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A conversation on ‘Democracy’ with Condoleezza Rice

So many intellectually gifted political figures are about as warm as a slab of granite in a blizzard. As we sat down to discuss her book, Democracy: Stories from …

Impact of a border-adjustment tax on the North Carolina insurance market

The attached policy study was co-authored by R Street’s Ian Adams and R.J. Lehmann. As a state on the Southeast Atlantic Coast, North Carolina is vulnerable to the punishing …

Oppose: Louisiana House Bill 271

Mr. Chairman, My name is Carrie Wade and I serve as director of harm reduction policy at the R Street Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public-policy research organization headquartered in …

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 …

Will Gov. Kay Ivey un-Bentley the ABC’s liquor tax hike?

The bureaucrats of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) are poised to pass a legally suspect tax hike and the Alabama Legislature is complicit. The only question left …

Cameron Smith talks Alabama’s backdoor booze tax.

R Street's Cameron Smith joined the Matt & Aunie Show on Birmingham's Talk 99.5 to discuss backdoor booze taxes in Alabama. Audio of the show is embedded below. …

Impact of a border-adjustment tax on the Louisiana insurance market

The attached policy study was co-authored by R Street's Ian Adams and R.J. Lehmann. Louisiana’s insurance markets took nearly a decade to recover fully from the damage wrought by …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Four

Thirty years ago, most whiskey distilleries were lonely places — industrial factories in remote rural areas. For the most part, the proprietors of these places saw themselves as …

North Carolina’s beer pong battle

A legislative battle currently is brewing that could determine whether North Carolina beer-makers will still be able to sell and market their own beer. The result could have …

Statewide ridesharing rules on the table in Louisiana

Louisiana may soon join the more than 40 states that have adopted some kind of statewide ridesharing rules, under legislation that would pre-empt parish and local governments from …

‘Anything goes’ rational basis versus rational basis ‘with bite’

The fight over how to treat economic liberty under the Constitution has been as lengthy as it has been acrimonious. Under current constitutional jurisprudence, certain types of recognized …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Three

It was difficult to feel anything but awe standing in front of the still at Jim Beam's main distillery. It is six-stories tall and 200 gallons of beer pour into …

American Whiskey Trail tour, Day Two

We all have heard the story: manufacturing is dying in America. All the good blue-collar jobs are moving to Mexico and China. America's middle-class employment has been hollowed …

Could economic liberty litigation free the booze?

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently struck down a state law limiting how many liquor retail outlets an individual or business could own within the Palmetto State. According to …

Westinghouse bankruptcy epitomizes failures of electricity monopolies

Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC—the nuclear power company that traces its lineage to the original Westinghouse Electric Corp., founded in 1886—has been forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy, largely …

Let all S.C. liquor stores compete on the same level

Until very recently, South Carolina liquor store owners were only allowed to operate up to three retail outlets in the Palmetto State. The decades-old cap was struck down …

How cronyism threatens Louisiana’s craft breweries

Louisiana is well-known its love of both food and alcohol. The state is a tourist destination for those looking both to enjoy excellent dining and to have a …

On criminal-justice reform, Alabama should look to Texas

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley recently announced a new initiative aimed at addressing the state's overcrowding problem, with 23,000 prisoners in facilities designed for about 13,000. The “Alabama Prison Transformation …

Raising alcohol taxes is a bad bet for West Virginia

In the budget proposal, Gov. Jim Justice proposes expanding revenues for the state’s coffers by raising both beer taxes and the markup on distilled spirits. The same markup …

Kentucky’s new leadership tries to pull it back from the pension cliff

Having become the last legislative chamber in the entire South to flip to Republican control last November, the Kentucky House of Representatives wasted no time this session in …

Shots fired between Sheriffs Association and NRA in Alabama Legislature

"S.B. 24 is not a Second Amendment bill and NRA should have kept their nose out of it," wrote Alabama Sheriffs Association Executive Director Bobby Timmons in an …

Appalachia ain’t just moonshine anymore

It’s not often one can take several weeks off, pile into a car, and hit the open road without any significant responsibilities piling up (or email inboxes overflowing). …

We need better solutions than ‘big government’ incarceration

Many Alabama politicians pride themselves on being "tough on crime." If we don't get a lot smarter about criminal justice, the "tough" stance is going to be a …

Sheriffs shouldn’t profit off our Second Amendment exercise

Imagine if an Alabama politician introduced legislation that required citizens to pay a fee in order to attend church. He or she wouldn't be a politician for very …

Dieterle talks distilling restrictions on ‘Free to Brew’ podcast

R Street Governance Project Fellow Jarrett Dieterle joined the Free to Brew podcast to discuss regulatory issues around alcohol distillers, particularly in Virginia, which has some of the …

Fighting for booze equality on ‘Alcohol Alley’

On paper, Silverback Distillery in rural Afton, Virginia, should be considered an All-American success story. The husband-and-wife team of Denver and Christine Riggleman opened Silverback in 2014. Denver …

When it comes to Louisiana floods, how much does a foot really matter?

