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New session awaits state's lawmakers

POSTED: January 13, 2013 8:00 a.m.
 

The Georgia General Assembly cranks up again this week, and with it all the accompanying political and government news anybody could want for the next couple of months.

Soon we will be immersed in ever-changing plans for a state budget that is never big enough to do everything that someone thinks needs to be done; exposed to some passionate legislators obsessing over a controversial but silly bill that has no chance of passage; and bombarded with the frantic pleas of bureaucrats hoping to convince us that their particular piece of the state puzzle is more important than any other.

It is, indeed, that time again.

It won’t be long before we are joining with others in critiquing some state issue or the other, or offering to heap criticism atop of complaint for the way our government is conducted.

But in the quiet before that storm, we would be remiss if we didn’t pause for a minute to think about those we send to the Gold Dome each year to conduct our business.

Our legislators, for the most part, are not professional politicians. For the majority, participation in the legislative session means taking time away from their personal businesses, their families and their private lives in order to have a role in governing the state. Sometimes we forget that, and it’s worth remembering even though those who do so sought election to the positions they hold.

Unlike members of Congress, who serve in that capacity on a full-time basis and have salaries commensurate with the position, most Georgia lawmakers have to find a way to juggle their regular jobs, or put them on hold for weeks at a time, in order to serve the public. And they aren’t going to get rich off their legislative paychecks.

There are a few bad apples in every barrel, but most legislators in Georgia are well-meaning public servants who aren’t going to use their position for personal gain, who aren’t going to make money illegally off their state job, and who aren’t going to use their positions inappropriately.

That such is the case is one reason so many of them bristle when others push for stricter ethics laws or reform of lobbying rules – they know they aren’t doing anything wrong and resent the implication that they are.

It won’t be long until we are joining in with others to offer criticisms of the job being done at the Capitol, to suggest better ways to run the state and to point out all the idiocy that annually seems to be part of the legislative gathering.

But for now, let’s be thankful that there are some among us willing to undertake the responsibility of conducting the public’s business in what is often a difficult and thankless job. There will be plenty of opportunities for skewering of our lawmakers at a later date.

 

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