Editorials

Editorials

The dissonance of the sessions last days

They can go home now. Lawmakers have competed the only task they legally have to do: Pass a budget. And on Wednesday, that’s what the General Assembly did — pass a $49 billion budget which includes federal funds. Still and all, state funds account for $25 billion of the total. The only thing left for the men and women under the Gold Dome to do is to sing “Sine Die” and go home. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. There are still hundreds of bills to be considered and this period in any session is the most dangerous for Georgia citizens.

Editorials

The good news and bad about Tuesday’s vote

There was a lot of backslapping and smiles going around in several counties as the votes started adding up that passed special purpose local option sales tax referendums Tuesday night in Houston, Baldwin, Jones, Pulaski and Wilkinson counties. A special 1 mill hospital tax was passed in Monroe County in hopes to keep itshospital afloat. The Jones and Wilkinson measures were E-SPLOSTs in support of education.

Editorials

Congress gets last word on Trump budget

Any business or organization’s mission is ultimately revealed by where it decides to spend its money. The federal government is no different. Thursday, President Trump released his skinny budget, named so because it’s difficult, no, impossible, for a new administration to wrap its mind around the largest bureaucracy in the world that employs 2.1 million civilians and several hundred thousand more under contract.

Editorials

Commission should answer three Municipal Court questions

The move to eliminate Macon-Bibb County’s Municipal Court and have its work assumed by State Court hit another confusing stretch when state Sen. John F. Kennedy was inserted in the mix. Sometimes when a state lawmaker gets involved in a local issue it’s not a good thing. He or she is either uninvited or hasn’t consulted with members of local government — sometimes both — about a bill that will have a direct impact on them.

Editorials

Deal budget almost to the fiscal finish line

Gov. Nathan Deal has to be feeling pretty good about himself right now and he has every reason to crow a little bit. The state Senate passed his $49 billion 2018 budget that mostly follows what he proposed during his State of the State address in January.

Editorials

The governor may be the only adult in the room

It was May 3, 2016 when Gov. Nathan Deal pulled out his veto pen and struck a note for common sense by using his power to stop House Bill 859, better known as the campus carry legislation, from becoming law. He wrote, ““If the intent of HB 859 is to increase safety of students on college campuses, it is highly questionable that such would be the result.”

Editorials

Lawmakers take another swipe at ‘unacceptable’ schools

For 40 days citizens of this state shudder to think where their lawmakers might decide to reach. From trying to influence county border line disputes to looking up skirts to carrying guns on college campuses, nothing is too near or too far from their grasp. Why it doesn’t matter if their constituents have already given them a smack down at the ballot box. If the result didn’t suit them, it’s damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.

Editorials

State championships are gone: Mind if we cry in our milk a bit

Oh how time flies. Last year as the high school basketball season was winding down, the Macon Coliseum was getting ready to do what it had done in year’s past — host the state championship games in whole or in part. That will not happen this year. That honor heads to the University of Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday and Thursday, March 8-9, for classes 6A, 5A, 3A and 1A public division, and on Friday and Saturday, March 10-11, the scene shifts to Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion for classes 7A, 4A, 2A and 1A private division. The Georgia High School Association released the schedule Thursday.

Editorials

Delegation should let the process run its course

State Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella, filed a simple one-page bill Tuesday, co-sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon and Susan Holmes, R- Monticello, that would have the opposite effect of what they intend. The purpose of his bill was to bring the border dispute between Macon-Bibb County and Monroe County to resolution, something that has eluded the two parties since 2004 when Bass Pro Shops decided to build on what was then inside the undisputed boundaries of Bibb County.

Editorials

New jail on distant horizon but planning needs to begin

The grand jury has spoken and what they said should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. The Bibb County Law Enforcement Center — better known as the jail — is old. At least the section that dates back to 1980. Something else that should not come as a surprise, Sheriff David Davis agrees.

