After reading the editoral on the Times page for Sunday, I feel compelled to respond as a legislator from Hall County. The Times is supporting the position that our state should avoid religious liberty legislation due to economic consequences that COULD result from backlash from corporations that would be offended by the legislation. What The Times failed to mention was that this issue was PASSED by the legislature who is elected to represent the citizens of Georgia. When the bill passed the legislature, it passed because the majority of its members felt that their constituents supported the measure. The bill was later vetoed in the interest of the economic impact it MAY have on our state. The wishes of the citizens of our state were put aside in the interest of future investments that may or may not come to our state.
For example, for the last few years the legislature has passed Hollywood “friendly” measures to encourage investment in Georgia and it has been very successful. I have to admit that thinking that these measures were economically sound until our most recent round of elections. What I really did was to invite liberals here to my state to invest their dollars, philosophy, opinions and help turn my state away from its conservative values. For example, take the recent election between Jon Ossof and Karen Handel where millions of dollars supporting Ossof came from outside our state. Why are outsiders so interested in a senate race in Georgia? Because we are in a battle between conservatism and liberalism; we have invited the fox into the hen house with our Hollywood friends and their ideals. Do we really want the likes of Amazon, Disney, and other vocally stated corporations that are vowing to promote these liberal agendas? We are being sold a bill of goods that says we must go along in order to compete; we have to be friendly to draw these corporations to provide jobs, we must grow as a state economically and can’t commit economic suicide. Many people in Georgia like our values the way they are and wish them to stay this way.
We are allowing small groups of people in our society to overrule the majority. Lastly, why is it that if a conservative statement is made that it is intolerant and if an opposing statement is made it is called the right to free speech? Why are there so many double standards? Where has common sense gone? People find offense in every form, where will it end?
Our founding fathers limited religion in government not because they were opposed to religion but because they didn’t want any ONE religion to come into power over another religion. After all, that was why they left the Church of England, not because they were agnostics. I truly believe they never thought we would not be a Christian nation and could have never envisioned the path we are currently traveling down. Lastly, why is it that if a conservative statement is made that it is intolerant and if an opposing statement is made it is called the right to free speech? Why are there so many double standards? Where has common sense gone? People find offense in every way, where will it end?
I believe that we as a state and country are falling far away from our values that made us a great nation. The Bible states that “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” Proverbs 14:12. Also in Romans 1:28 Paul warned that “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness…” and in Judges 17:6 “…every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Many times we try to reason as humans do and don’t trust God to be God and be our salvation. We should despise sin and love the sinner. We have banned God from our schools and society but question “where is God?” when tragedy occurs. He is right where we left Him.
Judas sold his soul for thirty pieces of silver for what he
thought was right, God help us if we make the same mistake.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution sums it up this way:
The issue:Voters resoundingly rejected Deal’s signature education initiative last year, voting down his proposal to allow the state to take over local public schools that it deemed as failing. So now what? One potential new measure could give the state more leeway to let students transfer from struggling schools. Another could revamp the decades-old state funding formula for schools that almost everybody — from teachers to school board members to state lawmakers — say is outdated and untenable. There’s also a question of retribution: Before the vote in November, Deal’s staff asked Georgia school districts to tell them how much their teachers paid in dues toward state teacher organizations — which, as it happened, opposed the ballot measure. Those groups are now warily watching for any type of proposal aimed at eliminating or restricting professional associations’ dues from being collected or to mandate districts assess administrative fees to collect them.
Key players: Senate Education and Youth Committee Chairman Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta ; House Education Chairman Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth ; the Georgia Association of Educators; and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.
The issue:Deal headed into the new year expected to announce a record state budget of about $24.6 billion , but little else is certain. Georgia leaders await direction from President-elect Donald Trump and GOP congressional leaders over plans for major changes to programs that will likely affect how much federal money flows into the state. Deal also has a penchant for conservative budgeting: State agencies have already been told not to ask for “extras,” generally setting low-ball estimates for tax revenue that let the governor sock away big surpluses when the economy outperforms his projections .
