2020 was a year like no other, but despite the difficulties our country has been facing, the Goldwater Institute has been working to overcome these hurdles and continue our efforts to help Americans lead freer, happier lives. This week, we take a look back at some of the work Goldwater has done in 2020 to take on the challenges of our times.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic on our shores, Americans’ health became the year’s dominant focus—what to do to protect ourselves, how to prevent the virus’s spread, and when appropriate treatments and ultimately a vaccine would arrive. But in the midst of these swirling questions, the Goldwater Institute was already devising a roadmap to recovery: We released a plan for dealing with the challenges posed by the pandemic, and that plan puts patients at the center of their own care, exactly where they should be.
2020 has made it completely clear: We must embrace faster development and use of innovative treatments by reforming the federal government’s slow-moving and outdated drug approval process. That’s why Goldwater has made the clear case for faster treatment and innovation in the face of government delay. Furthermore, doctors ought to have the best information available to treat patients, but FDA gag rules prevent treatment manufacturers from sharing truthful and scientific information about off-label uses of drugs or combination of drugs—even though it’s completely legal and extremely common to prescribe treatments off-label. Goldwater is working to remove restrictions on how valuable medical information is shared, so doctors aren’t kept in the dark.
The coronavirus pandemic upended daily life for all Americans, but the effects have been especially challenging for children as schools across the country closed their doors. When so much about students’ learning experiences seems up in the air, greater educational freedom can provide the options kids and families need to get through this crisis and to give them the education that best fits their needs after this outbreak.
In 2020, the Goldwater Institute worked to bring that freedom and flexibility to more students. We’re helping children get the custom education they deserve by encouraging more states to adopt education savings account programs that let students and families build a learning experience that best meets their unique needs. We’re shining a light on what’s being taught as part of curricula across the country so parents can know what their children are learning. And we started up a brand-new center—the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy—to help instill America’s founding principles into our next generation of Americans.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just taken a toll on America’s health—it’s had disastrous repercussions for our economy, too. At the Goldwater Institute, we know that we must make it easier for American workers to weather this difficult time—and that’s why we’ve been working throughout 2020 to help states adopt and implement policies that help get Americans back to work and get our economy back on track.
Americans are a very mobile people, moving from state to state for work, family, or a new adventure. But the licenses that many Americans need to keep working in their chosen fields aren’t quite as mobile. They should be: If you’re qualified to do your job in one state, then you should be qualified to do that job in any state you move to. Goldwater is leading the charge to break down government-imposed barriers to work by giving Americans the freedom to practice their profession wherever they live—and our Breaking Down Barriers to Work law is already making a big impact in our home state of Arizona and in 10 more states across the country. We’re also getting government out of the way of home-based entrepreneurs by working with states to pass our Home-Based Business Fairness Act, which modernizes outmoded approaches to regulating home-based businesses in favor of a common-sense approach.
Threats to our constitutional rights are far too common, and at the Goldwater Institute, we’re ready to step in when Americans’ rights are being violated. 2020 definitely didn’t slow us down—we were still fighting for people’s rights in court, even when we had to do so by Zoom instead of in a physical courtroom.
We stood up for Illinoisans’ right to defend themselves. Illinois is one of just two states that require residents to obtain a license before they can possess any firearm—and the state wasn’t living up to its promise of sending applicants their licenses within 30 days. So we took the state to court to ensure that the rights of law-abiding Illinoisans would be respected. We also put a stop to government theft in Tucson: When the government seized handyman Kevin McBride’s Jeep, even though he had done nothing wrong, Goldwater stepped in and threatened legal action—and Kevin got his Jeep back.
And in Florida, we scored a free speech win for Florida high school student Tyler Maxwell, whose school parking privileges were revoked when he brought an elephant statue to school in the bed of his truck. Goldwater filed a lawsuit on Tyler’s behalf, so he would be able to speak as all other members of his school community could, and the court sided with free speech.