Let’s cut our legislators a little slack before they begin their deliberations in the current session of the General Assembly. They need some time to get adjusted. You don’t just go to Atlanta and start passing laws.
The first thing you do is find out if anybody moved the bathrooms while you were gone because you might just find yourself in some bureaucrat’s new digs for all the wrong reasons. That is very important.
While our public servants are getting settled in, let me go ahead and give them their list of legislative priorities for the session. This will speed things along, which in turn will get them out of town before they can do us too much damage. I try to think of everything.
The Dress for Success Lobby Reform Act: This bill would require all lobbyists to dress like newspaper reporters, which means wearing cheap ties with gravy stains and shoes that haven’t been shined since Zell Miller was lieutenant governor. No self-respecting legislator would be caught dead going to a Grateful Dead concert with a reporter, which is what the lobbyists would look like.
Reporters would be so embarrassed to look like a lobbyist they would shine their shoes, even though most of them wear Hush Puppies. This bill wouldn’t cost taxpayers much, just an occasional shoe shine.
The You-Break-It-You-Buy-It Education Initiative: As stated before, if the legislature’s answer to budget issues in public education is to furlough teachers, politicians will have to abide by the same law. This bill would furlough legislators two days for every one they propose for teachers. Let’s face it, legislators can do us a lot more harm than school teachers.
The Georgia Official Dirt Act: No, this is not a bill to dredge up dirt on any government officials who may have been involved in some hanky-panky in the past. We will leave that responsibility to the aggressive and ever-vigilant capitol press corps (Insert joke here.)
This is serious. One of my favorite legislators, Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Cobb County, has tried valiantly, if unsuccessfully, in past sessions to get red clay designated as "Georgia’s Official Dirt." I am fully committed to the effort. Frankly, I am tired of traveling to other parts of the world and having people ask me where I am from and when I tell them, knowing their next question will be, "What is Georgia’s Official Dirt?" When I tell them we don’t have one, they laugh their heads off. I can’t stand that.
The Atlanta Area Water Conservation Act: This piece of legislation would set up a board to monitor all the water being funneled to overbuilt condos and office parks in the Metropolitan Atlanta area that nobody will ever use even though developers conned the county commissions into saying they would and county commissioners enjoy developers’ campaign donations like flies enjoy a barnyard.
Also included in the board’s mandate will be to try and figure out how much water Atlanta is wasting from busted sewers that Malfunction Junction can’t or won’t repair. The formation of the board is the good news. The bad news? The board will be composed of members from Bainbridge, Hinesville, Brunswick and Swainsboro.
This ought to be enough legislation to get the boys and girls at the Gold Dome started. I am grieved to say that my innovative "Go Eat Kudzu, Goats" initiative has had to be delayed due to reasons beyond my control. As you know, goats had agreed to eat kudzu off the trees around the interstates while we brought in busloads of loud-talking Yankees and charged them big bucks to watch. Yankees would eagerly pay so that they wouldn’t have to go home and sit in the snow 10 months a year.
The proceeds, along with pot likker sales, would significantly reduce the state’s deficit. However, the goats’ union rebelled after they found out that in order to get funding for the program they would have to come to the Capitol and buy dinner for legislators and take them to Grateful Dead concerts.
There are some things even a goat won’t do.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com; Web site.