Ethics bill isn’t perfect, but it is progress

It appears we have an ethics bill.

Speaker David Ralston just confirmed from the House side what the AJC had heard from senators earlier today. Namely, that the two sides, urged along by Gov. Nathan Deal, agreed in the wee hours of Thursday to a compromise between the two main* ethics bills they each passed earlier in the session.

The text of the bill has not yet been made available publicly, but the compromise appears to have been chiefly along two grounds:

First, the House agreed to drop its insistence on a ban on one-on-one lobbyist gifts to legislators and accept the Senate’s preference for a cap — albeit a cap of $75 rather than $100. In exchange, the House won more carve-outs it included in its original version of the bill, HB 142. Those exceptions include gifts (think meals) provided by lobbyists to entire caucuses, the nature of which is subject to approval by each chamber’s ethics committee, as well as allowances for spouses and staff members to accompany legislators on official business underwritten by lobbyists (think conferences held on the Georgia coast or elsewhere).

Second, the Senate moved significantly toward the House’s position regarding who must register as a lobbyist. Anyone who is compensated by the entity for which they lobby must register, as must anyone reimbursed by an organization for more than $250 of lobbying expenses in a year. That last provision about reimbursements is intended to exempt some citizen activists who believed they’d been targeted by House leadership in retaliation for their agitation about ethics.
In all, Ralston said he didn’t get everything he wanted but it was “better to get something than nothing.”

Is he right?

I think so. In some respects, either the House bill or the Senate bill would have been stronger than the compromise bill. Certainly, I would have preferred to see an aggregate cap on gifts if legislators are going with a cap instead of a ban.

But — assuming there are no unpleasant surprises in the final text when we finally see it — this bill will “move the ball down the field” a bit, as Ralston put it. Having a limit trumps not having a limit, and this measure will preserve a degree of transparency about where lobbyists think it’s worthwhile to spend a little money on lawmakers. I think that’s useful for the public.

And nothing says we can’t keep pushing for more progress next year.

*HB 142 was not the only ethics bill passed this year. HB 143, relating to campaign contribution disclosure, was also passed by each chamber. The best part of the bill was a requirement that lawmakers disclose donations made in the days before the start of a legislative session, which currently can wait until after the session ends for disclosure — an obvious lack of transparency when bills are being passed in the meantime.

But the Senate added a provision disallowing non-legislators from raising money during legislative sessions; currently, only people who have already been elected to office face that restriction. Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, called the provision an effort to “level the playing field.” Others called it “incumbent protection.” I agree with the latter sentiment, and it’s my understanding the bill is unlikely to pass this year.

– By Kyle Wingfield

117 comments Add your comment

southpaw

March 28th, 2013
1:56 pm

Shocker. I almost would have bet that the conflict between the House bill and the Senate bill would result in NO results. Good thing I’m not a betting man. Now there’s one more good thing for the legislators to do: GO HOME!

Centrist

March 28th, 2013
2:02 pm

“Having a limit trumps not having a limit”.

Sad that the carve outs and the limit is not an aggregate, but individual gifts which can be piled as high as necessary to gain favor. This only shows how corrupt the system is and the lengths that are taken to protect it.

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
2:06 pm

Centrist: And we’ll keep reporting on those piles.

At some point, an aggregate limit is an absolute necessity to avoid those situations.

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
2:07 pm

So there’s a $75 cap; is that $75 a day, a month, or just $75 a gift? Haven’t seen it but I’m guessing it’s $75 a gift, which means they could give multiple gifts in one day, conceivably.

Those exceptions include gifts (think meals) provided by lobbyists to entire caucuses, the nature of which is subject to approval by each chamber’s ethics committee, as well as allowances for spouses and staff members to accompany legislators on official business underwritten by lobbyists (think conferences held on the Georgia coast or elsewhere).

You could drive a semi truck through that loophole, I would think.

Exceptions to the $75 cap include committee dinners, dinners for caucuses and lobbyist-funded travel, with some limitations. Meals for local delegations — which could be as small as a single legislator — reportedly are not included.

That’s from this article

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/deal-reported-on-lobbyist-gift-reform/nW6Qh/

But the Senate added a provision disallowing non-legislators from raising money during legislative sessions; currently, only people who have already been elected to office face that restriction.

Put me squarely in the “incumbent protection” camp on this one.

assuming there are no unpleasant surprises in the final text when we finally see it

That’s a pretty big assumption and it usually takes a year or two for all the loopholes to really surface for public view, once they are put in to practice.

In summation, my view is that this is largely a dog and pony show and we’ll be right back here in a few short years, talking about how something must be done about ethics legislation……….pretty much the same as it’s been for the last 35-40 years. It’s a show that never ends.

