Monday, March 26, 2007

What's Really Important

Tomorrow is the day when we find out what's really important to Georgia's Republican leadership. Tomorrow is crossover day, and any legislation that has not cleared at least one of the two chambers is dead for the session. Today, we learned from Tom Crawford and the folks at Capitol Impact that the Sunday alcohol sales bill will not see the light of day in the senate, so it's dead for this year. Trust me, based on what the House plans to vote on, we will all want to drink.

Will the Workplace Violence is Cool bill get to a vote? Maybe, even though some key GOP members like John Douglas have pulled their support. The Take Advantage of the Working Poor bill (payday lending)that failed in the House last week will be presented again for another vote, and that will have to happen on Tuesday. Republicans are shying away from the legislation because of the gut-punch served up by various media outlets. The AJC, for example, pointed out that this legislation is so important that not a single Georgian showed up to testify in favor of its passage. That's impressive. I think Republicans are holding on this, so the question is, will the Payday lending industry manage to secure enough Democratic support to get the bill through? Maybe. How embarrassing.

How about the Governor's two favored constitutional amendments, his infamous 'Hope Chest' amendment and the other poorly disguised effort to open the door wide for school vouchers? I doubt it, but maybe.

One thing that I know will happen tomorrow is that HB 340, Glenn Richardson's effort to whittle away at PeachCare will make it to a vote in the House. This bill reminds me of our invasion of Iraq. It's something that Richardson's always wanted to do, and now he is manufacturing an excuse to do it. Long term, the impact of his legislation could be just about as devastating to working families in Georgia. As many as 20,000 children who are currently on the PeachCare rolls would not have been eligible under the standards Richardson proposes. This is a bad bill and an unnecessary bill that seeks to solve a problem that does not exist. (See, I told you it reminded me of Iraq.) Watch tomorrow while Republicans show us exactly what's important to them. Hint: it's not Georgia families.

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