Key players:Deal; Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill, R-Reidsville ; and House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn .
Prospects:Bingo! Passing the state budget is actually the only thing lawmakers are mandated to do every year, according to the Georgia Constitution.
The issue:While Georgia lawmakers in 2015 allowed a very limited form of medical marijuana, proponents believe the law should be expanded to include more treatable illnesses and — in a “home run” scenario — an in-state program to grow and cultivate cannabis in Georgia for medicinal purposes.
ver, both Deal and law enforcement advocates have opposed any type of expansion without a corresponding move by federal officials to ease restrictions and reclassify the drug. Trump, in the meantime, has nominated someone for attorney general — U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. — who has been a fierce critic of the drug.
The issue: Likely efforts include blocking the state from accepting federal refugee resettlement funding and adding a new fee for out-of-state wire transfers that many immigrants and refugees use to send money to their families abroad. Other measures would cut state funding to private universities that don’t comply with immigration laws and ban immigrants without legal status from paying in-state tuition — a hot topic after a Fulton County judge recently ruled that the state should grant in-state tuition to immigrants who have received a special reprieve from deportation through the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The state Board of Regents is appealing the judge’s ruling.
The issue:Last year, for the second year in a row, a “better brunch bill” that would have let Georgia restaurants sell alcoholic drinks before 12:30 p.m. on Sundays failed to pass. Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, blocked it, saying it would upset what he called a “fragile compromise” between legislative leaders and the faith community over allowing Sunday alcohol sales. Now it’s back, and it is expected to be introduced by Unterman, who calls it both an economic and fairness issue, since government-owned buildings — such as the Georgia World Congress Center — are already allowed to serve before 12:30 p.m. on a Sunday because the current restriction only applies to privately owned restaurants. Separately, many are watching to see whether Georgia’s beer wholesalers and craft brewers — who have been at loggerheads for years — can reach a compromise that overcomes the state’s ban on allowing breweries to sell beer directly to consumers.
Key players:Unterman; Cowsert; state Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville ; and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
The issue:Gaming advocates have tried for years to legalize casinos and bets on horse racing in Georgia, and they’ve come up with yet another plan they hope is a winner. Their proposal, to be carried by state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta , would allow up to five casinos and one horse track, including a minimum $1 billion investment in a new facility within 25 miles of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The plan tinkers a bit with previous efforts, although it makes one notable change to lure Democratic support: a new needs-based component to the Hope scholarship that would be funded with some of the proceeds. Significant hurdles remain, however, including objections from Deal and faith-based groups.
Key players:Beach; House Economic Development and Tourism Chairman Ron Stephens, R-Savannah ; and state Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna .
The issue:GOP congressional leaders are poised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act but have so far released few details over how to do it, leaving state lawmakers in a guessing game over just how the changes could affect Georgia. Trump proposed during his campaign to issue block grants for Medicaid, although it’s not yet clear what that could mean for individual states. Other issues also loom, including renewal of a fee on hospitals that helps the state’s ailing Medicaid program but has been criticized by opponents as a “bed tax.” There’s also been fierce fighting over state-issued “certificates of need” that restrict where and how hospitals and clinics can compete throughout the state.
Key players:Deal; Cagle; England; Hill; Unterman; and House Health and Human Services Chairwoman Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta .
Prospects:Likely, but unclear in what form.
The issue:Gun rights advocates have long pushed to allow guns on Georgia’s public college campuses, and they won passage for such an effort last year after several high-profile cases of robberies, including some inside Georgia State University’s library. Deal vetoed the measure, however, saying proponents had not justified changing colleges’ status as “sanctuaries of learning” and the state’s long history of barring firearms on campuses. The University System of Georgia has also long opposed allowing students to carry guns on campus. But advocates have vowed to come back this year with another campus gun bill, likely setting off a battle that could again put Georgia in a national spotlight.