Georgia lawmakers begin work immediately

'Ceremonial' first day thing of the past

Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 7:41 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 1:51 AM
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ATLANTA -- Unlike most opening days of the General Assembly, the Senate got right to work debating substantive legislation Monday.

Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland, helps his 3-year-old daughter Anne Harvey Shaw vote on a resolution at his desk on the floor of the House at the Capitol.  AP Photo/John Bazemore
AP Photo/John Bazemore
Rep. Jason Shaw, R-Lakeland, helps his 3-year-old daughter Anne Harvey Shaw vote on a resolution at his desk on the floor of the House at the Capitol.

It took an hour to debate and pass Senate Bill 184 that removes seniority protections for teachers. The bill was a leftover from the 2011 regular session when time ran out for consideration.

The measure had originated in the Senate, but the Senate still needed to give its OK to changes made by the House last year before the final gavel fell ending that session. It wasn’t subject to a vote during the special session last year which only dealt with redistricting.

Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams said the bill would strengthen education by removing a requirement that all layoffs be done on the basis of seniority.

“They have to fire the last person they hired, even if they were the best teacher in the state,” Williams, R-Lyons, said of the existing law.

Democrats opposed the bill on the party-line vote.

Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, asked Williams why the bill was up for a vote on the first day of the session when two senators elected last fall during special elections had not had a chance to study it.

“We’re talking about process and the way things ought to be done,” he said.

Action in the House was more routine. It passed resolutions inviting the governor and chief justice to address joint legislative sessions and a schedule for the next three weeks, including a recess all of next week for budget committee meetings.

“After that, we’re going to regroup and see what we’ll do then,” said House Republican Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire.

Another uncommon experience were demonstrations on the first day. Several hundred mothers and children crowded the hallways and chanted in support of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a state welfare program they’re hoping to be spared budget cutting.

Outside, two hundred or so supporters of Amnesty International and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People rallied against the death penalty. Many held posters or wore buttons with a photo of Troy Davis, a Savannah man executed last year for killing an off-duty policeman.

“If they can do it to him, they could do it to any of us,” said Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague, D-Red Oak.

As in most years, legislation is pending calling for a halt to capital punishment, but the bills never come up for a vote in committee. This year, Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort of Atlanta announced plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit a death sentence based solely on eyewitness testimony.

Davis supporters say seven of nine eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting backed away from all or part of their testimony by the time he was executed.

2012 Legislature Contact List

Augusta area lawmakers: (Richmond, Columbia, Burke, McDuffie, Jefferson, Glascock, Warren, Lincoln, Wilkes, Taliaferro)

STATE SENATORS                                                                                                                     

Johnny Grant (District 25)

PO Box1458

Milledgeville 31059-1458

Home Phone: (478) 452-1427

Office Phone: (404) 656-0082

110-A State Capitol

Jesse Stone (District 23)

642 Liberty Street


Home Phone: (478) 237-7029

Office Phone: (404) 463-1314


Hardie Davis (District 22)

P.O. Box6389


Home Phone: (706) 434-8553

Office Phone: (404) 656-0340


Bill Jackson (District 24)

P.O. Box528


Home Phone: (706) 863-5818

Office Phone: (404) 656-5795

109 State Capitol

House Reps

Jon Burns (District 157)

5829 Clyo-Kildare Road


Home Phone: (912) 754-3439

Office Phone: (404) 656-5099

228 State Capitol

Mickey Channell (District 116)

PO Box839


Home Phone: (706) 453-1230

Office Phone: (404) 656-5103

133 State Capitol

Earnest Smith (District 122)

253 Greene Street


Home Phone:

Office Phone: (404) 656-6372

511 Legislative Office Building

Lee Anderson (District 117)

160 Louisville Road


Home Phone: (706) 394-1812

Office Phone: (404) 656-0298

608 Coverdell Legislative Office Building

Gloria Frazier (District 123)

2717 Willis Foreman Road


Home Phone: (706) 560-9709

Office Phone: (404) 656-0265

604 Legislative Office Building

Ben Harbin (District 118)

4571-A Cox Road

Evans 30809

Home Phone: (706) 869-1953

Office Phone: (404) 656-3949

614 Coverdell Legislative Office Building

Wayne Howard (District 121)

2047BMartin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard


Home Phone: (706)722-1123

Office Phone: (404) 656-6372

511 Legislative Office Building

Sistie Hudson (District 124)

PO Box58


Home Phone: (706) 444-7247

Office Phone: (404) 656-7859

512 Legislative Office Building

Mack Jackson (District 142)

733 Evelyn Street


Home Phone:

Office Phone: (404) 656-0314

611 Legislative Office Building

QuincyMurphy (District 120)

3238 Peach Orchard Road


Home Phone: (706) 790-4600

Office Phone: (404) 656-0265

604 Legislative Office Building

Barbara Sims (District 119)

10 Retreat Road


Home Phone: (706) 481-9591

Office Phone: (404) 656-0213

508 Legislative Office Building

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/09/12 - 10:33 am
There's an old saying: No

There's an old saying:

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the Georgia legislature sits in session.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/09/12 - 10:39 am
From the article: Another

From the article:

Another task force . . . wants cameras on school buses to catch people who fail to stop while students are boarding.

Can you imagine how many thousands of school buses there are in Georgia? Now every one will need a video camera. Not only will they have to appropriate the money from state taxpayers for the cameras, they will have to pay someone to watch the videos each day and log the license plate numbers into a database. Then they'll need to write a statute making it legal to cite and fine someone from recorded video evidence. Pretty soon we're talking real money. At the present time, traffic fines go into the general fund. They could think about designating fines generated by the video cameras to go into the cost of the people watching the videos.

I wonder what they will call the agency that watches the videos?

GaOldCompass 01/09/12 - 11:03 am
Watch out for the tear, then

Watch out for the tear, then the jerk, then the knee, then the unneeded legislation. A child almost gets hit crossing in front of a school bus. Public outcry. Politicians cry out. WE end up doing the crying...

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/09/12 - 11:25 am
From the article: One tax

From the article:

One tax they agree should be cut is the sales tax on energy used by manufacturers, noting that competing states in the region don’t levy anything similar.

Okay, now we're about to establish a new tax exemption — an exemption for manufacturing. I hope they write the new law broadly. For if I start sewing doll clothes in my home, wouldn't that be "manufacturing?" Or if I start making bird houses? I sure could use the exemption on my power bill!

Sweet son
Sweet son 01/09/12 - 03:03 pm
Can't wait to see if the

Can't wait to see if the Richmond County delegation will operate like their counterparts the Richmond County Commissioners! What a joke!

blues550 01/09/12 - 11:27 pm
Lawmakers. Work. Oxymoron.

Lawmakers. Work. Oxymoron.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 01/10/12 - 03:28 am
Good teachers, like good wine

Good teachers, like good wine and cheese, improve with age.

Bad teachers, like bad meat and fish, smell worse with each succeeding day.

Techfan 01/10/12 - 08:53 am
Let's see, have some teachers

Let's see, have some teachers with advanced degrees a few years from retirement. Need to make up budget shortfalls? Can them and hire a bunch right out of school. Since Ga needs to cut expenses, how about sending all of the legislators home without pay, cancel the legislative session, and declare that we have more than enough laws to get by.

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