Scot Turner is a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing the 21st District. He was first elected in February 2013 in a special election, taking 60% of the vote over an establishment-backed candidate. Rep. Turner is part of a group of legislators who introduced the Georgia Health Care Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act, a measure that cleared the legislature in the final days of its recent session. In this guest post, Rep. Turner tells the story behind the legislation, the difficulties they faced, and how Georgia is fighting Obamacare at the state level.
In the summer of 2013, I was part of a team of state representatives that worked together to tackle the problem that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was presenting to Georgia. The federal government had just coopted a prominent Georgia institution, the University of Georgia, to help implement the ACA Navigator program without any debate in the Georgia General Assembly.
As a result, we all felt a certain urgency that something had to be done to draw the line in the sand and stand against the largest federal overreach in modern history.
There was some debate within our group as to whether we should approach it from a stance of full on nullification; the theory that a state has the ability to void federal law. Knowing that even of it did pass the Georgia legislature the likelihood that it would withstand judicial scrutiny was virtual non-existent, we pressed on.
Politico is reporting that Georgia politicians are mulling broader protections for gun owners. The latest plan is to ensure that people licensed to carry a gun will avoid arrest if they accidentally bring their firearms into the security checkpoint at Atlanta’s airport and if they willingly leave the security line, acknowledging their mistake.
It seems to be pretty commonsense legislation that would protect law-abiding citizens who make an honest mistake.
So is it any wonder the union that represents airport security screeners opposes the measure?
“The public has had 12 years’ notice that guns are prohibited,” said a statement from David Borer, general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees. “Sooner or later they need to take responsibility for violating the law that’s meant to protect our officers and the traveling public.”
So the public cannot be allowed to make a mistake without having lives, livelihoods and records ruined by an agency that has had so many abuse allegations leveled against it that it has become a sad joke? This same agency that forced a cancer survivor to pull out her prosthetic breast, whose employees frighten small children, and whose employees sexually assault women at gunpoint, wants a zero tolerance policy for law-abiding citizens who make an honest mistake!
The Republican Party has an image problem. Really, anyone who follows politics knows it. Years upon years of corporatist policies has lead to people who really believe things like this quote that was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I hadn’t paid attention to the race, but I’m voting the Democratic ticket,” said Bryan Dabruzzi, a 43-year-old from Atlanta who is finishing a degree in nuclear engineering. “I’m not rich, so I can’t vote Republican.”
Now, Dabruzzi is probably a pretty bright guy. After all, I’m not even close to finishing a degree in nuclear engineering. At 43 years old, he’s also not likely to be some kid who just doesn’t know any better. No, most likely, this is an opinion based on years of observation. For what it’s worth, this quote was made in reference to a governor’s race here in Georgia.
It’s easy to discount Dabruzzi’s quote as someone who, while maybe not unintelligent, just doesn’t understand politics. However, one would think that a member of Forbes staff might look at things a bit different. One would be wrong though, according to John Tamny:
Having lost an eminently winnable presidential election to a failed president in Obama, the Republicans are a Party desperately seeking a message, image, and probably both.
It’s that icky topic that makes you cringe when you even hear the term: child molestation. It’s a devastating and disgusting crime, one that society condemns so much, we often convict the accused in our hearts and minds before we even hear the evidence. Often times these are just and sound assertions, but what about the times when it is not?
What would you do if the police showed up at your door and accused you of child molestation? What would you do if you were then arrested for charges that spawned because of the actions of someone else? And how would you handle being incarcerated for two years with 18 left to serve? And after conviction, would you find faith to push forward to continue to fight for your freedom and the vindication of you and your innocence? And one last thing to ponder: how would you cope if you were denied a new trial after the evidence used to convict you was found to be false?
If we were to fog bubble back in time to 2011 when this whole debacle began, we would meet a gentleman named Scott Dean. Scott and his wife Renee had a quiet (as political ones can be), quaint life in Columbia County where Dean served as a Harlem City Council member before being elected as a County Commissioner. Dean and his wife had two biological sons and five adopted children from Guatemala. Life was simple and though Dean had some indiscretions at work, Dean was well-liked in the community and a charitable man of faith. Cue mirror-shattering moment.
It’s bound to get lost amidst President Obama’s State of the Union address, and all the silliness he spewed forth earlier this week, however in my home state of Georgia, there’s something brewing that could be just as bad as any Washington power play.
You see, Georgia Representative Earnest Smith seems offended that a blogger took his face and photoshopped it onto the body of a male porn star. So offended, in fact, that he wants to outlaw the practice.
Rep. Earnest Smith pointed, as proof of the problem, to a picture of his head that was recently edited onto a pornstar’s body. That image was created by a blogger who used the image to mock Smith.
The Augusta-based legislator said he was not worried the bill would step on First Amendment rights.
“Everyone has a right to privacy,” he told FoxNews.com. “No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right.”
Now, Smith made this proposal a year ago regarding a cyber-bullying case, but his grasp on the constitution - and apparently, reality - have slipped even more. You see, Smith is talking about limiting a timeless form of speech. No, photoshop isn’t timeless, but satire is.
Satirical art has a time honored place in political discourse. In face, the Supreme Court has upheld satire as protected speech, regardless of what Smith may choose to argue. Frankly, sticking his mug on a porn star’s body couldn’t be anything other than satire…or a calculated insult to the porn star.
