Last week when I was doing back flips over HB 475, which gives Industrial Development Authority boards far too much power over and control of taxpayer dollars. I called my rep in the Georgia General Assembly, Mack Jackson, to “share” my concerns (he might say I vented).
If you follow the Georgia General Assembly during the session, it is a chase. The schedule is crazy, committee meetings are cancelled after rooms are packed, there is the race to Cross Over Day, and a helmet is suggested for the last day of the session. Lobbyists have money and staff support to sway legislators but the average citizen like me doesn’t.
Mack offered to send me a link to the House Daily Report each day. With everything he has to do, plus keeping up with a church and congregation in Tennille, he has gotten the link to me since he made his offer to do that. He encouraged me to stay in touch and he asked me specifically about the charter school bill HR 1162 last week. The Democrats have now countered with HR 1335.
This isn’t just a bill though, it is a resolution which would go to voters to amend the state’s constitution. The vote could happen today and the hallways under the gold dome are filled with lobbyists and children (Should parents and administrators use students in the front line of political warfare? That’s fodder for another post).
My phone rang a few minutes ago with Mack calling back about a question I had raised about the Democrats counter-proposal. We had a good discussion about the impact charter schools could have on rural districts with the resolutions on the floor (I found Maureen Dowd’s column on the rural impacts since Mack and I hung up the phone). Part of our discussion also included the use of constitutional amendments for policy and program change.
Mack added, and this is sad folks, I am the only person contacting him about legislation. We commiserated about the lack of online news access for people in his district which might facilitate keeping folks current. I offered to think of some ways to get information out that would be readily accessible to his constituents (the constituent has an obligation to show up at places besides the voting booth). In the mean time I offered to forward the link to my friends who follow the session. Better yet, I am adding it as a link on my blogroll to the right.
I haven’t agreed with all the votes and bills Mack has sponsored since he was elected. That is already the case with this session too. He deserves credit for following up with someone who has been his critic. Today I want to applaud him for his efforts. Let’s step up in Georgia House District 142. Mack’s contact info is here.