Your morning jolt: House speaker says state to blame for long license lines

On a statewide fly-around by House Republican leaders, Speaker David Ralston on Monday pointed his finger at the state agency in charge of issuing drivers licenses for failing to be ready for new ID requirements – resulting in huge lines of applicants across the state.

New requirements, passed down in part by the federal government, include a birth certificate or passport. From the Columbus Ledger Enquirer:

“I think we did know that there would be some delays, but frankly, I’ve been a little disappointed by the level of preparation by the Department of Drivers Services,” Ralston said. “I think they understand now that this is taking more time.”

Many of the changes that state made were required by federal law, so state lawmakers’ hands were tied, Ralston said.

“In the post-9/11 world, we have a lot more security measures that we are required to implement,” Ralston said. “We have had some problems, but some are being ironed out as we speak. I’ve communicated to the department that we need to do whatever it takes to make sure Georgians are well served, and frankly, I think in the opening days of that they weren’t.”

***
It is the profile that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, chose to take Monday that surprised many when he announced his opposition to metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax – not the fact that he declared against it.

Late last week, the Political Vine had this PDF, sent out by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, detailing where every state lawmaker stands on TSPLOST. It’s dated June 19, and a chamber contact advises that some changes may have occurred, but Rogers shows up as an opponent, along with 24 other Republicans and Democrats.

The list of 21 “neutrals” is more interesting. It includes House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta; House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, R-Milton; Sen. Emmanuel Jones, D-Decatur; and state Sen. Don Balfour, R-Snellville.

***
Rick Allen is the first Republican up with TV ad in the 12th District race to pick a Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. John Barrow. The 30-second spot below, of the introductory variety, is airing in Augusta and Savannah over the next seven days.

My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington notes that the ad mentions President Barack Obama, but not Barrow:

On the other hand, Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News says 12th District rival Maria Sheffield has launched a video that hopes to remind voters of Republican Paul Coverdell’s U.S. Senate victory over Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in 1992. Writes Peterson:

She’s launched a TV ad featuring a ditty sung by her 86-year-old aunt. It touts Sheffield and slams incumbent Democrat John Barrow.

…In 1992, it’s widely believed, a similar ad for Republican Paul [Coverdell] helped him upset Democratic U.S. Sen. Wyche Fowler. That year, the song was sung by Margie Lopp, 73.

“We’re just trying to inject some fun into the campaign,” said Kathryn Ballou, Sheffield’s campaign manager. “It doesn’t have to be all drudgery.”

See for yourself:

***
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney out-raised President Barack Obama by $35 million in June. From today’s Washington Post:

The momentum shift marks a change in fortunes for Obama, whose 2008 victory was propelled by a breathtaking fundraising operation that brought in $745 million by Election Day, much of it fueled by grass-roots donations. In September 2008 alone, Obama and the DNC brought in $193 million.

The roles appear to be reversed this time, as Obama’s cash advantage over Romney rapidly deteriorates because of blockbuster fundraising by Republicans. The Obama campaign also faces a tide of spending by pro-Republican advocacy groups that can raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals and corporations.

The worry among the president’s team was palpable.

“We had our best fundraising month yet, and we still fell about $35 million short,” Ann Marie Ha­ber­shaw, the Obama campaign’s chief operating officer, wrote in a fundraising plea to supporters. “We can win while being outspent — but we need to keep it close.”

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s contention that “16,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents will be “empowered to enforce” the new health care legislation.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

53 comments Add your comment

John

July 10th, 2012
10:00 am

Gov.eal needs to come home from Canada and out a stop to these needless drivers license requirements. He is letting the Department of Driver Services with this bureaucracy undo all the good that Sonny Perdue did in improving the drivers license situation.

td

July 10th, 2012
10:17 am

John

July 10th, 2012
10:00 am

You do understand that these new DL requirements are a FEDERAL mandate. If you want them stopped then go ask Obama.

td

July 10th, 2012
10:21 am

Jim,

You could have added that the fund raising numbers only include the amounts donated to the actual campaigns or the party. The Super Pac money is totally different and when added the numbers are really revealing.

marsh

July 10th, 2012
10:22 am

stand in line. make a new friend. quit whining.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

July 10th, 2012
10:23 am

Here’s what Speaker Ralston (and Jim Galloway) fail to mention about LONG LINES for Drivers Licenses….

Speaker Ralston and all other legislators DON’T WAIT IN LINES….they have their own special arrangement with DDS (and other agencies) by getting their own license renewals at the Capitol.

