Friday, March 27, 2015
Two Legislators Stand Up to Governor, One Folds
What a week! So much happened! Congratulations to Representative Allen Peake of Macon, who fought long and hard to get medical marijuana for the ones who needed it. He never gave up, even when the Governor said “No” to the Bill until the people spoke so loudly that the Governor got the message. Too bad Legislators like Peake are becoming extinct in our State Legislature.
I have spent much time here this year exposing the tomfoolery and skullduggery under the Gold Dome. This week, a prime example of these shady, underhanded antics took place at the eleventh hour. You can bet your booty that much backslapping and high-fiving took place over this one. Nothing gets the adrenalin flowing for a politician than “getting one over” on the other side.
Allow me to explain. There was an innocuous Bill introduced by the Senate, SB 127, waiving the late fees, fines and civil penalties regarding late campaign disclosure filings by some local officials from January 2010 to January 2014. The purpose was to make right a wrong due to the computer system screw-up of the Ethics Commission and their general incompetence. This was a non-controversial Bill sure to pass. By the way, this Bill appears to exonerate our own Monroe County Commissioner Larry Evans and make him eligible for a waiver and/or refunds of fees, fines and penalties.
Then you have House Bill, 891, introduced to limit the early voting days from 21 to 12 and to limit weekend voting hours. Further, local counties must choose between one day of Saturday or Sunday voting, but not both. This Bill did not make it past the cross-over day and appeared dead. Low and behold, the language was added at the last minute by substitute to SB 127, to sneak it through un-noticed and un-debated. This is nothing more than voter suppression of the minority vote. It’s latter day Jim Crow legislation passed by sleight of hand. All of this is done in the name of “just politics.”
Far and away the biggest shocker for liberals and Democrats this week was when the much respected and well known Legislator from Dekalb County, Mary Margaret Oliver, betrayed her Party, her supporters, and the children of our State. It was apparent Governor Deal did not have enough Republican votes to pass his ill-conceived plan to re-segregate our schools and sell them to the highest private bidder. The Democratic Caucus was solid in their stand against protecting our children. Then Mary Margaret Oliver appeared out of nowhere and not only did she vote for Governor Deal’s plan to destroy public education in our State, but she took to the Well of the House and spoke on its behalf. Her reasoning was lame and lacked substance, but her support alone swayed enough of her loyal Democrat colleagues to give Governor Deal the votes he needed. There is enough evidence for a reasonable person to assume there is more to this story than we may know.
I have an explanation for Mary Margaret Oliver’s abrupt turn-around. These are not my words. In fact, these are the words of a Republican member of the State Legislature, David Stover, (R-Newnan). This partial transcript is as printed in the AJC.
Representative Stover stated:
“I’m here today to refute the theory of the divine right of a single authoritarian branch of government. So many times here in the capital we forget that we’re elected to serve those that elected us to these positions. In fact we’re pressured to have only one branch of government. Somehow we have lost our way in the legislative process.
The executive drives every decision under the Gold Dome. We worry what will happen if we vote against the governor’s bill or the lieutenant governor’s bill. The answer is quite simply, punish those who disagree with these bills. Gone are the days of passing bills and overriding the governor’s veto. Gone are the days of telling the Governor,’I appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish, we want to work on these bills and make them better to pass the bill.’
Instead we’ve replaced our branches of government with a single branch. The legislative process works to pass the governor’s bill, no matter how good or bad the bill. … The right of conscience is paramount to voting our principles.”