Your morning jolt: Pressure building on abortion bill vote

With a transportation bill finally passed, and an ethics measure to bleach out the scarlet “E” on their chests on its way to the governor, Georgia lawmakers are basking in the exhaustion of a productive 38th Day.

There’s even talk of adjourning for good next Tuesday, on the 39th day.

But there’s one last fight to resolve, an intra-mural struggle between House Republican leaders and Georgia Right to Life.

SB 529, the anti-abortion bill designed to become a court challenge to Roe v. Wade, made it out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is now poised for a floor vote next week. The bill would prohibit physicians from performing abortions on women who have been “coerced” into the procedure.

But the bill would also bar abortions that are based on the race or gender of the fetus – and that’s the portion of the measure that backers think will attract constitutional attention.

Speaker David Ralston has come under a deal of national pressure to bring the bill to a vote – in pristine form, as GRTL lawyers have crafted it.

Through an aide, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, the Republican from Coweta County, said he was contacted by his Republican colleague Trent Franks of Arizona, who has sponsored similar legislation on the federal level.

Franks asked Westmoreland to speak to Ralston about the bill. The Georgia congressman made a quick stop at the state Capitol early this week, urging passage of the measure. Westmoreland’s visit came on the same day that the House Judiciary Committee backed off an effort to pass the bill by substitute.

We’re told other Georgia congressmen have become involved as well.

Dan Becker, president of GRTL, said he understands SB 529 will reach the House floor on Tuesday, via a supplemental calendar. If floor substitutes are allowed, Becker said his group will be tracking all votes.

If voice votes are permitted, he said, then GRTL will be watching a handful of targeted Republicans to see how their lips move “and gauge the intent of their hearts.”

Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle both might want to peek at this morning’s post by Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. It includes this:

What is unexpected is that, over time, so few state attorneys general actually do go on to the governorship. Since 1984 there have been exactly 250 state AGs, but only 28 (a mere 11%) became governor.

This is precisely half the gubernatorial success rate of lieutenant governors. In the last quarter-century, fully 22% of the state No. 2’s became No. 1….

There’s a major reason for the discrepancy, of course. Under most state constitutions, the lieutenant governor directly succeeds the governor when he or she leaves office mid-term (because of death, resignation, or impeachment). Just in recent years, 28 lieutenant governors have become governor in this fashion.

Down in south Georgia, the Statesboro Herald operates a morning talk radio program out of its newsroom.

On Tuesday, host Phil Boyum was talking with Ray Boyd, the real estate executive who has declared his intention to put $2 million into a Republican race for governor.

Do not count Boyd among those who will praise the efficiency of this year’s General Assembly. From the Herald:

While Boyd spent the majority of the interview obviously upset by the Georgia GOP’s request for him to sign the oath of affirmation, he [unexpectedly] talked about his vision for the structure of the state legislature.

Boyd said that if the federal government can run a country whose population is over 300 million with only 535 representatives and senators then Georgia, with 8 million people, could be governed by less representation.

“We’ve got 236 (state) senators and representatives in there. I don’t think we need but about 50,” Boyd said. “We could save a hell of a lot of money by sending those others…..I don’t think we need a Senate and House of Representatives. I’ve been seeing in the paper about bills being sent back and to between the Senate and the House. I think we can get 50 good people in there and they can decide what they do. Let’s have one house. Instead of a bicameral house, let’s have a unicameral house.”

With the entrance of state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond into the U.S. Senate race, clearing Carol Porter’s path to the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, there has been some wondering whether her husband, House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter, would give up his run for governor.

Both Porters quickly put a stop to that line of questioning on Wednesday, announcing that they will both be at the Capitol at 11 a.m. Monday to qualify in two races – governor and lieutenant governor.

A federal judge has thrown himself into the Bartow County school board races. This from the Cartersville Daily Tribune:

A Bartow County school board member will be allowed to qualify for re-election following a judge’s order Wednesday granting an injunction against a state law that bars relatives of school administrators from running for their district’s school board.