So….when they empathize with us regular “un-washed” folks, they really don’t know what it’s like to wait…for anything. When the lawmakers ever have to wait in drivers license lines, then we’ll see some action.

Ralston Rocks!!

July 10th, 2012
10:23 am

Silly DDS. If they take Ralston and Jones on a fancy train ride then they won’t be criticized in public.

James

July 10th, 2012
10:24 am

Obama is truly doing a wonderful job. Just look at how he has reduced unemployment.

Closet Moderate

July 10th, 2012
10:27 am

Did I miss something?

These new ID requirements require that applicants bring a birth certificate or a passport?

Since when can you get a drivers license without a birth certificate?

These idiotic politicians dont realize that regular citizens must jump through these hoops that minorities and illegals complain about?

Oh the evil policeman asked me for my ID at a road block. Wake up hombre! It happens to all real Americans every day.

Our government needs an overhaul.

Centrist

July 10th, 2012
10:27 am

President Obama and his campaign team are apparently fibbing to donors. Virtually every day, the Obama team sends out desperate emails complaining that they’re running behind Mitt Romney in the money race. But according to OpenSecrets.org, that’s simply not the case. As of May 31, 2012, Obama had raised $255,162,109. He’d spent $109,718,115. That means he had almost $110 million in cash on hand. Mitt Romney, by contrast, had raised $121,023,126; he’d spent $104,036,499. He had just under $17 million in cash on hand. So Obama had raised nearly twice as much cash as Romney as of May 31, 2012, and had about six times as much cash on hand.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/07/08/Obama-Has-More-Cash-On-Hand-Than-Romney

Obama has spent more on TV ads than Romney so far. Remember, Romney has considerable transportation, lodging, and meal expenses for his campaign staff, while Obama has Air Force One and taxpayers covering lodging and meals for his “necessary” job related duties.

Mandingo

July 10th, 2012
10:36 am

Our Johnny Reb legislature does not have the integrity, morals or intellectual gravitas to pass laws that will make life better for the average Georgian.

dc

July 10th, 2012
10:45 am

it’d be great if the AJC had a “classification” system to be able to notate which folks posting comments provided interesting insight, and which ones just repeated the same politically biased complaints and accusations no matter the topic…and then allowed folks to filter those people’s comments out.

WOW

July 10th, 2012
10:52 am

Centrist:

Its not fibbing its motivation! You are correct about the cash on hand and it should also be noted that it was expected for Romney to be out front the last two monhts since they were the first two that his fundraising could be combined with the RNC. The money race between the candidates will be pretty even. The Super PAC’s are a different story.

yellowdog

July 10th, 2012
11:02 am

ralsrton is wrong; before they decided to add this to the immigration bill, ie renewing in person, the wait was 15 minutes; no one seem to say or do the right thing anymore; the legislature is to blame; get real sir; this group continues to undo the little good sonnty did yes; if it aint broke dont fix it…..its yet another embarrassing piece for georgia. wake ip

DannyX

July 10th, 2012
11:04 am

Truly amazing that some around here throw a fit when people link to liberal web sites but have no problem linking to conservative sites like Breitbart and Drudge.

How about a little less hypocrisy people??

rodert rudis

July 10th, 2012
11:05 am

TD thinks Obama is now responsible the long lines at Ga’s driver license offices. Amazing, isn’t it. How about the lines at the Publix checkout, is Obama responsible there too? Or the stuck traffic on the down town connector, is that his fault too? Or the wait to buy my Braves tickets, is that Obama’s fault? Tell me TD, in your blurred view of the world, what isn’t Obama’s fault? And when will you begin to take responsibility for your self?

Centrist

July 10th, 2012
11:08 am

@ WOW – Challengers cannot ever make-up for incumbency advantages, and is why so few incumbents get displaced. There is a huge White House press corp that reports every day on Obama’s activities – free media. News conferences, photo-ops, bill signings, meetings with foreign dignitaries, and Rose Garden pronouncements are scheduled free covered events. Look for more Executive Orders and trips to forest fires, hurricane areas. None of this has to paid by the campaign funds being collected. Forays into the next door battle ground state of Virginia will pick up, too.

DannyX

July 10th, 2012
11:10 am

To be fair rodert rudis td has also stated that he believes the long lines are also caused by African-Americans.

