Senate Bills I find Interesting (SB85-SB99)

Conclusions:

SB85: OPPOSE
SB86: OPPOSE
SB87: OPPOSE
SB88: OPPOSE
SB89: SUPPORT
SB90:OPPOSE
SB91: OPPOSE
SB92: SUPPORT
SB93: OPPOSE
SB94: SUPPORT
SB95: OPPOSE
SB96: OPPOSE
SB97: SUPPORT
SB98: SUPPORT
SB99: OPPOSE

SB85 would create the Georgia Aviation Authority, which essentially would be another layer of bureaucracy charged with handling any state-owned aviation assets, including helicopters, planes, pilots, and the support staff required for them. This is simply another level of red tape that decreases the mission effectiveness of aviation assets currently owned by various agencies by requiring these agencies to first go to the Aviation Authority for permission to do their jobs. Furthermore, it is hard for me to fathom why in this age of massive budget shortfalls and calls for furloughs of all state employees in order to save money that the General Assembly would want to CREATE a new agency. For these reasons, I must OPPOSE.

SB85: OPPOSE

SB86 would force everyone to provide proof of US citizenship when registering to vote. On its surface, this is a very good and noble thing. Obviously, non-US citizens should never be allowed to vote in a US election. Same as non-Iraqis should never be allowed to vote in an Iraqi election, non-British citizens should never be allowed to vote in a British election, etc. My problem with this law is one of privacy concerns. YES, government has a legitimate reason to ensure that I am a US citizen, and a citizen residing in the area I am voting in (in regards to local elections as well as districts for state and federal offices). NO, they should not keep said information after the election. This law not only allows the Secretary of State’s office to keep this information, said office is also required to link the information to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ databases. And that provision in particular is where I draw the line and must OPPOSE this measure on privacy grounds.

SB86: OPPOSE

SB87 would make the Georgia Mass Choir the ‘official’ Mass Choir of Georgia. I didn’t know we NEEDED an official Mass Choir, and this simply seems like a waste of legislators’ time when there are FAR more serious issues to discuss. Because it is nothing more than a waste of time and is completely unnecessary, I must OPPOSE.

SB87: OPPOSE

SB88 would make the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum the official civil rights museum of Georgia. Again, I don’t see the need to have an official civil rights museum – or even a state-funded civil rights museum, official or not – and see this as a complete waste of legislators’ time that could be better spent on actual issues of the day rather than these trivialities.

SB88: OPPOSE

SB89 would allow the consumption of food and beverages in rapid rail and intermodal bus stations. I didn’t know it was against current law to so consume, but evidently it is. Since this measure promotes freedom by removing an unnecessary government regulation and unconstitutional government intrusion into private life, I SUPPORT this measure.

SB89: SUPPORT

SB90 is Senator Eric Johnson’s school voucher proposal. It actually looks pretty solid in that it gives parents maximal choice – not just to a private school, but also to another school within their district or even in another county. As far as public schools are concerned, my only problem is that of how to determine what each local system spends per child and whether it is appropriate for the state to dictate that one system pay another. For that reason alone, I would be ambivalent about this bill, but I would probably come down on the side of support.

What kills this bill, however, are its regulations on private schools. It would require that any participating private school comply with the antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section 2000d, regularly report to the parent and the department on the student’s academic progress, including the results of pre-academic assessments and post-academic assessments given to the student, in accordance with department guidelines, and employ or contract with teachers who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher degree or have at least three years of experience in education and annually provide to the parents the relevant credentials of the teachers who will be teaching their students. These represent unnecessary limitations on the right of contract and the right of association, both on the school and the parent, and therefore must be OPPOSEd.

SB90: OPPOSE

SB91 would impose a $5 tax for anyone entering a strip club. Monies raised would then go to certain crime victims and residential treatment programs. These certain victims are victims of vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, violent crimes (even if the crime is committed in other states, provided the victim lives here and other stipulations are met which are part of current law), international terrorism, mass violence, pimping, or pandering. Interestingly, this bill only adds the language about victims of pimping or pandering. All others are in current law. (Note to legislators: We need a bill to repeal this current law!)

My problem here is that a) the state wants to impose ANOTHER tax and b) there is no way you can claim this ‘fee’ (as the Senators that support this measure like to call this tax) is related to the issues you are trying to raise money to help. There is nothing criminal about entering a strip club, so why are all strip club patrons being asked to pay restitution to victims of crimes?

