Your morning jolt: The failed attempt to make ‘transparency’ commission a translucent one

If you value open government, the closest call of last night, in the final hour of the legislative session, was a paragraph attached to HB 875, a bill to keep private the personal information on hunting and fishing licenses and such.

But this paragraph applied to political figures subject to investigation by the agency formally known as the State Ethics Commission:

…In the discretion of the commission, to seal any records of the commission relating to a concluded investigation of an alleged or suspected violation if that investigation resulted in a determination by the commission either that no violation occurred or that only a technical defect in a filing occurred in accordance with Code Section 21-5-7.1. Any records so sealed shall not be open to public inspection….

There was also language added to allow the commission to waive late fees and fines.

In other words, the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission would have been handed permission to cut off from public view the more pesky complaints against your leaders. Cases that it would decide you didn’t need to know about.

State Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin, introduced the conference report in the House, but didn’t mention the above paragraph. That came to light under questioning from state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Atlanta, and other Democrats.

My AJC colleague Chris Quinn described a scene in which the tally board started out with green “yes” votes and red “no” votes evenly divided. But slowly, green lights began blinking out, and the red votes began to grow. At 11:08, the bill was defeated 25-143.

Click here to examine the vote.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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30 comments Add your comment

Tom

March 30th, 2012
10:41 am

I will post the conference committee members….brb.

Tom

March 30th, 2012
10:46 am

Conference committee on HB875….

Senate: Bulloch, Balfour (shock!), Mullis
House: Knight , McCall, Wilkinson

Interesting

March 30th, 2012
11:20 am

Balfour and Wilkinson two stalwarts in ethics. Does Wilkinson get milage and per diem when he’s out of town like Balfour?

Refugee from Dikkksie (Thank God We Escaped)

March 30th, 2012
11:24 am

Jim, OT but important:

The big news is that Dikkksie is of no importance in the presidential election now, but no one seems to realize this. The South has gone for the “Lost Cause” (Gingrich/Santorum) so the serious contenders (Romney/Obama)can completely ignore Dikkksie in this campaign. Romney has Dikkksie in the bag, unless he turns black. It would be funny if both now endorsed same-sex marriage. What Dikkksie gonna do, stay home and not vote?

Michael #1

March 30th, 2012
11:39 am

Tell me this is a bad dream and when I wake up there will be a new Governor and most of these crooks will be out of office. But they go home and mention the Bible, aboretiopn and immigration and get re-elected.

A Liberal in ATL

March 30th, 2012
11:45 am

The republicans in the state legislature and everywhere are a bunch of a-holes. This abortion “issue” for example, is not any of their god damn business. They pretend to “protect” the unborn, but they don’t seem to give a flying fk about those of us who are already here. They Suck!
And transparency? Good luck with that.

No Longer Republican

March 30th, 2012
11:53 am

No surprise here. Its all about keeping themselves in power. The people or what is good for this state does not matter to them and anyone with a brain can see that. Unfortunately most voters in Georgia do not use their brains except to see the (R) or the (D) by the name on the ballot. If people actually paid attention to what these scoundrels did…

td

March 30th, 2012
11:58 am

A Liberal in ATL

March 30th, 2012
11:45 am

Can you pitch any bigger of a fit. I can see you now laying in the floor and kicking your feet and slamming your hands into the floor.

I have to pieces of advice for you:

1: If you hate the way this state is run so badly then why so you stay? If the politics of a place bothered me as much as it appears to bother you then I would move before I had a stroke or just get out of politics.

2: If you can not decide to get an abortion within 20 weeks (4 months of becoming pregnant) then either use protection or do not have sex. BTW: If you are not married then I would advise not to have sex.

Centrist

March 30th, 2012
11:59 am

Glad it was turned around. Good that the AJC is a watchdog, even if only for the ONE party they dislike (better than nothing).

td

March 30th, 2012
12:00 pm

No Longer Republican

March 30th, 2012
11:53 am

If the majority of D’s in this state actually understood what the socialist really stood for then most of them would become Republicans or independents.

DannyX

March 30th, 2012
12:12 pm

Is this an example of the socialist Democrats td?

The Dow is up almost 8%, the S&P 500 is up nearly 12% and the Nasdaq has gained a whopping 19% since New Year’s Day.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
12:17 pm

@TD Please enlighten us as to the word “Socialist” in your candy land.

Right Turn - 90

March 30th, 2012
12:18 pm

Refugee from Dikkksie (Thank God We Escaped); And I, for one, thank God you “eskaped” also. Your kind living in GA was akin to having state-wide hemmorhoids. So long, Dickheadsies!

Danny O

March 30th, 2012
12:20 pm

Good job by Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver. All Georgians benefit from having a few eagle eyes in our legislature.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
12:21 pm

@Not Centrist – A small community paper (like the AJC) needs to cover local issues to stay viable. The Republicans are the only game in town unless you include Mayor McCheese.

Toes the Line

March 30th, 2012
12:22 pm

td –

If the majority of “Republicans” honestly understood what the words “personal liberty, less-government, separation of church/state, governing, balanced budget, public policy, hypocracy, and honesty” meant, they damned sure wouldn’t wear the silly label of “conservative Republican,” if Republican at all.

