No.

So far in Georgia, not a single bill has failed in the Republican-led House or Senate in 23 legislative days. And it’s not because we have chambers just oozing with Liberty-minded reform or ideas full of resounding restoration of state sovereignty that will loosen the grip of the federal chokehold. For the last two months, I’ve watched the legislative session and each day, I wonder if our elected officials are even aware that there are two buttons on their desk: the one that is for ‘YES’ and seems to be worn down, and one fairly shiny one which is used for ‘NO.’

Contrarily, as a whole, Republicans are often characterized as ‘The Party of No.’ Whether it’s nocoming from our party meetings or from under the Gold Dome’s around the country, we seem to back ourselves into a corner as being anti-this and old-timer-that.

“No, you can’t be a Republican if you’re gay or have had sex before marriage,” says a GOP in South Carolina. “No, you’re not the right type of Republican,” say our GOP leaders.

“No, you won’t be guaranteed due process and equal protection under the law,” say many of our legislators who want to expand practices like civil forfeiture and no-knock warrants.
“No, you can’t dissent in a public forum because I have an (R) next to my name, so take a hike.”
“No, we won’t protect your privacy because public safety.”
Also in that category, include property rights and the Second Amendment. Don’t get greedy.
“Just move the ball down the field.”
“Come back next year.”

NO.

We are embracing the wrong kind of ‘No.’ Some of us kind of like the word ‘No.’
Now, I know I’m muddying the waters between political gain and party principles here, but daily I deliberate where we draw the line. The two do intertwine.

no1

We are the party of individualism – at our monthly meetings and in our legislatures. As an individual, I no longer care what a study says or what other states are doing. I am not interested in federal guidelines or ‘how it’s always been done.’ I am unimpressed by your vote which enables you to come back and ‘ask for something’ later. Un-im-pressed. I’m interested in someone who understands the use of discretion and the power of the word No. The command of the word, the negated color red, whether you’re standing alone or with a group of 50.

No, you will not advocate to expand the size and scope of government. Not for economic development and not for raccoons.
No, you will not vote to usurp local control.
No, you will not pander to the children. Or vote to tell someone how to parent.
No, you will not press YES for your own personal advancement.
No, you will not silence the individual.

I still consider myself a Republican. Some days begrudgingly, but I do. And as Republicans, we should pressure our fellow conservatives to say ‘yes’ to the word ‘no.’
If something provides a legitimate business model which in turn provides for personal accountability and responsibility, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If a solution, medical or non-medical, approved or not approved, mainstream or not, works for just one person, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’
If something satisfies someone else and largely doesn’t affect me or my everyday life, it’s fine by me. Our answer should be ‘No, don’t inhibit them.’

But maybe the problem is me. Maybe I have the wrong understanding of what our principles mean and what our Party stands for…at the local meetings and under the Dome. Someone is wrong, though, because No. We can’t all be right.

I’m Tired.

This article is for all my Republican and Democrat party member friends who complain that government is broken, but believe the folks they elect somehow *already* know what the ‘right thing to do’ is. It’s for my Libertarian and Anarchist friends who spout off on social media and leave it at that. A brief reminder, if you will, that none of you are doing enough. 

It’s hard not to be negative. When you’re an idealist like me, it’s even harder. A couple of people have texted me since session started and asked, “Seriously – how hard is it for you to work at the Capitol?” It’s really freaking hard because I’m not just advocating for or against one bill, but a general reform of government and the process. Daily. So, generally, I opt for being snarky to mask the complete loathing for the process and the system. And most of you all.

To be perfectly blunt, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of the laziness. I’ve noticed, especially advocating for the opposition of HB 244/SB 8 table flipthat I’m not alone in my opinions, but that means so very little. People make up every excuse as to why they don’t have time or why they can’t do something. I can lay out the email addresses with what to say so all you have to do is copy-paste. We see this with petitions for FreedomWorks and grassroots organizations trying to mobilize people to lobby their elected officials. Uber. Craft Beer. Transportation. Everything you need within 3 clicks. And people won’t do it.

I’m tired of people thinking a once-a-month dinner social or happy hour is sufficient for activism. Or the people who think the political parties are the end-all, be-all. If that is your mindset, I can’t even begin to tell you everything you’re missing. How did you affect change this month? What do you have to show for progress?