Editorials

Technology part of the problem and solution: Part II

With all our technological advancements in the vehicle arena, more people are dying in crashes than at almost anytime in history according to the National Safety Council. The NSC estimates that 40,200 people died in automobile accidents in 2016, up 6 percent over 2015. We haven’t seen this level of vehicle death in a decade. Georgia has seen a 34 percent increase in vehicle deaths from 2014 to 2016 according to the NSC. Georgia had the fifth highest percentage increase in the nation. And the death toll comes in third behind Texas and California.

Editorials

Technology part of the problem and solution: Part I

Step into almost any late model vehicle and everywhere you look there is technology. The latest models have automatic braking, lane departure warning systems, front and rear collision avoidance systems and an untold number of other safety features. So why are we still dying at an unprecedented rate on our highways?

Editorials

Water wars over or just another skirmish?

Children born when the water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida broke out in 1990, are all grown up now. Many probably have families of their own. The dispute had Alabama wanting more water from Lake Lanier created by the Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River to cool its nuclear plant. Further downstream, Florida wanted the “hooch’s” water to feed Apalachicola Bay’s seafood industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Georgia needed the water to provide for the ever-thirsty Atlanta metro area.

Editorials

Economy looking good for 2017, but there’s a ‘but’ in there

The economic gurus from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth and the Center for Economic Analysis at Middle Georgia State University gave attendees at the Georgia Economic Outlook luncheon a peek into the future, statewide and locally. And in the words of Benjamin Ayers, dean of the College of Business, he had “good” news to report.

Editorials

Coming to grips with trash, one piece at a time

When you look around the Macon-Bibb County community, there seems to be one constant in almost every section: trash. It’s not that the county’s Public Works Department isn’t doing its job. It’s not that Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful is not on the case and it’s not that law enforcement isn’t pitching in where it can to enforce the anti-litter laws already on the books.

Editorials

Casino debate needs to see public light

Just in case you had not noticed, the casino industry has its sights on Georgia and has some high-powered hired help to push the issue through the legislative process. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Haley Barbour, former chair of the Republican National Committee and former Mississippi governor made a courtesy call on Gov. Deal last month. They are long time friends, however, Barbour is now a registered lobbyist for a doctors’ group and Wynn Resorts, the company that operates properties in Las Vegas and China, according to its website.

Editorials

A needless tragedy that can be avoided

It’s utterly heartbreaking to hear the news of yet another child dying while possibly playing with a gun. It’s a story that’s repeated all too often. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, on average, 2,806 people, 19 or younger, are shot unintentionally every year. The Nationwide Children’s Center for Injury Research and Policy tries to dispel some of the myths we seem to inherently believe. First some facts.

Editorials

Fighting physical and mental blight

There are about 4,000 blighted properties in Macon-Bibb County. That’s the estimate that was expressed at Macon-Bibb County Commission’s retreat in Athens last week. That estimate, if correct, has remained static even with all the efforts to move the needle. At least one commissioner, Bert Bivins, continually questioned what was going to be done? In truth, there is no good answer.

Editorials

Immigration issues could be costly to Georgia

Last week’s executive order by President Donald Trump, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” has the international community in somewhat of a tizzy. Though it is only temporary (90 days) and impacts only seven countries it has the potential to upset long-standing relationships that have nothing to do with the targets of the order, particularly in Georgia.

Editorials

Redesigned ‘Street Party’ returns to the festival

It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes, that is until you’re reminded of something. Wednesday, the Cherry Blossom Festival announced that a former staple of the festival, the Street Party, was making a come back. It disappeared from the festival for a variety of reasons five years ago. Has it really been that long? Cherry Street merchants thought the party — which attracted thousands of people — hurt their businesses. A fact hard to refute. After all, the businesses had to generally close early to avoid the crowds and once the party started festival goers weren’t interested in shopping but partying. And there were plenty of vendors outside who were more than glad to quench their thirst. And lastly, like most large crowds, they left Cherry Street a mess.