Amazing

July 10th, 2012
11:10 am

I knew it would not take long for some “genius” to blame President Obama. If John and TD would do the research, they would know that these new requirements were established by The Real Act which passed in 2005. The blame for this debacle can also be attached to Preisdent Bush and Gov. Deal who was still in Congress at the time this bill was passed. The speaker’s point is valid since we have known since 2005 that this day was coming and yet DDS was still unprepared.

Look before I leap...

July 10th, 2012
11:11 am

As I recall, there was a tempest in a tea-pot about Sonny Perdue and the DDS.
He only acted on the issue when his wife had a nutty after spending an hour getting her license renewed. Nice to have friends in high places, even better to be sleeping with them.

loy

July 10th, 2012
11:13 am

Centrist that is so true. Some news station haven’t caught on to that. Obama new that an he got more tricks up his sleeves. He is ahead of his game watch.

DannyX

July 10th, 2012
11:15 am

“Look for more Executive Orders and trips to forest fires, hurricane areas.”

I think Obama should do a Cayman Islands fly over.

hiram

July 10th, 2012
11:16 am

@dc
What’s scary about the posters you’re referring to is they’re indicative of the majority of Georgia’s electorate, and in a way, do provide interesting insight into how people like Perdue and Deal get elected, irrespective of past history. All of their unethical deeds are instantly written off as political dirty tricks, and any reporting of them is biased – and when that doesn’t work, it’s Obama’s fault.

Look before I leap...

July 10th, 2012
11:23 am

The thing is, as GA is not considered a swing state, we will be spared the bulk of the campaign ad buys. I suppose that is a blessing. I’ve been in several different states recently and there are already quite a few POTUS campaign ads airing and we have not even hit the 1/4 mile mark. Not much originality and very little truth in them. *sigh*

td

July 10th, 2012
11:26 am

You libs take everything out of context. I was pointing out to a poster that wanted to impeach Deal for making these rules and I pointed out to him that Deal can not change the rules because they are a Federal mandate and if he wanted relief then he/she should go talk to Obama.

Reality is a great deal different then what some of you libs “see”.

william price

July 10th, 2012
11:35 am

For those comments that this is Obama’s fault — check with folks in other states — noone else is having this problem, it is unique to Georgia.

Look before I leap...

July 10th, 2012
11:36 am

“…while Obama has Air Force One and taxpayers covering lodging and meals for his “necessary” job related duties.”

Surprised to see petulance from you on this Centrist. It’s not an Obama thing, it’s been that way since Ike. And the campaigns do reimburse part of the cost when a campaign event coincides with official travel. Though the formula for apportioning the costs is pretty murky. The FEC updated the rules in 2009 making the costs to be re-imbursed considerably higher. Bush Sr was a profligate campaign flyer and Clinton flew quite a bit post re-election to several fund-raisers in order to erase campaign debt for the Dems.

GaBlue

July 10th, 2012
11:36 am

Hey! Dr. Price (R – scrapped Hippocratic Oath for Hypocritic Oath) earned a “mostly false” rating on his latest fear-tactic yammerings. That’s much better than the “false” he usually gets. (The good doctor cleverly avoids the “pants on fire” rating by injecting a smidge of truth into his packets of lies. SMART man!)

The Snark

July 10th, 2012
11:39 am

I love it when our state legislators spend twelve years repeatedly cutting an agency’s budget and staff, and then complain that it doesn’t seem to be doing its job well.

Look before I leap...

July 10th, 2012
11:39 am

“…and if he wanted relief then he/she should go talk to Obama.”

Why Obama? Why not our local congress critters who last I checked, were the folks who actually write and pass the laws in the country?

Or was this just an opportunity to throw a cheap hip-check at Obama because you are feeling a bit peevish today?

hiram

July 10th, 2012
11:40 am

@td

“On May 11, 2005, President Bush signed into law the “REAL ID Act of 2005,” which was attached to the “Emergency Supplemental Appropriation for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005” (H.R. 1268, P.L. 109-13). Title II of REAL ID—“Improved Security for Driver’s License’ and Personal Identification Cards”—repeals the provisions of a December 2004 law that established a cooperative state-federal process to create federal standards for driver’s licenses and instead directly imposes prescriptive federal driver’s license standards…”

ncsl.org/issues-research/transport/real-id-act-of-2005-summary.aspx

Road Scholar

July 10th, 2012
11:46 am

Hey Ralston, did you increase their budget so they could hire enough people? I think not. That would take planning, something Repubs can not do!

td: please supply proof. I believe it was a state law change.

td

July 10th, 2012
11:49 am

hiram

July 10th, 2012
11:40 am

Exactly my point to the poster. Deal can not change the law that is in place. Only Obama (current President) can give relief,

Trickle Down

July 10th, 2012
11:49 am

And Hiram forgot to add that in 2005, the GOP controlled both the US House and Senate, but like TD implies today and “Centrist” said a couple days ago, the long lines for Georgia driver’s licenses is clearly Obama’s fault.