The following op-ed was co-authored by William Booher, interim executive director of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in New Orleans. One foot can make a lot of difference …

2016 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Welcome to the fifth edition of the R Street Institute’s Insurance Regulation Report Card, our annual examination of which states do the best job of regulating the business …

Vapescore 2016: Regulating vapor products in U.S. cities

The attached study was co-authored by R Street Research Associate Dan Semelsberger  Americans' use of tobacco cigarettes has declined over the past decade from 20.9 percent of adults in 2004 …

Alabama’s ABC is little more than a Prohibition hangover

With all the focus on Alabama's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) cracking down on sidewalk alcohol sales, it might have been easy to miss its stern warning about following alcohol …

New Orleans could legalize spacesharing this week

The New Orleans City Council is set to vote tomorrow on an ordinance that would allow short-term rentals in the city. The vote comes in the wake of …

You wouldn’t pay taxes you don’t owe. Why should Lowe’s?

Taxes aren't a form of charity. Both businesses and individuals should pay the taxes they owe and not a penny more. They may be our obligation as part of …

Welcome to Virginia, where the whiskey’s strong and the government’s stronger

Craft distilling may be undergoing a renaissance, but in the shadow of George Washington’s Mount Vernon (home to one of the nation’s first distilleries), you can barely get …

Should we build a wall or choose life along our Gulf Coast?

The waves just keep coming. As I learned about "living shorelines" at an educational event in Fairhope, Alabama, I couldn't get past the fact that the waves never …

Virginia’s infamous food-beverage ratio prioritizes cronyism over consumers

Virginia may be for lovers, but the state's draconian liquor laws make nights out on the town not so lovely. The commonwealth is home to some of America's worst …

How do you explain the Orlando massacre to your kids?

"Daddy, why are all those police lights on TV?" My family and I were eating lunch in Birmingham, and my oldest noticed the CNN broadcast on one of the …

Illinois moving to loosen occupational licensing rules for ex-offenders

When persons with “backgrounds” in Illinois want to turn their lives around, "we want them to be as productive as possible as quick as possible," state Rep. Marcus …

Iowa, Alabama pass ridesharing bills; could Pennsylvania be next?

It's been a busy week and a half on the ridesharing front, as legislation setting out statewide rules for transportation network companies moved forward in Iowa and Alabama, …

Historic tax credits: A 45% government subsidy wearing a mask

My apologies for interrupting the glowing love fest for Alabama's historic preservation tax credit that's set to expire next month, but there are a few things you should …

Alabama Legislature could turn BP settlement into roadkill

Rather than paying off money they've already spent, our politicians always seem to find one reason or another to spend on something else. Six years after the Deepwater …

Testimony on ‘raising the age’ in Louisiana

Thank you Chairman Gary Smith, Vice Chairman Ronnie Johns and the rest of the committee for allowing me to submit the following testimony in support of S.B. 324, …

Mississippi and West Virginia governors both sign ridesharing laws

Mississippi and West Virginia have become the 30th and 31st states to pass legislation to create a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies …

A maddening whiskey shortage

Tennessee is known for many things: country music, Elvis’s Graceland estate, beautiful mountains, and fine liquor. The state produces both moonshine (some of which is now being made …

‘Protecting’ consumers by forcing them to pay more

A Depression-era trade law – now the subject of debate in the West Virginia Legislature – is a reminder of how “consumer protection” laws often do little to …

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 …

Alabama pays 14 workers more for mileage than cost of a car

In Fiscal Year 2015, Alabama paid 14 individuals enough in-state mileage reimbursement to literally buy each of them a new car. Nobody pays much attention to the details of …

Bill legalizing ridesharing moving through West Virginia House

What a difference a year makes in the world of ridesharing. Just 18 months ago, only one state (Colorado) had passed comprehensive legislation legalizing and regulating the emerging …

