Legislative session will begin next week. It is my second favorite time of year. Clearly it’s no one’s first; but a strong second in a heated primary, if you will. Football season is my favorite time of year. Some may love Christmas, others Halloween, but my favorite time in Georgia is the fall in which every self-respecting Southerner picks a team and joins their friends and family in heated rivalry for a few months. It’s a second religion here, and I’m certain the rules are written somewhere in Leviticus, right next to church starting at 11am sharp.
The two seasons are not so unlike one another. My love of college football is because of the intense drama on the field in a strategically played game that has an extremely diverse mix of talent…Unless you’re Alabama, of course. Then you just mark your calendar with bowl rings and trophies. The legislative session is similar in that there is strategy of sorts, lots of drama and high spirits, and the talent is as diverse as the power. Freshmen legislators may rise up on the rungs quickly in popular opinion even if their bills go nowhere and the mighty three are typically protected and lead from behind as much as any star quarterback. There is also occasional Tebowing on the sidelines for dramatic effect and ingratiating oneself to the social conservative base.
However, the rumors of success and predictions for which way the score will go are as varied as the talent in the second string draft. Yet, I will try my hand at a few suspicions I have and we shall all see where the rumors of session will fall. Continue reading “Session: My Second Favorite Time of Year” →
The holiday season is drawing to a close, and soon the legislative session for the Georgia General Assembly will be upon us. As the state closes out its year, we look to the future and what promise or plague our policy makers will bestow upon us. I have spent an unhealthy amount of time this season pondering the fate of Georgia, as if I have any real means of addressing it. I have not blogged in some time, as I have had little hope that the politics of the day are bearing anything other than strange fruit. It is hard, even for an eternal optimist in these days of constant rain to see the silver lining. Across the red hills, I see a lot of barriers that not only exist, but are perpetuated without real cognizance of their consequence.
Along with the temperature, I see the passion of Georgia’s people heating up like a kiln. Many of us in the political sphere refer to this time as “the calm before the storm” of legislative session. We spend time with our families, count our blessings, and prepare ourselves for the battle of will in government. Under the surface though, there is something simmering here and in the nation that Presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Black Lives Matter movement have accentuated and possibly exploited.
It is widely assumed that the upcoming session will be brief and not much policy other than education passed. Incumbents need time to raise money and campaign in their districts. This abbreviated session may be a mixed bag of course, addressing a big problem, yet not the only one the state faces. I am grateful to see the QBE funding formula finally addressed (as the last time was almost before my birth), yet I cannot shake the very real feeling I have had for the last five years or so.
The General Assembly is thinking too small. Continue reading “Red Clay and the Challenge of Equality: To Be Mired In or Molded” →
This past Sunday night, many Southerners huddled around their TVs to watch the Women’s World Cup, or at least those that were not shooting off their remaining fireworks and ammo from the night prior. With this win, the U.S. Women’s Team has become the team with the most wins in Women’s World Cup history. While a team is climbing to the top there is lots of speculation, but when the victory is claimed, everyone wants to know how they did it. Aside from hard work, LOTS of practice, and some killer instincts, the case could be made for the fact that the United States is the only country in the Women’s World Cup that provides IX funding, making it equally possible for young, female athletes to pursue their passions just like their male colleagues. As a shock to no one, I am a big fan of this theory and of IX funding. While I am no athlete, I do believe that planning ahead tends to make short work of competition. Turns out, I am not the only one that feels this way.
Early last month, Paul Bowers, Chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce spoke with leaders at Berry College about the necessity of a good education. You see, Mr. Bowers needs Georgians to have a good education so that when they apply to his company, they can actually meet the fundamental requirements of the job. This isn’t rocket science to anyone. Most people believe that with a better education, you can rise to the next level with a combination of hard work and integrity. Yet Mr. Bowers’ statement on education here in the state should not be brushed to the side. Frankly, it could be read another way: either Georgia needs to get their education act together, or our economy is going to suffer. This is not the first time the Chamber has tried to get lawmakers’ attention, either. Click here for the link to the “Economics of Education” report from the Chamber in 2012, or skip to the images below. Continue reading “Winning Requires Planning Ahead” →
As I have been sitting through education meetings this past week regarding the decision last week to postpone recommendations to reforming the QBE formula, it has been a frustrating experience. Yet, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully, this will not be a train. The Governor’s Commission on Education Reform Funding Sub-committee meeting this past week began with a discussion of this postponement as a possible positive: the added time will allow the sub-committee more time to reach a unanimous decision on recommendations for reform and ultimately for improving our education in the Peach State. Many are hoping that is true and that this dance is not another act in a kabuki theater of the General Assembly. Most of us are just hoping we are not wasting more of our time. One can certainly hope.
Continue reading “QBE Funding: Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” →