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CL's 2013 Golden Sleaze Awards

Recognizing the bad, the worse, and the unimaginably grotesque under the Gold Dome

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LOCK AND LOAD: State Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Augusta, used groundless facts about frying pans and hammers to argue against gun control.
  • Joeff Davis
  • LOCK AND LOAD: State Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Augusta, used groundless facts about frying pans and hammers to argue against gun control.

The "1 + 1 = Git Yer Hands Off Mah Guns" Award

Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Augusta

GOP lawmakers have used every National Rifle Association talking point available to fend off gun control. Few waxed more poetically on the issue than Jackson, who proclaimed that more people have been murdered with hammers than with firearms. The Columbia County Republican then shared an anecdote about an assailant who mauled a victim with a frying pan. "If they're going to take the guns, let's take the frying pans and the hammers," he said. In all apparent seriousness. In front of people. Although Jackson was trying to argue that national gun-control calls were a knee-jerk reaction, his groundless claims didn't help. And his figures, as numerous observers pointed out, were entirely inaccurate. (Although they might be true in Jackson's district, come to think of it.) When asked where he got his implausible statistic, he simply couldn't recall. "It might have even been twice as many," he said. "I'll try and come up with it." Still waiting.

JOEFF DAVIS
  • Joeff Davis

The "Slushies Are Tasty" Award

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle

The Guv Lite pulled out all the stops in pushing a pair of companion bills through both chambers that would set aside $100 million over a five-year period toward a shiny new Invest Georgia venture capital fund. If passed, the legislation would create an independent investment board responsible for overseeing the fund, as well as finding additional private investors. Five unpaid board members appointed by Cagle, the governor, and the House speaker would determine which private-sector startups would receive financial support. Theoretically, such a proposal could create more jobs in Georgia. But critics rightly raised concerns about the board's independence, and the danger that Cagle was simply creating a slush fund. More importantly, they questioned whether Georgia should be bankrolling entrepreneurs. The VC fund is rife with risk, but that hasn't stopped Casey from rolling the dice with taxpayer dollars.

The "MINoTaurs are coming" Award

Rep. Jay Neal, R-LaFayette

The LaFayette Republican raised eyebrows with a pro-life bill that prohibited human embryos from being used for anything other than reproductive purposes. (We were told that, during a hearing, Neal showed fellow lawmakers photos of a tortoise, eagle, and fetus, and noted that only one of the examples wasn't protected.) The legislation would also help prevent the spread of "manimals" — human-animal hybrids bred in petri dishes by mad scientists. Biomedical officials said such experiments weren't conducted in Georgia. And most likely never would be.

JOEFF DAVIS
  • Joeff Davis

The "Listen, I'm a Fan of the Indigo Girls" Award

Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City

House resolutions under the Gold Dome are largely ceremonial. Lawmakers create these harmless measures to recognize their constituents for mundanities like outstanding student achievement or special anniversaries. Only two have been defeated in recent memory: one that honored Jane Fonda's charity work and another celebrating President Barack Obama's 2008 election. So what happened when a gay state lawmaker tried to officially congratulate an LGBT music ensemble on its 20th anniversary? Ramsey, the father of Georgia's anti-immigration legislation, blocked it. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, would have honored the Atlanta Freedom Marching Band. The Peachtree City representative claimed that some lawmakers simply had some concerns about the measure. (It passed the next day.) But given how infrequently lawmakers block resolutions, it's hard to imagine any reason other than the fact that it commends an LGBT organization.

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