The Georgia chapter of the NAACP has formally rescinded its endorsement of SB 529, a bill that would bar physicians from performing abortions in cases where the fetus has been targeted because of race or gender.
The measure, intended to challenge Roe v. Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court, could come up for a House floor vote on Tuesday. The statement from Edward DuBose, chapter president:
Earlier this month, the Georgia NAACP submitted a letter to support Senate Bill 529. We now fully understand the intention of this legislation and wish to retract our support for it.
At the time, we were of the understanding that this bill would work to benefit the women in our community. However, after many conversations with membership and constituents, we now realize that this is nothing more than using women’s health as a political tool.
Women of color in Georgia need more than divisive messages and deserve better access to health care.
We look to the Georgia General Assembly to support initiatives that benefit the community including education and prevention services and working to reduce health care disparities. SB 529 does nothing to address these goals.
An endorsement of SB 529 by the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference still stands.
Late last week, the Georgia State Retirees Association told members that it had picked up signs of a last-minute effort to permit public pension systems to take out “dead peasant” life insurance policies on participants.
“Dead peasant” insurance policies are taken out by the pension fund on those who contribute to pension systems. The beneficiary is the pension system itself – not the family of the dead peasant/worker.
Candidates qualifying for the state ballot in every kind of race are putting down their money for the contests in the state Capitol this morning.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp, himself a candidate in the July primary, has established a site to keep everyone apprised.
One thing not addressed in Sunday’s column on the transportation funding bill was the overhaul of the MARTA board – a topic that has received very little attention.
HB 277 mandates that MARTA’s 18-member board will be wiped clean as of Dec. 31, to be replaced by an entirely new 11-member board. This gives the heads of local governments – we’re thinking Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed here — a chance to put their own stamp on the state’s largest transit system.
The new board will be restricted to paying entities only. Clayton and Gwinnett counties will no longer have representatives. And state Department of Transportation Commissioner Vance Smith, heretofore an ex officio member, has been explicitly handed a seat and a vote on the board.
Three board members will be appointed by the mayor and City Council of Atlanta. Four members will be appointed by DeKalb, with at least one from north DeKalb and one from south DeKalb.
Fulton County gets three appointments. Two of those must come from north Fulton. We understand that this was a demand from House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta). The extra north Fulton seat was added at the expense of the state – which otherwise would have had two.
The smaller MARTA board has been an idea pushed by state Rep. Kevin Levitas (D-Atlanta), whose father, former congressman Elliott Levitas, wrote the original MARTA legislation back in the ’70s.
Said the younger Levitas:
“If you look nationally at some of the other transit boards, the number that we wound up with is much more in line with what most transit systems do.
“The idea was to reduce the board, to stream-line it, so that you have a core group that’s participating, that you have a greater chance of consistent, effective decisions being made.”
In other words, by making MARTA’s board more exclusive, lawmakers also hope to make it less parochial.
One more thought: One reason that business leaders were so relieved that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed brought Demcorats on board for last week’s vote on HB 277 was the fact that in ‘12, a bipartisan push will be needed to sell the referendums on a sales tax for transportation.
In fact, if you’re a Democrat, think about this: Assume that no Republicans with statewide ambitions will allow themselves to be seen close to anything that looks like a tax increase.
That could mean that Democrats will be asked to do the heavy lifting before the public – which means that, behind closed doors, they could exact a larger say in where the cash goes. Especially that $750 million a year that metro Atlanta could generate.
The decision by Don Balfour (R-Snellville) to remain in the state Senate has caused state Rep. David Casas (R-Lilburn) to revise his plans. He’s announced the immediate suspension of his campaign to replace Balfour, and will seek to retain his seat in the House.
So far as we know, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss was the only member of the Georgia delegation on the Sunday talk shows. Here’s a clip:
On the matter of immigration, here’s what Chambliss said about Arizona to CNN’s Candy Crowley:
CHAMBLISS: Well, it’s a very peculiar issue to Arizona that is not taking place in many other states. Border states have unique problems when it comes to immigration. We — we have an illegal alien problem here in Georgia, but it pales in comparison to what’s going on out there. And we have this issue called state’s rights. And this is one situation where the states of Arizona has decided to take matters into their own hands. And if that’s what the people of Arizona want to do, then certainly they have that right. Now, we do have a…
CHAMBLISS: We have a national problem. It is a national issue that needs to be addressed. And I hope we can do it in a reasonable and cautious manner, not let the emotions of people run away with this. Because it is, just simply stated, a very, very serious issue.
CROWLEY: But you’re on — you’re on to go at it now rather than put climate change up on the docket?
CHAMBLISS: Well, I’m not sure how you can really justify bringing either one of them up at this point. I mean, we’ve got a budget to deal with. We normally get that done before the 15th of April. That has not been done. We have not done one single appropriation bill in the Senate. We have not done a defense authorization bill.
We’ve got a lot of work left on our plate between now and the end of the summer. And we’re starting on financial regulatory reform, I assume, this week. That’s going to consume an extensive period of time. I’m not sure where you find the time to deal with these other major issues.
On the same topic, the state Capitol’s most fervent lobbyist on the immigration issue is D.A. King of Marietta. He’s predicting a low-number piece of legislation to be introduced early next year to introduce into Georgia many of the provisions in Arizona’s new law.
This year, ironically, King has been playing defense, battling the efforts of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association to limit the reach of an ‘06 state law intended to force local governments to use the E-verify system that determines citizenship of employees.
On his blog, King tells of an incident last week in which a weakening amendment was defeated in the House– only narrowly, on reconsideration.
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