This week, GPB’s “Prime Time Lawmakers” aired a Nwandi Lawson interview with House Speaker David Ralston. The chief topic was the new push – backed by Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, to conduct a year-long review of who is placed within the razor wire of Georgia’s prisons.
Ralston directly addressed the two-strikes-and-you’re-out legislation back by Gov. Zell Miller:
”I think we now know that some of the reforms that we did, particularly back in the ‘90s, probably swept with too large a broom, maybe. They came with a great price tag.
“The ‘90s were a completely different time, financially, in state government. We now know that the cost of those programs and the cost of those sentencing changes is exorbitant. And I think that it was probably a higher number than we estimated at the time.”
Ralston, who has been criticized for a $17,000 trip he and his family took to Europe in November – to examine rail systems, also explained his opposition to caps on gifts to lawmakers:
”I believe that the people of Georgia, the voters of Georgia, have the good judgment and the intelligence to make decisions about caps. I don’t think government ought to be doing that, frankly….Every Georgian is a mouse click away from knowing every nickel that’s spent on me or any other member of the General Assembly.”
The House speaker also addressed Sunday package sales of alcohol – but the interview was conducted before Senate Republicans declared the issued dead on Thursday.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider