Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crunch Time for Bills, Including H.B. 276

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 3/23/07
At this point in the session, time is precious, especially for legislators with bills stuck in committee. To pass this session, bills had to be out of their first committee by the 28th day, which was last Monday. If they did pass the first committee in time, they must pass the Rules Committee before they ever get to the House or Senate floor for a vote.
I'm particularly concerned about H.B. 276 that affects every person in Georgia, whether it passes or dies. If it dies, there'll continue to be no restriction on the use of very sophisticated electronic devices, some of which are, actually, designed to invade our personal privacy and track our every move. Even the harmless older versions of barcodes have been upgraded to read hidden radio frequency identification chips and store personal signatures so accurately they can be printed on paper or plastic. That's a scary fact in this age of identity thefts.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips may be hidden anywhere and their radio waves cannot be stopped by solid matter, making information on the chip readable through any barrier, even lead walls that x-rays can't penetrate. RFID chips are extremely versatile, come in various sizes and are priced to sell to nosey governments and businesses. They may be as small as a speck of dust and tiny enough to embed in nails, beads, wires or fibers, print on pages or paint on pictures. A company in the U.S. is busy developing RFID tags and antennas made of conductive ink that would appear as normal printing in any book, magazine or paper.
For a year Representative Ed Setzler's specially appointed committee studied how biological information is being collected and already used or its intended use. Then, on February 2 he introduced H.B. 276 to prohibit the collection, storage, or use of genetic, biometric or unique identification data without personal written consent from each individual. His bill prohibits government or business use of genetic information to decide who can or cannot buy life insurance or who pays high or low insurance rates or for screening job applicants or enrolling or refusing to enroll students in colleges and universities.
H.B. 276 requires the card holder's consent before biometric data, personal or unique ID information and medical records can be put on government issued ID or access cards and devices, including those that can be remotely read. It, also, condemns giving preferential treatment to those allowing collection of their biometric data as opposed to those refusing to release their personal data. This might seem incidental to you, but certain grocery stores discriminate against me every time I check out because I don't have a special card to get reduced prices, because my privacy is worth more to me than the price of beans.
H.B. 276 is still alive but it's on life support. Consumers in Georgia have a right to decide whether their personal biometric data can be collected or used. Call Representative Ralston at 404-656-5943 and ask him to pass this out of committee. It's do-or-die time for this session and I really hate to see this bill die.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hate Crimes Legislation

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 3/26/07

The camel's getting his nose under the tent. I don't like the camel's nose and I don't like the tent. In the early '70's pro-homosexual activists stormed the American Psychiatric Association conference and demanded removal of homosexuality from the list of deviant behaviors. The few psychiatrists and psychologists that voted YES that day cast aside centuries of medical, cultural and health standards to accommodate those demands. No doubt, the APA didn't know that crowd won't stop until homosexuality is the norm for everybody.
When the APA agreed to those demands, no one mentioned that several more sexual deviations would be added, but it has happened. Soon the term homosexual was divided into lesbian and gay to distinguish between males and females. When bisexual was added, it wasn't long before they wanted special rights for transsexual, queer (their word, not mine), allies and intersex. An urban dictionary says intersex is an umbrella term for a number of congenital abnormalities of intimate organs. Now, that crowd is known as LGBTQAI, for short.
Lest you wonder what this has to do with legislation, let me explain. S.B. 211 is the latest version of a hate crime bill that homosexual supporters have worked to pass in Georgia for several years. They've tried to add sexual orientation to the list of protected civil rights and have failed every time, but this year's bill is even more bizarre than the others. Not only does it, specifically, demand that sexual orientation become a protected status, Senator Fort agreed to amend his bill by adding "gender identity" as another civil rights category.
Again, the dictionary comes in handy. Gender identity refers to anyone who's trying to be a member of the opposite sex or someone who's undergone surgery to become a member of the opposite sex. Now, let's explore what'll happen if a bill like this passes and a boy decides he's a transvestite. Under this, he could masquerade as a girl and be a girl sometime and a boy sometime. If he wanted to go to the girls' bathroom, he'd use his girly clothes, but for the football team, he could wear his manly duds.
Consider this. The chairman of Georgia Equality's political board explained why they'll be working 'way behind the scenes to get this passed. She wants to "let it go through as quickly as possible as a crime-fighting and terrorism bill,"... and "We certainly don't want to give legislators a reason to vote against the bill because they find out it gives gay rights."
There you have it from the horse's mouth. S.B. 211 is not a hate crime bill. It's a gay rights bill. It protects those who refuse to live within the law that applies to us all. If sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under Georgia law, soon legislators will be asked to expand the list to include LGBTQAI and all other variations they concoct. Call Senator Balfour at 404-656-0095 and ask him to quietly keep S.B. 211 in his committee because it heaps confusion on top of confusion! The more we give, the further they push. Pardon my English, but it's gettin' worser and worser!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Home School Protection

