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OPINION: Shady Senate

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(Opinion piece by William Perry)Tall trees surround the state capitol, providing a bit of shade. But like it or not there’s a lot more shade inside the building, thanks to many of our elected officials!Our focus today is on the shady Senate. State senators recently blocked a new rule that would have shined a light on some of the votes they cast. As things stand now, votes are supposed to be recorded on a digital voting machine, displayed here for all to see, and then later posted on the internet. Full transparency. Sounds pretty good, right?But here’s the shady part: if a bill is on the Senate floor and an amendment is offered, the votes aren’t even recorded unless a group of Senators insists. Those amendments simply get a hand vote.The lieutenant governor alone decides whether the “yeas” or the “nays” have it, and there is absolutely no way to confirm how your Senator voted unless you are there in person to see it.That's governing in the dark!Now it used to be that hand votes on floor amendments were no big deal. They were used to make minor changes, like fixing a typo in the language of a bill.But now, way too often, shady senators and representatives use such votes to completely change the intent of a bill, or they slip in a pork barrel project.So a bill that had public hearings, then was approved by a committee, can suddenly be gutted.This happens without debate, without public input and usually with no time for a senator to even read the amendment.There's no better example than the 2015 State transportation bill. The bill raising taxes on gasoline, electric cars, and other items went through public hearings, committee debate, and was passed in both the Senate and House. All in plain sight for everyone to see. Then, without any notice, a floor committee included a $5 dollar per hotel room tax to the bill which added $150 million in taxes. And because it was a floor vote with no recording keeping, you have no idea how or if your elected official voted for it.Clearly, it was orchestrated to keep taxpayer watchdogs and interested citizens in the dark. This “sleight of hand” trick is gaining acceptance and momentum at the state capital. Now, State Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus is fighting to change this. I consider McKoon a champion of transparent government. He offered a new rule that would require each senator's vote on the floor amendments to be recorded, just like their regular votes. That apparently makes too much sense.Unfortunately, the rule met a quick death in committee, and it was voted down by voice vote. It didn't even get a hand vote! Whose side are these politicians on?Allow me to suggest you make some calls to the shady lawmakers who have the power and influence to resurrect the common sense rule: Lieutenant Governor (shady) Casey Cagle, Majority Leader Bill (shady) Cowsert, and Rules Committee Chairman (shady) Jeff Mullis. Here are their email addresses and phone numbers.Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle 4046565030 [email protected] Jeff Mullis 7063751776 [email protected] Bill Cowsert 7065437700 [email protected] them to come out of the shadows. Record the votes on floor amendments!That's my opinion - like it or not.DISCLAIMER: This segment represents the views of the commentator and not necessarily those of FOX 5 Atlanta.

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cloudy leafy shaded shadowy adumbral bosky chiaroscuro cool dim dusky indistinct out of the sun screened shadowed sheltered umbrageous umbrous under a cloud vague clear aboveboard bright honorable light open reputable respectable bawdy dirty indecent lewd naughty obscene off-color racy risqué salty shady smutty spicy suggestive wicked base bent bribable crooked debauched double-dealing exploiting extortionate faithless fast and loose fixed foul fraudulent gone to the dogs inconstant iniquitous knavish mercenary nefarious on the take padded perfidious praetorian profiteering racket up reprobate rotten snide tainted treacherous two-faced underhanded unethical unfaithful unprincipled unscrupulous untrustworthy venal wide open caught corrupt culpable deplorable heavy hung up illegal illegitimate illicit immoral indictable off base out of line peccant racket scandalous senseless smoking gun unlawful unrighteous vicious villainous wildcat wrong crafty criminal deceitful devious dishonest dishonorable dubious indirect lying questionable ruthless shifty underhand untruthful aphotic atramentous black blackish caliginous cimmerian clouded crepuscular darkened dingy drab dull dun dusk faint foggy gloomy grimy ill-lighted inky lightless lurid misty murky nebulous obfuscous obscure opaque overcast pitch-black pitch-dark pitchy rayless somber sooty stygian sunless tenebrous unlighted unlit slippery disgraceful fishy ignominious infamous inglorious notorious shabby shameful shoddy suspect unrespectable good fair sure definite certain reliable trustworthy scrupulous principled moral ethical honest blue decent clean happy gay upbeat lighthearted joyous joyful purified sound noble high upright uncorrupt pure wholesome kind helpful truthful correct blessed right proper righteous legitimate legal lawful authorized law-abiding straight frank dark hopeful plain apparent shining radiant lucid brilliant sunny sparkling luminous smart distinct pleased encouraging manifest evident vivid visible illuminated vivacious cheerful intelligent darker Shady sneaky backstabbing quiet shade creeper swift scary trust body chamber house parliament assembly congress council diet plenum house of representatives voice of the people association caucus club committee conclave conference convention convocation delegates government guild league legislative body legislature meeting order senate society the Hill the house union board brain trust cabinet clan confab congregation directorate gang gathering governing body groupthink huddle kitchen cabinet meet ministry mob official family outfit panel powwow ring synod assemblage court division lawlessness separation one individual Senate u.s. senate democracy united states senator senating sennating parpsen hooning
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