In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, I am required to submit annually a State of the Column message. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stand and applaud if you hear something that floats your boat or look bored if you don't. You may be on television.
"My fellow Georgians, ladies and gentlemen and significant others, I am pleased to tell you the state of this column has never been better. (Applause.)
I just wanted to thank Dick Yarbrough for his recent column about teachers and the state of education in Georgia.
I am glad he will be watching Chip Rogers to see if he tries his vouchers bill again.
The 2012 Legislative Session is off to a fast start, as lawmakers have already passed several pieces of legislation and met to discuss the governor's budget recommendations.
In addition to my duties at the Capitol, I spent time this week meeting with several key leaders from throughout the 51st District, as well as my constituents.
Whew, that was close. I almost became a Baptist the other day. Not just any Baptist, but a (gulp) Southern Baptist.
Let me add here that there have been times when the Rev. Dr. Gil Watson, the world's greatest preacher, has become so weary of trying to save my sorry soul that he would gladly trade me to the Baptists, Presbyterians or even the Islamic Center for the Advancement of Self Pity in return for two altos, a Sunday school teacher and an usher to be named later. Dr. Gil only has these thoughts when I insult some demographic ...
The mayors and city officials from around Georgia hosted a breakfast for the General Assembly and selected state-wide officers on Jan. 23.
Mayor Gary McCullough, the Dahlonega City Council, Senator Steve Gooch and I were present for the occasion.
There must be some irony in the timing of President Obama's recent trip to Disney World. He returned to his home base of "fantasy land" to give an address regarding the need to boost tourism. He looked a tad on the silly side using Cinderella's Castle as his backdrop while exclaiming "America is open for business!" Taking a vacation in the middle of a depression is hardly a choice when you are unemployed.
Yet just hours earlier, the president was turning "thumbs-down," killing the Keystone XL Pipeline in our midwest.
Last week was budget week at the Capitol. The Appropriations Com-mittees of both the Senate and House held joint hearings from the governor and his department heads.
Gov. Nathan Deal has set the "revenue estimate" for FY 2013 at $19.2 billion.
State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, one of our two unelected lieutenant governors - Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, is the other - sent out a puff piece taking much credit for authoring a bill to require local school boards to consider a teacher's "effectiveness," not seniority, when getting rid of teachers.
People both inside and outside state government tell me that Williams has solved a problem that doesn't exist. Many school boards are already doing this. Seniority is a big issue in the Northeast, where there are teachers' unions. We have none in Georgia.
Most of us can find good excuses for breaking any New Year's resolutions we may have made - and mine is physical disability.
It's not that I have been very physically active in the last several years, but over the holidays I compounded my ailing-back-syndrome and thus postponed "getting back to some activities (including Silver Sneakers exercise)" that I was doing before my forced inactivity during summer and early fall.
In what is normally a traditionally ceremonial first day of session, members of the Georgia General Assembly passed two significant bills aimed at setting a positive course for Georgia's future.
On the opening day of session, Senators worked to advance student achievement in the classroom and ensure the right people are in place to lead our students.
Officially, the 2012 Legislative Session began on Jan. 9.
On Jan. 10 we got our marching orders from the Governor in his State of the State Address.
State School Superintendent John Barge knows what teachers can do, given the opportunity.
"A teacher turned my life around," he said in a recent telephone conversation.
I would like to express my appreciation to the KARE for Kids organization.
Their work makes such a difference at Christmas for so many children. The people at Bethel United Methodist Church that took the applications were so nice and caring.
The folks at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have just released their recommendation for words and phrases that should be erased from our vocabulary in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.
Why Lake Superior State? And why the list? Well, for one thing, they don't have a football team which gives them a lot of time to think about stuff like this. I wish Lake Superior State did have a football team and maybe Georgia could have played them in the Outback Bowl instead of that other ...
Some years ago, Seth Godin, one of the best Internet gurus, coined the phrase "permission marketing."
The idea was that the Internet allowed companies to market to the consumer in a different manner.
Fire ants can be a nasty problem in the home landscape. They love to make unsightly mounds in the middle of our lawn turf and ...
I regret I won't have time this week to get into the details about how Barack Obama managed to wiretap Donald Trump's shoelaces ...
On March 6, Ken Akins, Marissa Pyle, and Bette Holland met with Rep. Doug Collins (R) at his Gainesville office to talk about the Affordable ...
House Bill 217 has passed the House and is now in the Senate for consideration. It seems to me that the legislators are again trying ...
As the General Assembly marches closer to Sine Die, our constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget for Georgia's government has become our biggest ...
After almost two decades of doing this, you think I would have figured out by now what pushes your hot button.
We returned to the Gold Dome on March 6 for legislative day 29, which began the ninth week of the 2017 session.
Crossover Day was a wild ride for everyone involved, but like every year, we made it through-even if it was late into the night.
Don't look now, but the initiative to deal with low-performing schools in Georgia has taken a big step toward becoming law.
Last week Rep. Kevin Tanner's bill on how to help our challenged schools in Georgia passed through the State House and will now be ...
With the completion of Legislative Day 28 last week, the State Senate continues to work hard as we approach Day 40, when the 2017 Legislative ...
Friday marked the end of a very busy week at the Capitol. The Senate picked up the pace with committee meetings running late into the ...
Sometimes I wonder if good customer service has gone the way of the dodo bird and 8-track tapes.
On Feb. 21, the House reconvened for another lively week under the Gold Dome where we were hard at work drafting, discussing and passing legislation ...
I have been a homeowner in Dawson County since 2008.