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THE MR. NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT AWARD
- Joeff Davis
- LOONEY TUNES: In Rep. Bobby Franklin's Bizarro Legislature, you pledge non-allegiance with your hand on your butt.
Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Crazytown
Any argument in favor of stripping East Cobb residents of their voting privileges should begin with these two words: Bobby Franklin.
The chairman of the House's lunatic caucus since 1997 — yes, he's managed to keep his seat since Titanic premiered in theaters — Franklin is known for zealously crusading against women's rights, gay rights, public education and logic. This year, however, he managed to outdo himself.
First, he introduced a bill to require all state transactions be conducted in gold or silver coins. Then, he wanted to get rid of driver's licenses because, according to Franklin, driving is an "inalienable right." (When asked how ID-less drivers could be identified, he replied, "Why do you need to know who's who?") But the national press really took notice of Franklin's latest attempt to criminalize abortion, er, we mean prenatal murder, with a bill suggesting women could be prosecuted if they miscarried but couldn't prove it was an accident.
When he wasn't introducing kooky legislation, Franklin was busy running off at the mouth, equating gays with "unrepentant drug dealers" and comparing abortion doctors to Muammar Qaddafi.
Luckily, Franklin's colleagues appear to take him about as seriously as the rest of us: Of the 40 bills and resolutions he introduced this year, only one — a gimme resolution to honor the granddaughter of a Civil War vet — got as far as a vote.
THE I'M NOT ISLAMOPHOBIC, BUT MUSLIMS ARE OUT TO GET US AWARD
- Joeff Davis
- MOOSLIMS IS SCARY: Rep. Mike Jacobs realized the anti-Sharia bandwagon had room for one more.
Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven
If a Muslim scare is sweeping the nation, you can be damn sure it's gonna visit Georgia. But you might be surprised at who's fanning the flames. Only four years after switching parties, the DeKalb Republican got hold of the GOP playbook this session and, joining reactionary lawmakers in a dozen other states, introduced a bill to prohibit Sharia law — the religious law of Islam — from being used in Georgia courts. In addition to concerns that the bill would violate federal law and be gratuitously insulting to Muslims, there's also the fact that it's totally unnecessary. Even Jacobs, an attorney, had to concede to the Daily Report that he wasn't aware of an instance where a Georgia judge had ever been asked to apply Sharia law.
THE IT'S NOT MILLER TIME TILL I SAY IT IS! AWARD
- Joeff Davis
- BEER ME: Sen. David Shafer watched Sunday alcohol sales pass him by.
Sen. David Shafer, R-Lilburn
Although Bible-beaters get credit for blocking Sunday alcohol sales in past years, this session they received an attempted assist from Shafer, a media-savvy jester who approaches every policy issue through the prism of his own political ambitions. As chairman of the Senate committee handling Sunday sales legislation in 2010, Shafer was sitting pretty: The longer he delayed a vote, the more campaign manna he pocketed from both the liquor lobby and Christian conservatives. This year, however, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle sent the bill to a different committee so the Gwinnett Republican couldn't continue his lucrative dithering. On the day the Sunday sales bill finally hit the Senate floor, Shafer proposed a seemingly benign amendment that, under semi-obscure parliamentary rules, would've sent the bill back to committee, effectively shelving it for the year. Fortunately, the scheme was recognized and the amendment defeated. Ironic, isn't it, that the honorary chairman-for-life of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia, a free-market-and-personal-freedom advocacy group, would go to such lengths to deny voters the chance to decide for themselves whether they can buy a six-pack on the Sabbath?
THE WELL, WHEN I WAS A JUDGE ... AWARD
- Joeff Davis
- I KNEW THIS GUY ...: Sen. William Ligon used carefully researched personal anecdotes to justify harsh DUI penalties.
Sen. William Ligon Jr., R-Waverly
It was très trendy under the Gold Dome this year to find fun, new, shamelessly iniquitous ways to sock it to illegal immigrants. Ligon joined in with a bill to make driving under the influence a felony for illegals, meaning first-time offenders could face fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 and imprisonment for one to five years. (Keep in mind that Gov. Deal is looking for ways to curb corrections spending by keeping people out of prisons.) Ligon's rationale? Purely anecdotal. When he was a municipal court judge in Brunswick, Ligon says, 96 of the 172 people charged with DUI in his court one year were in the country illegally. When Sen. Emmanuel Jones, D-Decatur, asked for evidence that the measure makes sense statewide, Ligon couldn't provide any. That was good enough for the Senate, which passed the bill 35-18. It later stalled in the House.