The order issued by U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy will allow Lamar Grizzle to seek a third term to the board if he chooses to qualify next week….

Murphy’s order … came after a Tuesday hearing on a suit filed in January by Grizzle and former Gainesville City Board of Education member Kelvin Simmons. They contended that provisions created [by the state Legislature] were unconstitutional.

Simmons had been disqualified for running for re-election last November because of the new law, as his wife is an assistant principal at Gainesville Middle School.

Had the preliminary injunction not been granted, Grizzle would not be able to qualify for re-election, as his daughter, Kimberly Ruff, serves as assistant principal of Pine Log Elementary.

On Wednesday, state Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross), introduced a measure to force President Barack Obama to present birth documents before he is granted a spot on the 2012 presidential primary ballot in Georgia.

Many of you immediately noted the source of the idea. This from KPHO in Phoenix:

The Arizona House on Wednesday approved a bill that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state’s ballot when he runs for re-election.

The House approved the measure on a 31-29 vote, sending it to the Senate.

It would require U.S. presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president.

Supporters say the bill would help settle a controversy over whether Obama was born in the United States.

The state of Hawaii, where Obama was born, has said innumerable times that the controversy is nonsense.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

30 comments Add your comment

Don Juan

April 22nd, 2010
10:06 am

Ray Boyd just showed what a kook he is and even I, a democrat, raised a positive eyebrow when he threw his hat in the ring.

East Lake Ira

April 22nd, 2010
10:29 am

When is the final vote to outlaw microchipping?

Anyone that votes either way on this one ought to lose their job.


April 22nd, 2010
10:29 am

I can see Boyd’s point. The legislature has only a handful of intelligent people and with people like Hatfield with his tea bagger nonsense, the microchip guy, Jack Murphy with his ‘legal immigrants can’t drive, but illiterate people are okay’ bill, and abortion bills with the express purpose of causing a lawsuit, not to curb abortions – you could easily cut out all of those people and have more efficient government.

However, I disagree because I believe with less representation comes less access to government, but I definitely can see his point of view.


April 22nd, 2010
10:48 am

Why shouldn’t Roe be challenged and overturned so that State Legislatures can make their own laws about abortion? The arrogance of the Supreme Court in creating a “right to abortion” out of absolutely nothing in the Constituion! It is time the issue went back to the states. Let Georgia lead the way.


April 22nd, 2010
10:56 am

B.S., Fulton.

The right to an abortion preserves absolutely nothing except a woman’s right to the same medical privacy and self-determination afforded to men. In my opinion, this is the most crucial right that we as citizens have. It’s not a negotiable, and should not be treated like a matter of opinion.

There is a sickness in GA

April 22nd, 2010
11:13 am

@fultonrighty You apparently aren’t a fiscal conservative, as SB 529 will cost the state millions of dollars to defend from a constitutional challenge…which it will ultimately lose due to the race based language and lack of a definition for what constituents “coercion.”

If you are sincerely “pro-life”, why not support policies that focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place.

professional skeptic

April 22nd, 2010
11:17 am

Wow! Imagine that: a Georgia GOP-er who not only claims to be a proponent of smaller government, but who actually has REAL IDEAS on implementing smaller government. Ray Boyd may be worth keeping an eye on.


April 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

Yay! We get to be mocked in the national media again. I haven’t been this proud since Sonny did his rain-dance on the steps of the Capitol or when our suburbs tried to take evolution out of the science textbooks.


April 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

prof skeptic:

What USED to be the conservative point of view is that the federal government gets smaller and shifts responsibilities to the state…..not shrinking all governments and ending up with a wild-west style anarchy. Starving state and local governments is directly in contrast to that. Perhaps times have changed. I can point to many fantastic examples of “limited government” around the globe.