Cameron Smith talks New Hampshire Primary

R Street State Programs Director Cameron Smith appeared on the Feb. 4 edition of the Matt Murphy show on 1070 WAPI in Alabama to discuss the GOP Presidential …

Nashville tops national ridesharing scorecard with innovative attitude

When it comes to an inviting regulatory environment for transportation innovators like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, Nashville is the best city in the nation. According to a report recently …

Gov. Bentley’s beach house blunders

The 2010 BP oil spill damaged plenty of things along Alabama's Gulf Coast. The governor's beach house wasn't one of them. But here we are, spending BP money to …

The pitfalls of just saying ‘no’ to EPA’s carbon rule

If states like Alabama don't submit a carbon-reduction plan or request an extension by Sept. 6, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will impose what amounts to a …

Comments to U.S. Justice Department on BP spill consent decree

On Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a final settlement with BP stemming from its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Well oil spill. …

Speak now or forever hold your peace on Deepwater Horizon oil spill

By now, it's no secret that many coastal residents aren't happy with the proposed settlement between BP, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states. They have …

Surprising themes in my first grader’s public school reading

"They're using the standards to raise good little Soviets." It might be hyperbole, but that's the kind of thing that makes your ears perk up as a parent. Over …

Voters hate the Internet sales tax

With reports building that there might be an attempt to attach misguided Internet sales-tax legislation to a budget deal or to an extension of the commonsense ban on …

R Street urges fiscal responsibility in use of BP spill money

WASHINGTON (Oct. 6, 2015) – In light of today's announced $20.8 billion settlement between the federal government, Gulf Coast state governments and BP, the R Street Institute is …

A ‘1,000-year flood’ almost certainly isn’t

Over the weekend, the nation saw the horrific toll of massive flooding across South Carolina, which has left at least nine dead. The Charleston area got nearly a …

R Street encourages using RESTORE funds for coastal planning and coordination

WASHINGTON (Oct. 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute filed comments this week in Texas, Alabama and Florida on the Funded Priorities List (FPL) released by the Gulf Coast …

Smith letter to GCERC on Alabama Funded Priorities List

The R Street Institute is encouraged by the eight Alabama-focused projects contained within the initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) released by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (council). …

Kim Davis highlights the left’s ‘rule of law’ hypocrisy

It's nice to see so many Democrats and liberals produce eloquent remarks and social-media posts about America being a nation of laws. I knew it was a matter of …

How ridesharing could help the poor

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are very popular among millennials. The ease of ordering a car service directly from your smartphone is very appealing to those who …

Let’s reclaim the glory of being a ‘maker’

The following piece was co-authored by R Street State Projects Director Cameron Smith.   As summer draws to a close, millions of parents will drop their children off at schools …

North Carolina boy charged with possessing indecent pictures of himself

A 17-year-old North Carolina quarterback is charged with possession of sexual images of a minor. The minor is himself. But he is being charged as an adult. So …

Higher ed/industry disconnect a workforce wakeup call for Alabama

"Workforce development" is such a widely used term that it's easy for most of us to ignore. Unfortunately, it might be one of the most critical challenges facing Alabama. …

Thoughts on a klansman

Last month, as but one marker of the sudden and somewhat unexpected public outcry to remove from all manner of public life flags and memorials honoring the Confederacy, …

Finding a General Fund budget out of Alabama’s shell game

If you're getting the feeling that Alabama's General Fund budget is more and more like a carnival shell game, you're not alone. Just keep your eye on the ball …

Alabama facing political gut check, not a budget shortfall

Listen to any Alabama politician discussing the General Fund budget. You'll undoubtedly hear the phrase, "budget shortfall." The use of those specific words is intentional. It creates the impression …

Mississippi is on the wrong track with telemedicine

Recent years have seen plenty of debates about misguided health and safety regulations, but the current one in Mississippi threatens to frustrate one of the brightest trends in …

In the Bible Belt, Alabama politicians look to tax “sin” and spend

If you're a politician who promised not to raise taxes in Alabama, increasing the amount of "sin taxes" or creating new ones violates that pledge. We already have some …

North Carolina Senate passes ridesharing bill

Yesterday was a big day for ridesharing in North Carolina as the state Senate passed S.B. 541, which creates a regulatory framework for transportation network companies. The bill …

Dear Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville welcome Uber…why can’t we?