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 1/31/07
During the early settling of the United States, almost 100 percent of the population learned readin', writin' and 'rithmetic at home. That's before public schools enticed parents to leave their children's book-l'arnin' to professionals. The only problem is, professional book-l'arnin ain't what it used to be and more and more parents are choosing to do the job themselves. It's been almost 20 years since legislators saw such good results from home education they passed a law protecting the right of parents to teach their children at home.
But home education is no easy job and parents that choose it make a huge investment. Not only do they sacrifice big chunks of time every day, they buy their own curriculum while paying public education taxes to fund government schools their children do not attend.
There was no mention of education when the Constitution of the United States was written because it was a given. Education is a local matter, not a responsibility of government. There was no federal Department of Education until Jimmy Carter became president and fulfilled his promise to establish one if the National Education Association would get him elected. They did and he did. Amazingly, he chose Shirley Hufstedler to be the first Commissioner of Education. But, Shirley was not an educator. She was a judge and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies.
With that appointment Jimmy Carter gave the reins of education to humanists and the humanist doctrine that God does not exist, that prayer is an empty gesture, that nothing is right or wrong, all things are relative and situation ethics must guide all decisions. Global government is the humanist goal and national boundaries must become irrelevant. That situation explains why many parents in the United States want to teach their children at home.
But European parents that want that same right are having a tough time. On September 12, 2006 the European Court of Human Rights issued a decision that the German government has power to ban home education. You might wonder what a ruling in Germany has to do with the United States. I'm reminded that our U.S. Supreme Court systematically considers international law when deciding court cases in this country, although international law has no jurisdiction here. Some believe the international threat warrants an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect home education here and the founders of the Home School Legal Defense Association are working toward that end.
The current home education issue in Georgia is S.B. 35 introduced by Senator Pearson of District 51. He wants a law to assure parents that home-educated students that complete their high school courses and meet residency requirements will be considered for college entry on the same basis as public and private high school graduates. Call Senator Harp's Higher Education Committee at 404-463-3931 and ask him to pass this out of committee. Home education is great and it must be protected.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Two ways to skin a cat

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 2/6/07
Since you were a little thing, you probably heard that old saying, "There's more than one way to skin a cat," and that's true. In fact, legislators play all the angles so they'll win, at least, some of the time. It's not unusual for the same or similar bills to be simultaneously introduced in both House and Senate. In fact, that's the strategy used last year to get a bill passed to inform parents of school clubs and extracurricular activities. If that bill had not been introduced in both House and Senate, it would not have passed.
So, the same scenario might work with today's topic. Yesterday, I talked about H.B. 147 Representative Mills introduced in the House on January 25. Today I'll talk about Senator Nancy Schaefer's S.B. 66 she introduced January 29 as a follow-up to her bill that died last year. Both bills would require ultrasound or sonogram exams for women seeking abortions.
Technology has improved so much that a specifically sensitive camera can photograph internal organs of the human body. In this case, the camera scans the contents of the womb to reveal in living color the tiny human growing and moving inside. If either of these bills passes, patients would have the privilege of "seeing" their baby long before it emerges at the end of nine months. They would know its approximate size, development and, probably, its sex.
Both of these bills require physicians that perform abortions to either provide equipment to do ultrasounds or sonograms or refer patients to facilities where such equipment is available free-of-charge. These moving pictures of the unborn child are extremely valuable to physicians who want to know the condition of the baby and whether it requires treatment or corrective surgery that can be done before it's born.
You might remember the phenomenal picture of a baby's hand reaching outside the mother's womb to grip the finger of the doctor who performed corrective surgery on it before it was born. The surgery was completed and the baby continued in the womb until the day of its birth. In addition to being helpful to doctors, ultrasounds and sonograms could be the deciding factor when prospective parents are contemplating abortion.
One interesting part of these bills is the free-will factor. While both bills require women seeking abortions to submit to ultrasound or sonogram examinations, neither bill forces the women to look at the pictures or hear the baby's heart-beat that's audible along with the images. Women may not refuse to have the ultrasound or sonogram, but they have every right to refuse to look at the results or allow the process to cloud their decisions. These are good bills. Yesterday I asked you to call about the House bill. Today, I want you to call Senator Don Thomas at 404-656-6436. He's a medical doctor from Dalton, Georgia. Tell him how much you'd appreciate having S.B. 66 become law. Just think of all those pictures the almost-mama and the almost-daddy can proudly pass around to their friends, even before the baby's born.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Driving Without A License? Watch Out!

