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Civil Asset Forfeiture in Michigan: The Case for Reform and How to Get it

Seizure and forfeiture are important parts of the criminal justice system. In principle, this process is helpful for taking away assets from criminals and goods obtained illegally. But it’s easily abused, and Michiganders deserve to have their property rights protected. This panel will feature points of views from law enforcement, researchers and legislators. The discussion will be on why Michigan should continue to reform its civil asset forfeiture system and how to get it right.

How Criminal Justice Works in Michigan

Criminal justice reform will continue to be a hot topic in Lansing this year, as lawmakers on the left and right advance various proposals for reforming the system. But in order to properly evaluate the potential for successful change, it’s important to understand the nuts and bolts of how the system currently operates.

Economic Freedom: What it is and Why it Matters

Public policy choices can have profound consequences on the decisions individuals make about their own opportunities — where to live, work, invest and raise families. What can government leaders do to influence those choices? Respect economic freedom.

National School Choice Week

Student displays, performances and testimonials will showcase the value Michigan families receive when they exercise choice to meet their educational needs.

Brews and Views

Join us for a panel discussion on the role of private efforts to protect and conserve natural areas and resources.

Planning for Life Workshop – Farmington Hills

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2018 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Bail Reform: Improving Pretrial Release to Benefit Defendants and Taxpayers

Michigan’s system of bail and pretrial release is ripe for reform, but any changes to this complex structure require a thorough understanding of current practices and how they diverge from best practices. Analysts at the Mackinac Center and the ACLU of Michigan both published papers to inform the public about bail in our state, which they will present jointly.

The New Face of the FCC: Q&A with Chairman Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai is the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, but his philosophy is a bit different than many regulators. Pai’s regulatory philosophy values consumers, competition and markets over regulation, bureaucrats and central planning. His principles include being aware of “regulatory capture,” a free and fair system without dispensing favors and special treatment, flexible rulemaking, and rules which respect the laws of Congress.

Little Pink House Screening

Join the Mackinac Center for a private screening of the compelling film about small town heroes who challenged one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical corporations and an overreaching government all the way to the Supreme Court.

Making Waves with the Mackinac Center

Join us for a sunset cruise and a free market discussion on energy and property rights.

Featuring: Jason Hayes, director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Smart Regs for Smart Tech: How Government Can Allow Next Gen Internet Networks to Flourish

This panel will discuss issues related to the future of internet networks, including 5G cell service, “net neutrality” and broadband infrastructure. Panelists will also offer guidance on what governments at all levels — local, state and federal — should do (or not do) in relation to the future of internet connectivity and the spinoff technologies it makes possible.

Planning for Life Workshop – Bay Harbor Yacht Club

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2018 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Planning for Life Workshop – Midland, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2018 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Beer Glut: The Overregulation of Alcohol in Michigan

Michigan’s rules about alcohol production, distribution and sales are complex. The state has restrictions on what can be produced, a strict monopoly system for distribution and imposes price controls on sellers. Many of these regulations were originally crafted some 80 years ago in the post-Prohibition era.

Why Prescription Drugs Are So Expensive and What the State Can Do About It

In recent years the price consumers pay for many brand name prescription drugs and even some generics has increased. There are several factors behind these increases. One has to do with the type of the drugs being developed today and the smaller number of patients they target. Another involves middlemen that absorb many of the price discounts provided by drug makers. And a third has to do with the regulations coming from both Washington and the states.

An Evening with the Mackinac Center

Join us for an evening of fellowship among friends of liberty.

Pump the Brakes: Michigan Should Rethink Driver's License Suspensions

In 2010, Michigan suspended over 475,000 licenses – one for every 15 drivers. Over 95 percent of those suspensions were for offenses unrelated to driving. Today, 86 percent of Americans use a car or motorcycle to get to work, meaning that a suspended license puts them at serious risk of job loss and other hardships.

A Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism

For decades after the end of the "Great War," communism was on the march. Bolshevik Russia expanded its territory into large segments of Eastern Europe, Chairman Mao took China, and one-party rule dominated in much of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Cuba, a close U.S. ally merely 100 miles from Florida, launched a communist dictatorship that is now nearly six decades old.

State-led Health Care Reforms

Facing seemingly endless paralysis on health care reform from the federal government, a growing number of states are starting to consider reforms that they could enact to improve the provision of health care for their residents. Although federal laws and rules dominate health care regulations, there are still several worthy reforms that states could pursue that would have the effect of lowering costs and expanding choices for patients.

Raising the Age: Should 17-Year-Olds be Eligible for Juvenile Justice in Michigan?

