Political Notes – Here’s a list where Georgia isn’t at the bottom

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In national rankings of Georgia on various policy issues, the state often is listed in 50th place or within one or two spots of that position.

Not so with an article written by Tim Murphy of the liberal publication Mother Jones that ranks America’s worst state legislatures.

Georgia does not come in at number 50 or even at number 49. It’s all the way up in 46th place, four notches ahead of Tennessee.

People familiar with the General Assembly might be inclined to dismiss Murphy’s ranking, however, because he gets some of his basic facts wrong.

He identifies Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn) as the sponsor of the fetal pain bill (HB 954) outlawing abortions performed after 20 weeks – Rep. Doug McKillip was actually the prime sponsor of that measure.

Murphy also writes that the anti-abortion bill “ultimately died in the Legislature before it could be struck down in the courts.” Actually, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on May 1 and has not been rejected by any court.

Murphy is accurate when he writes about Sen. Don Balfour’s unsuccessful attempt to pass a bill outlawing union picketing at the residences of corporate executives. He also notes the October seminar where legislators were briefed on the dangers of mind control by Barack Obama and tut-tuts the passage of resolutions “recognizing March 30 through April 4, 2011, as WrestleMania Week in Georgia.”

Murphy ranks Tennessee as the worst state legislature, followed by Oklahoma, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Georgia.

Replacing Chip

One of the lawmakers mentioned in the Mother Jones article, Chip Rogers, has just resigned from the state Senate to take a job at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Rumors are making the rounds that Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Woodstock) is interested in running for Rogers’ senate seat.

Meaningless Votes

The casting of Georgia’s presidential elector ballots, scheduled for 12 noon Dec. 17 in the Senate chamber, is a meaningless vote that will nevertheless keep intact a ceremony more than two centuries old.

All 16 of the state’s electoral ballots are pledged to Mitt Romney, who lost the election to Obama more than a month ago.

Senate floor leaders

Governor Nathan Deal has named two new floor leaders for the state Senate: Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove) and Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton). They will team with Sen. Bill Jackson (R-Appling) to guide the governor’s proposals through the Senate.

Jeffares is the owner of J&T Environmental Services and vice president of the Georgia Rural Water Association. Bethel is a lawyer who formerly served on the Dalton City Council.

Public health department issues flu advisory

The flu season is with us again and the state Department of Public Health reports significant increases in flu activity, with some school systems reporting high absenteeism caused by flu-like diseases.

The early onset of the H3N2 flu is one indication of a possibly severe flu season, health officials said. Symptoms of the flu include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever with a feeling of achiness that starts quickly.

Public health officials said the most effective way to hold off the disease is the administering of a flu vaccine. This year’s vaccine closely matches the strains of flu circulating in Georgia, which makes it effective in preventing the flu or minimizing its symptoms.

The public health department said every healthy individual over the age of 6 months should get
a flu shot.

“Because the flu vaccine so closely matches this year’s flu strains, it just makes good common sense to get it,” said Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, director of health protection for the Department of Public Health.

“The holidays bring gatherings with family and friends and increase the likelihood of spreading the flu,” O’Neal said. “Now is the time to get vaccinated.”

© 2012 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Charlie Bethel , Chip Rogers , Nathan Deal , Rick Jeffares , Sean Jerguson