Its not like the state had seven years to get ready for it or anything.

td

July 10th, 2012
11:50 am

Road Scholar

July 10th, 2012
11:46 am

Please see Hiram post at 11:40.

td

July 10th, 2012
11:55 am

Trickle Down

July 10th, 2012
11:49 am

I did not say it was Obama’s fault. It was a Federal Unfunded Mandate. Obama is the current President (hopefully only until Nov.) and he alone (as the man in charge of the Federal Government) can give relieve to the mandates. If he chooses not to give relief then the state has to do the best they can (with limited resources) to implement the mandate.

Agnes

July 10th, 2012
12:00 pm

This is your “small gov’t” at work. Courtesy of the Republicans. Howz it workin’ for ya?

citizen

July 10th, 2012
12:01 pm

The REAL ID Act was supposed to go into effect 05/08/2008 but Georgia asked for an extension due to the costs of the new equipment needed to scan in the information. Georgians don’t read, therefore, the majority of citizens are surprised at any changes that are made and politicians play to the lowest common opinion to gravel for votes from uninformed citizenry.

td

July 10th, 2012
12:06 pm

Agnes

July 10th, 2012
12:00 pm

This is your “small gov’t” at work. Courtesy of the Republicans. Howz it workin’ for ya?

So I have to wait in line for a extra hour 1 time every ten years for not raising my taxes. I will take it any day of the week.

Jim Nethery

July 10th, 2012
12:06 pm

My Letter to Bill Heath Senator from the 31st District – Heath has some real competition this time around in Bill Carruth, who is supported by Tom Murphy’s daughter and other promenant citizens of Bremen.

Dear Senator Heath,

I have emailed you before concerning the issue that effects my household more than any other with which you have been personally involved. So far, you have not had the time to address me concerning the unconstitutional tort reform that was shoved down our throats while you were a representative. My wife is a registered nurse and a 4 year graduate from Georgia State University. She has had a small business since 1996 providing expert witness testimony to protect helpless people who reside in nursing homes from unscrupulous people like Ronnie Rollins.

They hide behind corporate shells and feed elders less than I feed my cat @ ($1.85) per day. Your legislation, much of which as been proven to be unconstitional by the Georgia Supreme Court is still in effect in the area where it hurts our home business. This business is in your home town and employed 6 people at the peak before your bill. Now, those people are out of work because of you.

I’m sure this is not an important issue for you, since you have refused to even address it to me for all these years. But, it is very important to us. Although my wife never had a professional disciplinary action against her, your law prohibits her from testifying as an expert because she doesn’t work somewhere that the monied interest can control our finances. This is a terrible aspect of your law that goes against the very principle of the law established by the US Supreme Court (Daubert v Minnesota).

The well established law states that someone holding a valid professional license is qualified as an expert. Clear and straightforward isn’t it? That seem fair and balanced for both side doesn’t it? Your law prohibits Dr. Jones, the doctor at Emory University who developed the angioplasty procedure from testifying as a heart expert because he has been retired for three years. Doesn’t that seem stupid? Well, that’s your law.

If you want my vote on July 31st, address this issue now! Fix what you screwed up before I join the others from Bremen who want you out and Bill Carruth in.

Centrist

July 10th, 2012
12:10 pm

@ Look – I clearly stated that “incumbents” have the advantage – I only mentioned Obama because he is the current incumbent. An argument can be made that George W. Bush only squeeked out a win against Kerry because he had the incumbency advantage.

However, the liberal media editorializes with Democrat talking points via reporters and news anchors during all those Republican incumbency covered events and does not do so for Democrat incumbents which blunts the Republican free media. Only when the bias crosses the line (think Rather/ Olbermann/ edited Zimmerman tape reporter) is any corrective action taken.

Auntie Christ

July 10th, 2012
12:16 pm

s td @ 1017 You do understand that these new DL requirements are a FEDERAL mandate. If you want them stopped then go ask Obama.

s td earlier this morning commenting on another Political Insider post said: I can not believe all the people that come onto a political blog and do not seem to have a clue as to how politics works.

