"If freedom were not so economically efficient it certainly wouldn't stand a chance."
OK, teachers. It is put-up or shut-up time.
When news of former House Speaker Glenn Richardson's alleged affair with a lobbyist broke late last year, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle beat the drum for tougher ethics laws. In fact, you could hardly turn around without hearing a candidate for governor talking about ethics.
States with weak gun laws supply guns to criminals in other states at a rate five times higher than dealers in states with stronger gun laws, according to a Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence analysis of newly released crime gun trace data.
Next week, Georgia's seniors will receive a $250 rebate check from the federal government to pay for some lifesaving medications if they fall within the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the "donut hole." That $250 check is the beginning of the end for the donut hole – and was made possible by the Affordable Care Act.
According to current nuclear industry proposals, over two dozen new nuclear reactors would be constructed in the United States, the vast majority in the Southeast and Texas. President Obama recently offered $8.3 billion worth of taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to two of them in Georgia, which could be the first to be built in the U.S. in nearly four decades.
OK, class. Our word this week is Kakistocracy.
During the six years that I have served in the Georgia state legislature, this past session may have been the most productive yet.
President Barack Obama said at his BP press conference that when he was shaving the other day, his daughter Malia asked him, "Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?"
What a Paine!
It was the mistake heard round the world.
The Georgia Chamber of Commerce was heartened to see our state's significant achievements in education reform recognized earlier this year with a strong finish in the initial round of Race to the Top (RT3) grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. We believe RT3 represents an excellent opportunity to build on Georgia's success, and we commend the state on its submission of a second-round application.
Editor, Thanks a lot for printing most of my letters over the years and withholding the ones that would have gotten me arrested. I am preparing to move north to New York City and will sorely miss all the reasons I chose to write those letters while I lived here. I'm not sure the New York Times is going to print my thoughts, but I'll still send them my ramblings when I feel it is needed.
Liberty County is our home. Just as we take care of the homes we live in with our families, we need to take care of our community. Keep Liberty Beautiful sincerely appreciates the nearly 4,000 volunteers each year who help to make our county cleaner and more attractive through neighborhood projects and area litter cleanups, but those who are interested in going to the next level should consider "adopting" Liberty.
It happened a few months back. My father-in-law celebrated, to our great joy, his 88th birthday. There was no pomp or circumstance involved. He abhors that. Because he is among the most beautifully well-mannered people I have ever encountered, he politely took all the calls though he really wished we would just treat it as another day and leave him alone to watch the news channel.
The state of Georgia's Juvenile Justice System is going to the dogs. And that's a good thing.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and a member of the House's Ways and Means Committee, last week was a busy one for me. We gathered for four days of hearings at Gov. Nathan Deal's office, where the budget was presented. We also listened as state agencies offered input about budget needs and then asked questions regarding which programs worked well or were under- or over-funded.
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!)
Ready to start this new year right?
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.
Editor, In an attempt to somewhat clarify and somewhat respond to the recent letters to the editor, the online opinion poll question in the Coastal Courier and subsequent results of said poll, I want to say that the protests (locally and nationally) are not anti-police, as some have and continue to misinterpret them to be.
Editor, In recent weeks, more than 20 police officers have been killed or wounded by fanatics and/or terrorists on this planet. This would be a great time for Rep. Al Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier, Commissioner Gary Gilliard, Councilwoman Luciria Luckey Lovette, et al., to make a statement of recognition and support for police officers - wherever they serve. This exercise of their rights would go a long way to heal the wound of what was interpreted by many to be anti-police sentiment last month.
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, 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.