I’m tired of the lack of prioritization. We all need an outlet, but obsessing over the The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, House of Cards, The Bachelor, fighting over whether or not ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is the demise of our society, and losing friends over football games? None of these things change our lives. They don’t. Yet they consume us.

I’m tired of people not recognizing that we have it easy. We live in an information age that allows us to instantly share information with the click of a mouse. We should be the most educated generation, we should know all the ways we’re failing our brand and The People…and yet, we fall short because we are sharing videos of Bostonians running around in the snow with only swim trunks and the latest BuzzFeed article that tells us “Which Disney Duo You and Your BFF Would Be”

I’m tired of pet issues and people not recognizing that every bill that passes through actually does affect them. If it’s not you this time, that only means it’ll be you next time. What reason have you given the state for it not to be?

I’m tired of people not understanding perpetuity. Every time we pass something, it is precedent. It is permanent. It might, maybe, if-we-try-really-hard one day be repealed but that’s just a strike through. It stays on the books. Nothing is erasable. Everything will be referenced at a later date.

I’m tired of being disappointed by the people I’m surrounded by because they don’t realize that by not paying attention to why we are afforded such a lovely life, it won’t be long before we no longer have such a life. Actually do something – today. Oh, and the stones you occasionally throw when something blatantly affects you…you’re throwing them from the cheap seats.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Google Search Confirms HB 244/SB 8 Falsities?

I wrote extensively last week about the Georgia Republicans waging a war on adult entertainment establishments and expanding civil forfeiture practices in our state with no data to back up their legislative premises.  I have a hard time understanding why a $5,000 OR 1% gross revenue annual fine is necessary for these establishments without cause. And why only the adult entertainment industry?

So, I did a little Google search last night. I spent a significant amount of time sifting through sex trafficking articles. Below is a list of industry-related examples and sources:

You’ll note that none of the above are industries included in the legislation. House Bill 244 and Senate Bill 8 both exclusively call for adult entertainment establishments. Wrongfully and dishonestly. There’s no doubt it sometimes happens in these establishments. But what about every other industry?

70% of child victims are sold over the internet.  Every day. Read that again. 70%. An exceeding majority of sex trafficking is known to originate over the interwebs (and the private sector is already targeting this issue) but we are going after one teeny, tiny industry. That is despicable.

The bill also calls for what some might consider a “government-organized charity.” So I wanted to see what types of 501(c)3 non-profits were already out there operating:

  1. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center
  2. The Polaris Project
  3. A21.org
  4. The Not-For-Sale Campaign
  5. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women
  6. Out of Darkness
  7. Coalition Against Traffic in Women
  8. Daughters Rising
  9. Slavery No More
  10. Love146

And considering Google returned 1,450,000 results, I can say with certainly that there are plenty more. The industry to help and counsel these women and children is alive and thriving. We don’t need our state government to set up another fund and commission to do so.

Utah seems to be taking a much more reasonable approach, where they are removing a current requirement for prosecutors to prove fraud or coercion for a conviction. North Dakota is increasing penalties for convictions and statute of limitations for victims. Same with Texas. These other states aren’t waging a war on businesses.

A judge in India, where human trafficking is painfully prevalent, said this is a social issue, not a legal one…one that the courts cannot solve. “Implementation of guidelines is in the hands of enforcement agencies.” I could not agree more.


Click here for background and resources to contact House committee members about this legislation.

Maybe the Problem is We Overvalue Education

The recent media frenzy over Scott Walker’s lacking college diploma has had me pondering a wide variety of failures in regard to our educational stigmas. While the attacks on Walker have largely been from the media, there is no doubt that the issue will again rise to the surface on the 2016 stage. The notion that he left to work in a small business will, sadly, go undiscussed.

It’s not an uncommon ‘issue’, either. We all watched the cringe-worthy statements by now-Senator David Perdue over fellow candidate Karen Handel’s lack of college education unfold while questioning the necessity and relevancy. Especially considering that both come from a college-degrees-graduategeneration of folks that focused on entrepreneurial roots and touted self-sufficiency. Scott Walker is not far behind. In fact, there probably aren’t many of us who don’t know a boot-strap entrepreneur without a diploma that we respect and seek to emulate.

