It has been fashionable these last few weeks to draw a particular line in the sand.
“In this America that we all grew up in and love, forcing people to purchase things they don’t want to purchase, I think, violates a constitutional right that they have,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said last week.
So House Republicans on Friday must have had mixed emotions as they passed HB 656, a bill to exempt Mennonites in Georgia from a state law requiring the purchase of private automobile insurance.
On a federal level, the group has had itself exempted – on religious grounds – from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
At the close of an epic 30th day of the legislative session on Friday, the House failed to take up a measure to allow the formation of an independent Milton County out of north Fulton County. The movement didn’t have the votes.
HR 21 was sponsored by House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones of Alpharetta. Among the opponents were state Rep. Ed Lindsay (R-Atlanta).
Which prompted this headline at Beacon.com – a news site that unabashedly trumpets secession from Fulton: “Buckhead Ed” And His Unholy Liberal Alliance Snuff Out Milton County.
Lindsey explained himself in a letter to constituents on Saturday:
Judging from my e mail in box, my constituents are relieved and my friends in North Fulton are furious. (I might add that a few of the angry writers could use an anatomy lesson because what they recommend is just not physically possible.)
I want to take a moment to explain once again my view on the matter and begin the discussion of where we go from here….
First, it is simply unfair to my constituents. HR 21 is likely to lead to higher taxes for those of us living in Buckhead. I agree with proponents of Milton County that the Fulton County Government is fundamentally broken.
However, dissolving our county and recreating one north of Atlanta will leave my community — which is just as mistreated as our neighbors to the north — behind with the same county political leaders in charge who have created our governmental quagmire through their bloated fiscal policies and blind opposition to needed reforms.
In short, Buckhead should not be left alone and stuck with the bill in this dispute.
The New York Times this weekend followed several congressmen home to see what kind of reception they received following their votes on health care. One of them was U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah), who voted against the measure:
At constituent meetings in three rural towns, every white speaker, save one, commended Mr. Barrow for his vote. Each black speaker conveyed a deep sense of betrayal, often after talking about hypertension or diabetes that had gone untreated for lack of insurance….
Mr. Barrow emphasized at his meetings that he liked much in the new law. He voted no, he said, because he thought it was too expensive and would exacerbate the shortage of doctors who accept Medicaid.
“I hope all of you know,” he volunteered in Milledgeville, “that I ended up voting against a lot of the things I believe in.”
Mr. Barrow, 54, bemoaned a politics that does not allow for nuanced positions on such multifaceted legislation, but rather defines lawmakers as “either all good or all evil.”
“Don’t think I’m aligning myself with these people who spat on Emanuel Cleaver, these folks who called John Lewis slurs that haven’t been heard in public places in 30 or 40 years,” he said, referring to actions against black House members outside the Capitol the weekend of the House vote. “They make me sick.”
The Center for Education Reform in Washington says Georgia faces long odds in its chase for nearly $500 million in federal education grants. The winner in the “Race to the Top” competition will be announced today.
Here’s how the Center handicapped Georgia’s entry, in faux race-track form:
Owners and trainers paint a pretty picture, but Georgia Peach has a lot of rough edges; charters have limited options and inequities abound; good teacher evaluation plans from the top are mired by political opposition and low LEA buy-in could mean trouble; likely no winner’s circle appearance. Odds 10:1 Pays: $462,288,921
It came as no surpise, but state Rep. Clay Cox (R-Lilburn) was endorsed Friday by Speaker David Ralston and other House leaders in the 7th District congressional race.
In the 9th District congressional race, qualifying for the May 11 special election to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal opens today.
Libertarian blogger Jason Pye has a podcast interview with Karen Handel, a Republican candidate for governor, that can be found at PeachPundit.com.
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