If you happen to be in the minority and can name both your state representative and state senator, congratulations.
For everyone else that is proud that Johnny Isakson is their state senator and Austin Scott their new state representative - stay tuned.
A recent article in this newspaper decried the lack of ethics in Atlanta and the goings on under the Gold Dome. Such activities, which date back to the days of the Henry Grady Hotel, are nothing new and can flourish only when the citizens choose to remain in the dark. Note that I said citizens, rather than voters, because once again in most elections the number of registered voters who cast ballots is outnumbered by those who don't. Citizen apathy can create a climate by which some might assume that nobody is looking.
For those who want to solve the riddle of the Newton County delegation, there is good news: Technology and the Internet have made this information only a few clicks away. The Georgia General Assembly has an excellent website that can be your gateway to not only finding your elected officials, but you can find and track legislation or watch the daily sessions live via streaming video.
How to Find Your Legislator: Go to www.legis.state.ga.us and click on the "Find Your Legislator" link, which opens a page whereby simply imputing your address will open up info on both the state and federal elected officials. For instance, Newton County is represented by three different state representatives and one state senator, so the address info is key. The page even has links to each of these officials, which will provide additional contact info.
Finding Legislation: So you heard from someone that there was a bill to increase DUI penalties if a child was in the car? You can go to the same website and click on the legislation tab. Click on "search" and then enter a few keywords such as DUI, etc and all bills introduced will appear. You can then click on the bill and the full text of the legislation and its status will be available for viewing or downloading.
Watching Live: If you are a real political junkie, consider watching the live streaming video that is available from the same website. You can watch either or both chambers live or a nightly recap from GPTV's "Lawmakers" show, which airs every night the General Assembly is in session. The legislature typically goes into session at 10 a.m. and its session will vary by the length of their daily calendar.
Practice becoming acquainted this week. Three of four members of the Newton County delegation are new.
Next time, let's talk about communicating effectively. Until then, please don't be calling Atlanta to ask your state senator to vote for or against the healthcare reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
Jim Tudor lives in Newborn. he can be reached at email@example.com.