It was supposed to be a new day for Peach State Republicans. Fresh off their landslide election victory, the new governor and a passel of Tea Party freshmen unschooled in the dark arts of the Gold Dome were expected to roll into Atlanta on a Reagan-esque mission to slash taxes, scare off brown people and stand up for fetuses (feti?). But as Georgia lawmakers are wont to do, they got, uh, distracted along the way.
Even before the General Assembly began, there was all-out mutiny in the state Senate, long considered the more orderly of the Legislature’s two chambers, resulting in a leadership vacuum that slowed progress to a crawl. An attempt to overhaul the state’s outdated, exemption-laden tax code was largely conducted behind closed doors — not that the secrecy prevented the ultimately failed endeavor from turning into a clusterf*&k. And a simple measure to allow communities to vote on Sunday alcohol sales was a near-disaster. About the only thing everyone could agree on was slashing a chunk of the HOPE budget.
Throw in the usual assortment of wingnuts, anti-immigrant ranters and nest-featherers and, Boom! — another 40 days best forgotten. But before the lawmakers slink out of town, we want to honor the dunces, sleazoids and outright scoundrels among their rather rank ranks. In keeping with tradition, we’ve also recognized the rare legislator who went above and beyond to help make Georgia a better place. Without further ado, we proudly present the 22nd annual Golden Sleaze Awards.
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THE OUT WITH THE MESSICANS! AWARD
- Joeff Davis
- WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU? Rep. Matt Ramsey wants to bring the border patrol to Georgia.
Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City
Meet the architect behind the one anti-immigration bill that promises to send Georgia careening into the ditch. Similar to the notorious Arizona law that kicked off a national firestorm over illegal immigration, Ramsey’s legislation would, among other outrages, allow police to check the immigration status of people caught Driving While Brown and threaten prison time for folks who offer aid to undocumented aliens. Just what we need: more priests behind bars. Despite opposition from chambers of commerce, farmer associations, restaurants, the ACLU and virtually every other group with an interest in not seeing Georgia fall apart, it did find one supporter: D.A. King, the rabid anti-illegal immigrant activist who could seize the chance to sue local governments if he thinks they failed to follow one of the law’s provisions. If Ramsey stopped surfing nativist websites and read a newspaper, he’d know that Arizona’s business leaders say that state has lost tens of millions in tourism and convention business since the law’s passage. He’d learn that lawmakers in Arizona and other states have already backed off passing more xenophobic laws. And he’d understand just how dependent Georgia’s biggest industries are on cheap migrant labor. But nothing beats gettin’ yer bill passed, huh?