Originally created 01/17/04

Give lawmakers something to do



Attention! The Georgia Legislature is now in session. In case you have forgotten, you have elected these folks to go to Atlanta and give you more government than you want or need.

You may get a little break this session, however. This is the year all members of the Legislature have to stand for re-election, so they are likely to leave things pretty much as they are. Nobody wants to come back home and say, "Hi, neighbor. I just raised taxes and reduced services. I am running for re-election, and I know I can count on your vote."

Another factor is that we have a Republican governor and a Republican majority in the state Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

As a result, anything the governor or the Senate proposes, the House isn't going to like and won't vote for. This will make the governor and the Senate cranky, so when the House thinks up some new law it feels we can't live without, the governor and the Senate will refuse to pass it.

This kind of stuff should go on for the whole session and just about cancel out any chances of our elected officials passing anything substantive, except a free buffet. Still, the lawmakers need something to do while they are in Atlanta.

I don't know about you, but I get a little frightened thinking about a bunch of politicians with too much time on their hands. My suggestion is that during this session they pass some laws you and I would like, instead of listening to all those slick, high-priced lobbyists who lurk around the Capitol.

Frankly, slick, high-priced lobbyists scare me worse than politicians with too much time on their hands.

The first law I propose would make it a crime for any self-important yuppie-boomer to go into any grocery store in the state while talking on a cell phone. If they do, all the other shoppers would get to egg the yuppie-boomer's SUV.

If the yuppie-boomer is using a headset while talking on a cell phone, we get to egg the yuppie-boomer.

My second proposal would outlaw ice hockey, the world's dumbest game. This law is long overdue. I don't know how ice hockey reached Georgia in the first place, but I suspect it's the same way West Nile virus did.

West Nile virus was brought into the state by sick birds. Ice hockey was brought here by snowbirds frustrated by the fact that when they tried to a get a pick-up game together at Lake Lanier, they all sank.

Ice hockey belongs in Canada, not in the South.

My understanding is that lawmakers might give our state's public school teachers a small raise this session. I would propose instead that they give teachers a large raise for putting up with all the silly rules and red tape while trying to force-feed some knowledge into the heads of a bunch of kids who would rather be playing video games.

While we are at it, let's include large pay raises for the police officers and firefighters who keep us safe and sound.

Under my proposal, these well-deserved pay increases would not require a general tax increase. Instead, we would tax all the overpaid professional athletes in the state, including the hockey players, if we aren't successful in getting that dumb sport outlawed.

Republicans say they are going to push legislation allowing public display of the Ten Commandments. I appreciate their intent and I wish them luck, but I would settle for legislation that would require us all to obey the Ten Commandments.

Looking at them isn't nearly as important as obeying them.

I am not optimistic that any of my proposals will receive serious consideration. Because they think newspaper columnists are a bunch of know-it-all dipsticks, most legislators tend to ignore anything we say.

I hope that if they do ignore us they will get stuck in the checkout line at their local grocery behind a self-important yuppie-boomer yakking on the cell phone about ice hockey. It would serve them right.

Reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net, P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139, or on the Web at www.dickyarbrough.com.