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.
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company, located over a pool hall in Greater Garfield, has signed an exclusive contract with one of the nation's premier prognosticators, Plum Nelly Pitts, of Varnell, Ga.
I don't have to tell you what a coup this is. Frankly, it was a major commitment by the company but you deserve the best experts I can assemble and Plum Nelly is the best. It was not easy convincing her to join the team. Prognosticating is still controversial in some places. For ...
In preparation for our 2012 Legislative Session, I have been looking at what other states consider to be their top issues. Here are a few that seem to emerge as most important: Energy, jobs, Medicaid, state budgets and college affordability.
Americans are spending more than ever to put gas in their cars, heat their homes and pay their utility bills. Rising energy costs have increased the costs for everyday goods. Energy costs trickle down into everything we buy and every service we use.
Oh, great. I have just been outed. It turns out that I am a bed-wetting liberal redneck. You were sure to find that out sooner ...
In his long career as a teacher and coach in Dawsonville, the late Charles Finley inspired thousands of students, and his memory inspired a blood ...
Many homeowners ask me about recommendations for certain plants that will fit their landscape. Since many of us have wooded lots, a question I often ...
On Sept. 12 the Dawson County Board of Education passed a resolution opposing Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment which would create a state run school ...
Uh. Oh. Here we go again. I have been told that we are beginning to experience drought conditions in the state.
UGA Extension will be offering a free backyard poultry management course from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Lumpkin County ...
Who cares what Colin Kaepernick, the sage of San Francisco, thinks? Really.
Ben and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the LifeSouth blood drive Aug. 27 in memory of Charles [Finley].
I spoke recently to the Peace Officers' Association of Georgia at their annual conference in Savannah and was privileged to witness a group of dedicated ...
Tall fescue is one of the most popular turf-type grasses in north Georgia. People love tall fescue for its dark green color in fall and ...
"Be the Key," Dawson County Family Connection's underage drinking prevention campaign, conducted a community-wide survey in spring 2016 to find out what adults think ...
One of my loyal readers and a person of some political gravitas in his community says he has had a gullet full of Donald Trump ...
I just turned 69.
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