Monday, February 08, 2010

Gonzo Lawmakers - Day 12

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 12

* Orange juicer. Check. Nwandi. Check. Susan. Check.

* Opposing transportation plans are up.

* But first the hospital tax. It's pretty controversial but the fact is the medicaid program faces a huge shortfall.

* Cue the lobbyist with some good fear mongering about closure of rural hospitals. Possibly the loss of 3300 jobs. 2/3 of the hospitals represented by this guy are in the red. Yikes. They are so desperate they are willing to take a rate cut.

* Our first shot of the Guv's mouth piece Bert Brantley. He's actually a pretty nice guy and will even occasionally respond to a wild eyed blogger. But he never wears a tie. What's up with that?

* Bert tells us the problem is hospitals have to cover these patients unlike individual doctors and such.

* Jesus. If we institute a $1 per pack cigarette tax, we will be "rewarded" with 1.5 billion in federal funds. Remind me to talk sometime about my feelings on the Fed's version of the shakedown.

* Here's the transportation plans. Let me break it down very quickly. Democrats want a bunch of rail. Republicans? Not so much.

* Senate and House Dems actually played nice long enough to introduce a joint bill. They want to free up the gas tax to pay for more than roads and bridges. It's been a bone of contention for years.

* Rep Doug Stoner (D-Never Misses A Camera) criticizes the lack of movement from the Guv.

* Dems want it on the ballot this year. That's a bold move.

* Senate committee is giving the DOT board a spanking over it's accounting practices. They changed systems despite the recommendation of an auditor.

* Microchip bill! The Senete says the government can't implant them involuntarily. The Mark Of The Beast lobby strenously objected. Vincent Fort vs. Chip Pearson. This should be fun. Fort is asking the obvious question of whether this practice has actually ever been done. Pearson of course has no knowledge of such. Once again. 40 days may be too much.

*By the way, John Douglas has proposed a bill to put microchips in pythons. Once again, the agents of the original Serpent claim hypocrisy.

* Cleaning up retirement loopholes. Yawn. Although there's something about the only way around this currently is to divorce and remarry. A jobs program for local magistrates!

* More retirement fun. But it gives me an opportunity to give a shout out to the scowling House clerks. The streak continues!

* Leadership series. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers. He's been in the forefront of some big items - notably the proposal to completely overhaul the property tax system. Chip needs a little pancake. He's looking slightly corpse-like.

* His goal, and he's been clear about this, is the eventual elimation of the property tax. He says it's an antiquated system based on the old agrarian cycles. I'm suprised the ghost of Gene Talmadge didn't rise up and smack him.

* Rogers is saying the problem with education is the Department of Education. He's never been shy about throwing a few bombs.

* In a touch of irony, I just noticed an update on a teacher friend's twitter that she faces more furlough days.

* Perdue wants to give the GBI the power to investigate mortgage fraud. Interesting idea.

* Here's Rob Telh..Telle...that Democrat dude running for Attorney General's bill to take DNA when someone is arrested. A shocking number of states already do this thing. Requesite grieving parents. If only we'd violate the Fourth Amendment, tragedy could be avoided. The thing is going to sub-committee. That's not a good sign.

* Bill to allow the Governor to remove members of local school boards.

* Keocia!

* This thing almost passed last year mostly due to the heinous situation in Clayton County, but the House let it quietly die. The fear is it gives the Governer way too much power. Someone from the Chatham school board is pointing out that the investigative process is fairly opaque and it's easy to jump to conclusions. This is an awful lot of power to put the in the hands on one person. It got tabled in order to try to clean this baby up.

* Sen. Gail Buckner (D-Have Election Will Run) wants to go a little further. She wants to dock school board member pay is a school loses accreditation. Harsh!

* Rep. Cecil Staton (R-Erick Erickson Land) wants to crack down on massage parlors. Increase penalties if they step over, um, certain lines. No happy ending for you!

* Lawmaker flashback! There is no way they top the last one. Oh wait a minute. I could be wrong. It's Ray Charles performing "Georgia On My Mind" on the floor of the House. Not only is that awesome but if memory serves it was the first time he had performed in Georgia in years. He wouldn't come back after a nasty racial incident in Augusta. Seeing a full jazz combo on the House floor is pretty damned cool. Nice editing too. Gotta say. They're really upping their game on the flashbacks.

* Hope scholarship eligibility. Yawn.

* Here's Ricky Bevington and her Book of Doom! Trouble in east Georgia! Warren County's schools are going straight to hell and they are begging the state for help. Fall line freeway is back in the news. They've been trying to get that damned thing built for decades. Georgia Chamber of Commerce quail hunt down near Albany. Having seen similar hunts, the quail have little to fear.

* We get Tom Crawford tomorrow! Yay! For now, that's a wrap.

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