With a unanimous vote, Mobile's City Council affirmed amendments to the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance, enabling app-based transportation companies like Uber to operate. Huntsville has also declared itself open for …

Alabama Legislature to put Bentley’s special session on ice

An email sent to members of the Alabama House of Representatives from Speaker Mike Hubbard reveals plans to thwart Gov. Robert Bentley's abrupt call for a special session. The email shares plans …

Seven questions for how states will use the BP oil spill money

Today, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states have reached an $18.7 billion settlement agreement with BP plc for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill that …

Study shows Airbnb has positive economic impact for New Orleans

Like many cities, New Orleans has struggled with whether and how to crack down on short-term rentals such as those offered through services like Airbnb. Some neighborhood activists …

R Street RESTORE Act Scorecard

State and local officials charged with selecting and funding projects under the RESTORE Act must carefully prioritize. Toward that end, the R Street Institute has created a scorecard …

Nikki Haley signs bill legalizing TNCs in South Carolina

While the country was focused this past week on the flag that flies above the South Carolina statehouse, important work was being done inside its doors. In a major …

Honor our Southern heritage by leaving the Confederate flag behind

It's easy to condemn a mass murderer fueled by hate; it's much harder to root out symbols, conventions and comments masquerading as innocuous relics of a time gone …

On Alabama’s coast, preserve the environment or protect the economy?

Would you rather preserve the environment or protect the economy? What if I told you that, right here in Alabama, we're coming up with creative solutions that benefit both …

Alabama’s budget breakdown

Contrary to recent political fear mongering, Alabama has enough money to pay its bills. All the state needs is leaders willing to make tough choices. Projected at over $6.2 billion, the …

Alabama GOP supermajority, governor should hold their noses and pass budget

Shameful. That's the word you're looking for. If Republican supermajorities in the Alabama House and the Senate can't pass a General Fund budget, put it on the Republican governor's …

Marketing maternity: Are we valuing the message over the medicine?

Imagine you're a woman who just found out she is going to have a baby. You see a hospital advertisement for maternity care that includes words and phrases …

‘Beach Plan’ insurance needs to do no further harm

When he was speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, now-U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was fond of pointing to “the conservative revolution” that has taken hold in …

If payday loans are horrible, what about federal student loans?

When I was researching payday loans, I came across an interesting statistic: Within three years of entering into repayment, 13.7 percent of federal student loans wind up in …

Should Alabama have a flat tax?

They'll probably label it a tax hike. That's what always happens anytime anyone attempts to reform Alabama's mangled tax code. Alabamians hate tax increases. Just ask Gov. Robert Bentley. If …

Signs of hope in North Carolina

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill 119-1 Monday which, for the first time, would disclose to North Carolina drivers what they pay in surcharges to …

Meet the money behind the effort to keep Alabama in the liquor retail business

"If you thought this bill was not going anywhere; that it would die or get killed like it always has, you need to think again!" Bob Leavell is concerned …

Leaked email: Mayor Walt Maddox and Councilor Kim Rafferty’s municipal cabal to keep ridesharing out of Alabama

"Clearly, controlling the narrative is in our best interests," writes Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty favors forming an ad hoc committee "to keep control of …

Louisiana mulls duplicative rules for solar

Rooftop solar has emerged in recent years as the primary challenge to the staid business model of large-scale regulated electric utilities. It turns large numbers of what were strictly …

Is Alabama broke or just stupid?

This may be difficult, but let's start with the facts about Alabama's current budget crisis before we start talking about our feelings on things like taxes, gambling and …

E-cigarette taxes aren’t the answer to Louisiana’s budget woes

Louisiana is facing a $1.6 billion deficit, according to the most recent estimates, and state lawmakers are looking at various ways to close the deficit. One popular option among …

Limited government? Four Republicans keep Alabama in state-run retail liquor business

You'd expect it from Democrats in the Alabama Senate - they've never met a state-run operation they did not want to preserve. But Republicans in the Alabama Senate? Last …

Does no one die rich in Atlanta?

Lifehacker calls attention to this two-year-old chart by Amanda Cox and Shan Carter of the New York Times graphics department, illustrating relative income mobility in various U.S. cities, …

How Gov. Bentley stopped being a conservative on taxes

First came his signing of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 2010, which reads: "I, Robert Bentley, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of Alabama, that I will …

Last call for Alabama’s state-run retail liquor operations

In the 21st century, why does the State of Alabama need to be in the liquor business? Frankly, that is the question state legislators need to consider, and Sen. …

A few weeks into the legislative session, here are the most important issues facing the Alabama Legislature

With the Alabama Legislature in full swing, both the Senate and House have released their respective agendas. Those agendas usually reflect priorities that legislators are relatively confident they …

