Rep. Chuck Sims et al., Part IX. -- The first thing we do, let's kill The Other Georgia. After that, we can kill all the lawyers.
Publisher: Sid Cottingham
Location: The Other Georgia
After a harsh 2004 campaign in which the GOP pushed divisive social issues to the forefront, one might think that one of the first issues to be taken up when the legislature convenes in January would be a conservative social issue, for example, a 24-hour waiting period on women seeking to end their pregnancies. One would be wrong.
Included in the first list of prefiled bills to be taken up in the Georgia senate that was filed Monday is one seeking to change the way that federal money for roads is divvied up between metro Atlanta and the rest of the state.
Under the current formula, the millions of federal dollars used for road-building money is divided equally among all 13 congressional districts.
Three bills addressing the problem all failed last year.
In recent legislative sessions how one voted on transportation bills was often determined by the location of one's home district.
This is anticipated to continue even now with the legislature controlled by the GOP. Suburban and rural Republicans will have some different priorities just as urban and rural Democrats have in past legislative sessions.
When he was House Minority Whip, Jerry Keen of St. Simons said: "Transportation in the metro [Atlanta] area means congestion. Transportation in rural areas means paving roads and economic development."
Will Rep. Keen forget his constituents now that he is House Majority Leader?
This transportation bill is going to be one to watch. It could prove much about how much control the Republican leadership is able to exert on the rank and file. The bill could prove to be one of the toughest fights that could split Republicans during the upcoming legislative session.
Legislators in interstate-heavy suburbia want superhighways taken out of the formula, which would give metro Atlanta more money to clear up surface-street congestion. They will face the traditional opposition from rural legislators who want as much road money as they can get for economic development.
Rep. Chuck Sims et al., I hope you will remember what "your" Majority Leader said when he was Minority Leader, and that you will not trade keeping your seat on the House Ways and Means Committee (or whatever it was prior to switching for the et al.) for voting against your District's interest.