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 2/7/07

Getting a bill passed is quite an accomplishment these days. For many years bills that passed their first committee during the first half of the session went straight to the House or Senate floor for a vote. But, bills that didn't move that fast had another hurdle to jump. They were sent to the Rules Committee that decided whether it got a vote on the floor. In fact, Rules committees are so powerful they're sometimes called "gate keepers".
The Rules Committee gate-keeper role is much like the gate of a community that denies entry to unauthorized traffic. The gate-keeper Rules Committee stops bills and, tremendously, cuts the work load of the House and Senate. Since the Rules Committee kicks in after the sixth day of the session, legislators must work their bills though their first committee assignment and, subsequently, through the Rules Committee to get them to the floor for a vote. That double process, actually, takes place twice - once in the Senate and once in the House. It's not any easier for lobbyists. They follow the same process. Whether they want a bill passed or defeated, they must work both committees in the House and both in the Senate.
Tomorrow will be day 15 of the 40-day session. That means the bill I'm discussing today has already made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the Senate Rules Committee. It's S.B. 15. Senator Wiles introduced it on January 9. It passed the Senate on January 26 and went to the House Judiciary Committee three days later.
S.B. 15 is a very important part of an on-going effort to stop illegal aliens and others from driving without a license. First, it puts teeth into current law by requiring violators to be jailed or fined for driving on Georgia roads without a license. Depending on the circumstances and frequency of the offense, violators would get two days in jail for a misdemeanor or one to five years and a fine of $2,500 to $5,000 for felonies or repeated violations.
A particularly important section of this bill requires law enforcement to make an effort to determine that nationality of the person confined or convicted of driving without a license. The bill does not indicate what happens to illegal aliens caught driving without a license, but legislators and law enforcement are getting the picture. The law must be enforced.
Back on April 14,2003 then-Senator Sam Zamarippa amended H.B. 191 to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens and convinced a majority of senators to vote his way on that bill. But then-Senator Casey Cagle immediately moved for reconsideration. After the senators had time to think about their vote, they defeated that bill. Since we seem to be hanging onto the law by a very thin thread, S.B. 15 needs to pass to reinforce our driver's license law so nobody will slip through the cracks. Call Representative Willard at 404-656-5125 and ask him to please pass S.B. 15 out of his committee. Georgia roads are dangerous enough already. We don't need drivers that either can't get a license because they can't drive or don't get a license because they're here illegally.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 2/8/07

