If you thought that in nearly 400 votes cast by the legislature over the last three months that a recognizable number of those would be to restrict government, you would be wrong.
The Georgia legislature had a slam dunk, hole-in-one, home run opportunity to nail some out of control local governments to the wall and they flubbed.
House Bill 90 filed by State Representative Dan Gasaway would have made it illegal for any elected member of a county or municipal government, a local board of education, or a development authority to participate in discussion or voting on a purchasing matter in which the member has a substantial (direct) interest in the property. The bipartisan bill extended to bar spouses, children, stepchildren, stepparents, siblings, and the spouses of these people who may have an interest in the transaction (indirect interest) as well.
The best part: House Bill 90 criminalized the action – a high and aggravated misdemeanor – punishable by one to five years in prison.
But our legislators dropped the ball.
As Crossover Day neared, the bill that had been filed in late January was desperate for a committee hearing. Despite a few minor, but rushed, changes, the bill was passed out of the House Judiciary non-civil committee. The beloved Rules committee failed to give the bill the opportunity to be voted on on the House floor.
Crossover Day came and went as did the days that followed and by the time the House adjourned on Day 40, the language was not included in any of the other hundreds of bills that did pass.
Our state legislators had the opportunity to lead, to set a precedent to rein in corruption and the perception of such, but they let that opportunity slip through the cracks.
Instead, the state regulated windsurfing and recognize Rapper Killer Mike.
The article above is an opinion piece by the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of AllOnGeorgia.