College diplomas are necessary because we have made them to be. We have demanded that they be: Democrats because of “access” and “equality; Republicans because “The Jones’” and “top-tier excellence.” As Republicans, we complain about Democrats wanting to have all the degrees..and for free. That’s wrong. But perhaps the degrees would be less appealing if we didn’t make the case that you are worthless in society without one.

The result: Our society is no longer unique.

While some sort of high school diploma is valuable, we do so many students a disservice by not offering them technical diplomas and trade diplomas. We are lacking when it comes to specialties and trades. We look down on our technical colleges and community colleges. Suburban metro Atlanta is especially guilty of this. But worse, a college diploma is often a certificate of complete for the soccer moms. The ‘I got my child through!’ stamp of approval. The apple-to-apple comparison for dinner parties.

They say you don’t add value unless you mine it, manufacture it, or grow it. When was the last time you heard encouragement for either of those 3 things? We struggle to find the air conditioning men and the plumbers and the welders because we, as a society, teach that that isn’t sufficient. Heck, even our agriculture relies on big-time, big-ag multi-millionaire businessmen…not the small town farmer.

I know my peers from both my undergrad and graduate programs. I know what they think of their education. I know their goals and I can say with confidence that I trust someone of blue-collar or entrepreneurial caliber above the guy with 3 MBA’s, a double major from undergrad, and a colorful robe on graduation day.

It’s time that both sides start looking at education past the goal line. It’s important but it should never cancel out the people who have persevered despite the educational system. It’s time we acknowledge that it is difficult to be a businessperson in America and the real-life experience should never be second fiddle to the traditional education.

Hidden Problems with the “Hidden Predator Act”

House Bill 17, also known as the “Hidden Predator Act” has really got my buttons all kinds of pushed. The bill, pre-filed back in December and now making its way to the Judiciary committee, seeks to extend the statute of limitations on sexual assaults, battery, child molestation and things of the like from 5 years to 35 years…from the day victims reach adulthood. It would also allow for a blanket grace period of two years for anyone who previously missed out filing for a civil case under current law giving them from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2017 to take legal action. (Smells like ‘not due process’).

We should note that these atrocities do happen to children and many times, nothing is filed until adulthood whether it be because they cannot tell a parent, they don’t want to tell a parent or they simply don’t understand that what happened to them is wrong. The reason doesn’t matter. Current law allows for victims to come forward for up to 5 years following their 18th birthday.

So, the question becomes: how many years after a sexual assault should someone be allowed by law to file for civil recourse?

To put it plainly, there are a couple of reasons I don’t believe the current law should be changed:

  • Victims of assault are either going to come forward or they aren’t. This is something we know. Many people spend years coping with these things silently and privately and it usually has nothing to do with a statute of limitations for civil recourse.
  • 35 years from the age of 18 is a long time. That’s age 53. And that’s assuming that the assault happened during the late teen years. For those who became victims at an even younger age, memories could be dating back 50 years. No offense to my older friends but depending on whether or not a criminal case produced a conviction, I have a hard time believing the case could be adequately assessed with little to no evidence other than “he said, she said.”
  • Civil damages don’t fix anything. Placing a dollar amount on a life-changing events cheapens what happens to many people. While at age 18 you may have no idea how a victim will manifest the pain and suffering, age 53 gives them far too much leeway of life mistakes and glitches which may or may not be associated with an assault. We would basically open the door for extortion.
  • Allowing victims who were previously not able to come forward because of a statute of limitations to retroactively file a suit during a two-year grace period is not how our justice system is supposed to work.

I ranted about this issue on Facebook and the public responses were interesting, but the private responses were more compelling. I heard from lawyers, who aren’t usually my go-to on these types of things, who urged that this was not a good idea and not good law. I also heard from a few victims. Some who were victimized as children and some as adults. Not one of them was in favor of the legislation.

Altering the statute of limitations in cases like this will not increase the amount of justice served.  Our legal system doesn’t serve as a “catch all” for justice and we shouldn’t expect for legislation to enable to do so.

It’s a sensitive subject and my heart aches for every victim, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out about consequences of legislation. I think the intent is good and pure, but I don’t believe it will accomplish its intentions. 35 years for a statute of limitations is simply too long, and a backdated chance at civil justice isn’t in the best interest of our state. Please oppose, and ask your representatives to oppose, House Bill 17.

I Flip-Flopped on the Death Penalty

I used to be a zealous advocate for the death penalty. An eye for an eye! Justice must be served! But in recent years I’ve teetered on the fence of unsurity. After covering some death penalty cases for various news sources, I hereby rescind my advocacy for said punishment.