THEN we could seperate the honest-to-gawd fascists, numbnuts, and hair-brains that the Pack-of-Four are kowtowing to in the circus some of you call the Republican primary.

Unborn

March 30th, 2012
12:30 pm

@A Liberal in Atl: Republicans in your mind don’t care about “those of us already here” because they expect people to be responsible for themselves and not be looking for a handout. Babies in wombs are pretty much stuck there. They can’t say anything about wanting to live, it’s hard getting the reporters mic in utero, so someone needs to speak for them.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
12:32 pm

@Unborn – Good point! Ergo explaining the Republican’s predilection for dog whistles on child labor.

Let the babies fend for themselves I say! Release the hounds…and let them eat baby unless they can use guns like any other Red Blood American patriot.

WaitAMinute

March 30th, 2012
12:45 pm

Unborn: ” people to be responsible for themselves” You guys talk a big game, but I have never seen it happen on your side.

jezel

March 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

toes the line…the GOP of today seems to not have clue one …as to the traditional Republican ideology. Proof being…the success of the Democratic party. If the Republican party did what it was supposed to do ….there would be no need for the Democratic party.

It is disturbing to see the demise of the GOP ..but it will also be interesting to see what emerges from the ashes.

honested

March 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

It sure is a good thing that since the republicans took over our state they have gotten really good at taking care of crooked republicans.

At least they are taking care of somebody, because they are otherwise doing a great job of screwing things up for everybody else.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

Oil Companies: Responsible for themselves.

Defense Contractors: Responsible for themselves.

Logging Companies: Responsible for themselves.

Big Pharma: Responsible for themselves.

Insurance Companies: Responsible for themselves.

Big Tobacco: Responsible for themselves.

Now, do the Dem’s have special interests they answer to? SOPA and the MAFIAA anyone? Of course they do.

But “self reliance” as a Republican “Value” is hilarious.

WaitAMinute

March 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

Republican’s don’t have enough personal responsible to think for themselves. Why else do they need rush, shawn and the other malcontents?

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
1:19 pm

TD1 can’t come out to play today. Here is what is PROBABLY his definition of socialism: http://www.conservapedia.com/Socialism

Aaron Burr V Mexico

March 30th, 2012
1:20 pm

Now compare that to this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

And thus we see how the Republican Reality bears a resemblance to reality, it is actually bizarro world.

No Longer Republican

March 30th, 2012
2:56 pm

TD has no clue what socialist means. If he did he would not think Pres. Obama was one. He just hears the word used by the Fox news heads and regurgitates their crap. He has absolutely no clue about what really goes on because he is not open minded enough to get past his religious zeal to take a real look at the world around him. He has a good business for himself and he is ok so no one else matters to him. And he thinks everybody has the same opportunities and abilities. The poor pitiful guy just does not have a clue.

Stop....Just Stop

March 30th, 2012
3:30 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico,

You must be new here. See, the local right wingers LUUUUVVVVV to toss around the “socialist” “communist” and “marxist” epithets but never seem to be able or willing to explain what they mean. Sometimes they try but it never seems to go well. It’s probably because the terms, while incendiary and useful to stir up their lapdog followers, really don’t the vast majority of people in modern American politics and certainly not the current resident of the White House.

It’s like the imminent scholar Inigo Montoya said:

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Right Turn - 90

March 30th, 2012
5:59 pm

*No Longer Republican; Thank God! I guess you are a Dimocrat now, and if that’s the case, it’s their loss and the Republican’s gain!
*Stop….Just Stop; I have to give it to you, you certainly are clever! You know all the facts, don’t you? I guess it might not surprise you that most of the “socialists”, “commies”, and “Marxists” (who helped form form Communism by the way) began as “Progressives (aka: Dimocrats). Name one..any one…now or ever who was a Republican who was or became one of your sobriquets as you have given to the Republicans.
By the way, sonny, what moniker will you so brilliantly hang on the Tea Party?
It’s brain-dead idiots such as you and “No Longer Republican” that have caused millionsto desert a once-proud Democratic Party and when they began to espouse “Socialistic” ideas.
As for “…just hears the word socialist,” give me the “talking head” who says that your president is a “socialist.” You may have to get transcripts of the programs for a long way back to verify that, if you can. What a Rick Cabeza you are.

[...] HB 875, about hunting and fishing licenses. The final version of the bill just happened to include an amendment allowing some rulings by the state ethics commission to be sealed from public [...]

jezel

March 30th, 2012
9:42 pm

People choose socialism or government operation of endeavors traditionally run by the private sector…when the private sector fails to provide the service with a reasonable cost.

Health care cost in this country are no longer affordable to the ordinary citizen. The laws of supply and demand have been so compromised that competition..or lack of it.. cannot bring down the cost.

No elected officials are willing to take on the insurance companies, the medical association and the drug companies who shut down competition.

So in the end…the health care industry has done it or is doing it to themselves. And….the oil industry will be the next to be nationalized.