Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee met to take up the adoption bill, HB 159. This Committee is chaired by the handmaiden of Senate Leadership always vigilant and helpful Senator Jesse Stone. He began the committee meeting as he often does- in a quiet and respectful nature, explaining in detail the work that has gone into the legislation at hand. In my experience this is his way of boring you to death before doling out the sucker punch of his substitutes.
If you recall, Chairman Stone offered the sub for Campus Carry in the 2014 session, which effectively gutted the bill. He offered the sub for Campus Sexual Assault for the 2016 session, in both instances bringing good, common sense to Georgia’s otherwise extreme legislation. It appeared yesterday this has become his legislative calling card. He has painted himself in the colors of a moderate. In his initial run for office, I remember a longer standing politico in Augusta (Stone’s district’s nearest metropolitan area) pondering the milquetoast nature of the Chairman. It is my personal belief that this is his means of a head fake. Stone gives you the idea that his humility is genuine and I can almost see him shrugging his shoulders as he tells one he is just grateful to be in the presence of other great leaders.
Don’t be ashamed if you were fooled. I certainly was.
I have always seen Chairman Stone to be very secure and confident in his control of his committee meetings, yet Stone seemed somewhat rambling in his opening statements yesterday. This was the first red flag. Continue reading “Adoption Bill Already In Peril?”→
Anyone who knows me personally knows how much I adore convenience providing technology, individuals who speak their mind, and processes that afford ample transparency. I believe that those who can be informed can also engage, and the more folks are engaged are the more who can bring about sustainable methods of solutions to the challenges of our time. I do not believe that elected oficials are inherently corrupt, but do recognize that it takes some serious courage and vision to alter a pre-existing system. With this perspective, my compliments to legislators do not come easily nor is my respect earned without merit. The Georgia General Assembly has been my playground and profession for the last twelve years. I cut my teeth with the House Hawk system (to which Congressman Tom Graves belonged) and I have mourned the loss of a number of men and women who contributed not simply to their district, but to greatness of the state as a whole.
Last week I was sad to hear of the decision of Representative Mike Dudgeon to not seek re-election.The image to the right was the image accompanying his Facebook post notifying the public he would not be seeking re-election. I am particularly sad about this because of his contribution to a more open and transparent bill comparison system. In a General Assembly in which the Senate still does not provide live streamed meetings, (and as of last week) I was told by Senate Gallery Doorkeepers photographs were no longer allowed in the Senate gallery, Representative Dudgeon stood in direct contrast. He is no rabble rouser, but simply admires limited scope of government and does not hide behind some archaic idea that technology is something to be feared. In contrast to the same photo-prohibiting ladies that explained I could use my cell phone for “business” not for “playing” while in the gallery, Representative Dudgeon and many House members actively have dialogue with their constituents via social media.
Thanks be to God for the House chamber, and specifically for Representative Dudgeon. For those who are unaware, Representative Dudgeon graduated Georgia Tech with a degree in Electrical Engineering and currently holds five patents. During his years in the Georgia General Assembly, Rep. Dudgeon also took time out of his full-time job in the tech sector and his service as a member to develop an inter-office software program that analyzes the different versions of bills as they go through the legislative process.