PRI 3rd Annual California Ideas in Action Conference – Pacific Research Institute

PRI 3rd Annual California Ideas in Action Conference

February 4, 2021
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How Can We Advance a California Free Market Agenda During the Biden Administration?

With President Biden and California native Vice President Harris Kamala Harris just taking office, policy experts discuss how we can advance a free market policy agenda during the new Democratic administration.  They will offer their perspective on how a Biden administration will impact key issues affecting the Golden State.  They will also discuss market-based policy ideas that could achieve bipartisan consensus in 2021 and beyond on key California issues including homelessness, health care, water, school choice, and economic recovery.


Thursday, February 4 and Friday, February 5, 2021
11 am to 2 PM Pacific each day


This year’s conference will be all virtual



What Have We Learned About Health Care Policy During Covid-19?

Health care leaders, policymakers, and patients have learned many lessons during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Americans have benefitted from temporary regulatory relief that expanded access to popular services like telehealth.  Meanwhile, policies like a “public option,” drug price controls and drug importation schemes were debated for the negative impact they would have on America’s health care during a pandemic.

This panel will feature PRI’s health care experts discussing free market health care policy changes that should be made permanent following the pandemic and exploring the latest on the development and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics and future policy implications.  The panel will also discuss why embracing entrepreneurship in health care is key to helping the economic recovery post-pandemic, lowering health care costs, and increasing access to innovative care.



  • Sally Pipes, PRI President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy
  • Wayne Winegarden, PRI senior fellow in business and economics and director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation
  • Henry Miller, PRI senior fellow in health studies

No Way Home

The authors of the soon-to-be-released book on homelessness in California, No Way Home (to be published by Encounter Books, March 2021), give a preview of their book and discuss the potential for progress in reducing homelessness over the next four years.



  • Kerry Jackson, Fellow with PRI’s Center for California Reform
  • Wayne Winegarden, PRI senior fellow in business and economics and director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation
  • Christopher Rufo, PRI Adjunct Fellow

New and Emerging Threats Facing Charter Schools

Despite the success of charter schools, they have come under attack on multiple fronts.  State lawmakers in 2019 and 2020 enacted state laws that handicap the establishment of charter schools and their operation.  Additionally, charter school opponents have used the Covid-19 pandemic to exacerbate funding disparities between charter schools and traditional public schools.  Lance Izumi, author of the new PRI brief, “New and Emerging Threats Facing Charter Schools,” will lead a panel discussing what charter schools parents, students and advocates must do to combat the growing threat from teacher unions, state lawmakers, and a new federal administration hostile to their very existence.



  • Lance Izumi (emcee) [Senior Director of PRI’s Center for Education]
  • State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley
  • Norman Gonzales from John Adams Academy
  • Cameron Curry from Classical Academies

How Can We Turn the Economy Around Following a Global Pandemic?

Policymakers in Sacramento and Washington are focusing on how to turn the economy around, keep businesses afloat, and help people stay employed amidst the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.  This panel will explore efforts to help the economy recover from a state and national perspective.  Elected officials, policy insiders, and free market economists will discuss efforts to retain and create new jobs in California, federal stimulus legislation, and other reforms to reduce costs and economic burdens on employers and employees alike.



  • Wayne Winegarden, PRI senior fellow in business and economics and director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation
  • Chris Edwards, Cato Institute
  • Lance Hastings, California Manufacturers and Technology Association
  • Professor Michael Thom, USC

California’s Water Future: How a Biden Administration Will Change Its Flow

Federal water policy affecting California can best be described as being in turmoil in recent years.  Following a significant shift in federal water policy during the Trump administration, the inauguration of Joe Biden as president promises an equivalent shift in the opposite direction.  Steven Greenhut, author of the recent PRI book Winning the Water Wars, will moderate a panel of water experts and policymakers who will preview the course the Biden Administration will likely chart on California water policy.  They will also highlight potential landmines in the water debate in the months ahead and discuss how free-market ideas like water markets could secure the state’s water future.



  • Steven Greenhut (emcee), R Street Institute and author of PRI book, Winning the Water Wars
  • Former Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway
  • Congressman Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana
  • Brett Barbre, General Manager, Yorba Linda Water District

Keynote Speaker: A Conversation with Congresswoman Young Kim

PRI is pleased to announce that Congresswoman Young Kim will be the keynote speaker for our third annual conference.  She will discuss her legislative priorities and share her thoughts on the key issues in Congress today, in conversation with PRI Senior Director of Communications Tim Anaya.

Highlights from Previous Conferences

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