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Bobby Franklin

For sticking up for the (really) small guy

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When Mitchell Kaye departed the state House last year to run for state school superintendent, the Cobb über-conservative left behind some mighty big shoes to fill. But fear not, Gold Dome-watchers; Kaye's chief acolyte, Bobby Franklin, seems more than willing to assume Mitch's mantle -- namely, as the undisputed reigning right-wing nut-job in the General Assembly.

Franklin, another Cobb über-conservative, has long been in training for the title. Like his mentor, he's willfully alienated House leaders -- the only legislation he's gotten passed in six years was a proclamation honoring a high school band teacher. The most rabid of Rebel-flag preservationists, he's pushed for a constitutional amendment to undo the change.

This is the guy, after all, who floated a measure specifically to allow Segway scooter riders to carry firearms.

The 2003 session is still a month away, but Franklin has wasted no time in ensuring his continued bipartisan marginalization by pre-filing the very first bill, and it's a doozy. HB 1 calls for women seeking an abortion to first obtain a "death warrant" from a Superior Court judge.

Wait, it gets better: Once the woman has petitioned the court, her fetus is assigned legal representation and the future of the pregnancy is determined by a jury trial (or a bench trial, presumably if the fetus prefers). Of course, HB 1 also allows the decision to be appealed, so even a condemned fetus can hope to escape amniotic Death Row. Finally, abortion providers who perform an "execution" -- as the bill calls it -- without a signed death warrant would face five years in prison.

HB 1 does leave a few questions unanswered: If a woman ordered to carry her child to term subsequently miscarries, would she be in contempt of court? How would a fetus' attorney confer with his client? And we can only assume the fetus would not be furnished with a jury of its peers.

But Franklin took care not to place the crucial "undue burden" on women seeking abortions: He eliminated the court filing fee.

The Weekly Scalawag is now accepting nominations. E-mail scott.henry@creativeloafing.com.

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