The Dean raises a very, very interesting question. Uh-huh . . . And how are the North Ga. Republicans going to react to such? I can't wait to hear.
Perhaps we had pegged Glenn Richardson and Jerry Keen all wrong. The Georgia House speaker and his majority leader could be OK after all - maybe.
Just a week ago, some folks worried Richardson and Keen were not taking care of the people's interests. The pair was too busy toting water for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Or trying to clamp a lid of secrecy on spending taxpayers' money. Or appointing "hawks" to strong-arm legislative committees.
Richardson has a long record in the House of trying to hide the public's business. Before he became speaker, his most notable act was casting the lone House vote against an open-government bill. Everybody else, even his fellow Republicans, favored the measure.
Majority Leader Keen was former chairman of the Georgia Christian Coalition, best known in some quarters for supporting efforts to police consensual adult sex and to establish other peepholes into our lives.
The once-pious Keen had recently shown signs of being a regular guy, apparently a car-racing fan. The other day, a pharmaceutical company, Pfizer (Viagra), gave him free tickets to the Daytona 500. But Jerry said he didn't use them. He had his own. Glenn received free tickets, too. We're not sure what he did with his.
We digress. The speaker and his majority leader have come out foursquare in favor of what appears to be a people's privacy bill. At this writing, they have fully endorsed Cartersville Rep. Barry Loudermilk's bill (HB 577) to stop fingerprinting Georgia drivers' license applicants. Loudermilk's bill also would require the state to delete the multitude of drivers' license fingerprints it already has on file.
You remember, Barry, don't you? He introduced a measure to keep tabs on teenage sex.
According to the Rome News-Tribune, Loudermilk's House Bill 566 "would require parents or guardians to give consent before the Department of Human Resources or local health departments can provide contraceptives to anyone under 18. And not just written consent, either, but in-person consent." That is just the kind of enlightened legislation we need in a state that is among the nation's leaders in teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Some observers say the Georgia anti-fingerprint movement is even more bizarre. First of all, the rest of the country is in the midst of tightening security and trying to keep track of bad guys in our midst. A file of drivers' fingerprints is a valuable asset in attempting to locate our internal enemies and round up fugitives. So why would any trustworthy public official advocate destroying it?
National Homeland Security sources say sleeper terrorist cells may live among us, just waiting for a signal to commit horrors even worse than the 9/11 mass murders. Our police and intelligence agencies need to find these monsters before they act. Our security guys need all the help and information they can get.
So why would Glenn and Jerry suddenly get so het up against fingerprinting drivers' license applicants?
As you may know, the fingerprinting procedure is electronic and takes about three seconds. It is painless and clean. Besides, who among us, who has ever held any responsible position, has not been fingerprinted, perhaps multiple times?
One answer to the fingerprint question: The House leadership is tired of being depicted as anti-populist bullies. Despite its record for intrusiveness, the House leadership hopes to establish credentials as a force against government interference.
Skeptics say their motives may not be so pure. Why would anybody with nothing to hide object to being fingerprinted? Oh, I know, the ACLU says it's the principle of the thing ... which raises another puzzler: Why have Glenn, Jerry and Barry crawled into bed with the ACLU, the same crowd that favors gay marriages, flag burning and barring the Ten Commandments from courthouses? It just doesn't make sense, does it?
Ah, but it does - if you believe one of our reliable sources. Removing the fingerprint requirement from drivers' licenses also removes an obstacle to granting licenses to illegal aliens. A move already is under way in Georgia and elsewhere to provide drivers' licenses to illegal aliens.
Deleting the fingerprint requirement would make that goal easier. Making sure no records were maintained also would further complicate efforts to find people who are here illegally.
Tut, tut, you say. Surely Gov. Sonny Perdue's handpicked leaders of the Georgia House would not be involved in such shenanigans. It runs completely counter to the nation's antiterrorist mood, doesn't it?
After all, why would Glenn and Jerry desire to aid illegal aliens who are already overwhelming schools and health-care and police institutions in several communities? Glenn and Jerry could not possibly be trying to help these problematic people - or their giant corporate employers, could they?
With regard to Mr. Shipp's comments on HB 566, you may recall we did a post on this on 3-8-2005 entitled "HB 566. No birth control for minors without written parental consent. - A maculate conception."
When someone can explain why this legislation ought to be passed, please pass it along.
Prior to completing this post, I checked the status of the bill and it did not pass the House by Friday, the GOP's new crossover date for this legislative session. Thus, in the words of the Rome News-Tribune, our state avoided becoming "No. 1 for stupidly dangerous legislation."