It has attracted much less attention than other high-profile elements of the N.C. state budget plan, but one provision could have major long-term positive benefits for taxpayers and for public education. The provision creates a Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, explains how that task force could play an important role. When people lobby government to create a new occupational license for their profession, they usually claim to be looking out for their customers’ best interests. In most cases, they actually hope to limit entry into their profession. That change protects existing businesses from competition. That’s the contention of a book titled Bottleneckers, co-authored by Dick Carpenter, director of strategic research at the Institute for Justice. Carpenter explains how bottleneckers can help limit innovation and increase prices for consumers. North Carolina moved its 2016 presidential primary election forward from May to March. The goal was to increase the Tar Heel State’s impact on the presidential race. Now, legislation could make that change permanent for future elections. You’ll hear highlights from a recent debate about the pros and cons of March primaries. Amid partisan fights on Jones Street, N.C. lawmakers have reached bipartisan agreement on some issues. Among them is an effort to improve relationships between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. During a recent news conference, legislators from both sides of the political aisle highlighted bills that address that goal. A new report from the N.C. Hospital Association and Research Triangle Institute appears to suggest that the North Carolina economy benefits when people get sick. Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation senior economist, labels this an “outrageous implication.” Cordato questions the economic analysis used in assembling the report.