The Georgia General Assembly was not officially in session last week; however, work still took place on behalf of the people. With only three days remaining of the 2011 legislative session, several items still are on the agenda. The No. 1 priority is the passage of the upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2012. In addition to the budget, numerous other highly publicized and debated issues have yet to pass this session, including tax-reform legislation, the local option for Sunday sales of packaged adult beverages and immigration legislation.
Celebrating "Georgia Cities Week" is an annual event that recognizes the importance of and contributions by local government to its citizens. Cities throughout the state will celebrate during the week of April 17-23, and Richmond Hill is no exception.
A couple years ago, officials in Georgia thwarted an alleged plot by a group of third-grade special-education students to kill their teacher. According to the story, various versions of which were published by news outlets and websites across the state, administrators at Waycross' Center Elementary School learned of the plan when a student told authorities about it.
This week I got several e-mails from various associations encouraging me to become a vegetarian ... to swear off meat. I didn't read too far into any of them because it ain't gonna happen. And besides, I was taught not to swear.
The glaring exception in Georgia's lobbyist disclosure requirements is not the kind of thing for which any state should want to be singled out. Yet Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government at the National Conference of State Legislatures, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she knows of no other state where that exception applies.
Much has happened since the Georgia Board of Education unanimously adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Both a new governor and new state school superintendent have come on board, and we will receive a $400 million Race to the Top grant to help improve our public schools.
Buried beneath all of the political ploys and nearly 14 trillion dollars of debt are members of the United States military and their families, all deeply concerned for their futures.
Just hearing the words "dependent exemption," "itemized deductions" and "tax credit phase out" makes most of us want to run screaming to our friendly CPA for help. As policy collides with politics in the tax debate, these concepts have moved to center stage.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare, was signed into law March 23, 2010. More than one year later, the law remains unpopular with the public and a core fiscal concern for many voters, while many are learning just how intrusive the government mandates are.
Let's dip into the mailbag today, boys and girls, and see what is on the minds of discerning readers.
The 2011 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly is close to the finish line, with only three days of session remaining.
Day 34 (March 28): This morning I found myself right back where I left off the week before, in front of the House Judiciary Committee where I was presenting S.B. 36, the prescription drug monitoring bill. This is one of the toughest committees in the legislature and, while they have made major revisions to my bill, I am glad that it passes out and will now be in the House Rules Committee.
Dear Editor: An afternoon tea party – just what every girl loves. You wear fancy dresses, pretty hats, lavish jewelry, extravagant shoes … oh, and of course don't forget the tea. This is what you will take pleasure in at the Pearls and Purses Afternoon Tea Party benefiting the Richmond Hill YMCA's Priceless Gifts Campaign from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Richmond Hill City Center.
With the arrival of April, I am looking forward to the beginning of the baseball season – not a phrase I thought I would find myself saying before I moved to America.
There's nothing like a good ol' tire blowout to remind you why you're happy you live in the South. Thursday, on my way to class, I heard the all-too-familiar sound of a flat tire thump-thump-thumping away over the oldies station playing through my car speakers.
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.
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