Tag Archives: Georgia general assembly

The 2nd Amendment: Give it back to students

Below is a copy of my letter to my State Representative (and some others that I respect) regarding 2nd amendment privileges on non-traditional college campuses:
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January 16, 2013

Representative Edward Lindsey
415 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334

CC: Representative Chuck Martin, Representative B.J. Pak, Representative Paulette Braddock,
Senator Hunter Hill, Senator Judson Hill, Senator Brandon Beach

Re: Second Amendment privileges on alternative college campuses.

Dear Representative Lindsey,

My name is Jessica ________ and I am one of your constituents. I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Georgia, though I attend the satellite campus in Gwinnett. If you’re not familiar with this campus, it is a multi-story office complex that serves as an alternative campus for working graduate and doctoral students. The “campus”, which includes classrooms, study rooms, a library and a few administrative offices, encompasses the entire first floor of the building, with corporate offices on floors two and three.

As I know you are aware, firearms are prohibited on any college campus, regardless of a carry permit presence or gun caliber. As a Georgia State alum, I recognize the vulnerability of students on a college campuses and I feel that vulnerability is no less simply because my current campus is in a suburb. A “gun-free” zone, regardless of location, places students at an unfair advantage. I recognized the true disadvantage when I was informed by campus personnel that even “non-traditional” campuses fall under prohibited zones. Students have no barriers, as most walls and doors are made of glass and doors open outwards into the hallways (I’m sure you recall the dilemma with this in the Virginia Tech case). Without the ability to protect themselves, the only line of defense is to duck.

Classes at the Gwinnett campus often begin late-afternoon or early evening and release late and after dark. This is true of other campuses, such as the Georgia State campus in Alpharetta, the Terry Business School in Buckhead and the Georgia Perimeter satellite campuses across metro Atlanta. Further, nearly 100% of these students are graduate level and higher, therefore invalidating any argument regarding firearms in the hands of minors or those not eligible for a carry permit.

I understand that a blanket permit of firearms on campuses across Georgia is a long shot, especially in this political climate. I am, however, asking for proposed legislation which would allow firearms on alternative campuses which are adjacent to business offices. Business persons have no restrictions on their second amendment, however, as a student, I immediately stripped of my right to bear arms simply because of a ‘status’, even though we are all operating in the same building. Not only am I student, I, along with my classmates, am a sitting duck with a label of “potential victim”. I believe Georgia can do better and I believe students deserve better.

I welcome your feedback.

Respectfully,

 

Jessica _________
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My General Assembly Agenda. Now hop to it.

I’m not an elected official-nor do I ever intend to be, and no one ever asks me, but I’m just saying…here’s what needs to be done during the 2013 session of the Georgia General Assembly.

I want to see a strong emphasis on the 10th amendment. Protect the rights of the states. Be proactive, for the love of Pete. Please stop waiting until something happens…act now!

  • Nullify Obamacare
  • Nullify the NDAA
  • Nullify any legislation that would restrict our 2nd amendment rights. While you’re at it, why don’t you loosen the reins on our gun laws right now. They are a bit too stringent for a freedom-loving person like myself, anyways.
  • Deny the Atlanta Falcons any funding for the new stadium. It’s unnecessary and I don’t care where the money comes from, it does not need to go to some snazzy stadium that could and should be privately funded.
  • Ethics reform. Those of us who have any clue as to what is really going on know that you cannot legislate morals or ethics. If a legislator wants to be sneaky or take bribes, they will, whether there is legislation in place or not. But the constituents want it. They have no faith in the system right now. So, just do it. We are all waiting. We’ve been waiting.
  • Continued justice system reform. Long are the days where offenders got away with anything. Our systems are inundated with harmless and meaningless offenses. The courts are bogged down with paperwork and the lags for prosecution are out of control. Reform starts in the general assembly. Why don’t we work to decriminalize certain traffic offenses and victimless crimes? I don’t know about you, but I’m more deterred from speeding by a fine than points on my license.
  • Care to try again on the Sunset Bill that our Governor vetoed last year? I’m still wondering when we are going to hold government agencies accountable.

How many of these do you think will be accomplished?? I’ll pray for wisdom, control and restraint.

Hold the Applause….

Did you happen to listen to or read Governor Deal’s ‘State of the State’ the other night? If you haven’t, you can read the transcript here or watch the speech here. It was interjected with repeated applause, ovations and cheers as the Governor spoke. And, it’s propositions we’re quite spendy.

Much appreciation goes to the Georgia General Assembly who balanced the budget in 2011 and funded many essential Georgia programs. Appreciation is the keyword. Not applause, not praise, not commendation. We are SUPPOSED to have a balanced budget. That’s is the job of the legislature: to ensure efficiency (as well as transparency, accountability and legitimacy) and delegate good use of our tax dollars. That being said, it’s great to hear that the rainy day fund increased 183% to $328 million and that in 2012, 10% of Georgia programs will begin working off a zero-based budget. (Why it’s only 10%, I’m not sure…I don’t know how any organization or business DOESN’T work off zero-based budgeting, but I’m not in charge).

That being said, I question a lot of the spending proposed for this year.
-$20 million for the need-based one percent program (1. The title is quite the oxymoron, and 2. For the one millionth time, Education is not a right).
-$111.3 million for enrollment efforts at technical colleges & universities. (People know what college is. So what is an enrollment EFFORT? Also, I don’t like efforts, I like execution when we are talking about implementation of hard-earned tax dollars.)
-$146 million to support enrollment efforts in K-12 (Isn’t schooling mandatory until age16? Maybe enrollment efforts aren’t the right words, but I’m not keen on spending money to promote something that is already obviously mandatory).
-$55.8 million to fund salary increases for teachers K-12
-Supplemental grants of an undescribed amount to support charter schools in an Amended budget and in 2013.
-$46.7 million for deepening the Port of Savannah to improve both transportation and infrastructure.
-$10 million for Accountability Courts to lower recidivism rates in the criminal justice system. (How? Again, what’s the cost of implementing this?)

I can appreciate the efforts to rectify the failing school systems across the state and to try and improve the overall quality of the State, but where is the data that shows how this money will help? And how much will it cost to implement new programs? What about oversight to ensure efficiency? Will we need more state employees for that? I’m not a fan. As I become more frugal in my personal life, I become more frustrated with spending on the local and state level (I have temporarily given up on the federal level).

And another thing… a true pet peeve of mine is praising and applauding our legislators and executive officers. I flashed back to a recent event where Johnny Isakson spoke. He received a standing ovation and people were chanting his name, defending him as he was being questioned by other constituents. Why stand? Why clap? Why treat them like celebrities? WE elected THEM. THEY work for US. It is a privilege to serve and they should thank the people for the opportunity to do so.