RESTORE Act gives Alabama opportunity to lead on economy and environment

April marks five years since an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon sunk the mobile drilling rig and released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. …

A guide to religious tolerance in the 21st century

In Alabama, faith remains a cornerstone of many communities. It is not a simple box to check or a title to wear. Rather, faith is the lens through …

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 …

New Orleans smoking ban should exclude vaping

Years after most American cities have enacted smoking bans, the City of New Orleans is poised to enact one. With a unanimous vote Jan. 22, the City Council …

Letter to Virginia General Assembly on transportation network companies

January 22, 2015 Virginia General Assembly 1000 Bank Street Richmond, VA 23219 Dear Members of the Virginia Legislature, We applaud the General Assembly’s initiative to advance full legalization of transportation network companies (TNCs) …

If a rusty gravedigger dies in Alabama’s wetlands, should conservatives care?

We might not know it, but we are all environmentalists in Alabama...or at least, we should be. "Environmentalism" is not a dirty word or some practice reserved for …

Don’t let the boogeyman of change stop charter schools in Alabama

What if we created public schools that essentially operated under contracts that spelled out a mission, an educational strategy and the results the school was expected to produce? I …

For 2015, it’s a world on fire, and we’re living in it

In the words of the immortal bard, Billy Joel, "We didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the world's been turning." Over the last year or …

Letter to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood on SOPA

December 22, 2014 Jim Hood Mississippi Attorney General Walter Sillers Building 550 High Street, Suite 1200 Jackson, MS 39201 Dear Attorney General Hood: According to recent news reports, your office, in active coordination with the …

Ridescore 2014: Hired driver rules in U.S. cities

The attached paper was co-authored by Ryan Xue, Evan Engstrom and Zach Graves. Visit R Street's companion website, www.ridescore.org, for an interactive visual presentation of our regulatory scorecard. Over the past several …

Why it matters that Jeff Sessions will be Senate Budget Committee chairman

With Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions will likely take over the Senate Budget Committee as chairman. If Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., becomes …

Why are Louisiana’s auto insurance rates so darn high?

As a Louisiana resident, I paraphrase Jimmy McMillan when I say “car insurance in Louisiana is too damn high.” While Louisiana only has the seventh most expensive car …

The real reason why Alabama is the reddest of the red states

After the midterm elections, Alabama has emerged as the reddest of the red states. To be clear, Alabama is not simply Republican; it is undeniably conservative. Perhaps what "conservative" …

‘Waters of the United States’ could be most significant EPA rule you’ve never heard of

In 1972, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters." The federal government's legal authority to regulate …

Labor force participation rates paint a bleak economic picture

Most politicians know how to articulate their political goals. Whether it is low-cost energy, explosive job creation, less bureaucratic red tape, more personal freedom or high quality education, …

‘War on Public Education’ focuses more on preserving public system than education

In case you missed it, the beleaguered Alabama Education Association does not like public school choice. The AEA has referred to the Alabama Accountability Act, which created a …

What’s the matter with Paul Krugman?

Rarely does a Nobel Prize-winning economist specifically inquire about the job performance of a state like Alabama. This week, Paul Krugman, a popular liberal commentary writer for the …

Does simply calling for Judge Fuller to resign send the right message about domestic violence and the federal bench?

In August, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested for assaulting his wife and charged with misdemeanor battery. The Atlanta Police report noted that Fuller's wife "explained that …

Under carbon rule, the EPA will be either Alabama’s overlord or its puppet master

In June of 2014, the EPA proposed a draft rule to regulate carbon dioxide. The rule made headlines for weeks and then largely dropped from public conversation. While …

Dealing with Uber, Birmingham City Council must understand that common-sense regulation is not the same as deregulation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Alabama's failure to create opportunity for Uber, a popular ride-sharing service, to operate. I was particularly hard on the Birmingham City …

State-run lottery grows government at the expense of the poor and uneducated

With budgetary challenges again facing the State of Alabama, politicians are mulling the idea of a state-run lottery to provide an infusion of cash. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parker …

Alabama’s leaders can reform prisons now or lose control waiting for political cover

This past week, I had the privilege of serving on a panel discussing Alabama's prison woes at the Faulkner Law Review's Annual Symposium in Montgomery. The discussion highlighted …

The Friday Five: Questions to get your conversations going this weekend

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) in crisis – This week, former AEA head Paul Hubbert penned a bombshell letter to members of the AEA board highlighting a crisis …