Michigan is one of five states where 17-year-olds are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system, rather than the juvenile justice system. Following a trend in several other states, some Michigan stakeholders have begun a “raise the age” campaign to adjust the age of adult criminal liability to 18, the age of majority for all other purposes. The Legislature introduced bills to that effect last year, but opponents of the campaign warn that shifting 17-year-olds into the juvenile system will be an expensive burden on resource-strapped counties. Reformers counter that the move will ensure better outcomes for teens in the long run. Join us to hear expert panelists discuss the costs and benefits of raising the age.

Do Michigan Charter Schools Get More Bang for the Buck?

The past year’s rise of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education has brought more attention to the performance of charter schools, both nationally and in her native Michigan. Charter schools are tuition-free, state-funded schools of choice that tend to operate with fewer dollars than other public schools. How well are charter schools doing with the resources they have?

Is This Working? The Effects of Occupational Licensing on the Workforce

Working a job — any job — is connected to lower poverty, better income mobility, lower crime rates, fewer children born out-of-wedlock and a host of other positive results. But today, the right to earn a living is becoming more difficult. In 1950, only around 5 percent of workers needed an occupational license – today, more than one out of every five workers in Michigan is required to have this special government permission to work. This typically includes mandated educational degrees, hours of training, upfront fees, testing, continuing education, and limits of people with criminal records.

Laws of Evidence: How Sound Forensic Science Policy Can Help Prevent Wrongful Convictions

The Innocence Project is a well-known nonprofit organization whose goal is to exonerate the wrongfully convicted. Forty-six percent of its cases involved misapplied forensic science — meaning that a method, technique or analysis was conducted incorrectly. There have been 17 exonerations in Michigan involving misapplied forensic science. Now, in partnership with the Reason Foundation, the Innocence Project is calling for improvements to forensic science and for better transparency and quality control in crime labs. Panelists from the Innocence Project and Reason will discuss how the application of forensic science to criminal prosecutions can be improved by policy change and public education.

Smart Regulations for the Coming Driverless Car Revolution

As you read this, a future that features driverless cars on city streets, interstate highways and maybe in your driveway is steadily unfolding. But before this future fully arrives, policymakers need to think hard about how to properly regulate these new technologies. Regulations, after all, are powerful and often blunt tools — they can be used to foster innovation, competition and economic growth, and they can be used to prevent change, snuff out invention and slow technological advances. The predicted benefits of autonomous vehicles to society are large and widespread, and Michigan needs to be ensure that its residents can take full advantage of these upsides.

Planning for Life Workshop – Southfield, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2017 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

An Evening with the Mackinac Center

Join us for an evening of fellowship among friends of liberty.

What Can We Learn from Michigan Parents Using School Choice?

An increasing number of Michigan families are exercising choice within the public education system. More than 300,000 students attend either a charter school or another public school across district lines, most often through Schools of Choice. While there has been much debate about how school choice is working in Michigan, the voices of parents seeking educational alternatives have largely not been included in the discussion.

The New Fight for the Right: Where the Conservative Movement is Going

The Republican Party fully controls most states and at the national level has captured the House, Senate and presidency. By many measures, the party has more power than it has had in many decades. But will that control last? And, more importantly, what policy priorities are coming about from these political victories?

Planning for Life Workshop – Traverse City, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2017 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Planning for Life Workshop – Grand Rapids, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2017 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Home Sharing: Michigan’s Next Property Rights Battle

Renting out the family summer cottage is a common practice in Michigan, but with today’s technologies, it’s easier than ever, empowered by companies like AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO and more. These short-term rentals mean vacationers can find a place much more easily and inexpensively, while owners can earn some extra money. It seems like a win-win.

Fighting for Free Speech on Michigan University Campuses

Some institutions of higher education have cracked down on free speech. Even in Michigan, universities have speech codes that restrict students’ speech, campus groups have prevented speakers from delivering talks and administrators have stopped individuals from handing outcertain literature.

From the Model T to Driverless Cars: How Michigan Can Lead in Transportation Innovation

You may not have seen them on the highway yet, but autonomous vehicles are here. The potential benefits of this and related technologies are immense. But they also present new and unique regulatory and infrastructure challenges for state and local governments. Brent Skorup of the Mercatus Center has written extensively on these issues and will lay out the principles and practices policymakers should pursue when determining how to regulate these new technologies.