We’re barely through with the 2012 elections, but the 2014 Senate races are heating up quite nicely. This is fun, right? You can see a map here of the 2014 and which way each state leans. I’m keeping a close eye on two of those races specifically: Georgia and South Carolina.
Georgia interests me because it’s my home state but also because it’s the reelection campaign of the man whose liberal idiocy prompted my entrance into political activism. Saxby Chambliss is certain to face a primary opponent, and I’m certain to support that opponent. The only question to be answered is who will decide to run against him. I wrote about this race and Chambliss’ potential opponents recently.
South Carolina also has my eye for two reasons. First, I grew up there, and the vast majority of my family lives there. Second, it’s an opportunity for the state to rid themselves of the biggest imbecile in the Senate. Lindsey Graham is also nearly certain to find a primary opponent, and that opponent is also likely to win my favor (especially if that opponent is Tom Davis).
The problem with these races – and really a lot of the races in the coming Senate election – is that the incumbent has had (at least) six years to build up campaign funds and become part of a system designed to keep him elected. Lindsey Graham has a war chest of over $4 million. That’s enough money to scare off a lot of quality candidates that would give him a run for his job.
With the dust finally clearing from the 2012 election, FreedomWorks, an organization that organizes and trains the grassroots, hosted over 100 activists from 19 states for a debrief on this year’s campaigns — finding out what tactics and strategies did and didn’t work.
This weekend also provided these Freedom Movement activists, all of which were flown into Washington, DC for the meeting at FreedomWorks’ headquarters, an opportunity to plan for 2014, as well as to receive some training in new techniques to help get their message out to new voters and to get an idea of what is going on in the negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” and the status of ObamaCare’s state healthcare exchanges.
This morning, FreedomWorks hosted a press conference that give activists an opportunity to be heard by the media. Before turning over the press conference to activists, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, explained that “[t]here’s more energy in this movement today than there was on November 6th,” adding that the the activists that showed up this weekend are focused on 2014 and ideas.
Kibbe also noted that the debate and negotiations on the “fiscal cliff” were somewhat peculiar. “I don’t know about you, but I feel like we went over the fiscal cliff a long time ago,” explained Kibbe.
Over the last six years, I’ve been watching Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) very closely. Back in 2008, Chambliss faced a tough challenge in a three-way, finding himself in a runoff against Jim Martin, a liberal Democrat.
Part of the problem was campaign organization. Insider Advantage quoted an unidentified Republican who said that Chambliss and company had the organization of a “bad state House race,” calling it a “embarrassing campaign.” There was also the perception of Chambliss among Georgia Republicans. Insider Advantage again quoted a unidentified Republican who said, “Saxby’s reputation is that he’s spent six years in Washington playing golf. He’s gone on lots of trips. He hasn’t done the down-and-dirty constituent work.”
“Saxby bragged about it his first four years – how much golf he was getting in. It was a real problem and it irked a lot of people,” said the unnamed Republican source. Many Republicans in the state were less than thrilled with Chambliss, who hadn’t been able to endear himself to the state party the way Sen. Johnny Isakson had.
Another issue that hurt Chambliss was that he had lost the support of many fiscal conservatives in Georgia because of his votes that put taxpayers at risk.
Written by Andrew Coulson, Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Californians approved Prop 30, a $6 trillion dollar tax hike intended to save public schools from “devastating” cuts. In fact, the state is already spending around $30 billion more today on public schooling than it did in the early 1970s, after controlling for both enrollment growth and inflation—and SAT scores, the only academic outcome measure going back that far, are down. Prediction: this $6 billion will have little impact on children’s education even if it does make it to the school level. Instead, it will further slow California’s economy and drive a few more businesses out of the state.
Georgia approved a new charter school authorizer, which should lead to more rapid growth of charter schools in that state. Based on recent research published by the Cato Institute, this will increase generally mediocre options within the public school sector by, in part, cannibalizing generally better options in the private sector. Georgia can avoid a net reduction in educational diversity, freedom, and quality by expanding its existing education tax credit program.
If you’re like me, you went to bed before the Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota results started to tricke in. It wasn’t hard to see at that point that last night was a good night for Mitt Romney, though he didn’t deliver the “knock out” punch to end the race quickly. We’re probably going to see this thing drag out between he and Rick Santorum for at least the rest of this month.
Had Romney won in Tennessee, it would be a different story. However, exit polls showed that socially conservative voters came out pretty strong in that state. Additionally, Romney’s win in Ohio was very close. So while he may get to claim the state and it certainly helps with momentum, it shows that he is still just getting by.
Santorum is going to keep trucking. As he said last night, he won a few states and got “silver medals” in others. His biggest issue is money. While his team says they’re willing to take the race all the way to Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, he may not have the resources to get that far.
Of course, Santorum’s biggest obstacle isn’t Romney, it’s Gingrich. Conventional wisdom says that if Gingrich drops out that Santorum will be the beneficiary. That’s probably true, but only to a certain extent. Gingrich was defiant last night, but the writing is on the wall. He’s not going to win, especially after five last place finishes. Yes, he won Georgia, but he didn’t get the 50% needed to take all of his home state’s delegates.
Ron Paul’s strategy of focusing on caucus states hasn’t panned out the way his campaign had hoped. Granted, Paul was strong in several states last night, but he still doesn’t have a win in either a caucus or a primary. But as we’ve said before, Paul’s support has grown substantially since his run four years ago and he can no longer be ignored by Republicans.