My opposition doesn’t come from the idea that you can’t be ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-death penalty.’ (You can do whatever you want and a lot of people are both.) Nor is it about the ‘humanity’ of it. And I certainly don’t care what ‘other countries’ or the UN have to say about it. It really isn’t even about the mental health component, because, while I find the idea of the State determining what mental capacity is acceptable for various punishments, fixing that wouldn’t really fix the overarching problem:cHOP

The fact that we cannot serve justice in a broken legal system and that the lies they tell you about saving money when someone is put to death are false.

It doesn’t take much more than a traffic ticket to reveal the real flaws of our legal system. Even for those crimes not on the list of ‘punishable by death’ show us often a sentence that has been overturned, or a case thrown out because of ‘new evidence,’ or an oversight during an investigation. Sure, it’s the big cases that hit the news circuits where a man is freed from prison after serving some 36 years…wrongfully. Is 29 years “better” than 36? We know it happens more than we would like to admit. We feel bad for the victim of a wrongful conviction but then carry on and go back to soccer practice and Facebook. It’s almost as if society is afraid to acknowledge its flaws. ::gasp::

Statistics show the following:

  • 144 people on death row have been exonerated since 1973 when the death penalty was reinstated. (Here is the list)
  • We know of at least 10 cases where someone was wrongfully executed.
  • It costs $90,000 more PER YEAR to house a death row prisoner, compared to ‘general confinement.’
  • Forbes points out that it can be 10x more expensive to kill an inmate than to keep them alive and attorneys on both sides spend roughly 44x more time on death penalty appeal cases than life sentence appeal cases.
  • Because of the lengthy appeals process that can take decades to settle, states can spend upward of $184 million PER YEAR in death penalty appeals cases.
  • The Idaho legislative Capital Punishment study committee put together a lovely report on the actual costs.

A Georgia man was recently executed because he shot a Laurens County Sheriff’s deputy 9 times and it was recorded on a dash cam. The defendant didn’t deny doing so either. This is certainly a ‘slam dunk,’ if you will, but at what cost? At the cost of potentially taking the life of a man or woman who was not guilty.  And a VERY high cost when we aren’t always ‘sure.’ 144 people on death row wrongfully in 42 years doesn’t seem like that high of a number. Unfortunately 1 is far too many.

So I suppose I am unsure if I am actually against the death penalty, but under our flawed legal system, I simply cannot support it.

An Open Letter to the GA GOP & “the Liberty People”

The convention cycle is upon us and the shenanigans are already brewing. It’s prompted me to reevaluate our relationship and figure out who I want to take to the prom.

And I’ve decided neither. You’re both awful and we need a little time apart.

Not because I’m not conservative enough, though you both certainly like to paint that image. It’s mostly because you should treat others how you would like to be treated, and I don’t care to reciprocate how I, like many others, have been treated.

To you, down in front, the GA GOP. Perhaps it was the constant shaming for opinions from your HQ office during the 2014 midterm elections or the requests by party officers to “not say something like that” on social media. Or perhaps it was an open allegiance to a particular infightingcandidate during the primary season that affected an entire race. Or maybe the issue that a paid contractor for the party leaked information to the press to tarnish a Republican primary candidate…and still managed to stay on payroll with the GOP. Or maybe the post-election “pat on the back” email circulated essentially trashing our Lieutenant Governor, who is by no means perfect, but undeserving of a public attack because of a personal vendetta. All without any recourse or even concern.

Perhaps it’s the convenient oversight of your Chairman at every event over the last year and a half. Though it’s probably more about your lack of tolerance and the harsh reality that no one in your camp looks like me – or people who behave like me. But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the people.

And you. You Liberty People. Why are you SO angry?! Why are you slamming the door in the faces of people who believe in you? Elected officials who want to champion your causes but aren’t the same kind of purists? Why are you angry about GOP interest groups when here in Georgia, some of the aggressiveness of Liberty groups like Campaign for Liberty, Georgia Taxpayers United and Georgia Gun Owners has yanked away any opportunity for us to sit at the table? No one even listens because our messengers are equally as awful as Romney or Jeb or anything else you hate in the ‘establishment’ GOP. Why haven’t you learned from your mistakes? Why have you not tweaked a plan that appears to not be working? Also could you start showing up at things other than the convention. Perpetuating your own stereotype is only hurting the cause.
And if one more of you tells me I’m not confrontational enough…
But have you asked anyone what people really think of you? You’re out of touch with the process.

