Today Was the Last Day of Legislative Businees in The 2011-2012 Legislative Session In Georgia!! It Went Out With a Bang Today!!
Here’s just a sampling of what passed both the Georgia State House and the Georgia State Senate today in its last day of legislation today:
- The controversial Georgia House Bill 1176 passed the GA State House and Senate today, and it awaits Governor Nathan Deal’s signature. The bill would reduce the prison terms of some offenders and divert others into treatment instead of locking them up in prison. It would create three categories of burglary and would punish people who burglarize at night, or with a weapon, or hurt someone the harshest. Lesser punishment would be allowed for burglars who burglarize structures where people don’t live (like businesses such as restaurants, convenience stores, shopping centers, etc.) The bill could conceivably let someone go free for a burglary of a non-dwelling structure. Also, the bill would allow for people with lesser amounts of illegal drugs a looser sentence, while those with a lot of illegal drugs would be punished the harshest. The bill would allow offenders who are currently on probation or parole to graduate to a lower level of supervision if they follow a self-improvement plan. The door could be opened for Governor Deal to make similar decisions to former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who pardoned murderers and rapists because of politics. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
- A bill that would force people who want to receive welfare to take a drug test passed the GA House and Senate and is awaiting Governor Deal’s signature. The bill closely mirrors its Florida counterpart, and in that same light, the bill is unconstitutional, due to the Fourth Amendment protection from illegal and unlawful search and seizure without a search warrant. The Florida version with a similar drug test requirement has been blocked by a federal judge for that reason. Georgia’s law could be heading down the same path as other GOP states. [GPB News]
- Once GA Governor Nathan Deal signs it, a bill that bans assisted suicide will become law. Under the bill, if a person assists in another person’s suicide in the State of Georgia, they would be charged more than likely with felony murder or felony manslaughter. Regardless, they could face up to ten years in prison for suicide assistance. [NECN]
- The Georgia Legislature OK’s the display of the Ten Commandments in all government buildings and schools. This bill will most certainly be deemed unconstitutional due to the First Amendment barring any establishment of a national or state religion. The tradition of the “Separation of Church and State” which originated from US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black stated that government and religion not be intertwined with each other. By passing this bill, the Georgia Legislature is basically slapping the US Constitution and the Framers in the face! Even though I personally think that displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings and schools isn’t such a bad thing, I have to side with the law on this one. The display would publicly endorse a religion (Christianity) and I feel that the bill should be deemed unconstitutional. Like the Supreme Court struck down similar displays in two Kentucky courthouses in 2005, when this is taken up in court, it will be struck down also. [The Florida Times-Union]
- A controversial pro-life abortion bill passed the GA House and Senate late in the final day of the 2011-2012 legislative session. Awaiting Governor Deal’s signature, the bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except when pregnancies threaten a woman’s life or health. However, the bill did not have exceptions for a woman being raped, essentially meaning that a raped woman would be forced to carry the child that her rapist gave her. She would be forced to carry a reminder of the horrific day she was raped. The bill also allows for abortions to be performed if a fatal defect is found in the fetus at 5 months or after. [The Augusta Chronicle]
And after all this controversy occurred today, Governor Nathan Deal visited the Georgia State House and State Senate and congratulated them on a job well done this legislative session.
Excuse me? How is having the worst record in unemployment in the country a job well done? How is lowering the pay of teachers and paraprofessionals who are already struggling to make ends meet just so you and the Georgia DOT can make a failed HOT lane project and waste millions of dollars that could have went to education and paying teachers? How is that a good job? How is having a carbon copy of one of the most controversial anti-immigration laws in the country enacted in our state going to help our state, and our country’s economy?
Only in the demented brain of a Republican could a horrible unemployment record, a horrible record on jobs, a horrible record on overhauling the HOPE Scholarship that helps people attend college, which is funded by the Georgia Lottery that spends over 40% of the millions they make each year to fund advertising, usually mundane and stupid advertisements, be seen as DOING A GOOD JOB!!
Whatever happiness pill Georgia’s Governor Deal is taking, I want some! Either he’s lost touch with the current reality of Georgians’ lives, or he sincerely doesn’t give a damn about any of us that live and work in Georgia!!
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