On The Question of Children

It’s always a pleasure to return home, isn’t it?  For me it means less traffic, more stars, back roads, and time with my family.  Additionally, Walton County also has the pleasure of having an active Republican party, chaired by Roy Roberts.  If you have not been to the BBQ that Mr. Roberts hosts annually, then I encourage you to do so this year.  It is one of the biggest Republican events in the state.

On Monday night Mr. Roberts outdid himself yet again by hosting Governor Deal and the Lt. Governor for their regular campaign stop.  Their speeches touted their devotion to business, economic success, and good governance.  H/t to the Lt. Governor for his mention of Invest Georgia, and Deal endeared himself to all in the room when the First Lady corrected him audibly and kindly from the front row in the midst of his speech.

What was the most interesting part of the evening?  The first two questions dealt with autism and the cannabis bill. 

Immediately following session many asserted that the passage of the carry bill vs. the other two dealing with medically necessary treatment and insurance for children would cost Republicans votes from independents and women.  It may cost them more than just that.

For y’all not from here, Walton is arguably one of the reddest counties.  Lots of farmers, blue collar jobs, people who go to church and care about how your mamma’s doing.  So this isn’t a place where handouts are appreciated nor is it a hippie den for smoking dope.  However, it was incredibly striking to me that even among unquestionable conservatives, it was clear that these two leaders had to answer for the General Assembly’s epic leadership fail.

Representative Moore had to answer for his poor legislative choice.  Even the state GOP chastised him for his stance.  Now it seems the conservative base isn’t going to let the Governor nor Lt. Governor off the hook.  Deal said that he is working on something to address each of these issues.  It is presumed he will decriminalize marijuana.  He could not go into detail while holding the mic, but I encourage him to take action quickly.

Georgians have spoken, and strongly in defense of children.  The General Assembly shocked us all in their prioritization of bills that were passed.  No amount of touting business and economic development will make up for undervaluing of children who are truly the least of these.

It’s not so strange if I question conservatives.  It is unique when the base in Walton County does, and moreover when the question pertains to children.

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, an evasion simply muddles ’em.- Harper Lee


  1. Mandi says:

    As a Georgia native and attorney, I believe the Georgia governments’ actions regarding autism insurance coverage is absolutely shameful. Thirty-five other states have passed similar legislation and the CDC released today that 1 in 68 American children are on the autism spectrum. I do not think our fine state needs to be bringing up the rear in this important issue that serves no one but our most fragile and innocent citizens. This is an absolute epidemic that we can mitigate the impact of with access to early treatment that has proven results. Earlier and more accessible treatment is essential to helping these children become functioning members of our state. Insurance coverage is essential for families to be able to afford these therapies and treatments. It is abhorrent that Georgia citizens are having to move to other states, including our neighbor – South Carolina, to get the appropriate insurance coverage to provide treatment for their autistic children.

  2. divemdeb says:

    As a grandparent raising three grandchildren, I beg you to approve Ava’s Law. As an educator for thirteen years I can’t express how important it is to catch and treat autism at an early age. You claim it’s because of money but what you don’t understand is that my grandson is collecting SSI benefits. If he were treated, he wouldn’t qualify any more. Not to mention the morality of leaving a child in the dark when you know that there is a cure. Please pass this law. Show us that you aren’t afraid of the big insurance companies.

  3. erin says:

    I cannot believe that I am essentially begging lawmakers to make insurers stop discriminating against my autistic child. I cannot believe that therapy, diagnostic tools, and other medically necessary interventions that are recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics and The National Research Council ( see the CDC’s website) are basically being denied to my child because of where I live. I also cannot believe that even though possibly 1/3 of all individuals with autism have a comorbid seizure disorder, my child cannot receive insurance coverage to be tested and therefore cannot receive medicine such as medical marijuana to reduce their suffering. I cannot believe that both of these bills were used as a political tool on a lawmaker’s agenda. I cannot believe that children were allowed to be pawns.
    What I CAN believe is that there are families, doctors, therapists, businesses, and average citizens who will NEVER give up on the children of Georgia. We will continue to fight the “right” fight.

  4. Lea Thrace says:

    On the autism bill: I saw the death of the bill the minute it was proposed. Why? Because the very same lawmakers for it had already painted themselves into a corner the year before. You cannot rail against insurance mandates in the ACA and then propose one the following year. It’s just not going to work. Especially since your opponents will use it against you very creatively in the future. This is what speaking in political absolutes gets you folks.

  5. LorieW says:

    As a parent and sibling of autistic individuals, I was firmly against the autism bill because it was NOT an autism bill. We have an autism mandate. This was an ABA bill that gutted the mandate by capping the age to 6 and paying for a treatment that is not consistently effective. Taking away existing coverage to pay for the few is wrong. To use Autism Speaks fear mongering is wrong. The 1 in 68 is so subjective since it was small scale and average and most children weren’t diagnosed until they were over 4. To cut off existing coverage to children 7+ is just plain evil.

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