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.
I appreciate Rep. Kevin Tanner's commitment to providing a forum for the public to ask questions and express concerns.
Fall of 2016 was a rough season.
Dr. Melvin Pender Jr. is a bona fide American hero: An Olympic gold medalist (4x100 relay in the 1968 Mexico City Games at 31 years ...
As a former educator, an environmentalist, a Christian, and a (very) senior citizen, I have been concerned about a number of recent news items on ...
The specter of Elliott Field has resurfaced.
The City of Dawsonville is proposing that they buy an airport with everybody elses' money.
The Republicans in Congress are working towards repealing the Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare. Unfortunately, although they always said they would "repeal ...
This week marked the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session and the end of week six here at the state Capitol. From committee meetings ...
We have experienced several periods this winter of above-average temperatures. If you've been outside, you may have noticed that these warm days have led ...
You may have read that unusually cold winter in parts of Europe as well as drought conditions in the southwest United States have created a ...
A new independent study from the Urban Institute found that repealing the ACA Law without a replacement would leave 30 million people, including 4 million ...
3-1 votes have cost the county thousands of dollars as Commissioners Julie Nix, Sharon Fausett and Jimmy Hamby, by coincidence and without public comment, vote ...
Backyard apple trees are very popular in this area of Georgia. Many people see the apples being grown just down the road in Ellijay and ...
The past two weeks have been extremely busy at the Capitol.
First, I want to thanks to Rep. Kevin Tanner for meeting every Saturday during the legislative session with his constituents.