SB181 changes the structure of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System. It adds two members to the Board and dictates that there be one member each from five types of officials associated with the Judiciary, including: superior court judge, state court judge, district attorney, state court solicitor-general, and juvenile court judge. The bill then notes how these officials will be appointed (typical 4 year terms) and notes that if a member of the Board leaves the office for which they were appointed to the Board (such as if a juvenile court judge becomes a superior court judge), that member vacates his or her position on the Board. Because it increases the size of the Board, thereby allowing potentially more diverse input into the deliberative process, and because it is very specific in noting the exact composition of the board, and because of its vacancy clause, this bill has my SUPPORT.
SB182 is another insurance bill. As noted in earlier posts, insurance is not exactly my strongest area. Because I don’t understand the bill and I hold that no change is better than uninformed change, I must OPPOSE this bill pending further information.
SB183 appears to authorize the City of Locust Grove to raise its excise taxes and dictates how these funds shall be spent. I OPPOSE this measure on the grounds that taxes should be lowered (along with appropriate spending cuts) and on the grounds that the State should not dictate to a local government how said government spends its money.
SB184 changes some capitalization in Code Section 10-7-31 from ‘Notice of Commencement’ and ‘Notice to Contractor’ to ‘notice of commencement’ and ‘notice to contractor’, respectively. It also adds that the notice to contractor shall be served by registered or certified mail, statutory overnight delivery, or by the local sheriff’s office. This appears to be simply a procedural bill, and I don’t see anything that out right warrants opposition, so I will SUPPORT this measure.
SB185 removes the ‘suitable facility’ clause of Code Section 21-2-265(e). I OPPOSE this bill on the grounds that it allows an unelected official to determine what best serves the needs of the voters in terms of where they should vote.
SB186 appears to allow the property taxes levied by a community improvement district to be included in the computation of increments of tax allocation districts so long as the board of the community improvement district passes a resolution allowing it. Honestly, I don’t know this is a good thing or a bad thing, so I will default to OPPOSE pending further information.
SB187 dictates that some amount of State Transportation Fund money be spent on projects other than public roads and bridges. In other words, this money would be spent on mass transit, specifically rail. This is a somewhat popular idea in Atlanta – mostly with the inside 285 crowd – that would do nothing for South GA or anywhere else that is not downtown Atlanta. And yet the entire state would be paying for this. Because this is something that Atlanta should pay for if Atlanta wants it and not force on the rest of us, I OPPOSE this bill.
SB188 would do several things in relation to code enforcement officials. It would make it a misdemeanor to hinder a code official in any way, and a felony if you threaten or use violence to hinder a code official. Based on the ‘your right to punch ends at my nose’ principle, I can support the felony charge. But this bill does so much more than that, and the misdemeanor charge is justification enough in my mind to OPPOSE this bill.
SB188 also creates a Georgia Code Enforcement Training Board, but notes that a code officer not having received the training they would create is not justification for pursuing legal challenges to the decrees of the officer. Again, this is justification enough to OPPOSE.
Furthermore, however, the bill contains the following language:
It is declared to be the policy of this state that local code enforcement is central to the promotion of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state and that, to promote the quality of life of all Georgia citizens and the enhanced security of our communities, proper training of code enforcement officials is essential to ensure the highest level of professional conduct.
It is not the State’s duty to promote the quality of life of all Georgia citizens, and it is only the State’s duty to protect us from actual security threats, not perceived ones. Furthermore, the state has no business promoting health and welfare of citizens. Those are completely up to the individual. Nor does the State have any interest in the safety of the citizenry, only the security. Safety is up to the individual, and if they want to pursue risky activities they are completely within their rights so long as no one else is actually harmed.
Because of all of these, I must strenuously OPPOSE.
SB189 limits private contract by limiting the policy fee a licensed managing general agent may charge an insurer. Because it limits private contract, I must OPPOSE.
SB190 appears to modify time-share law by noting that so long as no more than six individuals buy a property together and all their names are on the title, they can contract among themselves as to who occupies the property at any given time. Furthermore, developments of such residences can be built. Because it appears to allow for less government regulation of private contract, I SUPPORT this measure.
SB191 reincorporates the City of Stone Mountain. This would allow for more local control of some decisions, which is a good thing, and I see no overt reason for opposition, and therefore I SUPPORT this measure.
SB192 basically notes the State’s preferences for where new cell towers can be built. It notes that preference shall be given to ‘neutral third party’ towers and/ or towers co-located with existing structures and that an application for a cell tower can be denied if the State deems the company unwilling to co-locate cell towers with existing structures. It is this last point that warrants opposition due to the fact that it unnecessarily restricts private contract and private business. Therefore, I OPPOSE this measure.
SB193 would allow certain first offenders to serve the last year of their sentence is a Department of Corrections administered ‘transitional center or work release program’ – in other words, a half way house. Because it allows a gradual shift between prison life and free life and starts when otherwise the inmate would be locked up, I SUPPORT this measure.
SB194 does something in relation to finance and state contracts, but I’m not sure exactly what. Because I don’t understand this bill, I stand with my default position of OPPOSE.
SB195 makes several changes to the ways the licensing process goes for several different occupations. For the most part, I don’t have any problems with these changes, as they allow people to take better advantage of modern communications technology (namely the internet and online application processes) as well as enforce the idea that it is the individual’s responsibility to get any documentation they are required to show in their business, and that it is government’s job simply to make said documentation available. However, I did see a single instance of this bill encroaching upon private contract, and that is sufficient enough to OPPOSE this bill. That clause is in Section 11 and notes that barber apprentices must be at least 16 years old, rather than simply having received a 5th grade education as in current law.
Because this lengthy bill encroaches on the right of private contract even a single time, I must OPPOSE.
SB196 stiffens the penalties for causing serious injury in a collision that resulted from a right of way violation, assuming the other person was obeying the law. I SUPPORT this one on the grounds that people should face very stiff penalties when actual harm has been caused by their actions. Indeed, my own position in regards to penalties for causing actual harm is often more severe than the current regulations allow.
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