Seems you have a foot in your mouth s td, because your comment above seems to indicate that these requirements were mandate in 2006 (you remember the bush administration don’t you?) to be implemented by 2014. Your republican government here in GA has had 6 years to prepare for the consequences of the law, but didn’t do diddly except hire 26 examiners to handle it. Still gonna blame Obama?

clyde

July 10th, 2012
12:18 pm

The Real ID Act has been in use for some time.Sorry you Georgians have so recently been bothered by it.When I returned to the country in Dec.-2011 after an 11 year absence I was really blindsided by it I couldn’t even open a bank account..

Marlboro Man

July 10th, 2012
12:26 pm

The state is at fault, children would blame the feds. They knew it was coming and what what required. Don’t be a punk.

hiram

July 10th, 2012
12:32 pm

td
July 10th, 2012
11:55 am

” It was a Federal Unfunded Mandate. Obama is the current President (hopefully only until Nov.) and he alone (as the man in charge of the Federal Government) can give relieve to the mandates…”

REAL ID implementation would come in at about the current REAL ID grant allocations to date, or the $176.45 million that has already been distributed to the states

States are finding that implementation of the 2005 REAL ID Act is much easier and less expensive than previously thought, and is a significant factor in reducing fraud. In cases like Indiana, REAL ID has significantly improved customer satisfaction, resulting in that state receiving AAMVA’s “customer satisfaction” award of the year. This is not just a win-win for national and economic security, but a win (less expensive) -win (doable) -win (fraud reduction) -win (improved customer satisfaction) for federal and state governments as well as individuals.

Moreover, 11 states are already in full compliance, well ahead of the May 2011 deadline for the 18 benchmarks. Another eight are close behind. Some states, like Delaware and Maryland, have achieved REAL ID compliance within a year. Washington State refuses REAL ID compliance, but has already implemented the most difficult benchmarks.

Perhaps most astonishing is that from the cost numbers currently available, it looks like implementation of the 18 REAL ID material compliance benchmarks in all the states may end up costing somewhere between $350 million and $750 million, significantly less than the $1 billion projected by those still seeking to change the law.

cis.org/real-id

Jim Nethery

July 10th, 2012
12:40 pm

Isn’t this a poll tax? Are citizens required to operate a motor vehicle in order to have the right to vote? If they don’t have a driver’s license, then they have to buy a valid state picture ID. Right? So, they have to pay to have the right to vote. Or are these picture IDs free?
I’ve voted in every election since I was eighteen for over forty years. If I present my voter registration card which doesn’t have a picture on it, will I be denied the right to vote? That certainly seems unconstitutional to me. Who’s standing up for my constitutional rights?

pb

July 10th, 2012
12:43 pm

Figures Ralston would blame the state employees or bureaucracy for the problem. Easy to use the faceless evil government as a target, when the legislature, under his leadership, passed the law. And the DDS is probably limited by budget constraints in hiring more people. By the way, I just went to Dept of Driver Services to renew this AM, and “only” took 1 hour and 45 minutes. Not good, but could be a lot worse. Ralston should try to help these agencies, instead of placing blame.

janet

July 10th, 2012
1:05 pm

I think I remember reading a few months ago that Gov Deal reduced the number of employees in the Dept of Motor Vehicles Licensing Division. I remember thinking “what are they going to do when the new requiements kick in?”. Well now we know. Yes, smaller government is the way to go GOP. Perhaps every elected official can become the designated stand in the line person for a driver renewing or getting their license. I have renewed my license by mail the last 2 times. It is one of the few things in this state that did work.

hiram

July 10th, 2012
1:28 pm

Ralston is probably correct in his assertion that the Dept. of Driver’s Services was unprepared and the same will probably hold true with the DOT, given that the newly appointed Director of Planning’s only qualification for that lucrative state job is his relationship with Deal. The same holds true for Deal’s Gainesville business partner who he placed on the Port Authority Board. Since Deal is only doing what Sonny did for the previous eight years, it’s a wonder that Georgia’s government can function at all.

honested

July 10th, 2012
1:38 pm

hiram,

When we were young, didn’t the term ‘Public Servant’ mean something entirely different?

honested

July 10th, 2012
1:39 pm

Jim Nethery,

I think you are correct!
For more information see:
ALEC
Voter Suppression and
Senator fran millar.