Sine Die Open Thread

March 20, 2014 16:00 pm

by Charlie · 18 comments

Consider this an Open Thread to the extent that you can discuss today’s General Assembly matters (and those only, please take any other items to today’s Morning Reads if you wish to bring something else to our readers’ attention.

Bills still to be resolved:

1) Gun Bill

2) Medical Marijuana

3) Autism coverage for insurance (currently grouped with Med Marijuana bill)

4) Education Title Cleanup (Charter School language at issue, see post below)

5) Drug testing for Foodstamps and Welfare recipients

And a host of others.

Note the budget is on the Governor’s desk.  They can adjourn at any time the tempers or the clocks demand, whichever comes first.

George Chidi March 20, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Here I sit beneath a seersucker suited portrait of Lester Maddox in the capitol, with observations at halftime.

Senator Jason Carter borrowed the gavel today, standing in as acting senate president for a vote. A member in the back stood for a point of parliamentary inquiry: does this mean we have to call you President Carter right now? Laughter. The vote passed unanimously.

The gun bill, which would allow people to bring guns into bars and churches, appears to be absorbing most of the attention of people around me. Sound suppressors for hunting rifles appears to remain on the table. The gun bill has been amended and sent back to rules. No one’s quite sure what’s in it.

Rep. Alicia Thomas Morgan took to the well for a half an hour to, among other things, defend Common Core and the federal Department of Education. Some observers could be heard grumbling about the length of what might be described as a campaign speech on a day when every second is going to matter as midnight approaches. Morgan is a Democratic candidate for school superintendent.

DeKalb County CEO and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed both walked the lobby today. Each executive has interests at stake. May’s here to make sure city incorporation language doesn’t find itself inserted somewhere. Reed’s lobbyist, I am told, had been asking for a vote on a city of South Fulton to be delayed to sometime early next year. I should have chased Reed down in a hallway myself to ask him, but I considered the possibility he would remember me from my days as an Occupy Atlanta activist and call a cop.

(It wouldn’t be the first time someone’s done that while I was after a comment. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time someone’s done that this year; talk to your school board candidates in DeKalb if you want details.)

Legislation meant to allow small cities (like mine) to hold only one week of early voting instead of three hit a technical snag earlier today. An inartful amendment to the bill changed the language to allow cities to eliminate early voting entirely. The house will, hopefully, fix the problem, or kill the bill outright.

Debbie Dooley is on an iconoclastic warpath today, venting her ire at “Chamber Republican Legislators” over HB 714 and HB 1027, which eliminates the right to in person unemployment hearings. “It .. takes unemployment away from school bus drivers, custodians, some Charter school teachers, lunch room workers, etc. for the three months they are laid off during the summer. They don’t receive prorated pay.” Yes … the leader of the Tea Party Patriots in Georgia is defending minimum-wage level school bus drivers from having their benefits slashed.

She’s also hot — and rightfully so — about the $17 million parking deck we’re about to pay for that will be used by the Georgia World Congress Center as a Falcons’ lot, and a $100 million annual subsidy for Delta on fuel sales that the legislature won’t strip out of the budget. Notably, she’s touting a primary candidate running against David Ralston — a Gilmer County wrestling coach with lots of state championships. Shades of Alpha House, the Amazon.com television series about politics there.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Good observations, Mr. Chidi.

…And give ‘em hell, Ms. Dooley!

xdog March 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for the report.

Michael Silver March 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Say hi to the gun-nuts. You’ll be surprised that alot of them are PeachPundit readers and commenters.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 20, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Admitted “gun-nut” right here…though I prefer the term “Second Amendment rights advocate”.

…Gun rights are civil rights.

Blake March 21, 2014 at 10:58 am

I can’t think of anything less surprising.

Will Durant March 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

At Lester’s estate sale there was a framed black & white 8X10 of Lester and Hosea picturing both in overalls and their arms around each other. It was autographed by Hosea to Lester as “The most honest Governor Georgia ever had.” That can be taken many different ways obviously but one thing is certain, he retired and died as the poorest one in recent decades.

I’m going to have to go with Debbie on this one. Do we really want temps driving school buses? That will be the end result of this legislation.

I’ve said it before but having been brought up with a nest of long guns behind the back porch door for shooting vermin an’ sech. I was taught that above all, guns and likker’ don’t mix.

Jon Richards March 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Senator Josh McKoon added the language of the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act to House Bills 714 and 1027. When HB 714 came up in the Senate and McKoon had the opportunity to speak for his amendment, he withdrew it, citing a letter that was placed on Senators’ desks.

The letter was from Hala Moddelmog, President and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. You can view it here.

Representatives of the LGBT and business communities had expressed concern about the bill when it was introduced late last month. Senator McKoon has expressed his intent to work with these groups over the remainder of the year, and then reintroduce the bill in 2015.

saltycracker March 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Delta spent $250 million getting a refinery near Philly up to speed (a brilliant move to control fuel costs) and $1.4 billion is being spent upgrading their terminal at JFK (another good move for international markets)…. that $100 mil per year from Ga is making a difference somewhere……where is our quid pro quo on the gift ?

All this legislation is busy work to avoid what would put Georgia on the fast track: a complete overhaul of its’ tax code and a serious addressing of its’ public infrastructure.

View from Brookhaven March 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

“……where is our quid pro quo on the gift ?”

IIRC, Deal and some other get complimentary Diamond Medallion status.

If you asked nicely, I bet he’s got some expired drink coupons in his desk somewhere that you could have.

saltycracker March 20, 2014 at 8:57 pm

:)

Will Durant March 20, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Delta forgot to dance with the one what brung ‘em 2 or 3 CEOs back. They no longer have any interest in being good corporate citizens in Georgia and instead act like the little rich kid who constantly reminds you that not only is it his bat and ball, but his whole damn field.

saltycracker March 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Delta is not the bad one here but the smarter one.
They have one sharp CEO in Anderson. Politicians working with lobbyists to pass out our money to the cheers of CofC’s are no match for the CEO’s.
The answer is in a simple tax code but that is not what law makers do. They are lost in the ego of being “invited” to the party.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

“All this legislation is busy work to avoid what would put Georgia on the fast track: a complete overhaul of its’ tax code and a serious addressing of its’ public infrastructure.”

…Excellent observation…Well said, salty.

Baker March 21, 2014 at 12:22 am

Can anybody give me some context or background on Renee Unterman and the “snorting pot” comment? What in the world was that? Is it somehow worse to snort it? How was that part of the medical marijuana discussion? Kids with cancer and leukemia are going to be snorting pot? I’m confused.

Doctor Strangelove March 21, 2014 at 1:39 am

I think Senator Unterman is unfamiliar with cannabis.

Baker March 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

Yeah I think that is a safe assumption.

TPNoGa March 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Just want to say that as a staunch Republican, I am embarrassed by the State Legislature. However, I am very proud of my State Senator Fran Millar, he really fights for his constituents.

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