Remember "The Rat" - a giant Godzilla-like creature that stalked the Georgia TV-scape nearly 10 years ago? The monster - a guy in a rat suit - starred in the darnedest political commercial Georgia had ever seen. The rat gobbled up everything in sight. He even ate the Capitol. The year was 2002.
Georgia Democrats were aghast. Depicting Georgia's then governor, Roy E. Barnes, as a marauding rodent seemed, well, somehow disrespectful. Perhaps it was, but it worked. Sonny Perdue won the governor's mansion and led the first Republican takeover of Georgia government since the end of Reconstruction.
The General Assembly is taking some heat in the media this year for having one of its least productive sessions ever, in terms of addressing issues that really affect the lives of Georgians. Legislators still have one last shot at redeeming themselves in the closing days, however.
As last week came to a close, there was actually some progress made on two of those vital issues: the state's traffic congestion dilemma and the upgrading of Georgia's woeful network of trauma care facilities.
April 01, 2009|
By Tom Crawford
Last Friday one of our local icons of science education, a fellow by the name of Jim Honeycutt, dropped in on classes at Eastside High School. Jim's columns on astronomy occasionally grace the pages of this paper, as he follows a – no pun intended – stellar career in the public schools by teaching astronomy at Oxford College of Emory University.
Georgia's lawmakers have always been willing to approve tax breaks for the state's business leaders and special interests, but they have really stepped on the gas since Republicans took control of the House and Senate four years ago.
In that first year of Republican control, legislators passed a huge break for corporations: a bill that would give them tax reductions totaling nearly $1 billion over a 10-year period.
March 25, 2009|
By Tom Crawford
A parent's worst nightmare came out of Africa last week with the news that a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, Cathrine "Kate" Puzey, had been murdered. Formerly of Cumming, Kate received a sociology degree from William and Mary in 2006, joined the Peace Corps and had been teaching English in a small village in Benin since July 2007. Her two-year hitch in West Africa was almost up.
Last week saw our first crescendo of legislating, as we passed the crossover mark of the session. We worked through 112 bills and resolutions. For the next few weeks, we'll be reviewing bills sent over from the Senate as we approach the end of the session.
A number of the measures we considered are worth mention. HB 23 would prohibit provisional driver's license holders under 18 from using cell phones and similar electronic communications devices. Young drivers generally don't have sufficiently solid driving skills to handle a car at the same time as talking on a phone ...
March 20, 2009|
By Doug Holt
The legislature reached a significant landmark in the 2009 session on March 12, which was the 30th legislative day. That means that it was the turning point for all Senate legislation to be passed and transferred to the House in order to continue through the legislative process. Likewise, members of the House of Representatives worked diligently to send their legislation to the Senate for a chance at final passage. Several important pieces of legislation were voted on this week, but perhaps most significant was the FY 2009 supplemental budget.
Thanks to a cooperative spirit between both the Senate and House ...
March 18, 2009|
By Sen. John Douglas
Why is it the older you get the more you begin to notice things you really never paid much attention to before? Simple things. Quiet things. Natural things.
It's been that way for me, for instance, with flowers. When I was growing up in Moreland, my Aunt Jessie's yard was the flower capital of the county. People drove from as far away as Grantville, Corinth and Smith City to gaze at the color show Aunt Jessie's yard put on each spring.
There is less than a month to go before the legislative session adjourns and our lawmakers don't appear to be any closer than they were last year at this time to resolving the state's highway congestion issues.