Losing better solutions in the cloud of media bias

This past Sunday, the Opelika-Auburn News ran a column by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard in which Hubbard argued that President Obama is politically targeting Alabama for taking jobs …

How big government and cronyism are slowing the growth of solar in the south

An Aug. 9 article in the Los Angeles Times explored why states in the U.S. South that get plenty of sunlight -- such as Virginia, South Carolina and, of …

On politics, prosecutions and public perspective

On Aug. 15, 2014, a grand jury in Travis County, Texas, indicted Governor Rick Perry for abusing his official capacity and for coercion of a public servant. The criminal …

Address flood insurance and the environment with RESTORE Act funding

Many Alabamians may find it hard to believe that July 15 of this year marked four years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was capped in the Gulf …

Market freedom paying off in South Carolina

Maintaining pricing freedom and a light regulatory touch is paying major dividends in South Carolina's property insurance market, where the state is reaping the benefits of the ongoing …

Arthur could strike around the Fourth in Morehead City

Ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, the U.S. East Coast is preparing for Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of the 2014 season. Formed yesterday off the …

Letter to Gulf Coast governors on RESTORE Act

Jan. 30, 2014 Dear Govs. Perry, Jindal, Bryant, Bentley, and Scott - As you know, Congress passed the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities and Revived Economy Act, better known …

Letter to the South Carolina PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee

PEBA Tobacco Surcharge Study Committee c/o Communications Department PO Box 11661, Columbia, SC 29211-1661 Dec. 26, 2013 Members of the Committee: My name is Eli Lehrer and I am president of the R …

Restoring the RESTORE Act’s conservative principles

The 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill was the largest offshore oil spill in American history. For 87 days, the Macondo prospect gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico …

Is the ‘Northern Strategy’ replacing the ‘Southern Strategy?’

Today, if polls are any guide, two events are at least likely: First, we can probably say with absolute certainty that Chris Christie will be reelected governor of …

Georgia Republicans to the poor: ‘We can’t hear you now’

If you want to reduce fraud and abuse in a government program, you can figure out the sources and experiment with reasonable solutions. Or you can do what …

A Royall legacy

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago this week, two prominent citizens and a 30-year-old represented the people of North Carolina by signing what has come to be the …

North Carolina consumers confronted with ‘Consent to Rate’

WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C. reports on a common problem facing North Carolina consumers: the arrival of letters from one's home or auto insurer requesting to raise rates above …

Spotlight on NC’s auto insurance system: Seven things to understand

Authored by R Street Senior Fellows R.J. Lehmann and Alan Smith, this paper outlines how the North Carolina Rate Bureau works and how it stifles competition and innovation. …

In N.C., chairman’s auto insurance bills don’t even meet his own standards

As the push for modernization and consumer choice in North Carolina's auto insurance system moves from the state Senate to the House, it's worth going back to examine …

North Carolina’s auto insurance system badly needs an upgrade

It’s easy to understand why many North Carolinians are skeptical of proposals to change how the state regulates auto insurance. In a state where homeowners insurance rates are …

North Carolina’s ‘other’ auto insurance market

I've already covered in these pages some of the things the editorial pages of North Carolina's leading newspapers are getting wrong about S.B. 154, legislation to modernize the …

Breaking up North Carolina’s auto insurance cartel

Legislation to break up North Carolina’s rate bureau cartel and bring the state’s auto insurance market into the 21st Century has now been introduced in both houses of …

Analysis of the South Carolina coastal property insurance market

PDF Download Text This paper aims to clarify the debate over property insurance rates and provide a basis for rational discussion of the current situation in South Carolina’s …

States are getting more partisan, and more cooperative

This space has often compared what is going on in Washington to what is happening at the state level.  Most of the policy served out of Washington would …

Wind-water dispute reform arrives too late for Isaac claims

As the Gulf Coast braces for Hurricane Isaac, one hopes the region will avoid not only the massive destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina eight years ago, but also …

North Carolina’s antiquated rate bureau system

There was a time, not so far in the distant past, when virtually all property and casualty insurance rates were calculated by industry-owned rate bureaus. It wasn’t necessarily a …

Letter from Washington: The Tarheel State’s sticky auto insurance market

This coming week, I’ll be testifying before a North Carolina study committee  on that state’s auto insurance system. I’ve written a good deal about the system in the …

S.C. insurance director resigns

David Black has resigned as director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, effective Dec. 28, the department announced in a media advisory. No reason was given for Black’s …

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