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
2:12 pm

Hillbilly: You’re right, it’s $75 per gift and that can happen multiple times per day. Thus, my belief an aggregate limit is still needed.

john hayes

March 28th, 2013
2:13 pm

Progress??? A three-toed sloth moves only when necessary and then only very slowly. They sleep 20 hours per day. I guess some would say that when they do move that is progress in motion. Personally, I prefer if the legislature spent their 40 days sleeping the entire time. They wouldn’t get anything done. About the same as this session. What a bunch of liars and crooks. They sell their votes to highest paying lobbyists and go back home and tell their constituents how hard they’re working for them. And we keep sending these clowns back up their to get their pockets filled. Shame on us! John Hayes Pelham, Ga.

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
2:16 pm

I think every time a lobbyist buys them a meal, we should subtract a like amount from their per diem.

Anton Chigurh

March 28th, 2013
2:26 pm

“And nothing says we can’t keep pushing for more progress next year.”

I think the odds are against that happening though.

Politico

March 28th, 2013
2:28 pm

Hillbilly: You make some great points. This didn’t solve that much.

Kyle: While I don’t think the legislature gave us a great bill and I don’t think it was by coincidence, I do thank you for your efforts to keep this issue in the forefront.

emo

March 28th, 2013
2:28 pm

I guess they’ll have to pass it and then try to keep us from knowing what’s in it. Whatever it is, it will be only in their own best interests, never ours.

Aquagirl

March 28th, 2013
2:30 pm

my view is that this is largely a dog and pony show

What Hillbilly said. It’s the last day and invisible text with (we think) gaping holes is wandering around the Legislature. Very impressive. /sarc

Peadawg

March 28th, 2013
2:30 pm

“Thus, my belief an aggregate limit is still needed.”

Duh. Until then this bill isn’t that great.

Georgia, The "New Mississippi"

March 28th, 2013
2:31 pm

Our state legislature functions like a cancer in the body of its host.

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
2:34 pm

Peadawg: I do think we are more likely to get an aggregate limit once a cap is in place than we were to get all that in one fell swoop. So, from that standpoint, this bill probably moves us closer to getting that.

@@

March 28th, 2013
2:34 pm

I don’t know why they have to complicate the issue.

Like I said before, there are school cafeterias in every reps district and near the state capitol…why not wine and dine ‘em there? Even if they have to travel outside their district to see some fancy schmancy development or the like, there’s a school cafeteria nearby.

Tater tots and fish sticks….baked not fried. We wouldn’t want ‘em gettin’ fat or anything.

Simplistic? Perhaps, but then sometimes a KISS is just a kiss. Keep it simple stoopids!!!

indigo

March 28th, 2013
2:37 pm

If anyone believes that “ethics bill” will be worth even the paper it’s printed on, they have much to learn.

Peadawg

March 28th, 2013
2:37 pm

Kyle Wingfield
March 28th, 2013
2:34 pm

I’ll believe it when I see it. This bill as is currently is a joke.

Scott Fresno

March 28th, 2013
2:38 pm

So, if a lobbyist want to give a legislator five $75 tickets to a game, can he simply hand them to the legislator one at a time and say that it is 5 separate $75 gifts and thus falls under the cap?

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
2:39 pm

Tater tots and fish sticks….baked not fried.

Baked fish sticks? Oh, the humanity! (ISH)

@@

March 28th, 2013
2:41 pm

I do thank you for your efforts to keep this issue in the forefront.

Ditto ^^^ that, Kyle.

Jerry Eads

March 28th, 2013
2:42 pm

It’s a start – hopefully not a finish. The job seems to attract crooks, and the crooked will continue to find creative ways to be crooked and get away with it.

Lest we forget, we’re the ones gullible enough to elect them. Listen next election cycle to your gaggle of shysters looking to pig out in the trough. Do your best to select the least piggy. Regardless of party affiliation. Those of you who blindly knee-jerk to either side of the fence are the problem. Not the crooks.

Matz

March 28th, 2013
2:43 pm

If you think this demonstrates any progress whatsoever toward the lofty, laughable notion that our state’s elected officials should conduct themselves ethically and with transparency, then I have a nice mountain chalet to sell you, on the shimmering, snow-covered slopes of Ocala.

@@

March 28th, 2013
2:52 pm

Hillbilly:

No matter how you cook ‘em, fish sticks are DISGUSTING.

During my short stint in the public school system, children behind in their lunch payments were punished with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich complete with a carton of milk.

Hellooooooooooooo

Aquagirl

March 28th, 2013
2:56 pm

there are school cafeterias in every reps district and near the state capitol…why not wine and dine ‘em there?

I hate to admit when @@ has the post of the day, but there ya go. I’d pay money to see a lobbyist trying to shmooze over tater tots.

bluecoat

March 28th, 2013
2:58 pm

Well Ralston can use his gained knowledge from his train trip to build a fast freighter pulling tank cars filled with TN.river water.