SB91: OPPOSE

SB92 is another insurance-related bill, so I need someone who knows about these things to read it to make sure there is nothing hinky in there, but according to its summary (once again the only part of it I can understand), it would “convert Medicaid and the PeachCare for Kids Program funds to premium assistance to allow low-income families to participate in private sector health insurance plans”. While on the one hand I object to such assistance completely, I will at least acknowledge that the changes being sought at least make it more palatable by using private insurance (free market) rather than government programs. Based on this, I can SUPPORT this measure, with the caveat that hopefully one day all such programs will be completely eliminated.

SB92: SUPPORT

SB93 would create an incentive pay for high school principals based on the high school graduation rate, test scores on EOCTs (end of course tests), and SAT scores. The high school would have had to been in the top 5% of the state in each of those three criteria, and the principal would have had to been at the school for at least two years and must still be at the school. IFF all of these criteria are met, the principal would get an extra $10K each year.

On the face of it, this is a good idea. The devil, as usual, is in the details. You see, principals really have EXTREMELY little to do with any of the criteria listed, and when they actually DO things to try to increase said rates, these things usually backfire in some way – most notably in discipline problems and assaults on teachers. Because the principal of the school really has so little to do with any of the criteria used in this program, I must OPPOSE.

SB93: OPPOSE

SB94 would eliminate the requirement that a dependent between 18 and 25 be enrolled in school full time in order to be on his/her parents’ insurance plan. Before reading the bill, I was planning to OPPOSE because I thought that it would be raising the age from current law, but because all this bill does is remove (some) government intervention into private decisions, I SUPPORT it.

SB94: SUPPORT

SB95 is ANOTHER insurance bill. Those seem to be popular targets, and I’m wondering why… Anyways, once again, this is something that I don’t even pretend to understand. HOWEVER, this one’s summary notes that it would “establish that it is an unfair trade practice to fail to consider the suitability of insurance for a person 65 years of age or older”. In other words, it it going to regulate what insurance companies must do if they want to offer insurance in this state. Because it adds more government regulation to private businesses, I must OPPOSE this measure. As always, I am willing to listen if anyone cares to discuss this, particularly if they can actually understand the insurance language and can explain it to me.

SB95: OPPOSE

SB96 is an ethics package that essentially does three things: 1) removes the requirement that members of the General Assembly submit disclosure reports in their county, 2) requires yearly training of all lobbyists, and 3) requires that each and every county and municipal government create a local ethics board. None of these three things are good, but perhaps the most egregious is the third item this bill attempts. I assume that said ethics boards and/or their staffs would be paid positions, meaning this measure once again directs local government to do something without allocating the money for said something. Furthermore, it usurps local control by forcing another state mandate upon local citizens. As I’ve said before, I believe that local government should reign supreme, with each subsequent government acting more as a ‘government of governments’ with little purpose outside protection of rights and doing those things – such as providing for the common defense, entering into treaties, and providing a court system – that are better left to broader levels of government. Oh, and one last note: This piece of trash is cosponsored by SWGA’s own Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus).

SB 96: OPPOSE

SB97 would change the name of ‘State Merit System of Personnel Administration’ to ‘State Personnel Administration’ where ever the first name appears in the Georgia Code. (It lists what I assume to be everywhere the first name appears, but I’m leaving out the boring details here.) My only question here is this: Are we thus saying that the Personnel Administration is no longer merit-based? I mean, I knew it wasn’t, in fact, merit based for quite some time, but I liked that at least it was OFFICIALLY supposed to be merit based. Nonetheless, this isn’t a strong enough argument in my mind to warrant overt opposition, so I will SUPPORT it with reservation.

SB97: SUPPORT

SB98 would make the same changes as SB97, but this time specifically as they relate to retirement and pensions. As I noted there, I don’t have a strong reason to warrant opposition, and therefore I SUPPORT with reservations.

SB98: SUPPORT

SB99 would restrict certain types of boats from using Lake Sinclair. Specifically, it prohibits boats longer than 30’6″ and boats that either do not have or which bypass muffler and baffler requirements. I’m going to OPPOSE this on philosophical grounds, as people should be able to use the boat of their choice on public lakes. (BTW, since I had to look it up myself: Lake Sinclair is a decently sizable lake operated as a reservoir by Georgia Power and located near Milledgeville.)

SB99: OPPOSE

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One Response

  1. […] OPPOSE SB86: OPPOSE SB87: OPPOSE SB88: OPPOSE SB89: SUPPORT SB90:OPPOSE SB91: OPPOSE SB92: SUPPORT SB93: OPPOSE […]

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