Sunday, April 8, 2007

Seven Days to Go

With seven days to go before sine die, the Georgia Legislature has accomplished very little so far this session. In fact, in the face of the Republican leadership's preoccupation with guns, booze, and corporate entitlements, success for Georgia families is best measured by the bills we have managed to kill or, at least, to stall. The GOP makes much of their commitment to 'family values,' but with friends like these, Georgia families need no enemies.

Saying no, however narrowly, to the payday lending industry is the biggest victory so far for Georgia consumers. For the moment, our trees are safe from billboards, and employers will be able to insist that their employees not bring guns on their property. Of course, if the NRA has their way, that will change.

Thanks in part to the alliance of the religious right and package stores, Georgians will not get to vote on Sunday sales of alcohol. Depending on what the happens in the House, we may, however, have the opportunity to vote on the Governor's completely unnecessary Hope Chest amendment. For the most part, the rest of the Governor's agenda has gone fishin'.

Glenn Richardson's House fashioned an unnecessary-or at least very premature-fix for PeachCare, but it is possible that on the Senate side, Lt. Gov. Cagle is set to embarrass his potential rival for the GOP nod for Governor in 2010 by cutting the pork in the budget and helping the kids. Whatever the motive, if he fixes Glenn's mess, Georgia children will benefit, and that's a good thing. On the House side, Glenn has the opportunity side with property owners and kill the controversial sweetheart of a bill for Colonial Pipeline, but don't hold your breath.

Gridlock is a condition that normally infects bipartisan bodies, but in Georgia, Republicans put on the rack by opposing forces of their base, have become quite adept at doing nothing. Given some of the bills that are pending, we may all be better off if the trend continues.

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