Cutty

March 28th, 2013
3:02 pm

Can lobbyists all chip in $75 and pay for a larger gift, say $500?

Why should spouses be included on official state business?

These doesn’t move the ball downfield at all. It’s more of a kneel down since the clock is running out.

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
3:20 pm

No matter how you cook ‘em, fish sticks are DISGUSTING.

You must be cutting your fish sticks off the wrong fish tree.

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
3:22 pm

Cutty: The Senate’s original language would have prevented that. But it might well have allowed drinks, dinner, a ticket to a ball game and drinks at said ball game to be counted as separate expenditures. Which is why I favored an aggregate limit and will keep pushing for one.

What does this compromise bill say about the above? Hard to say, as neither the press nor most legislators have seen it. And yes, that’s starting to make some of us nervous.

southpaw

March 28th, 2013
3:27 pm

Do they have to pass the bill before we can see what’s in it? That sounds familiar for some reason.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 28th, 2013
3:32 pm

The problem is the game itself ( Lobbyists )

All this does is change the rules which just means they will change their methods and just keep doing what they have been doing .

@@

March 28th, 2013
3:41 pm

Cheesy:

The Right to Lobby

Guaranteed in The Constitution.

Mikey D

March 28th, 2013
3:43 pm

This bill is nothing more than a gimmick, implemented so our wonderful legislative “leaders” can return home and brag about how committed they are to ethics reform, all the while continuing to rake in bribes, oops I mean gifts, hand over foot. Anything short of a total ban is an abysmal failure, especially given the resounding message that the voters sent last year. Hopefully many of these protectors of the status quo will find themselves in primary challenges next year and subsequently find their behinds in the unemployment line. Absolutely pathetic.

@@

March 28th, 2013
3:47 pm

Obama and G.O.P. Inching a Little Closer on Medicare

It all remains to be seen but really…..would our liberals ever anticipate that Obama would follow ERIC CANTOR’S lead?

schnirt

…the president told House Republicans that he was open to combining Medicare’s coverage for hospitals and doctor services. That would create a single deductible that could increase out-of-pocket costs for many future beneficiaries, but also could pay for a cap on their total expenses and reduce the need to buy Medigap supplementary insurance.

Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, proposed much the same in a speech in February. “We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services,” he said. “We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans.”

While Mr. Cantor’s proposal got little attention at the time, its echo by Mr. Obama hints at a new route toward compromise — in contrast with the budget that House Republicans passed this month that has no chance of Senate approval.

So why did Cantor’s proposal receive little attention? Was it because he was a Republican?

@@

March 28th, 2013
3:49 pm

I’d pay money to see a lobbyist trying to shmooze over tater tots.

And among the “little people”.

Jefferson

March 28th, 2013
4:20 pm

They want free lunch, they should be buying the voter’s lunch. Better or painting turds ?

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 28th, 2013
4:24 pm

S&P gains 0.4% for the day, closing at a record high of 1,569. Dow posts best first quarter since 1998, adding 11%.

Thank you President Obama.

It took 5 years but we have finally recovered from the Bush recession.

Cheesy Grits is gone but not forgotten

March 28th, 2013
4:27 pm

Cheesy:

The Right to Lobby

Guaranteed in The Constitution.

So was slavery

Despite the freedoms demanded in the Declaration and the freedoms reserved in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, slavery was not only tolerated in the Constitution, but it was codified.

Dave

March 28th, 2013
4:57 pm

I’d like an explanation of how a $75, as many times a day as lobbyist wants, “gift” is anything but business as usual. Kyle, this is not progress, it is cover. “Having a limit trumps not having a limit….” Having a ban trumps a stupid and meaningless “limit.” The only problem our leaders will have with this reform is trying to figure out how to shift the bottles of wine and the tip on to the lobbyists’ tabs at the high end restaurants. I suppose the wine and desserts will go on to separate bills. Let’s see, an installment bribe account. The possibilities are endless and while I shouldn’t be unkind, anyone that thinks this sham is a good thing needs some remedial something or other.

dabir dalton

March 28th, 2013
5:06 pm

Until the Georgia legislature passes a ban on both gifts and professional lobbying – only private citizens should have the right to seek redress from the legislature which means that if a corporation wants a favor then the CEO must come in person instead of hiring someone else to make his case. I will continue to label the Georgia legislature as a crime syndicate and den of thieves while holding the toes of chief hypocrites nathan deal and ralston and the average two faced conservative voter obsessed with voting these modern day criminals into office to the flames of my pen.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 28th, 2013
5:13 pm

$75 will get you a seat and one beer at Turner Field, so this baby will never pass.

