In session for two days this week, the Georgia General Assembly completed the week on Wednesday, the 30th day of session. With 30 of 40 session days complete, legislators are closing in on the marathon and almost to the finish line of the 2011 session.
Day 29 (March 14): The Capitol was a sea of green today as we welcome the Grand Marshall and other members of the St. Patrick's Day committee from Savannah. At first glance it appeared that we were in for a long day with 23 bills on the calendar. However, one of the things that a legislator learns is that the number of bills does not necessarily dictate the length of a day as much as the subject of the bills.
In the same sense that good fences make for good neighbors, solid, comprehensive ethics and transparency rules help ensure good governance by our elected officials.
With the beginning of daylight-saving time earlier this month and the temperature warming up, I begin to get very excited about the coming of summer.
There is a parade field not far from here where military units pass and review. There is a walkway, about 4 feet wide, around this field. There are trees, at intervals of about 8 feet, on each side of this walkway. One can get chocked up as he walks along looking at the base of each of these trees where there is the name of a warrior who paid the ultimate price.
The military haircut just may be my arch nemesis. While there are things that bother me more about being an Army wife - let's not forget deployments and three-hour waits in a primary-care manager's office - the topic you'll find me grumbling about most often is my husband's hair.
One of the more fiscally irresponsible components of President Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 is the plan to increase surface "transportation" spending by more than 84 percent - from $58 billion to $107 billion - over FY 2010 spending levels.
In a remarkable resurrection, the bill that would allow alcohol sales on Sunday, passed the very body – the state Senate – that had vowed to let it languish in committee. And languish it did for a month before its recovery last week.
Dear Editor: The residents of Bryan County should be concerned about the behind-closed-door policies reminiscent of the city of Savannah policies. We all should be concerned about a landfill proposal on acreage which contains wetlands, streams and backs up to a major contributor "Black Creek" to the Ogeechee River.
Dear Editor: I received the following e-mail from our new Commissioner of Agriculture, Gary Black. If you have ever seen the Georgia Market Bulletin, you know there is no hyperbole in Commissioner Black's praise. This is a very useful resource for Georgia farmers. I do not see a viable substitute to replace the bulletin on the horizon. So I wanted to share the message he sent March 8 to University of Georgia Extension personnel:
There are many stereotypes associated with the Republican Party, one being that all Republicans are old men who wear suits and glasses. Also, women and minorities tend to be looped in the same category as Democrats, just because they appear to be more sympathetic.
There is a 127-page bill, House Bill 385, moving through the Georgia Legislature that would, if passed, shift the tax burden drastically on to the backs of consumers. In its opening paragraphs it states that the purpose of the bill is to "implement the recommendations of the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians." ... At least one member of the committee said the bill doesn't look anything like what they recommended. ...
I called Junior E. Lee, vice president and general manager of Round or Square Polls Inc., a subsidiary of The Yarbrough Multinational Media and Pest Control Co., located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, Ga., to see who he thinks might be running for president in 2012.
After four full days of session, the Georgia General Assembly finished its 28th legislative day Friday. With only 12 days of session left, the Capitol is full of activity as members of the legislature continue with our responsibility of completing the people's work.
Day 25 (March 7): Today was 10th Amendment Day in the Senate as we took up three bills aimed at strengthening the rights of the state of Georgia under federal law. The 10th Amendment says the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution or prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states.
In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically.
My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and less boring than the State of the Union address (Boooo!) and, also, we don't have to endure a bunch of fawning politicians trying to be seen on national television. (Yay! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Editor, Since Georgia's own Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for discriminating against pre-9/11 veterans and later against ending this discrimination, I've penned and sent the following to then-Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013:
It happened the other day. It's funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.
Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I'd given our house a good, thorough "pre-mother-in-law-visit" cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
With major policy decisions on transportation, education, health care and tax reform on the legislative agenda, Georgia should think beyond the traditional approach of spending more money as the solution for every problem. Focusing on ways to enhance economic opportunity and empower individuals beats doubling down on the status quo.
Editor, On behalf of Bryan County Children's Fund, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who helped to support the program this year. We were able to provide Christmas gifts to over 400 disadvantaged children in our county. This would not have been possible without collaboration and assistance from local churches, businesses, schools, social-service agencies and many others. The communitywide response was overwhelming. We are exceptionally thankful to The Good Ol' Boys, who raised funds through the annual Santa Scramble Golf Tournament and to Pembroke Advanced Communication for use of their space ...
Editor, I read Mr. Bruce McCartney's letter to the editor regarding the Wounded Warrior Project. He is totally correct. The project is top-heavy with a greedy group of executives. The top 10 officers have a compensation package from $150,000 to $333,000 a year. The remaining funds are disbursed to over 40 distribution organizations with similar management configurations.
Allen Peake is a man on a mission. The five-term Republican state representative from Macon is the driving force behind proposed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia. He may succeed this year after suffering a setback in 2014 when the House and Senate got into a bit of political brinksmanship at the last minute and failed to pass his bill, which had sailed through the House with only four negative votes.
My parents, according to the world's definition of "cool," were not. Neither drank, nor did either ever possess a credit card. Groceries and clothing were paid for in cash, utilities paid by check, and the only monthly payments they ever allowed themselves were a mortgage for a house, a short-term loan for another farm, and a couple of cars bought, over time, and paid for quickly.
When thinking about the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, one might ask, "What does Congress have against conservation?"
Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: For the past 15 years, I have taken the opportunity at the beginning of the New Year to share some advice - first with your dad and his cousins and now with you, my great-grandson. I hope you don't mind and will bear with me. You probably would rather be playing with your Legos and I understand that but maybe something in this letter might make a difference in your life in years to come. I pray that will be so.
Editor, I've been seeing a lot more commercials for the Wounded Warrior Project on television recently, requesting that I send in my $19 per month.
A few years ago, the magazine I have long loved - Southern Living - changed. Like most Southerners, I have an aversion to change, which is why our traditions have such stranglehold. We never let go.
There's nothing like a good, old-fashioned road trip to ensure that good parenting habits and ground rules are not only broken, but stomped to smithereens and tossed out of a (moving car) window.
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