The Senate returned to session last week with all eyes and ears on the first bills and resolutions of the session. Most notable were bills on transportation, zero-based budgeting and tougher restrictions for metal theft crimes. However, the two major issues on everyone's mind were the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant (HTRG) funding and capping property taxes.
Anyone who thought Democrats and Republicans in Washington would join hands and skip into the sunset together on the Yellow Brick Road must have been dreaming.
This first person account of Barack Obama's presidential inauguration was delayed when I got caught up in the crowd of an estimated 2 million people trying to leave Washington, D.C., at the same time. Thanks to the overtaxed metro system, it took me nearly six hours to make the 18-minute trip back to Arlington, Va., where I was staying.
From what I read in this and other newspapers around the world is that everybody's broke or are going to be soon.
The news out of Atlanta in recent weeks has been how the state is going to deal with a shortfall in the current budget year. Lawmakers are there trying to figure that out now. State law prohibits deficit spending, so our represenatives are trying to figure out what to do. The question is why does the state have a $2 billion deficit?"
On Jan. 12, the 150th legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly was gaveled open as members of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate were sworn in for our legislative duties. This process repeats itself every two years following the elections, and the winners of the 180 districts in the House and 56 districts in the Senate are seated to serve their district and state.
If you believe President Obama inherited a truckload of problems from George W. Bush, consider what the next Georgia governor faces.
As the 2009 Legislative Session convenes, we are addressing issues that are being discussed around kitchen tables throughout the state. As Georgians in every corner of our state closely watch their bottom lines during this economic downturn, it will also be a tough session for lawmakers.
It's getting to the point where every time I watch The View, I have to take a tranquilizer and lie down to keep my head from imploding or exploding or just unscrewing and rolling across the floor.
If we are to continue Georgia's growth and prosperity, we must solve our transportation issues for the entire state. Adding a lane along a busy interstate, extending a rail line by a couple of miles or simply allowing Metro Atlanta to tax itself won't solve our problems.
At least the word "trillion" still has cachet as denoting a lot of money. "Billion" has been surpassed during the past few months, and "million" has long been positively quaint.
In the spring of 1972, the plaintiffs in Acree v. Richmond County Board of Education petitioned the federal court to find the board of education in contempt for not complying with the desegregation orders of Federal District Judge Alexander Lawrence. The contempt motion was assigned to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Griffin B. Bell.
Breaking out of the recession in Georgia may be even more difficult than many experts think. One reason: The federal government and the Georgia Gold Dome appear to be pulling in opposite directions on several fronts to warm up the economy.
How sour is the public mood? An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found about half of people believe 2008 was one of the worst years in American history. At times, Abraham Lincoln's lament has seemed apt, "We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read."
Well thank goodness some thing's never change.
Georgia has one of the more popular K-12 tuition tax-credit programs in America, which is funded by the private contributions of approximately 18,000 individual taxpayers and 200 corporate taxpayers, who receive a state income-tax credit for their contributions.
Editor, It was so pathetic to see my elected officials sprawled on the sidewalk in front of the historic courthouse in the photo published in Sunday's Courier.
I know we are all rushing around right now for the holidays with parties, shopping, tree lightings, shopping, church, etc., etc., etc.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about moonshine runner turned stock-car champion, Lloyd Seay, who was murdered in a dispute over sugar purchased to make illegal whiskey.
Editor, Common Core has curriculum mandates plus tests. The reason that this educational system is designed this way is so that special-interest groups can mine data from Common Core. Common Core is, in reality, a system of data classification. The tests enable our children's data be turned over to private organizations. No one oversees these companies nor does anyone - especially the government - know how this information will be used. Actually, this information will be accessible to the federal government. Now, Big Brother will be watching our children's progress throughout his or her school years.
You may recall that I vigorously opposed passage of a constitutional amendment in 2012 creating the State Charter School Commission that would allow an alternative method for authorizing charter schools in Georgia. You may recall, also, that the amendment passed handily. So much for my vigor.
In a recent speech at the National Press Club, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, explained that improving economic opportunities for middle-class Americans is the key issue on which Democrats and Republicans should be focusing leading up to the 2016 presidential election and beyond.
Editor, Stop the presses and call Walter Cronkite - these stats just in:
There are few who cannot say truthfully that they miss their parents after death has laid claim to those loved ones. The parents who taught us, scolded us and, at times, annoyed us are never forgotten, never put away on a shelf to be remembered no more.
This "Santa Claus is coming soon, so you better be good" thing is working out great for me so far.
'Tis the holiday season, and Christmas is rushing across the calendar like a runaway freight train. It is a time when families and cherished friends gather around the hearth to drink in all the good cheer. It's a time of peace on Earth and good will toward men. And yet, Christmas has a sinister side - one we often exile to the extreme depths of our consciousness. I'm referring, of course, to home break-ins, thefts and frauds.
It has been another record year for Liberty County's annual Rivers Alive events, held annually in October and into November.
Orientation for freshman-elect members of the 114th Congress took place in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 12-19. This is the second of two reports detailing events of that orientation.
Editor, Referring to the headline in the Sunday Courier, let me, too, say that my concerns are aroused by the proposed millage-rate increases.
This was written in a cave somewhere in greater Bora Bora. The column was floated across the ocean in an RC Cola bottle to this newspaper.