Whether a person is a citizen of this country or an interloper hoping never to be caught, medical care is available to each regardless of the ability to pay. Of course, good old American tax payers have to pick up the tab and that's not fair, but that's the way it is.
Whether a child is a citizen of the United States or is here illegally, those same good old Americans pay for their education. Legal and illegal children, alike, are taught by teachers whose salaries are paid by tax payers. They all use books and equipment funded by taxes. So, everyone can be educated through the twelfth grade and get health care, regardless of legal status. That suggests that legal status does not matter and there's something wrong with that.
While education and health care are free for the asking, a couple of Georgia legislators of Latino descent have tried to provide even more goodies to illegals. During the 2003 session, for example, Representative Pedro Marin of Duluth, Georgia introduced a bill authorizing temporary work permits for professional counselors that have licenses to practice in a foreign country and did practice professionally there. It was no oversight that the bill did not require such foreign professionals to enter this country legally. That bill died.
Also in 2003, Senator Sam Zamarippa introduced S.B. 181 to authorize driver's licenses for international visitors, students, business people and workers from 34 foreign countries, which he named in the bill, plus other foreign investors or U.S. trade-partners. Those "visitors" were not required to be here legally or to be a resident of the U.S. That bill died, too.
This session, Senator John Douglas introduced S.B. 50 to tighten the notary public law. When the current notary public law passed, no one dreamed illegal aliens would apply for that job in this state. But, that's changed and the law has to change. S.B. 50 simply adds a reasonable provision that any person who wants to be a notary public must, not only be at least 18 years old, but must be a legal resident of the United States.
Current law already requires an applicant to be a resident of Georgia and of the county where the appointment is made and must be able to read and write the English language. But, in this day and age, requiring anyone to be able to read and write English could be a problem.
Current notary public law says anyone violating the notary public law is guilty of a misdemeanor and that's all it says. But S.B. 50 would throw the book at repeat offenders. If this bill passes, any person who violates the notary public law would be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first and second offenses. That's the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. But the third offense would be a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000 or both. Call Senate Judiciary Chairman Preston Smith at 404-656-0034 and ask him to pass this out of committee. This law would keep unscrupulous people from handling official documents when they shouldn't be here in the first place.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sue Ella Deadwyler's WMVV Radio Commentary, 2/5/07

When abortion was legalized January 22, 1973, two Supreme Court decisions did the dirty deed. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion through the sixth month of pregnancy. Then on the same day in 1973, the Doe v. Bolton decision legalized abortion through the ninth month. Sandra Cano was the Doe in that case, but she never wanted an abortion and never had an abortion. She, simply, wanted a divorce from her husband who was in and out of prison for molesting children. Margie Pitts Hames, now deceased but then an Atlanta attorney, lied about Sandra's case and got abortion legalized through the ninth month.
When all that happened in 1973, people could get away with claiming the pregnant woman was not carrying a baby, but a "blob of tissue". That's no longer the case. In the mid-'80's DNA proved that three-day-old embryos with four or eight cells were living beings conceived when sperm fertilized a human egg. A single cell could be extracted, analyzed and, when a special enzyme was applied, it reproduced millions of copies of the same molecule in just 24 hours. As early as 1990, scientists could determine whether those tiny embryos were male or female.
Ultrasounds or sonograms are now used extensively in medical facilities to provide added confirmation of pregnancy, along with the condition and sex of the unborn child. That technology has, also, become a deterrent to abortion. The old ultrasound showed couples their unborn babies in two-dimensional black and white moving pictures, but that's old stuff. Now there's General Electric's new four-dimensional ultrasound system showing babies in living color, up close, as they move around, suck their thumbs, hiccup, kick, open their eyes and develop in the womb. There's no doubt. Technology has proven it is a human being. It is a developing baby. It is a boy or girl. It is a son or a daughter from the moment of conception.
Last year a bill was introduced to require ultra-sound or sonogram equipment in all facilities where abortions are performed. No patient would be forced to the view images of her unborn child, but those images would be available as part of her informed consent before she has an abortion. Last year's bill did not pass, but Representative James Mills has already introduced H.B. 147 this session and another ultrasound bill is being introduced in the Senate.
The ultrasound or sonogram would, not only disclose the dimensions of the unborn baby, its sex and internal organs, the sound of the baby's heart beat would be heard at the same time. The expectant mother would be given a list of health care providers, facilities and clinics offering ultrasounds free of charge. H.B. 147 requires doctors to give prospective abortion patients the option to have an ultrasound to better inform her about the baby.
Even after viewing an ultrasound, women could choose to abort or keep their babies. H.B. 147 is in Representative Ralston's Non-Civil Judiciary Committee. Call him at 404-656-5943 and ask him to pass this out of committee. If one picture really is worth a thousand words, this bill should save a whole lot of babies.