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Republican Congressman Charlie Norwood dies at 65
Norwood became the first Republican to represent his district since shortly after the Civil War when he won office in 1994.
It’s now up to the governor to officially request the secretary of state’s office to call a special election to fill the seat.
Rep. Norwood’s passion was health care. Taking on the insurance companies, he spent much of his political career pressing for a “patients’ bill of rights” intended to give consumers better access to care, including greater ability to sue insurers.
Source: New York Times

A compromise on red-light cameras at intersections
State Rep. Bob Smith, R-Watkinsville, may have developed an elegantly simple compromise on legislation making its way through the Georgia General Assembly that would ban police use of red-light cameras at intersections. The cameras snap photographs of vehicles moving through intersections after traffic lights turn red. Vehicle owners are tracked down via their license plate and cited by mail.
Athens-Clarke County is among the Georgia jurisdictions using the devices, which are installed at the intersection of Lexington, Cherokee and Gaines School roads and the Broad Street-Hawthorne Avenue-Alps Road intersection.
Comment on House Bill 77 has been divided among those who see the cameras as an efficient means of improving safety at dangerous intersections, and those who see them as an unconstitutional intrusion that puts cited motorists in the untenable position of defending themselves against evidence provided by an inanimate object rather than an actual police officer.
Also, in terms of safety, there’s reason to believe the cameras might contribute to an increase in rear-end collisions, with motorists opting to stop quickly rather than proceed through an intersection as a traffic light is changing
Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Shorter school year leaves out many students
Maybe there is an argument to be made that keeping students in Georgia’s public school classrooms for fewer days each year would be a good thing. This is, after all, a state that has carved a niche for itself at or near the bottom of any number of student-achievement measures, from the SAT to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Maybe it’s possible that giving young people more time with their families — for vacations in places they’ve only read about in history or geography texts, or for day trips to museums, aquariums or nature preserves — would help them learn more than they do in a Georgia classroom.
But that’s not why state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Garden City, thinks it’s a good idea. Stephens, who represents coastal Georgia, is a sponsor of the Flexibility for Excellence in Education Act because he thinks the state’s 180-day school years puts too severe a crimp on the summer-dependent businesses in that part of the state.
Source: Athens Banner Herald

Macon-to-Atlanta passenger train loses political steam

There's little political will to give more money to the project according to a state audit report that also outlines problems with the plan and a major snag facing the Macon line. Many see the proposed train as too slow, with commute time from Macon to Atlanta estimated at two hours, and others say it is too expensive. Last week, state Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon) said, “I won’t support putting millions into a 19th century technology that we’re using to solve a 21st century problem.”
Source: Macon Telegraph

In a days daze
Education is a problem for Georgia’s children. They don’t seem to get enough of it to keep pace with the rest of the nation’s kids. Plainly, the solution for this is that they spend less time in the classroom. If this doesn’t seem to make sense to you, don’t bother to run for the General Assembly because that’s what some of its members apparently believe. Honest. And, no, there is no IQ test requirement to be elected and introduce legislation.
Source: Rome News Tribune

Georgia faces high health-care costs for state retirees
Costs are estimated at $15 billion over the next 30 years to cover health-care benefits already promised to tens of thousands of retired teachers and state employees.
The state needs eventually to put away $1.26 billion a year to fund the retiree benefits but some of that will come from employee premiums and local contributions, officials said.
Source: Macon Telegraph

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