Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 30

A daily recap of the Georgia Public Broadcasting show "Lawmakers". The show airs weekdays at 7:00pm with a replay at 5:30am the following weekday.

Day 30 - Crossover Day

* It's the big day. Crossover day. For those who haven't been here before, on this day a bill must pass one chamber or it is dead dead dead. This reality usually leads to a long day with a fair measure of rancor. Unfortunately for Lawmakers, their show ends at 7:30 but if there's something that changed status after they went off the air (SB169 I'm looking at you), I'll update the best I can. But I'm sure it will also air tomorrow.

* We go straight to a live shot of the House but it doesn't look like the usual kicked over ant hill because they are on dinner break.

* And with all the hoo-hah going on the top story is...the legislators talking about the economy. You'd think this show was sponsored, ahem excuse me, "underwritten" by the Chamber of Commerce or something.

* Valerie is at Hogwarts to talk about the "handful" of bills dealing with the economy. And the first one passed unanimously. Must have been a thriller. They actually found a lobbyist who opposed it. Now that's someone who had a bad day. More tax break bills. Nah. Chamber of Commerce. Nah.

* I have a brother in the car business and I'm not even sure I understand this title tax business. Then again, I buy a car about every 7 years. Based on that behavior I'm pretty sure I'm going to suffer under this thing. There's an awful lot of debate about it but it's all about whether or not it generates or loses revenue and where the hell the money goes. It passed pretty easily. That should probably scare all of us.

* A bill to create a special tax district in Atlanta to raise revenue for cops and firemen. Otherwise known as the "Hi I'm Kasim Reed And I'm Running For Mayor Bill". Oh goodie! John Douglas has a question! The question is - how many times will you tout this bill in your campaign. I kid! It was "what's wrong with what's in place now?"

* Excellent. The final act of SB 169 happened just before air time and the kids got their act together quick enough to talk about it. Brittany is in studio with the details. Wait. The studio is on 14th street. How did she get there that fast? Did she use the ATDC teleporter?

* I watched this debate today and we're going to see an abbreviated version - but I have to say I've seen Sen. Dan Weber give many a speech, including a defense of Genarlow Wilson, but I've never seen him give one like this. It was passionate and filled with emotion. The conflict for Republicans in the Senate was a portion believed it could still be used to prevent certain in-vitro procedures. Then things got really strange. But let's proceed with Lawmakers and see how they cover it.

* Brittany is doing a video version of "fisking".

* Okay. They skipped a key point here. The bill was tabled - meaning no vote but still alive. Later Sen Preston Smith brough it "off the table" and put forth an amendment. Another item missed here is the Republicans apparently caucused during the interim to figure out how they could satisfy their wayward members. The amendment states embryos can only be used for IVF or preservation for future IVF. This left the Democrats with just the "anti-science" argument. The bill finally passed 34-22 which means the Republicans came home. It still has to get through the House but my feeling is that will be an easier task.

* A little who's on camera ping pong there. Not unexpected after the fly by the seat of your pants SB 169 report.

* Adopt an embryo bill in the House. I think this allows parents who have leftover embryos from IVF to basically give them to other people. Yeah. The whole thing is pretty weird.

* Bobby Franklin's got something to say! Get ready for a ride into crazy town! He's agin it because allowing "trafficking" of these "human beings" would "dehumanize life". I think I broke my quote key. Mike Jacobs is clearing things up. This thing gives the receiving parents "parental rights" instead of a mere contract. This isn't crazy town - it's full bore Mescaline Metropolis.

* We're only halfway through the show and I'm wore out.

* John Sepulvado (normally a radio guy) is at Hogwarts to talk about the ethics bill. He was also tweeting all day and it was very informative. They got Sen. Johnson's tax thing through. It was bi-partisan and even Robert Brown supported it. Isn't it amazing what happens when you tone down the politics and actually try to write good law? The rest is just fines and such.

* They're going to train lobbyists. Write your own joke here.

* The Senators want to swear in committee testimony. Sen. Seth Harp says it's a shame they even have to pass such a thing. I suppose it's also a shame that even if it gets enacted (doubtful), those who are shocked (shocked I say!) people lie to them are exempt.

* Poll time! Would you support creating Milton County? A little closer than expected. 53-47 for.

* The Senate wants us to be able to go straight to arbitration over property assessments. Hear! Hear!

* A Republican is not happy with PAGE. Now I'm shocked. Shocked I say! Why does everything I write suddenly seem to be lifted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? This thing got a little more excitable than I expected. It's about teacher pay but Brooks Coleman says it's not about the Math and Science teachers bill and its not about master teachers. It's about a bonus for those who get certified by March 1st to get a bonus. Democrats are against it but I'm not sure why other than it came from Governor Sonny. Perhaps one of Dubose minions will stop by to clear away my haze.

* Minoo!

* And she's got the teen texting bill. They want to keep the young'uns from texting while driving. There's our old friend - the Downtown Connector. And there's our other old friend - Memorial Drive. They excluded navigational devices which is funny since my experience is those things are frighteningly more dangerous to operate while driving. Hell, they even have a warning that they shouldn't be operated while driving. Hells Bells! I've even been in a car that had a kill switch which shut the thing off if the car was in gear!

* They also excluded ham radios and CBs. Whew! The Rubber Duck was about to 10-100 in his pants at the thought of Smokey Bear taking away his squawk box.

* Rep. Kevin Levitas bill to prevent people from putting tracking devices on other people passed. He's my rep. I'm so proud. Actually there wasn't any prohibition on this type of creepy behavior, so it actually is a good privacy measure.

* The Stripper Tax is dead! Table dances for everyone!

* And the school kids get Veterans Day off! Suddenly it's like Christmas in here!

* And the General Assembly is in recess tomorrow and Monday! YEEHAW! We're all outta here!

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