During the last couple of weeks, as I drove to the Capitol each day for the special session of the General Assembly, I was made acutely aware of the gridlock on I-85 that runs (crawls) through Gwinnett County during what is misnamed “rush hour.” It can take more than an hour to make the short drive from 316 to I-285 during the height of the traffic snarl. However, I found the trip was worth the hassle.
As I walked the halls of the Capitol during the special session, I made some observations and drew the following conclusions:
- Though some people feel otherwise, the committees charged with the responsibility of drawing the district lines for both the Senate and House did the best job they could under the circumstances. The population shift from one part of our state to the metro areas is proven by the census figures. The build up of troops in the Columbus, Ft. Benning area may need to be examined mid-decade to assure the citizens of that part of the state a fairer distribution of representation. There seems to be some agendas at play in the way some of the lines are drawn; however, time will tell (even after the Governor has signed the maps) if they will pass the examination of Attorney General Holder in Washington.
- Though there was not enough time to , there may still be enough will to raise the issue at a later date. Many people in our state have registered their mistrust of the process related to the TSPLOST, and are ready to vote to defeat the new tax in the primary. One caution I would raise is this -- just because the votes were not there in the special session to change the date of the vote from the primary to the general election does not mean this issue is dead. When the General Assembly is back in session in January, this issue will come up again. Many lawmakers indicated to me they want all proposals for raising taxes to be moved to the General Election permanently.
- Just because a study committee is holding a hearing does not mean they want to hear from every citizen on the subject. Case in point is the study , pari-mutuel wagering, and . The people supporting the expansion of gambling in Georgia are aggressively seeking to place this state in a position of being more a predator than even the lottery. The meeting was a pep rally with only pro-gambling presenters allowed to speak, even though I was prepared to speak in opposition.
From where I stand, it is more important than ever for all citizens to stay informed on all the issues being considered at all levels of government.