This is an opinion.
Georgia’s legislators are passing legislation this year essentially making it a criminal act to give water to someone forced to wait in line to vote in the heat of summer.
But with all the things I believe legislators are doing wrong in the current session of the Georgia General Assembly, I’d like to touch on a few things I think they’re getting right — or at least are correct in considering for approval:
• One bill designed to be an incentive for more adoptions would increase the state tax credit to foster parents.
The bill would boost the annual tax credit for new foster parents from $2,000 to $6,000 for the first five years after adoption, then drop back to $2,000 per year before ending when the foster child turns 18, according to Capitol Beat News Service.
About 11,000 children are in foster care in Georgia, which is down from 15,000 in March 2018.
The bill passed both houses of the General Assembly and went to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. Foster care is one of Kemp’s legislative priorities this year.
Related bills would lower the minimum age from 25 to 21 for adults seeking to be foster parents, and another requiring more training for juvenile court officers and more reporting on child abuse connected to abandonment, neglect or drug use.
• In the waning days of the 2021 session, which was supposed to end today, March 31, legislators were working to take bills that appeared not to have a chance at passage and attach them to other bills to gain approval.
One of those was directed at the practice of freely giving tax breaks to companies that don’t pay off in the jobs they promise.
A bill from Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, is the culmination of years of efforts of trying to figure out if we’re getting what we pay for.
It would create committees to study Georgia’s tax and revenue structure and if this state should be so free in giving tax credits to potential employers.
Every governor’s announcement of a new company always includes the number of new jobs this or that company will create by opening or moving to Georgia.
However, it’s not usually mentioned what kind or amount of tax break was given to lure them to Georgia rather than South Carolina or Tennessee.
It also is not usually publicized about how many new jobs were created once they opened, or how many they ultimately created after being given the tax break.
A similar review the state undertook at the beginning of the last decade led to tax reforms that eliminated Georgia’s “birthday” tax on motor vehicles, phased out the state sales tax on energy used in manufacturing and expanded an income tax exemption for married couples filing jointly, according to our friends at the Capitol Beat News Service.
• Another bill would create a new driver’s education course on how to interact with police officers during traffic stops.
It would require school and driver-training courses in Georgia to include recommendations on how drivers should act if a police officer pulls them over.
It also would include instruction on the consequences for defying officers’ orders as well as when police have the authority to request a driver’s license, make arrests and use force.
I think the more education motorists have, the better, in this day and age.
Yes, there have been and will continue to be some abusive officers. They are humans, not robots.
But many officers are confronted with unreasonably angry motorists who do all the wrong things when they don’t believe they should have been stopped, even when the officer had every legal right to do so.
Sen. Randy Robertson, R-Cataula, is the sponsor and a former law enforcement officer. State Rep. Martin Momtahan, R-Dallas, who owns a driver training school, said it is information that drivers need to know when they must interact with law enforcement out on the road.
• Finally, a bridge over the Port of Savannah will be named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who was a major proponent of the Savannah port project that will make Georgia among the nation’s leading locations for imported goods.
The bridge crosses over the Mason Mega Rail Yard. Isakson worked throughout his congressional career to secure federal funding and support for the Rail Yard that will allow the port to ship goods to cities in the nation’s Mid-South and Midwest regions.
Tom Spigolon is news editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.