State Senate Bills I Find Interesting (SB15-SB25)

Conclusions:

SB16: SUPPORT
SB17: SUPPORT
SB18: OPPOSE
SB20: OPPOSE
SB21: OPPOSE
SB22: OPPOSE
SB23: OPPOSE
SB24: OPPOSE
SB25: OPPOSE

SB16 allows local communities to decide whether or not to allow alcohol sales on Sunday. Whatever is legal to sell during the week – whether it just be wine and malt beverages or wine, malt beverages, and distilled spirits – would be voted on by the local community to decide to allow its sale on Sunday or not. If it is rejected, supporters can try again one year later. While this is simply passing the buck from the State to local governments – which is a good thing – it also allows for enhanced freedom, and therefore is a very good thing.

SB16: SUPPORT

SB17 relates to the filing of campaign disclosure reports, financial disclosure statements, and lobbyist disclosure reports and increases the fines for filing these reports late. It is a big move towards more transparency in government, and for that I support it. HOWEVER, there are certain issues I’d like resolved. Specifically, the language in Section 1(1) seems to indicate that any other filing fees would be replaced by the late fee. Meaning that if the other fees are higher, it would actually be more financially prudent of the filer to file late, negating the effects of this bill and in fact encouraging late filing. Also, Section 3(f)(2) allows government employees to be exempt from filing as lobbyists. Personally, I think anyone asking the General Assembly for anything should be required to register as a lobbyist – even if said person works for a government agency at any level. Nonetheless, as noted, this is an important step forward and I will support it.

SB17: SUPPORT

SB18 would force GDOT to compile a list of scenic areas that are within 660 feet of the nearest edge of the right of way of the interstate and primary highways in the state. There are several things that qualify to be on the list, and later the bill goes on to say that outdoor public advertising will be banned within 660 feet of any location on the list. I OPPOSE this on two grounds: 1) It tramples on property rights. A private property owner should be able to do whatever he/she wishes on his/her property, including erecting billboards. 2) The 660′ is completely arbitrary. What significant difference is there between a billboard 660′ away and 600′ or 700′? What about 500′ or 1000′?

SB18: OPPOSE

SB20 would prohibit local governmental agencies – cities, towns, counties, etc – from establishing ‘sanctuary’ policies for illegal immigrants. The illegal immigration issue is very complex and I welcome representatives of both sides to make their case here on SWGA Politics. But on this particular bill, I OPPOSE due to its top-down approach. I subscribe to the ‘government of governments’ model of State and Federal government, meaning that the local government should initiate laws and the only purpose a higher government has for intervening is to ensure the rights of all citizens are protected. In this case, if a local community chooses to harbor illegal immigrants, that is their decision and theirs alone.

SB20: OPPOSE

SB21 would require that 10% of the funds of any state contract would go to small businesses, where small business means less than 50 employees. There does not appear to be any exception for projects/contracts for which no small business can do the work, nor does this acknowledge the sheer inefficiencies introduced because of this practice. When it comes to projects/contracts, I look at three things: quality, time, and cost. The best business according to those three factors gets the deal. However, at that point the size of the business is irrelevant. As is the race of the owner – touching on an issue raised locally regarding certain contracts.

SB21: OPPOSE

SB22 would set up the Georgia Coordinating Council for Rural and Human Services Transportation. The logic here is interesting:

The General Assembly finds that there exists a number of programs designed to provide rural and human services transportation and that frequently these services are provided over large geographic areas through various funding sources which are frequently targeted to narrowly defined client bases. The sheer number of such programs lends itself to a need for coordination among the programs so as to best assist economies in purchasing equipment and operating these many programs, to better serve the taxpayers of the state in ensuring the most cost-effective delivery of these services, and to best serve the clients utilizing the transportation services provided through these programs.

In other words, because we already have a number of government agencies whose purposes and scopes overlap, we need to create ANOTHER government agency to oversee all the others. Wouldn’t the better option be to combine those overlapping agencies into a single agency? Or better yet, why not privatize the entire system?

SB22: OPPOSE

SB23 would change the way seat belts are viewed in terms of negligence in an accident. Right now, failure to use a seat belt can NOT imply negligence. SB23 would change that and say that failure to use a seat belt DOES imply negligence. In other words, this would allow insurance companies not to pay on your claim if you are injured in an accident where you were not wearing your seat belt. I wonder which lobby proposed this particular measure?

SB23: OPPOSE

SB24 is called the ‘Probation Management Act’ and is cosponsored by SWGA’s own John Crosby (R-Tifton). This bill would allow for non-court rendered ‘administrative sanctions’ and overall sounds like a good plan to me. What kills it for me is the last sentence of 42-8-155(c)(2) that states: “The administrative proceeding may be conducted electronically.” I firmly believe the accused has the right to see all parties to his proceedings face to face unless extreme situations (such as death or long term hospitalization) dictate otherwise. Furthermore, 42-8-159 states that “This article shall be liberally construed so that its purposes may be achieved”. Liberal construction eventually limits freedom, and this is the bill’s deathblow for me.

SB24: OPPOSE

SB25 would allow an individual to allow the state to contribute all or part of his/her tax refund towards “programs for the education regarding and alleviation of multiple sclerosis”. The bill further states that “the instructions accompanying the income tax return form shall contain a description of such programs and the intended use of moneys received from the contributions” and names the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Georgia Chapter as the recipient of any monies raised. My problem here is that the individual could instead make the contribution himself without the State being involved at all, and may choose to donate to a different MS-linked organization. This would simply be another avenue for revenue for some bureaucrat’s pet projects or other corruption – all in the name of a genuinely lofty ideal.

SB25: OPPOSE

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One Response

  1. […] SB16: SUPPORT SB17: SUPPORT SB18: OPPOSE SB20: OPPOSE SB21: OPPOSE SB22: OPPOSE SB23: OPPOSE SB24: OPPOSE SB25: OPPOSE SB16 allows local communities to decide whether or not to allow alcohol sales on Sunday. Whatever is legal to sell during the week – whether it just be wine and malt beverages or wine, malt beverages, and distilled spirits – would be voted on by the local community to decide to allow its sale on Sunday or not. If it is rejected, supporters can try again one year later. While this is simply passing the buck from the State to local governments – which is a good thing – it also allows for enhanced freedom, and therefore is a very good thing. […]

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