As we look toward 2018—the 30th anniversary of the Goldwater Institute—we reflect on our successes in 2017, advocating for liberty and defending freedom in Arizona and all across the country. Here are ten of the biggest stories from the Goldwater Institute this past year:
#1 Six more states and U.S. Senate pass Right to Try
Pennsylvania became the 38th state to adopt the Right to Try, protecting the right of terminally ill patients to try investigational treatments that could save or extend their lives. Ohio, Kentucky, Washington, Iowa, and Maryland also enacted the law in 2017, and the U.S. Senate passed it unanimously. The law is already saving lives. In Texas, Doctor Ebrahim Delpassand treated some 100 patients under Right to Try, where the FDA blocked treatment. Many of those patients were told they had only months to live, but are still alive a year later.
#2 North Carolina & Wisconsin move to restore speech on campus
With the First Amendment under assault at college campuses all across the country, North Carolina enacted legislation based on the Goldwater Institute’s model bill that will protect the free speech rights of the state’s public college students. The University of North Carolina and the University of Wisconsin also adopted similar policies. The law is working. When conservative author Katie Pavlich recently spoke at UW Madison, demonstrators protested the venue but decided not to disrupt her talk, citing the university’s new discipline policy.
#3 Arizona protects the right to earn a living
Arizona enacted the Right to Earn a Living Act, a Goldwater Institute plan that restores the proper balance between free enterprise and legitimate government regulation. Under the law, state government has to show some legitimate public harm before job seekers can be shut out of a profession. Arizona’s reform will serve as a model for states nationwide, ensuring that economic opportunity for all is not merely a promise, but a reality.
#4 North Carolina and Arizona expand school choice
This year, North Carolina became the sixth state to enact education savings accounts (ESAs) for children with special needs. The accounts give parents the flexibility to use their child’s share of school funding to help pay for tuition, tutoring, or other teaching tools. Arizona expanded its successful ESA program to provide school choice to all Arizona students. The program, which is the nation’s longest-running, is already helping more than 4,000 Arizona students and their families.
#5 Arizona protects free speech in medicine
Government routinely censors the communication of valuable and truthful information that could help improve—and even save—people’s lives. But that changed in Arizona this year when it became the first state to protect the free speech rights of those in the medical field to share truthful research and information about safe, effective, and lawful alternative uses for FDA-approved medicines.
#6 Chicago dials back some assaults on privacy in home-sharing ordinance
Chicagoans who share their homes through online platforms such as Airbnb will no longer be forced to hand over their guests’ personal information to city officials at any time without a warrant. The change was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute and Liberty Justice Center challenging the city’s restrictive home-sharing ordinance.
#7 Politically influenced city courts uncovered in new report
The Goldwater Institute pulled back the curtain on politically influenced city court systems with a series of reports by national investigative journalist Mark Flatten. City courts can receive pressure—direct or indirect—from political office holders to raise more money to help meet revenue projections, which puts their judicial independence into question. The Goldwater Institute has devised a package of reforms that provides stronger security for constitutional rights and ensures more accountability by the courts while respecting the authority of city governments to enforce the law.
#8 Goldwater Institute defends constitutional rights of Native American kids nationwide
The Goldwater Institute filed a half-dozen lawsuits challenging discriminatory provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act that make it harder to protect these children from abuse and neglect and make it extremely hard to adopt them. We won a significant legal victory in the Arizona Supreme Court and celebrated the adoption of A.D., a two-year-old Arizona child this summer. In addition, we litigated other cases in Ohio, California, Minnesota, and Texas—as well as publishing pathbreaking legal scholarship about the Act. The Institute has become the national leader in demanding equal protection for Indian children.
#9 Goldwater Institute calls for new type of dental professional to be allowed in Arizona
In a new report, the Goldwater Institute found that restrictive government policies create artificial barriers to accessible and affordable dental care in Arizona. The Institute proposed an innovative dental therapy license be created, which would allow dental therapists to carry out routine dental procedures, which they are fully trained to do.
#10 Garry Kasparov honored at Goldwater Institute Annual Dinner
Former world chess champion and civil rights activist Garry Kasparov was honored at the Goldwater Institute’s Annual Dinner with the 2017 Freedom Award. “I have many trophies on my shelf, but it’s hard to imagine a greater honor than receiving an award bearing the name of Barry Goldwater,” Kasparov said.