Legislation that falls solely in the category of political posturing needs to stop.
We all know that many bills filed in our state and federal legislatures have no chance of moving forward. We also know that many times filed bills are intended as a kind of “press release” and the sponsors and cosponsors have no actual expectation those bills will become law.
We also know that we in the media are just as guilty of giving airtime and ink to dead-on-arrival legislation. For example, when a freshman legislator files a bill with absolutely no cosponsors — it’s not going anywhere. Why even talk about it?
Our argument is that we’re letting you know what your representative is doing. That educates you as a voter and allows you to make an informed choice when you cast a ballot.
Unfortunately, for that reason, we’ll keep reporting on things that are very unlikely to become law and, for that reason, publicity-seeking legislators will keep filing bills destined to fail.
Some of the legislation based on partisan posturing could pass, and it could affect us in a very real way.
Two bills in particular that seem to fall into this category are in our state legislature. They seek to take the decision-making powers from local governments, and that’s the point at which we take issue.
Here’s a couple of examples: preventing local governments from reducing funding for law enforcement agencies and limiting what energy-source restrictions local governments can place on new construction.
Just for clarification — this newspaper doesn’t support defunding law enforcement agencies and absolutely supports recent raises given to our city and county law enforcement agencies. They deserve it.
What we don’t support is legislation seeking to limit the ability of local governments to do their jobs.
The underlying issue is this — we need honest, open conversations and cooperation in our houses of government. The scorched earth policies in our political arenas must end.
We need people seeking to represent those who they govern, not just represent a political interest.
We’re seeing important, meaningful legislation moving through both houses of the state legislature.
It’s good to see Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan weighing in on absentee voter requirements and seeking a bipartisan solution to concerns. Duncan has worked toward tightening absentee voter ID requirements but AT THE SAME TIME opposed efforts by some GOP leaders to restrict who can vote by mail.
That’s the kind of leadership we need to see more of.
With continued low public participation in elections, we should be seeking every single way to encourage citizens to get out to vote.
We’d like to offer thanks to Lt. Gov. Duncan and all the legislators who have supported a cooperative effort to seek solutions to any real issues in Georgia’s elections system.
Remember that much of the hue and cry concerning absentee voting can be directly attributed to Democratic Party wins on the federal level brought about by a push to get out the vote through absentee ballots.
We all heard the untrue claims of voter fraud and some of the push is certainly built on those claims. Let’s not forget the Republican Party held and won on the state level in that same election.
It was a fair contest regardless of who won.
Should we seek to improve our election systems? Yes, certainly. Is doing so based on falsehoods the way to go? No, certainly not.
Another cooperative measure was unveiled this week to revise the citizen’s arrest law in the state.
That particular law, penned in the 1800s, targeted newly freed Black Georgians and Gov. Brian Kemp described it as “an antiquated law that is ripe for abuse.” It has been used in that fashion in the past and would certainly be used so again if not repealed.
Again, we thank our representatives for their cooperation in moving this measure forward.
Another measure we’ve seen and support is one introduced by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler to modernize the state’s tax and revenue structure. It’s a forward looking proposal that appears to have broad support in the legislature and would build on earlier work, which became mired in fractious politics.
Of course, the true test of whether or not a measure will pass is if it makes it to Crossover Day — the 28th day of the 40-day legislative session.
Until then, thank you for reading.