Opinion Columns & Blogs

Equal protection under the law fading in ‘No. 1 for business’ Georgia

This writer has only been a reluctant denizen of the state Capitol since 2003, so maybe this has happened before without our knowledge. But so far, nobody we know has ever heard of it until now.

I attended a House Motor Vehicles Committee hearing late last month to speak on changing part of House Bill 136 - a pending bill that has been put forth by the Department of Drivers Services. After little discussion with the very unenthusiastic committee chairman, Rep. Bubber Epps R- Dry Branch, I was told I could speak for two minutes. Rather like the way conservatives were treated when Democrats held power.

Then Epps proceeded to hear a short rehash of the legislation from the sponsor, asked the members of the committee if they had any questions and then quickly took a voice vote. The bill passed. All in less than five minutes after granting me permission to educate the committee.

Then, I was allowed to speak against the bill.

But, wait. There’s more.

I know what you may be thinking, whats in the bill which has now already passed the full House?

It expands existing law that allows foreign nationals who move to Georgia to keep their home country’s driver’s licenses in valid, unmarked and fully usable form after they obtain a Georgia driver’s license. HB 136 changes that law to include allowing foreign nationals to keep their official photo ID from the foreign country after they have been issued a Georgia driver’s license or official ID card.

Sound dry and boring? Maybe, until you find out that Americans who move to Georgia from other states are not allowed to keep the drivers license or official photo ID card from their former state of residence after they receive the same from Georgia.

State law for foreigners moving to Georgia:

“Any non-citizen who is eligible for issuance of a driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit pursuant to the requirements of this chapter title and is in possession of a valid driver’s license or permit issued by a foreign jurisdiction may be issued a driver’s license, instruction permit, or limited driving permit without surrendering any driver’s license previously issued to him or her by any foreign jurisdiction the foreign driver’s license or permit.”

State law for Americans moving to Georgia:

“No person shall receive a driver’s license unless and until such person surrenders to the department all valid licenses or permits in such person’s possession issued to him or her by this pursuant to this title or by any other jurisdiction.”

Get it?

Why do Americans have fewer rights and privileges on this than foreigners in Georgia? Because the real anything-for-a-buck rulers of the Peach State at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce think they will have a better chance of convincing foreign businesses to move to Georgia if they give them special treatment. That’s why.

Does anyone remember that old-fashioned concept of being equal under the law? Don’t be surprised if sooner or later, Americans are told to sit in the back of the bus behind the Mercedes Benz and Kia executives

Add to this the fact that unlike Mexico, Georgia has issued more than twenty-six thousand drivers licenses and official ID cards to illegal aliens.

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