I hope everyone enjoyed February as much as I did. I can never quite get enough semi-freezing rain, dark afternoons and state political drama. But alas, February is over and crossover day draws neigh. (Crossover day is the 30th day of the Legislative Session, in which a bill which hasn’t cleared either the House or Senate chamber is dead) With the deadlines for action drawing close, I’ll try to provide an update with what the Legislature has accomplished and the issues that will be dealt with in the upcoming weeks. Of course, there is a huge gulf between how busy we are and how little we actually accomplish it seems. Last Friday was a perfect example as the House was convened all day but refused to look at a budgetary bill that was due to come back to the Senate later in the afternoon.
I’m glad to announce that Senate Bill 116, which would provide additional protections for pedestrians and bicyclists by increasing the penalty for vehicular homicide, passed the Judicial Committee and is now before Rules. By increasing the penalty in a vehicular homicide hopefully we can cut down on the reckless actions some drivers take around others who use the roads and crosswalks. I hope that this bill will be presented to the Senate floor before crossover. Another bill lowering the permissible blood alcohol content of boaters has passed the Senate and aims to prevent the kinds of tragic accidents we saw over the past two years in boating accidents on Lake Lanier and elsewhere in the state. Senate Bill 80 has also been moving along, which would prevent outsourcing on a state level. This bill would ensure that the state spends your taxpayer dollars on workers in the USA.
Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. House Republicans have been pushing an anti-union agenda parroting the movements we’ve seen in other states. HB 361 would limit the ability of workers to organize in Georgia. In a state where unions aren’t considered powerful, this is a blatant attempt to create a straw man for problems in other sectors of our economy. Scapegoating unions and further limiting the ability of workers to rally together is something I stand opposed to. Another issue has been the obstinacies of Republican leadership against considering all possible options in dealing with our state budget issues. By not considering additional revenue we see a disconnect in which ideology limits the ability of us to effectively govern. If we aren’t willing to invest in our state, you can’t expect the services to be of the quality other states that are.
Next week promises to be especially hectic as many bills will be rushed through the Senate to try and clear the 30 day deadline. I’ll try to keep everyone updated on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, so be sure to keep an eye on issues important to you and let me know how you feel!
Reprinted from 5th District State Sen. Curt Thompson's (D-Tucker) blog. Thompson represents parts of unincorporated Duluth, Norcross, Tucker, and Lawrenceville. Also, check the senator out on Facebook and Twitter.