Joe in Decatur, GA

April 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

Maybe Mark Hatfield should have to prove that he understands the Full Faith & Credit idea in the Constitution before he can serve in the government ever again.


April 22nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Proffesional Skeptic…I believe Ray Boyd is definately worth keeping an eye on…


April 22nd, 2010
12:02 pm

Professional Skeptic…(spelling error)…too much coffee!

Avery Bundren

April 22nd, 2010
12:10 pm

Perhaps the idea of reducing the size of the Georgia legislature is a good one. By doing so, we are likely to wind up with fewer “wackos” like Mark Hatfield.

You Asked

April 22nd, 2010
12:17 pm

Education would be more effective than legislation. You cannot compel morality.

Avery Bundren

April 22nd, 2010
12:19 pm

Professional Skeptic, since you are pointing out your spelling errors, let me point out another one… “definately.”


April 22nd, 2010
12:22 pm

@Nikita: what “…self-determination for men…” are you referring to? Their right to an abortion, too?
@Joe in Decatur: I guess I don’t understand the Constitution after having read it umpteen times, and again after your blog. Please, if you have time, let me and others know and be aware of the specific section and language where we may find the “Full Faith and Credit Idea” in the Constitution. I wish to update my constitutional scholars that this exists.

the Snark

April 22nd, 2010
12:36 pm

I’m not so crazy about the idea of reducing the size of the General Assembly. What if we did that, and it turned out to be populated entirely by Mark Hatfields? Who can guarantee that the reasonable, intelligent and educated legislators would make the cut in a smaller legislature?

Avery Bundren

April 22nd, 2010
12:49 pm

You have a point there, Snark. Wishful thinking own my part. However, you are oxymoronic when you mention in the same breath “reasonable, intelligent, educated legislators.”


April 22nd, 2010
12:58 pm

*Nikita: what “…self-determination for men…” are you referring to? Their right to an abortion, too?*

If they could have an abortion, yes. But as it is I’m talking about their right to decide what’s best for their own bodies in privacy with the consultation of their doctor. Why should a woman lose her right to self-determination and medical privacy just because she may be pregnant?

East Lake Ira

April 22nd, 2010
1:13 pm

Adrian: Article 4 Section 1 for the full faith etc…

although, I don’t think it means what Joe thinks it means…


April 22nd, 2010
1:20 pm

How exactly do we determine if someone has been “coerced” into an abortion? Are we saying that women don’t know if they want an abortion or that if she does it’s because someone told her to have one? Are women not able to make this decision regarding their bodies on their own? It’s funny, we want smaller gov’t… gov’t should stay out of my money and my business BUT a woman’s body is fair game.


April 22nd, 2010
1:29 pm

If it were only enough to prove Obama a foreign born person in order to get rid of him!

Chief Justice John Marshall

April 22nd, 2010
1:35 pm

Full Faith and Credit Clause, the familiar name used to refer to Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, addresses the duties that states within the United States have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings” of other states. According to the Supreme Court, there is a difference between the credit owed to laws (i.e. legislative measures and common law) as compared to the credit owed to judgments. Judgments are generally entitled to greater respect than laws, in other states. At present, it is widely agreed that this Clause of the Constitution has little impact on a court’s choice of law decision, although this Clause of the Constitution was once interpreted differently.

28 U.S.C. § 1738: Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the US and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken.

The full faith and credit clause explains reciprocity in licenses and extradition in crimes.


April 22nd, 2010
1:38 pm

It is hard to disagree with Boyd, our current legislature is hardly working.. He has my vote.


April 22nd, 2010
3:47 pm

The State of Georgia should KILL SB529, or they should be taken straight to the cleaners by Ross, Sistersong, the ACLU and other groups fighting for REAL FREEDOM in this country. SB529 is the biggest government takeover of women’s wombs since the federal government did the same thing in 2003. And they have the unmitigated gall to say that Obamacare is the problem. I see the problem — and the government takeover of women’s wombs are the problem.

