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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ga. Senate punishes females, the poor, poor females

Hol-y merde, but our state Senate sure did a number on women and poors yesterday during the Crossover Day scrum, the deadline for bills to pass one of the chambers of the Legislature if they hope to become law.

Now, we realize this is an election year, but the GOP-controlled Senate spent the better part of 12 hours hammering away at one right-wing wedge issue after another, from guns to abortion and contraceptives to welfare mothers.

How much damage was done? Consider these bills that got passed by the upper chamber Wednesday like so many septic gallstones:

SB 312, to require welfare recipients to participate in "personal growth activities," such as classes or counseling. Coming from some of the members of the Legislature, this really took some chutzpah

SB 460, to allow companies with religious affiliations to deny birth-control coverage to their female employees

SB 493, to specifically allow kids between 18-21 to pack heat if they've taken a firearms course — because not enough people carry guns in Georgia already

SB 432, to prohibit cities and counties from passing additional restrictions on the carrying of knives — now you know the Republicans are just fucking with Democrats

SB 438, to prohibit the state employees' health insurance plan from covering abortion services

SB 292, to require welfare applicants to pass a drug test so that the federal funds — get this — "are not diverted to illicit drug use"

SB 469, to prohibit picketers from protesting labor disputes outside the homes of corporate executives

If many of these bills sound like they're designed to beat up on poors, well, you should be ashamed of yourself for engaging in class warfare.

Actually, I heard another theory down at the Capitol last night, one I'd describe it as medium-fetched. Apparently, Senate Democratic leaders had been called in to Gov. Nathan Deal's office one-by-one earlier this week in an attempt to bargain for the passage of House Resolution 1162, an attempt to revive the state's authority to create charter schools that was overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court last year.

I'm told Republicans really want this charter school to pass, but they're two votes shorts in the Senate and need a couple Democrats to flip. Again, hearsay has it that the GOP leadership troika — Sen. Tommie Williams, Chip Rogers and Don Balrog, er, Balfour — threatened Dems with the above bills if they didn't get behind the charter school bill.

Yet other veteran Gold Dome insiders maintain that the bills were not part of any overarching political strategy but simply reflect the fact that many of Georgia's lawmakers are mean-spirited a-holes who want some scalps to bring home for the fall elections.

You're welcome to pick whichever explanation makes you feel better.

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