Wisconsin Policy Research Institute

Upcoming Events

WPRI Annual Dinner

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Guest Speaker J.D. Vance

J.D. Vance is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.”
For more information and to register, click here.

What's New From WPRI

Mike Nichols' testimony on professional licensure

On April 6, 2017, WPRI President Mike Nichols testified in Madison before the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing & State-Federal Relations. 

Nichols appeared with Krissy Hudack, a salon owner from northern Wisconsin who says the state's licensure system makes it tough for small businesses like hers. Hudack was among the people whom WPRI profiled in its April report "Government's Love for Licensure."

Nichols said in his testimony: "Yes, sometimes the government is needed to safeguard the citizens to whom it belongs. But far too often, according to our authors, there appears to be another motive. Simply put, the authors believe that the steady increase in professional licensing is being driven by both the well-intended but excessive growth of government and a desire to protect incumbents from competition."

Read a transcript of Nichols' presentation

Videos of "Unlocking Potential" event

On Feb. 14, 2017, WPRI hosted a forum titled "Unlocking Potential" that drew more than 100 participants representing law enforcement, the judiciary, the Legislature, business, community groups and faith leaders. The event at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee featured Hope for Prisoners founder and CEO Jon Ponder, Woodson Center President Bob Woodson, representatives of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

The discussion focused on how ex-inmates, with help from one of their own and the same cops who once pursued them, can find a way back to their families and jobs. 

► Watch full video of the event here.
► Watch Jon Ponder's presentation here.
► Watch Bob Woodson's presentation here.
► Watch LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo's presentation here.
► Watch retired LVMPD Lt. Chris Petko's presentation here.
► Watch Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch's presentation here.
► Watch the Q&A session here.
► Read WPRI's "Unlocking Potential" report, which includes an in-depth profile of Hope for Prisoners, here.

 The federalization of Wisconsin DPI

WPRI President Mike Nichols and Dan Benson, editor of WPRI's Project for 21st Century Federalism, gave a presentation on Jan. 24, 2017, to the Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations in Madison. Read a transcript of their presentation.

Story on the federalization of state Department of Public Instruction.
Story on the bureaucratic 'skim' of federal school funding.
Press release on the project.


Unlocking Potential
WPRI Special Report highlights strategy for reducing recidivism through investment in work, training and re-entry programs, and encourages the use of social impact bonds.
Wisconsin's historical policy dilemma on corrections
The state can't afford status quo
Re-entry program offers Hope for Prisoners
Alma Center: Breaking the cycle of abuse
MATC program puts offenders on career path

Private industry, prisons team up
Skilled trades program offers a second chance
Social impact bonds: A new way forward

 Watch Mike Nichols on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" discussing the need for corrections reform.

Wisconsin Interest - Fall 2016
The racist roots of UW progressives
MPS turnaround plan was doomed from the start
New federal housing rule is 'social engineering'
Rebecca Bradley is out to prove voters got it right
Time for toll roads in Wisconsin?
Beyond the riots: What Milwaukee can do
Ex-inmates need more than shoestrings



Putting the Squeeze on Consumers:
Real-World Impacts of Wisconsin's

Minimum Markup Law
WPRI takes an in-depth look at how Wisconsin's Depression-era minimum markup law affects consumers and businesses every day.
Mike Nichols discusses the law on Radio 620 WTMJ's "Midday with Charlie Sykes." Listen to it here.
Nichols op-ed: Minimum markup isn't the American way








WPRI Media Mentions

Poole: Wisconsin should act now on interstate tolling

Journal Sentinel: April 17, 2017


A new approach for occupational licensing in Wisconsin

Sheboygan Press: April 7, 2017


Can Milwaukee be considered a 'donor' city?

Sheboygan Press: March 31, 2017

Federal grant funding obscures how government is funded, diffuses accountability
Sunshine Week website: March 14, 2017


Nichols, Brannon: Help kids succeed before they get to college

Journal Sentinel: March 5, 2017

Hanson: EITC expansion will help Wisconsin's low- and middle-income workers

Journal Sentinel: February 23, 2017

Nichols: Rebuilding lives and the economy

Journal Sentinel: February 12, 2017


How a law designed to promote fairness is hiking gas prices in Wisconsin

The Daily Signal: February 9, 2017


Federalism is a watchword in new year

Rhinelander Daily News: February 2, 2017


Republicans urge Congress to cut back federal mandates

Minneapolis Star Tribune: January 24, 2017


New state Assembly committee looking at ways to take more control from federal government

Kenosha News: January 24, 2017


Alma Center addresses root causes of domestic violence

Journal Sentinel: December 18, 2016


Mike Nichols on corrections reform

"UpFront with Mike Gousha": December 11, 2016


Brannon: How to fix America's colleges
Journal Sentinel: November 26, 2016

Benson: Governing local is governing best
Journal Sentinel: November 13, 2016

Real Clear Policy: November 15, 2016

Franzen: Wisconsin GOP legislators should govern as true conservatives

Journal Sentinel: November 13, 2016

Experts assess college affordability proposals

Wausau Daily Herald: October 25, 2016

Congressman requests information from HUD regarding audits of St. Croix tribe

Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 28, 2016

Report suggests reimagined UW campus

Journal Sentinel:  September 29, 2016

Does lack of transparency encourage misuse of funds?

Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 2016

St. Croix Chippewa tribe officials misuse federal funds, audit shows, while poverty persists

Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 2016

Woodson: Take steps toward progress: responsibility, introspection
Journal Sentinel: August 21, 2016

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