They’re just getting less publicity than in the past and fewer actual “committee hearings.”
It is worth mentioning a few for entertainment purposes, about all they would be good for were it not that a risk always exists of them becoming law. Sadly, such off-the-wall proposals have a strange way, on the final mad-rush day of the session, of magically making an appearance or being attached, whole, to some other measure that nobody dare oppose — like praise for the peach cobbler.
Perhaps the oddest should be credited to Rep. Jay Neal, R-LaFayette, who obviously has been reading — and believing — entirely too much science fiction. His HB 481, part of the endless stream of efforts opposing abortion, would ban the creation and implanting of hybrid animal/human embryos in women or the transplanting of human embryos into nonhuman wombs.
On the other hand, given the absence of any minotaurs or mermaids holding seats in the General Assembly and being able to rise in opposition, better not rule this one out either.
ALMOST AS strange is HB 409 by Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin, which would strip local governments of the authority to ban certain dog breeds (such as the pitbull, one assumes) or to require that pet dogs be spayed or neutered ... or tethered. Dogs just want to run free and have sex? Perhaps this is a right-to-life proposal as well.
Actually, there’s a discernible trend in some of the more unusual proposals that seems aimed at taking away even more city/county clout or self-governing ability.
For example, one of the most amazing is HB 228 by Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming. It would ban local government employees from using government computers, fax machines, email or even telephones both wired and wireless to support or oppose legislation by the General Assembly. If anyone working for a local government then used home equipment on their own time to discuss the local impact of pending legislation, such an employee must register as a lobbyist.
The only exception: If the legislator asks that person for information. Even God doesn’t require that one speaks to Him only if spoken to first.
For example, apparently if Rome City Manager John Bennett wanted to caution Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, that something in a pending measure would harm the city, or even just to ask her for more information because the City Commission directed him to do so, that would become a no-no.
This measure is believed to be “revenge” for so many teachers having opposed the constitutional amendment on charter schools. Seems as though all Georgians must be forcibly instructed regarding the absolute truth that state politicians always know best.
WHICH ALSO may be the weird thinking behind SB 167 by Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick. It would have Georgia become the only state not to adhere to the national school standards for curriculum and content upon which all standardized testing and, eventually, college admissions will be based. There is plenty wrong with that curriculum, to be sure. It is tough, for one thing. And not everyone agrees with various aspects, ... but then some folks insist the Earth revolves around the sun to this very day, and some are sure that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were very bad people.
However, standards typically have to start somewhere reflecting general agreement, then be refined or adapted over time and not have everybody set whatever they want.
What is cuckoo about this one is that until recently Georgia did set its own standards, with state students bouncing along the very bottom nationally in test results. So now the state must go to a national standard that is actually the existing norm for everybody else and is concerned, according to Ligon, that such common standards prevent individual states from innovating and excelling? Georgia did innovate on this already ... and missed “excel” by a mile.
Having done worse, it may not even want to try to do better — particularly should it cost money or — and this has been brought up — because the tougher standards make it impossible for many parents to help children with homework that is now over their own heads. That is good, not bad — and parents shouldn’t be doing their kids’ homework anyway.
A DOLLAR is worth 100 pennies only because it is an agreed-upon standard. Frankly, a high-school diploma achieved anywhere should similarly be worth 100 pennies. And one that is 50 years old is, like the dollar from yesteryear’s world, often also not worth 100 cents any longer.
Even some proposals, like the one that has received a lot of positive attention regarding making slower drivers in the left lane move over, sound logical until one thinks about them. In the case of HB 459 by Rep. Bill Hichens, R-Rincon: Who bells the cat? Who proves the case if a complaint is made?
Seriously, if those who don’t give way simply react with the road rage of a raised-finger salute, will a new fleet of surveillance drones hit them with an indelible ink paintball so they can be ticketed later? If police see it happening, wouldn’t they have to instantly pull over not only that vehicle but also the trailing one and all others who can act as witnesses to prove the case?
And while many react positively to this suggested new law, having encountered true slowpokes, that is the exception and not the rule on most Georgia highways/expressways where the top speed limit has generally become as slow as anybody dares go. Drivers coming up fast from behind as one is doing the limit, or even slightly more, and then passing on the left, right or by riding over the top of another car if they could is more of a problem. Atlanta rush-hour traffic, in particular, makes NASCAR driving look tame.
However, basically this is intended to make driving in the left lane mostly illegal except to pass (or, one assumes, if paying a toll to do so as the state currently favors). Few were aware but apparently the true problem behind Georgia’s traffic tangles is that there are too many lanes open.
KNOW WHAT is weirdest of all about such stuff? The legislators and their staffers who discuss it, author it, push for it are all doing so while paid with your/our taxes. It is usually called the price of living in a free country, which is about the only thing not weird about many such things.