Why Trump is Wrong About Trade

There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, will make the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

After Obamacare: How Michigan Can Deliver on Patient-Centered Health Care

Michigan’s health care choices in a new political environment

Obamacare repeal-and-replace is underway, and regardless of whether it passes or fails big, changes are coming for Michigan’s medical services and insurance industry, and the state’s social welfare system, especially Medicaid.

Children of Monsters: The Strange Lives of Children of Dictators

Featuring Jay Nordlinger

Please join us at Northwood University as Jay Nordlinger, senior editor at National Review, presents his book "Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators."

Foot Patrol Policing: Engaging Michigan Communities One Step at a Time

Issues and Ideas Forum

As police departments seek to reduce crime, restore trust in law enforcement and improve the strained relationship between officers and civilians, many have begun shifting to more community-oriented operations.

Bottleneckers: Gaming the Government for Power and Private Profit

Issues and Ideas Forum

A “bottlenecker” is someone who uses the power of the government to limit competition in the market and artificially boost their own profits. Bottleneckers use a variety of methods to achieve their goals, including tax loopholes, regulations, occupational licensing requirements, minimum wage laws and many more. The end result when these special interest bottleneckers succeed is fewer choices and higher prices for consumers, fewer job opportunities for workers and less innovation throughout the economy.

Legacy Society Luncheon: The Morality of Capitalism

Please join us as we welcome Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, as guest speaker at the Mackinac Center Legacy Society Annual Luncheon this year. Mr. Bandow will share the moral arguments for free-market principles in his talk, Morality of Capitalism.

Worker’s Choice: Freeing Unions and Workers From Forced Representation

Issues and Ideas Forum

Unionized workers are forced to accept union representation whether they want it or not, even though Michigan is a right-to-work state.  Right-to-work takes away a union’s ability to get a worker fired for not paying them. However with the law unions are still given a monopoly to represent all workers on a job. They must provide representation even to those not paying them. While unions like their monopoly they still complain about what they call “free riders” – those forced to accept their services but not paying for them.  Unions have brought legal challenges in several states claiming right-to-work violates constitutional takings clauses because of this so-called free rider issue.

How Pensions Are Bankrupting Cities and States and How to Fix It

Issues and Ideas Forum

Retiree benefits are a national crisis, but some cities and states have made significant reforms that are saving money and preventing liabilities being pushed off onto future generations. This event will discuss the scope of the problem and what Michigan should be doing to solve it.

"Rich States, Poor States" Presentation – Traverse City, MI

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Mackinac Center for Public Policy have partnered to bring Jonathan Williams, vice president of the Center for State Fiscal Reform at ALEC and co-author of the 9th Edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. Mr. Williams will discuss the policy trends over the years that helped Michigan's economy recover and what needs to be done to keep Michigan moving forward.

Friedman Legacy Day

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Northwood University Forum for Citizenship & Enterprise cordially invite you to join us in celebrating the 10th Annual Milton Friedman Legacy Day.

Planning for Life Workshop – Suttons Bay, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2016 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Planning for Life Workshop – Grand Rapids, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2016 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

The Boundaries of Educational Choice: Surveying Michigan's Private School Landscape

Issues and Ideas Forum

Nonpublic schools serve tens of thousands of Michigan elementary and secondary students, yet a clear understanding of the state's diverse private education landscape has been lacking. While most states (including those on our borders) have enacted some kind of publicly funded choice program, Michigan private schools fight in the Legislature for a small share of funding to cover the state’s health and safety mandates. In order to expand choice, Michigan must overcome a stringent constitution, as well as some popular misconceptions about private schools.

Free Market Solutions to Problems in Health Care

Issues and Ideas Forum

The Affordable Care Act dramatically changed the healthcare market throughout the United States and expanded the control of the federal government over healthcare policies. Despite this fact, there are still reforms that states can make that could expand the access and reduce the cost of medical services. This event will feature several experts who will discuss reforms that Michigan policymakers should consider if they want to improve healthcare services in this state.

Planning for Life Workshop – Detroit, MI

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy announces our 2016 Planning for Life Workshops around Michigan.

Can I Catch a Ride?: Regulating Uber and Lyft in Michigan

Issues and Ideas Forum

Ridesharing is a new service made popular by companies like Lyft and Uber. It relies on smartphones to connect those who need a ride to drivers willing to provide one — a riff on the traditional taxi system. Ridesharing has allowed thousands of Michiganders earn extra income as drivers and save money and time as riders. It currently operates in a legal gray area, because ridesharing drivers are not cabbies or chauffeurs. 

Screening of 'Poverty, Inc.'

Sponsored by Northwood University’s Forum for Citizenship and Enterprise and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.