$75 will get you throwed out of a strip club.

td

March 28th, 2013
5:23 pm

Today’s discussion is prime evidence as to why these types of ethics rules never work and are way more trouble then they are worth. Should it be this limit, should it be that limit. What about this circumstance or that circumstance.

Ethics and what people believe is or is not ethical behavior is subjective to the individual and can never be agreed too by everyone. Having books and books of laws describing certain circumstances is playing the game of the left and is in no way a conservative value.

Sunshine is the best policy and is what I support. Lobbyist should report all expenses and those expenses are reported on a easily searchable website. The lobbyist should be required to give a short definition as to what they are advocating for. The voter can then take a look and decide if their Senator or Representing in the manner that they feel is ethical enough to continue to receive their vote. The news media can do article after article about bills pending and who is receiving what and their vote on the bill.

Dave

March 28th, 2013
5:25 pm

The sad thing about this charade is that our leaders will get away with it. We are for practical purposes a one party state. Folks leaning Republican aren’t going to dump their folks for the Dems over this. While I’m going to be really, really, really disappointed in Sen. Carter and Rep. Oliver if it turns out they voted for this thing, I’m not going to become a Republican. There aren’t any real challengers for the seats of the incumbents. And they know this so they know they can keep the perks as long as they smile and spout whichever side of the issue of the day floats their constituents’ boats.

td

March 28th, 2013
5:28 pm

dabir dalton

March 28th, 2013
5:06 pm

“Until the Georgia legislature passes a ban on both gifts and professional lobbying – only private citizens should have the right to seek redress from the legislature”

Why? If I belong to a certain group of like minded individuals that believe a certain action should be taken by the legislature why should we not be able to ban together, pool out resources and hire a professional lobbyist to advocate our postilion? You know like the NRA or a group of citizens that do not want to see a road running through their neighborhood.

td

March 28th, 2013
5:31 pm

Dave

March 28th, 2013
5:25 pm

If you are upset with the way MMO or JC is representing your interest then why do you not run against one of them in a primary? Running for a state house seat or a Senate seat is not expensive. You just have to convince enough like minded individuals in your local community that your ideas are better then the ideas of the people currently in charge.

Dave

March 28th, 2013
5:36 pm

td,

1) I’d never be elected.

2) I have other things to do.

3) Running may be cheap, winning isn’t (which is a whole different problem).

4) Being a member of the club, from what I’ve seen gets you nowhere – the big boys and girls tell the newbies what is going to happen.

I see you around here when I visit, you care, spend some money and time and make a difference!

@@

March 28th, 2013
5:41 pm

td:

…should report all expenses and those expenses are reported on a easily searchable website.

Some time back Kyle directed us to a site that showed how much one of my reps, whom I’d voted for, had “consumed”. Thinking him a bit fat, I voted for his opponent next go ’round. Based on what I read about and from his opponent, I can’t decide whether I’ve jumped from the frying pan into the fire or from the fire into the frying pan.

It was like a frickin’ cat fight between two men.

Not to be partisan or anything but they’re both registered democrats.

td

March 28th, 2013
6:03 pm

Dave

March 28th, 2013
5:36 pm

td,

1) I’d never be elected.

2) I have other things to do.

3) Running may be cheap, winning isn’t (which is a whole different problem).

4) Being a member of the club, from what I’ve seen gets you nowhere – the big boys and girls tell the newbies what is going to happen.

I see you around here when I visit, you care, spend some money and time and make a difference!

I do spend a some money and some time. I belong to my county political party and am involved in the process. It is sad that my county votes 70% for one party and I belong to that counties party and we rarely have more then 50 people in a county of 150,000

md

March 28th, 2013
6:08 pm

Lobbyist overheard talking to a salesperson:

“I’ll take 50,000 gifts to go, don’t care what they are as long as they are all under $75″.

Dusty

March 28th, 2013
6:13 pm

What a waste of time. Our time, the readers’ time, the legislators’ time, the voters’ time, EVERYBODY’s Time.

Honesty is so outdated that you can’t even find it any more. Bribery is dishonest and that is the sole purpose of lobbying.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that you can now get a degree in LOBBYING at your local university, pretty women prefered in the field. I’m sure top salaries are found in this “profession”.

Bah humbug. .Forget ethics. .They should call this effort “BRIBERY WITH BABES.” and give this corruption its proper name. .

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
6:18 pm

Bob Barrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
6:19 pm

Dusty, rail on it, woman! Go girl!

We actually agree on a lot.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
6:32 pm

Ok, Patriots, which one of the founding fathers screwed the most of his own slaves?

h/t Showtime’s Shameless

md

March 28th, 2013
6:33 pm

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the venom toward lobbyists, let’s just start with the bribery aspect.