If the Georgia state government really wanted to solve problems, they could start by banning coerced childbirth, which is the aggravated sexual assault on a woman. THAT is a far greater problem. One of my friends from Williston-Elko High School was coerced into giving birth six years ago this month. And her doctors were the ones who coerced her into giving birth to a child that she NEVER wanted.

Should SB529 pass, women in the Peach State will have the EXACT same rights as slaves in the US did before the 13th Amendment was ratified. That’s the truth, a truth that Georgia pols don’t want you to know about.

Like I said before, I’ll say it again: government that aims to control women’s wombs is FAR WORSE than government that wants people to get health insurance. There is a major difference. Anti-choice government is 100% authoritarian on its face, while Obama’s government is left leaning populist (populists, by definition, do NOT support free markets).

I know that you will be seeing this from Milledgeville to Atlanta just like I will be seeing this in Williston, S.C. — a 30-second commercial that some conservative candidate airs that claims that he/she is for ‘less government’. Don’t buy into the conservatives’ nonsense! The fact and the matter is that conservatives are for MORE GOVERNMENT intrusion into our lives. I know this because I saw it firsthand for the eight years that Bush was in power. DeMint, Isakson, Coburn and the other conservatives passed some of the most intrusive laws in our nation’s history between 2003-2006.

Social liberals are for less government. However, the group of liberals in DC have been acting like conservatives lately and that is why they are being attacked like they are. We need social liberals in all forms of government, because they are the only ones who care about our Constitution. Vote ONLY for hippies, Greens, and other social liberals in 2010. Vote out ALL big government conservatives and DINOs from public office.


April 22nd, 2010
3:57 pm

Avery Bundren, it was my spelling error…not professional skeptic’s…I can take the heat!!! (LOL) Ray Boyd can too!

Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock)

April 22nd, 2010
4:05 pm

Hey I’m the microchip guy and nobodys giving me any credit…hmm is there a democrat around who has a bill I can kill?

Helen Bevel

April 25th, 2010
8:56 am

Interview with Helen Bevel
H – I once did. It took a long time for me to overcome my hatred and animosity. There was even a time when I plotted to kill him. Once I had the means, my compassionate nature kicked in and I just wanted to see him healed. I realized that I had been forgiven for having murdered my unborn child once (abortion), which I consider a worse crime than what he did. I mean I took a child’s life, so that the child would never see the light of day. He ruined a child’s life with the possibility of her being able to heal herself. So God forgave me for my sin, who was I to not forgive another. My greatest regret is that he never experienced living void of the lie, guilt, shame and fear around what he did.


April 25th, 2010
9:07 am

Our focus is on this bull crap and WE BYPASSED a Jobs Bill? Please people. Speaking to someone who has had friends and I have had an abortion in Georiga, I was never “coerced”…Coerced is the NEW BUZZ word for “counsel”. Get it in your heads that it is a PERSON’s CHOICE to seek an Abortion. You are NOT GOD! Thank Goodness for Federal Law…cause you are looking for a crack to start States Right’s Laws which as I remember led to Jim Crow Laws in the South. Please people see right through this! These are the Christian Right who are praying for the “death” of President Obama in the same vein. Get Thee behind us devils!


April 25th, 2010
1:53 pm

There is more to the story on Lamar Grizzle and the Bartow County School System that needs to be told. Mr. Grizzle and Mr. Simmons are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, but the Bartow County board of education voted unanimously to pay the expenses of the lawsuit on January 19th. The board meeting where all the members of the board went on record defending using taxpayer dollars to pay for the suit is on the Bartow County Schools website. They all are apparently in favor of not only getting promotions for family members, but using taxpayer dollars to pay for personal expenses.

Also, it is no secret in Bartow County that Lamar Grizzle is corrupt and a man of poor character who was arrested for choking his now ex-wife a few years ago and gets jobs for lots of his family members and friends. He is not the kind of person we need running our schools.