State Senate Bills I Find Interesting (SB36 – SB45)

Conclusions:

SB36: SUPPORT
SB37: SUPPORT
SB39: SUPPORT
SB40: OPPOSE
SB41: SUPPORT
SB42: OPPOSE
SB43: SUPPORT
SB44: OPPOSE
SB45: SUPPORT


SB36 could have gone wrong, but didn’t. It requires that all local school boards adopt a code of ethics and review them annually, announcing both when the review is to occur and any changes at regular meetings of the board. I could be wrong, but this doesn’t seem to allow the announcements regarding when the review is going to happen nor what changes were made to happen during work sessions. The bill doesn’t cross the line of actually sanctioning the local board for failure or any similar such nonsense, and therefore it is a good bill.

SB36: SUPPORT

SB37 goes back to SB35 and says that any official that has been required to validate his/her residence must do so within 2 business days of being personally served with notice of the requirement. It allows for 10 business days due to an illness of the official or a member of his/her immediate family or a death of an immediate family member. It also allows the a ‘reasonable period of time’ to file due to a declared state of emergency or an act of God. While I don’t know how Americans United for Separation of Church and State feels about that last clause, I say this is a good bill – but that it should only be passed if SB35 is.

SB37: SUPPORT

SB39 is the TAD Transportation Bill. The bill is fairly complex in its mechanisms, but basically it allows counties to opt in and out at will – but at the vote of the City/County commissions, not the voters. (However, obviously if the voters are not happy with the decisions their commissioners make, they can always vote them out at the next election.) The money generated cannot be used by the state or federal governments for other purposes, and the tax only applies to the first $5K of a purchase but not at all to gas/diesel/motor vehicle fuels. Because of all of these safety clauses. it has my support.

SB39: SUPPORT

SB40 strips GDOT of quite a bit of its power in choosing projects and gives that power mostly to the General Assembly or its designees. This is blatant in the first clause this bill adds to 32-2-2 Section 1 Paragraph 1(a):

However, the General Assembly may by general law specifically allow other state agencies or authorities to have control of and responsibility for designated types of projects involving the state highway system.

This politicizes transportation issues in this state even more than they already are, and therefore I oppose this measure.

SB40: OPPOSE

SB41 is targeted at all those lawyer ads you see on TV. It states that “The face and voice appearing in the advertisement shall be of a duly licensed attorney”, “The advertisement shall visually and audibly state whether the advertising attorney is licensed to practice in the State of Georgia”, “The advertisement shall visually and audibly state the name, city, county, and state of the principal residence of the advertising attorney”, “Any advertising disclaimers currently required, or subsequently enacted, by the State Bar of Georgia shall be visually and audibly stated in the television advertisement”, and “The type size of the required visual displays shall be no smaller than one-fifth of the projected television screen image”. For example, if Charles Peeler decided to run an add and this bill was law, he or another lawyer from his firm would have to actually be in the ad – not some actor. He would have to state that he can actually be a lawyer in GA. (A lawyer from Alabama can’t just show up in a GA court and try a case. It is one of those lawyer peculiarities, but the reason for it is differences in laws and procedures from state to state.). I don’t understand the reference to ‘name’ as far as the principal residence clause, but basically Mr. Peeler (our hypothetical example) would have to state that he lives in Albany, Dougherty County, GA (or whatever city/county he actually lives in). Note that these clauses don’t mean the lawyer in question has to LIVE in GA – just that he has to be allowed to be a lawyer here and that he has to state where he actually lives, whereever that may be.

SB41 goes further and states that any if you get your lawyer from a TV ad, that lawyer has to personally do all of the lawyer-stuff. It also notes that if you got your lawyer through a TV ad, nothing is final until both you and your lawyer sign in writing and under oath that the lawyer personally talked to you about the deal. You both also have to sign off on exactly when (date and time) and method (face to face, email, phone, etc) that the two of you talked. Furthermore, it gives you the ability to void any settlement up to a year after the settlement is done. All you have to do is write a letter to your lawyer and tell them of your intentions. The last clause of SB41 notes that when you sign with your lawyer, you have to note at that point whether your decision was influenced by TV ads. Even if those ads stopped up to two years ago. (For example, if Mr. Peeler stopped running TV ads on Feb 2, 2007, and you signed with him Jan 29, 2009 in part because of those TV ads you used to see, you would still have to note that and both people would still be bound by the regulations of SB41.)