We want many of the lobbyists there, such as those that showed up trying to defeat such crappy bills such as Obamacare and that wonderful soak those that pay credit card bill.

md

March 28th, 2013
6:34 pm

“Ok, Patriots, which one of the founding fathers screwed the most of his own slaves?”

If they were slaves there were ALL screwed……..

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 28th, 2013
6:39 pm

Yeah, but were the slaves other men? I think not, so you libs win the low morals award tonight..

Congratulations.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
6:49 pm

We want many of the lobbyists there,

Cons love the ones who work FOR corporations and AGAINST normal Americans.

At least until they get forced/put into a situation where they walk in another human being’s footprints (whether a relative or a loved one) and then they all of a sudden witness the horrors and become Democrats.

Wonder why

md

March 28th, 2013
6:56 pm

“Cons love the ones who work FOR corporations and AGAINST normal Americans.”

Au Contraire Snagglepuss, some of us love the ones that lobby for logic.

Explain why I should have to pay the credit card bill of some deadbeat while s/he gets to use the boat?

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
6:57 pm

Remember, we are all one second away from a major debilitating “accident” and then we/our families/our loved ones lose everything on medical bills.

You think it wont happen to you?

Your son or daughter is driving home today and all of a sudden an idiot/drunk driver…..
Now we have medical bills piling up at $6,000 a day. WTF? I can’t leave her/him!

Then the bills start showing up in the mail…..

You want to see, in person, how fast a personal security blanket can get wiped out? You think you got alot? You best buy some more insurance.

People NEVER see it hit them. Blindside. Poof – life has changed.

and then people start asking, “why can’t we have such decent medical care that me or my family can get good service – not perfect – but good – without me losing everything?

md

March 28th, 2013
6:58 pm

Or why I should pay for the health insurance of a deadbeat that chose to drop out of school and wander the streets of Chicago with a gun shoved down his pants?

md

March 28th, 2013
7:00 pm

I have no problem Finn with some social programs, but they only work if EVERYONE chooses to participate.

We are nowhere close to full participation…………

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
7:04 pm

well, you must be REALLY REALLY rich, md.

Otherwise, your ass is gonna get wiped out by that too. Think about it, dude. just how much do you have in the market that you can spar to lose right now?

It takes seconds…..and all your dreams, all your plans…….gone. vanished. boom

@@

March 28th, 2013
7:05 pm

Which one of these lobby groups should we oust? All wealthy within their own right and many with corporate ties that assist in promoting their cause.

National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL)
National Education Association
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
EMILY’s List (a pro-choice group for women Democrats)
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
NAACP
National Organization for Women Handgun Control
United Auto Workers
Sierra Club (environmental group)
National Education Association
People for the America Way
Alliance for Justice (focus is on the judiciary and blocking conservative judges) AFL-CIO
Human Rights Campaign
Legislative Black Caucus Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary
ADA Watch-National Coalition for Disability Rights
American Association of University Women
Americans for Democratic Action
La Raza
Lawyers Community Rights Council Defenders of Wildlife
Earthjustice
Endangered Species Coalition
Feminist Majority Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
National Abortion Federation
National Black Women’s Health Project
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Environmental Trust
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Resources Defense Council
National Women’s Law Center
Oceana Inc.
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Society of American Law
Teachers Working Assets

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
7:06 pm

one wrong turn
someone not putting on a turn signal
someone walking in the wrong place at the wrong time

boom, YOU ARE WIPED OUT
go call your corporation lobbyists when that happens…..

Dave

March 28th, 2013
7:08 pm

md, a few minutes ago…

I have no problem Finn with some social programs, but they only work if EVERYONE chooses to participate.

We are nowhere close to full participation…………

A good argument for single payer rather than the hodge-podge of Obamacare.

md

March 28th, 2013
7:11 pm

“well, you must be REALLY REALLY rich, md.”

Nope, just willing to raise my hand when it comes to my bad decisions.

As I said, there is a difference between a hand up and a hand out, and raising my premiums because some idiot chooses to wander the streets looking for trouble vs making better decisions isn’t the correct course of action.

Do you continually reward your children when they act up? I would hope not.

You put your foot down and tell them to get their act together. We don’t do that as a society, we just keep greasing the squeaky wheel while the quiet ones slowing wear out…….

md

March 28th, 2013
7:13 pm

“A good argument for single payer rather than the hodge-podge of Obamacare.”

And if I had to choose between the 2 I’d agree.

But I didn’t see the need to re-invent the wheel with what we had. A 20 page bill could have fixed a lot that was wrong. O-care was merely a power play.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 28th, 2013
7:14 pm

Why do you think Canadians take out a new health insurance policy every time they visit the US?
Because they are afraid of our top-notch health care acumen?

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 28th, 2013
7:23 pm

Because they can’t get care in Canada?

