This may come as a surprise to some, but your Republican-controlled state Senate – usually known for catering to the concerns of conservative Christians – last week issued a sincere commendation to the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps.
SR 998 passed the chamber on Feb. 8. The sponsors were three Democrats: Donzella James of College Park, Horacena Tate of Atlanta, and Valencia Seay of Riverdale.
There was no recorded vote. Below are a few paragraphs from the measure:
WHEREAS, created over 30 years ago by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps has expanded over the years to include 203,000 volunteer ministers worldwide who have served at 126 international disaster sites, including Ground Zero after September 11th, the Southeast Asia tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina; and…
WHEREAS, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps are currently serving in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to assist in the recovery efforts after the nation was devastated on January 12, 2010, by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake; and
WHEREAS, Volunteer Ministers provide organizational support to medical teams, helping them to focus on attending to the injured, and provide skilled logistical support to aid the recovery; and….
Somewhere, Tom Cruise is flashing that toothy smile.
Last night, the legislation behind Gov. Sonny Perdue’s transportation proposal began making the rounds. Download your copy here.
Now look for Democrats – they came out with their plan last month – to send Perdue’s plan to Attorney General Thurbert Baker, asking Baker to rule whether the legislation can be enacted by statute. Perdue says it can.
But Democrats think a constitutional amendment is necessary to establish new tax districts, which would require a two-thirds vote from each chamber – and their cooperation.
Legislation to restrict the solicitation of campaign contributions by the state insurance commissioner gets a 2 p.m. hearing today. HB 1166 is aimed directly at John Oxendine, who currently holds that position and is now a GOP candidate for governor.
The measure is proposed by Austin Scott, the GOP lawmaker from Tifton and an Oxendine rival in the governor’s race. The bill’s chances may have been boosted by this week’s Fox5 report by Dale Russell, who listed several state officials – with Gov. Sonny Perdue at the top — taken on hunting trips by Clark Fain, an insurance executive.
The workers comp company, Southeastern U.S. Insurance, has gone belly up. Fain is under criminal investigation by Oxendine’s office.
Last month, it was reported that seven state lawmakers didn’t take any of the five furlough days ordered up for members of the General Assembly. All were Democrats. One of them was Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown of Macon.
Brown has this to say in a Q&A with AJC reporters and editors:
Q: Should all Democrats have taken furlough days?
A: In hindsight, I think it would have been better to advocate for everybody to do that. But at the end of the day, we need to understand that may make us feel good, but I think it would be more important for us to find ways to keep everybody from having to take furloughs
Q: Ethics reform?
A: If you want to ban gifts completely, that would be fine with me. There are some other issues that have to do with transfer of funds, and quite frankly, we’ve had both parties that have done some of that, but I think that is something we can eliminate and we can live with.
By transfer of funds, I mean supporting other candidates with money. That’s something that both parties have done, and I think that is something we can eliminate … and gifts, we can go down to zero.
Q: Is there a different atmosphere at the Capitol?
A: I don’t know that there is a significant difference, in the sense that I still see people going to lunch. I still see people paying for group meals and that kind of thing. I suspect people will be more precise and careful about documentation in what they would do, but I don’t know there is a sea change.
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