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Thus-far this year we've had two Online Town Hall meetings. You can watch the video for the second meeting here. You can also watch video from the 1/08/13 Town Hall here. We'll have another Online Town Hall meeting toward the end of February and I'll announce the exact date and time sometime this week.
The House took up several pieces of Legislation this week and I'd like to mention two in particular. You can see the list of all votes taken in the House here. Click on each vote number to see more details about what was being voted on and how I voted on that particular measure.
HR4 urges the state of Tennessee to accept a settlement of its boundary dispute with the state of Georgia that has been ongoing for nearly two hundred years. The settlement would reflect the boundary line established by the flawed 1818 survey, except with a one and a half mile “inlet” that would allow Georgia access to the Tennessee River at Nickajack in the northeast corner of our state, which would provide Georgia with an abundant amount of water. The compromise would not affect citizens residing in Tennessee, but would allow Georgia its rightful access to the Tennessee River. HR 4 also authorizes the Governor to enter into any necessary negotiations with the state of Tennessee to resolve this longstanding border dispute. Hopefully an agreement can be reached without going to Court.
HB198 requires so-called "navigators" hired by the Federal government to advise people about purchasing heath insurance through a Federal health insurance exchange to be supervised by Georgia's Insurance Commissioner. Despite the fact that navigators will perform services similar to those provided by insurance brokers, the Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare" explicitly prevents states from requiring navigators to hold an insurance producers license. This in effect would allow people who have not undergone the same level of training as an insurance broker to essentially carry out a similar role. This could cause consumers to receive inconsistent or inaccurate advice about their health care coverage options. Therefore, HB198 would allow the state Insurance Commissioner to license navigators and ensure that they have the necessary qualifications to provide proper health insurance guidance. I vehemently oppose Obamacare and I'm grateful Governor Deal choose not to implement a State health care exchange, however I felt it was necessary to vote "yes" on this measure to provide some level of protection for Georgians who might choose to purchase health insurance via a federal exchange.
I also want to mention a measure I co-sponsored. HR273 by Rep. Kevin Cooke urges Congress to consider repealing the 17th Amendment. The 17th Amendment allows the direct election of US Senators, rather than having them appointed by State Legislatures as was originally written in the Constitution. As explained in several of the Federalist Papers, the Senate was meant to represent the States, while the House of Representatives was to reflect the will of the people. While our two Senators here in Georgia have done an excellent job representing Georgia, I maintain things like Obamacare would not have passed if Senators were appointed by their State Legislatures. Obamacare places a heavy financial burden on States, an issue barely raised during the debate on the bill, and not discussed at all during last year's Presidential Election. Having Senators represent the States would help make DC more mindful of the impact legislation has on the States.
Friday, a left wing group called "Better Georgia" launched an attack on HR273 and on me in particular claiming we want to disenfranchise Georgians. Some of Better Georgia's supporters claimed on Twitter that I want to take away women's right to vote and re-institute slavery. Of course, wanting to repeal one Amendment doesn't mean one wants to repeals them all. Sadly, this group and it's supporters regularly engage in this sort of outlandish political rhetoric.
As I stated here, my purpose in co-sponsoring this measure is to draw attention to the Federal Government's overbearing and out-sized influence on States and our everyday lives. The political blog I write for, Peach Pundit, has had a lively discussion of HR273 and the 17th Amendment. Obviously not everyone agrees with the idea of repealing the 17th, but having a discussion of repeal and the actions of the Federal government in recent decades is healthy. Feel free to let me know what you think on my blog or via email.
The House will be back in Session at 10 AM Tuesday and will meet each daily through Friday. You can watch each day's session live or review the archives. I will send out another of these weekly emails next weekend.
Please feel free to contact me anytime if I can be of assistance. I'm honored to serve you at the Capitol and covet your prayers and support.
Representative, Georgia State House District 102
504-B Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334