Free Societies

Atlas Network partners advance human freedom in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Spain, and the US

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Thanks to the generous support of Atlas Network donors, we are able to provide grant funding to groups around the world that are making a difference in the cause of individual liberty and economic agency. Below are just a few highlights of the work our partners have accomplished in recent months.

Frontier Institute

After expanding their team, thanks to an Atlas Network grant, Montana’s Frontier Institute has made significant progress toward helping their state recover from COVID-19’s economic effects. They put together an eight-point plan, the Montana Recovery Agenda, and introduced it to the state legislature in December 2020. Lawmakers eagerly adopted seven out of eight points, which included repealing certificate of need laws—regulatory systems that allow competitors to veto entrepreneurs seeking to set up new medical facilities or services. Also among the points adopted were permanently expanding telehealth and giving more freedom to doctors to provide low-cost options to customers.

The legislature also passed a budget in line with Frontier Institute’s recommendations, keeping spending in line with inflation and population growth. Governor Gianforte quoted the Montana Recovery Agenda word-for-word in his first executive order, and his office continues to consider Frontier Institute research on how to guide their state out of the downturn.

Atlas Network supported Frontier Institute with a grant.

Human Rights Foundation

The Human Rights Foundation used an Atlas Network grant to improve their Hong Kong desk’s ability to support freedom activists oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Thanks to their added capacity, Human Rights Foundation has prepared an extensive research report on CCP tactics, hosted online discussions on Hong Kong, held an event with Harvard University addressing the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghur people, published two op-eds on Hong Kong in major outlets, and requested that the United Nations Human Rights Council address the National Security Law that violates the rights of people in Hong Kong to an alarming degree.

The Human Rights Foundation’s voice has been so influential that when the U.S. Treasury announced in August 2020 new sanctions on individuals involved in Hong Kong’s oppression, all but three names on the list were those provided by Human Rights Foundation.

Atlas Network supported Human Rights Foundation with a grant.

Center for Economic Accountability

Based in Michigan, Center for Economic Accountability has worked hard over the last several years to shut down and keep shut down a state-subsidized jobs program that spent $50,000 in taxpayer money for each job it created. In 2019, they worked with a nonpartisan coalition to bring “Good Jobs for Michigan” to a dignified and swift end. Big business interests tried to bring it back in late 2020, but Center for Economic Accountability again worked with other organizations to make the case for why it should not be revived.

Earlier this year, lawmakers tried once again to bring back the boondoggle at the request of Governor Whitmer. Center for Economic Accountability is working with Atlas Network partners such as the Mackinac Center and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University to make sure the law and its rebranded iterations do not come back to bite Michiganders in the wallet.

Atlas Network supported this campaign with a grant.

Let Grow, Inc.

As state and local governments continue to overreach in telling parents how to raise their children, Let Grow, Inc. works to advance “Reasonable Childhood Independence” laws to allow what they call “free-range kids.” Aided by an Atlas Network grant, Let Grow has compiled an education package to provide lawmakers with answers to their questions about free-range kids, testimony on why parents need childhood independence laws, and model legislation. Their goal is to return responsibility for raising children to parents rather than bureaucrats and legislators.

Let Grow, Inc. has promoted their model legislation in Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada. Legislatures in Texas and Oklahoma passed similar bills, and legislation made it through the Nevada Senate but not the House. Encouraged by Texas and Oklahoma, Let Grow is continuing to work to advance family-friendly laws across the United States.

Atlas Network supported this initiative with a grant.

Liberalni Forum

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, craftsmen have had to pay burdensome fees and work under tight trade restrictions. These regulations have made it difficult for hard working entrepreneurs to escape poverty and build a better life for themselves. Atlas Network partner Liberalni Forum recognized that craftsmen would benefit greatly from improved regulation and decided to take action.

Liberalni Forum found themselves in the unenviable position of working against public opinion and the parliamentary majority. Legislation containing many of the organization’s recommendations—like cutting membership fees and thus revenue for the Chamber of Crafts governing body, which does not provide services worth the €5 fee—failed the first time it was put to a vote due to lobbying by special interest groups. Liberalni Forum kept working, however, and they were able to help find a compromise solution. The new proposal would make a smaller reduction in the registration fee for craftsmen than was earlier proposed and would ease restrictions on international trade for those entrepreneurs. Their work gained the support of many members of parliament opposed to their earlier proposal, and the new law has since been passed by the national parliament.

In addition to their impressive policy win, Liberalni Forum succeeded in shifting public opinion in favor of more economic agency. Their work on behalf of craftsmen gained the support of a significant portion of the population and changed the minds of the important Democratic Front party in parliament. They reached over a quarter million people thanks to their publicity effort, including on TV, on the internet, and in print media.

Atlas Network supported this project with a grant.

Fundación para el Avance de la Libertad

Public state-run healthcare in Spain is notorious for long waits for service, and this only got worse during the COVID-19 crisis. In the face of the pandemic, Atlas Network’s Spanish partner—Fundacion para el Avance de la Libertad, or Fundalib—recognized the value of private healthcare companies and embarked on a project to reduce regulation and allow a more agile response to the virus. Their “Private Healthcare Saves Lives” campaign saw a number of impressive public policy wins and positively impacted millions of people.

By producing whitepapers and meeting directly with lawmakers, Fundalib helped empower private sector healthcare providers to expand their services and protect and save lives. As a result of their efforts, the government repealed a 21% value added tax (VAT) on private healthcare services, and dropped the VAT on masks to 4%. The government also made it easier for foreign medical professionals to work in Spain, sped up the process for new pharmaceuticals to enter the market, and allowed private healthcare clinics to administer COVID-19 tests.

Atlas Network supported this project with a grant.

Thanks to our generous donors, Atlas Network is able to support these projects and others like them. Please consider donating today, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter for more stories and ways to connect to our partners’ work.