It was a very busy week in the legislature with day 28 (Crossover) today.
I was cosponsor of SB 419 which puts a sunset on any new nuclear construction using the financing method approved in 2009. Since this bill was discussed we have seen the tariff (tax) to residential customers drop from 12.02 percent to 8.4 percent. The bipartisan approach in 2009 has not worked out but I still believe nuclear power will continue to be a necessary component of our power source portfolio.
As of last Friday, no gun reform legislation has moved from the House to the Senate except for the bill that makes it a felony for a person to sell a firearm to a person the seller knows is a convicted felon. I told a number of the groups that came to the Capitol that I will support making bump stocks illegal and more extensive background checks. I appreciated people taking the time to express their concerns.
Senator Parent and I offered Senate Bill 423 to protect DeKalb schools from losing further students and facilities by annexation without a separate vote for school attendance by the people in the annexed territory. It did not move out of committee. Hopefully this will spur the Atlanta Superintendent and DeKalb Superintendent to come to a reasonable compromise on the subject.
We passed my “needs based aid” for college that combines a minimum 2.3 grade point average with a 15 hour a week work requirement for people with a family income of under $48,000. SB 405 means we can eventually give 28,000 additional young people a chance to get a college degree. $1500 a semester for tuition and mandatory fees after application of a Pell Grant can be the difference for many of our lower income families’ children to have this opportunity.
Now we come to SB 375, where we carved out an exception for faith-based agencies to be protected when exercising their religious beliefs. I support gay adoption but do have a problem with the huge expansion of the number of children in foster care. If more agencies will participate in the process with this exception, then more young people can be placed in a loving environment. That is the bottom line and unlike the AJC headline it is not about being against gay adoption.
I find it hypocritical that the same people who applaud the Supreme Court decision on allowing gay marriage are now against the Supreme Court ruling that religious entities may not be coerced by government to modify their religious character in order to participate in public programs. You can’t have it both ways.