Capitol Update Week 8 – Rise of the Government Lobbyists

 

Ten days to go in the 2013 Legislative Session 

An early release in both the House and Senate on Crossover Day signaled the beginning of the end of the 2013 Legislative Session and the rise of taxpayer funded lobbyists advocating for more government, more bureaucracy, more spending, and less freedom.

HB 512 the Safe Carry Protection Act passed the House and expands both Second Amendment protections and private property rights. Lobbyists for publicly funded schools and universities actively opposed the measure. Upon becoming law, HB 512 would permit, subject to property owner permission, the ability for licensed weapons permit holders to carry on college campuses, bars, and churches.

Taxpayer funded lobbyists and government employees stalled HB 1 Civil Forfeiture Act and HB 159 Property Protection Bill that adhered to Georgia’s Constitutional mandate that requires the “Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government and shall be impartial and complete.”

Those same interests prevented HB 176 Mobile Broadband Development Act from coming to the floor and defeated HB 282 Municipal Broadband Investment Act. HB 176 sought to expand mobile broadband coverage and HB 282 would limit government from competing with private industry where the private sector provided coverage.

While I may agree on any given issue with the lobbyists funded by your tax dollars, the prevalence of these interests is much more troubling to me than those private sector advocates that most often simply want government out of our way.

Several bills passing on Crossover Day advance

The following bills remain under consideration and are now in the Senate:

HB 123 the Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act would allow parents to petition their local school board to convert a traditional public school into a public charter school.

HB 127 Automatic Adjustment of Fees requires an automatic adjustment in a fee if it isn’t used for the purpose for which it was collected.  These fees include the solid waste disposal fee, the tire disposal fee, certain fees pertaining to traffic violations collected by the courts, certain court filing fees, and penalties related to criminal, quasi-criminal, traffic cases, and bond violations.

HB 132 moves the Georgia Board of Pharmacy and Dentistry to the Department of Community Health rather than the Secretary of State’s Office.

HB 150 attempts to prevent websites from charging a fee to remove a “mug shot” from publication when the individual in cleared of any crime.

HB 399 clarifies what types of real estate interest are taxable in Georgia via an “ad valorem” tax bill by prohibiting a “possessory interest” tax. Yet another example of local governments use of an “ad valorem” property tax bill for other purposes.

Senator Isakson visits the Capitol

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and Georgia Representative Brett Harrell

 

As always, I remain appreciative that you allow me to serve as your state Representative. I encourage you to contact me with any comments or questions you have about the legislation being considered at the state Capitol.  You can reach me at my Capitol office at 404-656-0254 or on my cell at 404-966-5804 or via email at brett.harrell@house.ga.gov.

Thank you,

Brett_Signature

Brett Harrell