’s success has …

HomeAway goes to court over San Francisco’s ‘Airbnb law’

An old adage in the legal profession suggests: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. …

Redefining ‘public interest’

For decades, trial lawyers, the insurance industry, and health-care providers have battled over how to set insurance rates and adjudicate medical-liability claims. In California this year, two ballot …

Earthquakes and home mortgage risk

The United States faces severe earthquake risk in many areas of the country, yet consumers routinely choose not to purchase insurance products to cover this risk. Low earthquake …

Does Prop 103 violate itself?

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly …

Mandates, subsidies and political semantics

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate in 2012, the nation was gripped by an intimate and personal political drama …

Gov. Brown forces AB 2616 to walk the plank

California’s workers’ compensation system is a political flashpoint that attracts the interest of labor, management, attorneys and insurers. Last session, a skirmish about expanding the scope of workers’ …

Why conservatives should support carbon taxation

Conservatives are conditioned to wince at the mention of the word "tax." Mention the term "carbon tax," and many will recoil altogether. Still, in the only place in …

Earthquake coverage should be standard for mortgage loans

When it comes to California earthquake insurance, affordability is in the eye of the beholder. Californians are not convinced that earthquake risk is sufficient to warrant the purchase …

‘Ike contingent’ pounding insurers with Texas hail claims

Insurance availability crises are nothing new. Nor is finger-pointing about what exactly causes them. In Texas, a red state that is nonetheless home to a robust plaintiffs' bar, …

TNC battle ends with Gov. Brown’s signature

Gov. Jerry Brown has lent his signature to compromise legislation that clarifies how and when transportation network companies are commercially insured. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, A.B. 2293, …

Airbnb helps, not hurts, SF housing shortage

San Francisco is in the midst of a housing shortage, fueled by huge demand and exacerbated by decades of wrongheaded regulatory intervention and, more recently, by professional troglodytes. Firms …

Self-driving cars could require overhaul of insurance regulation

What is an autonomous vehicle? As demonstrated in a Sept. 15 California Department of Insurance informational hearing, that's a misleadingly simple question. Regulators' attempt to stay in front of …

The inequality of unisex pricing

Equality before the law is a foundational principle of American democracy. Many policymakers are proud to pursue efforts to realize that principle. Perhaps that is why, cloaked by …

California state funds continue to shake up cat bond market

California's recent "Winequake" brought the public's focus back to the state's significant vulnerability to seismic events. Fortunately, the tremors, while costly, did not tally a high human score. …

Can Prop 103 handle driverless cars?

Earlier this year, Google announced the introduction of a completely driverless car. On this blog, Eli Lehrer took time to discuss the insurance implications of such a development. …

Lessons from Napa’s ‘winequake’

In the early hours Sunday morning, Northern California shook with the largest earthquake it has experienced since 1989. The South Napa Earthquake, as it is being referred to …

For insurers, California’s ‘diverse procurement’ is well-meaning and wrong

Under Section 927.2 of the California Insurance Code, insurers writing $100 million or more in annual premiums in the state are required to submit reports to the Department …

Legal fiction and fictional legality

"The Case of the Speluncean Explorers," a 1949 Harvard Law Review essay by Lon L. Fuller, may prove instructive to the ever-growing number of Americans who follow with …

California’s incomplete prescription for reducing climate risk

The California Natural Resources Agency has just released its Final Safeguarding California Plan for Reducing Climate Risk. The roughly 350-page plan is designed to provide policymakers with recommendations …

Portable persistency and the Prop 103 roadblock

The emerging need to develop new insurance products to cover California's Transportation Network Company operators has spurred a reexamination of the nature of Proposition 103's quasi-constitutional status. In …

Anatomy of a Trojan Horse: California’s permissive single-subject rule

When it comes to winning at the polls, hoodwinking voters by confusing the issues is a strategy that has stood the test of time. This November, Propositions 45 …

Jerry Brown provides powerful argument for California separation

Gov. Jerry Brown's spokesman has raised questions about the feasibility of the Six States proposal, arguing that "the proposal has serious practical challenges." But does this position harmonize …

The twisting tale of the CVT

Would you think that an unexpected ban of a disruptive technology, particularly a ban imposed 20 years ago by a private race car administrative organization, could retard timely …

Some San Franciscans hopping mad over ReservationHop

ReservationHop is a start-up caught in the horns of controversy. Its business model places it at the intersection of San Francisco's built-in techno-libertarianism and urban third-estate populism. Is …

Prop 45: An internecine fight on the regulatory left

Ominously, Proposition 45, the "Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act," is heading for California's November ballot. If voters approve the Consumer Watchdog-sponsored initiative, health insurers would be …

No easy fix for California’s replacement parts regs

Henry Ford would be gratified to see how far mass production has come. Entire cars are constructed in a matter of hours. He would be somewhat less impressed …

University of California has strong opinions on peer-to-peer business

Earlier this week, the University of California's Office of the President (UCOP) determined that, as a result of a perceived shortfall in regulation, it would not reimburse faculty …

Insurance by/at the pound?

It has never been more of a dog's world. Consider, 45 percent of households own dogs. With such a high rate of cohabitation, insurers have seen dog-related claims rise. …

Sacramento’s soggy redevelopment plan

Those unfortunate enough to have attended California Gov. Leland Stanford's 1862 inauguration likely had to commute to the Capitol Building as he did – by boat. Sacramento is, if …

The California Earthquake Authority: A confused success story

This year, the California Senate Insurance Committee has hosted two informational hearings on earthquake risk, bringing together stakeholders, regulators and thought-leaders. The fact is that Californians are overexposed and …

Virginia’s war on Uber and Lyft

The hidebound arm of an administrative state once again has descended upon one of the nation's most visible, exciting and novel industries. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles …

The conservative case for precedent

Treating like cases alike is central to the U.S. legal system. Socially and morally, the advantages of juridical consistency are assumed to be foundational. For this reason, among …

Prop 103’s troublesome legacy

It's been more than a quarter-century since California voters passed Proposition 103. Spurred on by questionable analysis of the causes of high auto insurance premiums, five competing insurance-regulation …

TNCs fight for footing in California’s legislature

A recent R Street post by Zachary Cohn laid out three steps that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar should take to solidify their place in …

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