It’s amazing that y’all don’t get along because you’re just alike. So for now, I’ll take my shovel and bucket and dig my own holes with a few that feel the same way. We’re just not that into you anymore. I know plenty of people who are looking for a real movement. Something that is not only effective but also solution-based. Not hateful. Inclusive. Something that is sustainable. Something that will win in the next election cycle.

Sell out and merge together or never surrender and split apart, but stay well. 2015 and 2016 are sure to be a bumpy ride.

 

 

Local Police Departments Hosting Scanner Info Indefinitely?

License Plate Scanner

A point of contention for the law enforcement community for some time has been public dissent over the use of police license plate scanners. While the scanners are costly to departments, the real point of contention has surrounded when the data is collected, where it is stored, and for how long. This is a growing issue considering 71% of police agencies now use the scanners (increasing to 85% over the next 5 years) with success rates of ‘identifying’ crime as low as 0.005%- 0.0017%.

These cameras take upwards of 100 photos per minute without the use of human oversight. Local and county police departments as well as sheriff’s departments collect and store driver information anywhere from 30 days to a year, while some departments never purge the data. Essentially, individual police forces are establishing a database for millions of drivers, the majority of whom have never even committed a crime.

With the constant headlines around the issue, statistics have consistently shown that many law enforcement agencies have no policy for erasing the data and even overlapping departments have conflicting protocols. In Minnesota, the information collected is erased within 48 hours whereas California has no policy is in place to outline guidelines for purging information collected via license plate scanners.

Organizations such as the ACLU and national leaders like Rand Paul have long opposed the collection, and now storage, of this information without cause which helped halt a national database that was proposed by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year and led the push for New Hampshire to ban the cameras all together.

Now, it looks like the initiative is coming to Georgia. Enter Representative John Pezold (R-Columbus). Representative Pezold is drafting legislation which will require that all departments -local, county and Sheriff – delete stored license plate numbers and information within 30 days of collection. The legislation would also prohibit any Georgia agency, other law enforcement agency, or federal agency from obtaining, viewing, or transferring the information without a warrant or cause, barring interstate or multi-agency issues.

Opponents of the legislation will likely offer a two-pronged argument:

  1. Setting a state standard circumvents local control. Perhaps, in a sense, but we are talking about privacy concerns of civilians that are currently protected at the varying discretion of elected and appointed officials.
  2. 30 days is too long.

If you support the use of license plate scanners, this will likely mean nothing to you. If you would like all license plate scanners in the state of Georgia banned, this legislation will not satiate your concerns, but it will impose restraints on the system under which we are currently operating.

Do More Than Exist

NY resolution

“You keep waiting for the moral of your life to become obvious, but it never does. Work, work, work: No moral. No plot. No eureka! Just production schedules and days. You might as well be living inside a photocopier.” That’s what Douglas Coupland said in Player One: What is to Become of Us.

And he’s right. 2015 is upon us and here we are again, looking for the best way to make ourselves and our lives better. The majority of our New Years “Resolutions”  cover the realm of weight loss and healthy eating, saving a little more money, calling home a little more often or maybe even a better balance of work and play -however those scales may be tipped. The little things we make big things that we are sure will ensure perfection. Shortly, our Facebook News Feed will be inundated with ‘Tips & Tricks for a Better You.” Sure, there is something great about starting with a fresh slate, a clean calendar that no one has written on, no mistakes yet engraved on the concrete tombstone for 2015. How refreshing! I would be lying if I said I hadn’t succumbed to the excitement as well.

I’ve had no qualms about sharing my own personal journey in discovering myself, particularly in the last year, which has been about as smooth as trying to chew rocks. Between the unknowns and the ‘oops, I shouldn’t have done that” moments, I’m well equipped to write a book on how NOT to do just about everything. (But we all are, and I like that.) Earlier this month, I left an excellent-paying job, with benefits! where I was making more than what’s adequate for someone my age. I left without a plan (seems to be a life trend lately) because I wasn’t fulfilled. I was just ‘there.’ And I knew that change wasn’t going to knock unless I brought change to the door. So, when the knock at the door came, I opened it and left. (I sort of left through a window, but that’s a different story for a different day.)