The penalty for violating any of SB41’s provisions is a misdemeanor.

Overall, SB41 appears to be a very good bill, though I am sure there are several lawyers out there that won’t like it so much. Also, just to make it crystal clear, no harm was meant in my references to Mr. Peeler, I was simply using him as an example due to his name being one of the few non-government lawyers in Albany that came readily to mind. I do not know Mr. Peeler in any way other than having passed his law office several times while traveling to and from downtown Albany.

SB41: SUPPORT

SB42 primarily does two things: 1) It sets up the Georgia Public Defender Agency whose head is appointed by the governor and makes the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council (the current governing body for Public Defenders) an advisory body only, and 2) removes a ton of language that was designed to sunset on June 30 2009, replacing it with language whose intent was already clear in the current law. I’m opposed to this bill on the grounds that single person rule is rarely better than rule by council. As always, if someone can make a convincing argument to the contrary, I could be persuaded to change my stance.

SB42: OPPOSE

SB43 is sponsored by SWGA’s own John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) and concerns a subject near and dear to many in our area: cotton farming. It basically changes the current law in OCGA Title 2, Chapter 7, Article 5 Section 2-7-152 and Section 2-7-156 to replace the concept of ‘first buyer’ with ‘first handler’. Where ‘first buyer’ meant the person who first buys the cotton from the farmer, ‘first handler’ means the person who owns or operates the gin where cotton is first delivered.

I don’t see any reason to oppose this on the face of it, but I know NOTHING about cotton farming/ginning. Indeed, the only thing I know about the cotton gin is that it was first invented by Eli Whitney in the 19th century. Hopefully, someone with more knowledge of the subject can enlighten me on this particular issue, but for now I support it.

SB43: SUPPORT

SB44 is cosponsored by SWGA’s George Hooks (D-Americus) and says that basically any governmental agency in the state has to give preference in purchasing and contracts to businesses within the state and that for anything that exceeds $10K, a written estimate of the multiplier effect on state GDP as well as the effect on public revenues of the state as determined by the Department of Revenues AND the effect on public revenues of Cities and Counties (‘political subdvisions’, according to the bill) resulting from choosing an in-state option vs an out of state one.

I have a question in to a CPA I know about the legal/economic-ese, but essentially this looks like a stifling of the Free Market in favor of local businesses. This is only going to hurt the consumer more (in addition to allowing for more waste/less quality in general), and because of this I oppose this measure.

SB44: OPPOSE

SB45 makes it easier for nurses who graduated from a non-GA based school to practice in GA. I don’t see any reason to oppose based on my own reading of the bill, but as always feel free to express any issues you have and I promise I’ll listen.

SB45: SUPPORT

Edited Feb 17 2009 @6:17a to correct grammatical and spelling errors, as well as to remove reference to a lawyer whom it turns out is now a judge. I had no knowledge that said lawyer had won his election in November.

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3 Responses

  1. […] SB36: SUPPORT SB37: SUPPORT SB39: SUPPORT SB40: OPPOSE SB41: SUPPORT SB42: OPPOSE SB43: SUPPORT SB44: OPPOSE SB45: SUPPORT SB36 could have gone wrong, but didn’t. It requires that all local school boards adopt a code of ethics and review them annually, announcing both when the review is to occur and any changes at regular meetings of the board. I could be wrong, but this doesn’t seem to allow the announcements regarding when the review is going to happen nor what changes were made to happen during work sessions. The bill doesn’t cross the line of actually sanctioning the local board for failure or any similar such nonsense, and therefore it is a good bill. […]

  2. […] SB108: SUPPORT SB109: SUPPORT SB110: OPPOSE SB111: SUPPORT SB112: OPPOSE SB100 is a complement to SB42 that changes references from the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council to the Georgia Public […]

  3. […] SB 39: PASSED Yea: 52 Nay: 3 Not Voting: 0 Excused: 1 Yea: Bulloch, Crosby, Hooks, Sims […]

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