Rafe Hollister

March 28th, 2013
7:47 pm

Dusty said if first, but what a total waste of everyone’s time, but then again, most of us clear thinkers knew that going in. Same old, same old, different day, different verse. Kabuki theater at its best.

Ethics, if you ain’t already gottem, you ain’t likely to gettem.

md

March 28th, 2013
8:16 pm

“Why do you think Canadians take out a new health insurance policy every time they visit the US?
Because they are afraid of our top-notch health care acumen?”

Because they are afraid of theirs……

Think about it, if theirs was all that great why would they even need to take out more insurance?

Ol' Timer

March 28th, 2013
8:16 pm

It’s really very simple. I don’t know why they dance around the only logical ethics solution.

Nothing! Y

ou don’t take NOTHING from NOBODY and if you take SOMETHING from SOMEBODY you’re going to be prosecuted for bribery. Pretty damn simple, isn’t it?

South Georgia Retiree

March 28th, 2013
8:40 pm

This bill is a farce to give the GOP something to brag about to ignorant people. Come on, it just shifts stuff around and still allows vote-buying. After all, if any gift of any kind (even one hamburger during the entire session) is permitted, it opens the door to more and more. The Dome folks are so addicted and intoxicated with free food, event tickets, parties, and Lord knows what else, they will not let go until their voters let them go! These are the same folks who want to allow guns on public school and college campuses and let school principals carry a weapon—but not allow universal background checks. Need I say more?

@@

March 28th, 2013
8:41 pm

(Reuters) – A national survey found 301,874 “zombie” properties dotting the U.S. landscape in which homeowners in foreclosure have moved out, leaving vacant property susceptible to vandalism and degradation.

Zombies in Washington, Indiana, Nevada and Oregon also constitute 50 percent or more of the properties in foreclosure, according to the report.

Blomquist said the number of zombie properties could be higher than represented in the RealtyTrac report, which used a conservative methodology.

In Florida, for example, the company does not count any property that has been in foreclosure longer than the state average of 853 days and for which there has been no significant recent activity. The report also does not take into account cases in which a bank chose not to follow through on a foreclosure judgment, leaving the property in limbo.

“Zombies”???? I think I could’ve come up with a better word to describe homeowners in distress.

Some spend public funds on securing, cleaning and stabilizing houses that generate no tax revenue. Others let the houses rot.

Unsuspecting homeowners have had their wages garnished, their credit destroyed and their tax refunds seized. They’ve opened their mail to find bills for back taxes, graffiti-scrubbing services, demolition crews, trash removal, gutter repair, exterior cleaning and lawn clipping.

Here in Clayton County we have inmates who do that kinda stuff. Surely we don’t pay them…we’re already paying for their room and board.

@@

March 28th, 2013
8:54 pm

Oh my! The great metropolis of ATLANTA loses to little ol’ College Park.

Supreme Court rules in favor of College Park in airport tax spat with Atlanta

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
9:17 pm

FYI, I have finally had a chance to read the bill itself, and I’m not sure any more that it’s necessarily better than nothing.

breckenridge

March 28th, 2013
9:21 pm

“Which one of these lobby groups should we oust?”

Oh that’s an easy one. Any group that has persistently tries to legislate their religious beliefs, in direct violation of the Constitution, which qualifies them as traitors to their county. Just for starters:

Family Research Council
Focus On Family
Concerned Women For America
American Family Association
Susan B Anthony List

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
9:22 pm

Kyle

What goodies did they slide in?

@@

March 28th, 2013
9:31 pm

breckenridge:

Just in case it’s escaped your notice, I’m no longer interested in your point of view.

No offense intended. None taken.

Yours, TRULY

DISINTERESTED

Enjoy the slide.

bluecoat

March 28th, 2013
9:41 pm

Do you honestly think these politicans will tighten their own belt?REmember them come election time.

breckenridge

March 28th, 2013
9:45 pm

@@ you do understand that if believe your religious beliefs should be legislated then you are not a good American. You do understand that right?

I just want to make sure that’s perfectly clear. The only thing Americans care about your evangelical beliefs is that you keep them to yourself. We don’t share them, we don’t want them and we think our Founding Fathers had much better ideas about what’s good for America than a bunch of foaming at the mouth religious nutjobs.

Kyle Wingfield

March 28th, 2013
9:46 pm

Blanket exemption for lawyers to represent clients — clients with business before the Legislature, no doubt — without registering. Gift cap wouldn’t apply to them, either. That problem had been fixed in earlier versions of the bill.

Also, the $75 cap applies to gifts from “individual lobbyists,” rather individuals or groups as an earlier Senate version stated. That’s an even bigger loophole than we thought.

On the good side, sports and concert tickets are not allowed at all. Nor are lobbyist-funded hunting or golf outings.