So, what does this have to do with the New Year? Nothing, really. I mentioned the story about quitting my job above because it made me realize I would rather ‘still be looking’ for my purpose than spend my days doing something I know isn’t my passion. Because I was sick of my own excuses as to why I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do. Because I could sit in a glass office all day watching the world go by knowing that other people are doing their own version of what is ‘good’ and I was just a factory of one liners about ‘not the right time’, ‘not the right finances’, ‘not the right people’.

But nothing ever comes at the right time. And if it did, would you know it?

When evaluating how you’re going to do better this year, the weight loss benchmarks and the healthy eating shenanigans are all impossible good goals, but that isn’t what life is about. Life isn’t all about your occupation and neither is this blog. You could say this about who you’re dating, or loving, or your hobbies, or lack thereof, or the example you’re showcasing for your children. Because every day is a clean slate and you can start over whenever you want. You can change directions when you don’t like the scenery. You can shift gears when rocks are jumbled in the engine. Or something. There are no excuses. So why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you plan to change the world a little bit every day? Why wouldn’t your plan be utopian? Seems like anything short of that that you actually attain would be pretty satisfying.

Ask yourself what your purpose is for today. Why are you here? How are you going to make a difference? What have you been fearing, yet yearning to do? Will you do more than just exist this year? Will you do more than exist for the day? Or is it just another photocopy?

“The purpose of life is a life with a purpose, so I’d rather die for a cause than live a life that is worthless.” – Immortal Technique

Ballot Access Legislation Coming in 2015?

Over the course of the last election cycle, I spent a lot time complaining about the need for ballot access reform. Georgia is currently rated 50th (that’s worst, for those of you playing at home) in the nation for ballot access for third-party candidates, or “independents” since our state only “recognizes” two political parties under election law. “Rogue candidates.” The rebels without a cause. What it means to be recognized as a political party is also defined by state law.

Georgia currently requires these candidates to obtain signatures from 5% of prospective voters. If you’re running for Congress, that’s about 18,000 signatures – and no third-party has been on a general election Congressional ticket since 1943. Whether you’re running for county commission or Governor, you have 180 days to collect the signatures and then turn them in accordance with the qualifying period outlined specifically for independent candidates. This mess unfolded publicly for both Jeff Amason in House District 21(who obtained far more than 5%) and  candidates like Bill Bozarth in Atlanta during the last general election. There is no doubt the process is a bureaucratic, unequal mess.

And we’ve sort of tried. During the 2011-12 legislation session, Secretary of State Brian Kemp recommended by way of Rep. Mark Hamilton and HB 949, along with many other ballot access reform initiatives, a reduced number of signatures required for third-party candidates. Not perfect, but a step in the right direction. The legislature denied this and passed almost every other ballot reform measure in HB 899.

ballot access

Support for fewer barriers to entry goes back further than that, though. A similar bill was introduced by the late Rep. Bobby Franklin and, wait for it,…David Ralston, pre-speakership days. In fact, Ralston was the first signer on HB 927 in the 2005-2006 legislative session. The bill, which is worded in so many ways that I adore, states the following:

BA_section2

Consistent petition standards for all public offices. What a novel thought. The legislation reduced the number of signatures required to 2% of voters based on numbers from the last election. While this legislation is contradictory in and of itself, seeing as though ‘consistent’ would imply that everyone, even “Republicans” and “Democrats” are subjected to the same rules, the mere introduction of the legislation indicates that we have a problem. In September, 58% of Americans favored third parties. It’s time to stop ignoring this issue.

Whether legislation should eliminate signatures for an ‘unrecognized’ party, or we stop using parties on the ballot (Georgia Washington didn’t like them!), or we start messing around with the qualifying fees as a barrier to entry is still up for debate. One thing is for sure: no candidate should have to sue the state to be on the ballot. That’s not a government run by The People and Georgia needs to do better. Perhaps we can shoot for 49th. Regardless of whether you will ever vote for a third-party or not, the inequity based on political affiliation is resounding.

What legislation will actually look like if it comes about in the upcoming session -if it even does- is still to be determined. Rumor has it that legislation will indeed be introduced, perhaps by Rep. John Pezold (R-Columbus). But you know what they say about rumors: Only good ones are spiced with truth.