Originally created 03/13/98

Barnes attacks Massey



ATLANTA -- Rep. Roy Barnes won the latest battle over the lottery Thursday and then called on his gubernatorial rival, Secretary of State Lewis Massey, to resign.

The House passed Mr. Barnes' proposed constitutional amendment to keep future legislators from toying with lottery-funded education programs for the second time, using the shell of a similar Senate-approved measure pushed by Mr. Massey.

Mr. Barnes then urged his Democratic primary opponent to quit because of politicking on the job, citing as proof the lottery fight and last year's battle between Mr. Massey and the Medical Association of Georgia about the future of the state Board of Medical Examiners.

"Lewis Massey has played politics with the medical board and jeopardized the health of the citizens of this state," Mr. Barnes said. "Lewis Massey has played politics with the lottery and jeopardized the HOPE scholarship. And all the while, he has been running for another job on public money and public time.

"It is time for Lewis Massey to resign."

Mr. Massey brushed off Mr. Barnes' suggestion.

"Obviously Roy Barnes is frazzled early in the campaign," Mr. Massey said. "He needs to go home and take a rest."

The proposed amendment remains caught up in gubernatorial politics with only four days left in the 1998 General Assembly session.

After the Senate passed Mr. Massey's measure, a House committee approved it. But Thursday, the House rewrote it so that it read like Mr. Barnes' original proposal.

The House was merely returning the favor. A Senate committee had replaced Mr. Barnes' bill with the Massey resolution earlier this week.

Mr. Barnes is backed by many members of the House, including Speaker Tom Murphy, D-Bremen. Mr. Massey has more friends in the Senate, where one of his mentors, Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard, presides.

The major difference between the two proposals is that under Mr. Barnes' resolution, lottery proceeds could not be used for anything else until the state has funded every student eligible for a HOPE scholarship and pre-kindergarten classes.

Mr. Barnes, who opposed the lottery when he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1990, called the resolution a "contract" with the people of Georgia.

"We make it clear what we're doing is we're preferring HOPE, and we are preferring pre-kindergarten over everything else," he said.

Mr. Massey's resolution follows the state lottery law, which allows proceeds to go to HOPE, pre-kindergarten, a reserve fund, school technology and construction.

Mr. Massey said he had anticipated the resolutions would wind up in a late-session negotiating committee of senators and House members.

"My hope is to get something passed to protect the lottery," he said.

Neither Democrat may wind up getting credit if the amendment makes it onto the November ballot, since Republican frontrunner Guy Millner has been running radio advertisements for weeks aimed at portraying himself as the protector of lottery-funded education programs.