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
9:49 pm

On the good side, sports and concert tickets are not allowed at all. Nor are lobbyist-funded hunting or golf outings.

They can just give ‘em the money and let ‘em buy their own tickets. (I’m also guessing you probably don’t need a ticket to be a guest in an owner’s suite.)

@@

March 28th, 2013
9:55 pm

One of my posts misappeared. No need to repost but do read it if you find it, Kyle. It WAS well intended.

bluecoat

March 28th, 2013
10:12 pm

As any good plumber would tell you S&&& won’t run uphill.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 28th, 2013
10:29 pm

I’ll take a few slices over the half a loaf they started with.

Maybe they’ll do the full loaf next year. I have no problem with increments on this one.

@@

March 28th, 2013
10:31 pm

GEEZ!

An internal inquiry confirmed a”culture of wrongdoings” at D.H. Stanton Elementary School in Atlanta: Attendance records were falsified. Disciplinary files were doctored. Friends of the principal got paid for tutoring they never performed. And the principal covered up reports that staff members had physically abused students.
.
.
.
Some of the most disturbing allegations involved physical abuse of students. After Davenport took no action on abuse reports, one teacher began documenting her complaints about mistreatment of students. In 2009, she emailed Davenport that she witnessed one teacher dragging and pushing a student and another staff member hitting a child in the head. Davenport wrote back: “You have done what you are to do; you reported it to me. Let me handle it from there.”</i?

The physical abuse went unaddressed??????????

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/missing-report-may-be-focus-of-grand-jury-probe/nW66d/

@@

March 28th, 2013
10:39 pm

Tiberius:

PoliFore a/k/a Georgia is gonna have a field day with your 10:29.

Dusty

March 28th, 2013
10:58 pm

Well, I’m feeling a bit poetic tonight (for better or worse). Maybe I should call it “the legislator” but it is

THE LOBBYIST

There once was an honest man
who found he was not in demand.
So he took his “degrees”
to do as he pleased.
He used them to start a small fire.

There once was an honest man.
He got a job to do “what you can”.
He got rich as a lobbyist
and his morals did a twist
and his ethics fell low at his hire.

There once was an honest man
but honesty did not fit in his plan.
He carried folks to lunch and gave’em a bunch
and they fell for his “good” business hunch.
His profit was much to inspire.

There once was an honest man
who duped his customers on demand.
His heart wasn’t in it but his wallet was
and he did as any thief so commonly does
and he lost only his soul to fire.

————————G’nite

Hillbilly D

March 28th, 2013
11:01 pm

As any good plumber would tell you S&&& won’t run uphill.

Sure it will. All you need is a pumping station. Some of the surburban McMansion subdivisions have them.

Old Timer

March 28th, 2013
11:54 pm

Political ethics–surely you jest.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 29th, 2013
7:37 am

My travels have awarded me similar experiences beyond my parochial outpost. A visit to the Boston Public Library invites the question: what good is a beautiful building that smells like urine? In San Francisco’s main library, I witness four legs sharing a bathroom stall, a transsexual engaging herself in a heated argument, and a security guard loudly informing a fellow patron: “You can’t take your shoes and socks off in here.”

Our brave new world.

JDW

March 29th, 2013
8:34 am

“Today’s discussion is prime evidence as to why these types of ethics rules never work and are way more trouble then they are worth.”

I don’t usually agree with td, but he is spot on. This entire exercise is window dressing and more trouble than it is worth. The solution is to simply elect better representatives and have them conduct business in the open.

JDW

March 29th, 2013
8:40 am

@md…”Think about it, if theirs was all that great why would they even need to take out more insurance?”

:roll”

Maybe because if they are in the US they must use OURS not THEIRS…duh

JDW

March 29th, 2013
8:43 am

@md…”Or why I should pay for the health insurance of a deadbeat that chose to drop out of school and wander the streets of Chicago with a gun shoved down his pants?”

Because it is cheaper to pay for his insurance rather than pay his emergency room bills when he needs treatment, which is what we have to do now.

southpaw

March 29th, 2013
8:51 am

Breckenridge @9:45

I believe the instructions in, among other things, Deuteronomy 5:17 and 5:19. Both of these actually HAVE BEEN LEGISLATED. So who are the not-so-good Americans responsible for these legislative atrocities?

indigo

March 29th, 2013
8:55 am

md

So, every time ANY Canadian visits the US, they ALWAYS take out a new health insurance policy?

You’re funny.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 29th, 2013
9:18 am

southpaw – ambreck and all the other low morality has no use for wisdom. For that matter, they have no use for information, either. They have crowned themselves the “Smartest People Eva” and live in a world where they believe each new filthy thought of their belongs etched on stone tablets. They gift us with this knowledge of theirs, even though we’d rather they keep it to themselves, and are heroically attempting to drag the rest of us into their new age of enlightenment, which prominently features such brilliances as deviancy and irresponsibility. Why, without them, who would have ever discovered such things? They are like the second coming of Christopher Columbus, or so they think, discovering this brave new world of mindless earthly pleasures. We should ensconce these modern day pioneers in stone or preferably, concrete.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 29th, 2013
9:27 am

Today’s low morals multiple choice question – which of these atrocities should you be more concerned with, a) a college coed being denied contraception by a Church based insurance program, b) that the majority of children in America are now born into single parent households, c) that believers from all walks of islam brutalize women in ways that would take 4 or 5 books to catalogue?

Now be advised, you already have your answer, just reference the libs 2012 presidential campaign.

However, there is no peeking allowed.

Jefferson

March 29th, 2013
9:30 am

Sounds like the paint didn’t cover the smell.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 29th, 2013
9:42 am

“Shame on us if we’ve forgotten,” obozo said.“I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”

No, he’s not referencing all of the dead kids in Chicago. He’s still trying to cash in on the tragedy in Newton. To disarm the law abiding. And further ignore the criminals and the insane.

disgusting

indigo

March 29th, 2013
9:47 am

Aesop

We can always tell when your posts are really yours and when they have been dictated by your fundamentalist pastor and others.

@@

March 29th, 2013
9:48 am

disgusting

I’m inclined to agree.

He sees children an opportunity AND a burden.

Shame on HIM!!!!!!!

@@

March 29th, 2013
9:52 am

Allow me to correct my 9:48.

Speaking about his daughters, Obama said he doesn’t want them “punished” with a baby. So therefore, babies are a “punishment”.

@@

March 29th, 2013
10:06 am

Okay…so now I know why I was confused.

If his daughters make a mistake, he doesn’t want them punished with a baby.

Obama in 2006: “Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

It’s the DEBT that’s the burden ON OUR CHILDREN.

It mattered to him in 2006. Now? Not so much.

So many words and “CLARIFICATIONS” of words.

It’s a gift.

schnirt

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
10:32 am

“So many words and “CLARIFICATIONS” of words.

It’s a gift.”

His gift.

Our curse.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
10:49 am

Correction: America’s curse.

md

March 29th, 2013
10:53 am

“Maybe because if they are in the US they must use OURS not THEIRS…duh”

Don’t know about you, but my insurance covers me when I’m out of the country……duh.

md

March 29th, 2013
10:55 am

“Oh my! The great metropolis of ATLANTA loses to little ol’ College Park.”

And if Clayton County had any sense they would follow CP’s lead and start collecting landing fees on the 4 runways that lay inside Clayton County…..

md

March 29th, 2013
10:58 am

“Because it is cheaper to pay for his insurance rather than pay his emergency room bills when he needs treatment, which is what we have to do now.”

I’d change that too…….that would be in my 20 page bill. If one wants to CHOOSE to wander the streets as a thug, one is most welcome to, but with the understanding that they take care of themselves……….

In liberal land, you guys want to hold others accountable for the bad choices of the folks that make them.

md

March 29th, 2013
10:59 am

“So, every time ANY Canadian visits the US, they ALWAYS take out a new health insurance policy?”

Indigo, you may want to re-read the board as I was responding to another that made the claim.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 29th, 2013
11:04 am

md, Indigo’s nature is to knee-jerk responses on here.

Just can’t help himself. :lol:

indigo

March 29th, 2013
11:11 am

md – “because they are afraid of theirs”

Looks like you are agreeing with the one you’re responding to.

clem

March 29th, 2013
11:14 am

progress under repubs, anathema.

md

March 29th, 2013
11:18 am

“Looks like you are agreeing with the one you’re responding to.”

Ok bifg fella, so you read it twice and still get it wrong?

He said it was because of our system and I said it was because of their system…..got it?

md

March 29th, 2013
11:24 am

“progress under repubs”

In a nutshell, the big difference between the two ideologies is that one is more tribal and the other is tribal with a lot of stragglers.

In a tribe, EVERYBODY has a job to do or they are cast out of the tribe, with the exception of those that can’t participate, which are cared for.

In liberal land, those that “won’t” participate also become the responsibility of the tribe and they never outcast anyone………which is why socialism never works as more and more gravitate to the “to be taken care of” group.

clem

March 29th, 2013
11:32 am

too much automation these days…..without figuring out societal consequences. private sector driving this and could care less about displaced workers. we as society, govt, need to figure out how to work these folks.

every able bodied person should work….no problem with that. a fairer distribution of economic pie is desirable too by many americans.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/income-growth-americans_n_2949309.html#slide=932008

southpaw

March 29th, 2013
11:49 am

New thread–GOP change