Each year — actually just most years — I suggest to our beloved oppressors, AKA the Georgia General Assembly, some laws that should be enacted before they end the annual 40-day session.
Thus far, exactly zero of my recommendations have been adopted.
Undeterred, here we go:
The Cornerstone Accountability Act: This bill would require all buildings erected with public funds to have a plaque bearing the names of the city or county commissioners who were in office when said edifice was constructed. Also, these plaques would be cast in 14-carat gold and must financed with the personal funds of those voting for the project.
This bill would help prevent the construction of any unneeded, unnecessary, doomed-to-fail structures to include new city halls, medical facilities, stadiums and, dare I say it, convention and conference centers.
One example is the current Glynn County Courthouse which, within months after it opened, had rusty spots on the marble floors. Also, when it rained, water cascaded down the walls of offices and windows rotted. I hear a couple of commissioners personally selected the brick for its appearance. Too bad it had the water repellency of a kitchen sponge.
On a side note; I have a working name for a city project: The Norwegian Blue Conference Center. If you don’t know that that means, Google and watch the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch. I see certain similarities.
The Open Conveyance Child Safety Act: The law would stiffen the fines for having a child ride in a vehicle without an approved child safety seat. It would also forbid placing child safety seats in golf carts and effectively make it illegal to have a child in a golf cart on a highway. So what brought that on? I recently saw a child safety seat on the rear facing seat of a slowly moving golf cart on St. Simons. The child would be at eye level with the Ford or Chevrolet emblem in the middle of the grill on what has become an average size pickup truck.
I think its reckless endangerment to put a child, who has no say in the matter, in a golf cart on roads designed for vehicles.
OK. That was serious. Enough of that.
The Gimme Back My Sky Initiative: This would limit billboards to one per mile. Isn’t it enough we have lawyers, loud Jacksonville car dealers and fast food restaurants all over TV? Lawyers from Jacksonville now mostly dominate area billboards.
An officer with a national outdoor advertising association pointed out on NPR a few months ago that billboards are effective because you can’t ignore them. That is unfortunately true. At least with my TV, I have a remote control.
A companion bill called The Truth in Legal Advertising Act: TV lawyer ads have clients who say “(Fill in name of firm) got me the money I deserved.” This act would require the ad to divulge how the lawyer cashed in.
Such as: “The jury gave me the $250,000 I deserved. My lawyer, who drove a new Lamborgini to the settlement meetings, got 40 percent.”
Speaking of disclosures, The Lott ‘O Luck Act: You know all those disclosures about side effects for drugs, such as taking this product can result in weight gain, shortness of breath, blurred vision, fits of rage and an urge to eat food and cigarette butts from sidewalks and roadsides? Well this would require the Georgia Lottery Commission to fully lay out the hazards of buying lottery tickets such as, “The average purchaser spends enough on lottery tickets over a three-year period to buy a new fully loaded F-150 pickup truck. Also, the annual winnings from those purchases is around $15.”
The result would be that lottery tickets would be the size of a CVS receipt and include other information such as, “Winners of jackpots of $500,000 or more have been contacted by ‘cousins’ they never knew they had.
Those cousins invariably need an immediate live—saving operation. Winning $1 million or more can result in a divorce within a year, the purchase of a Porsche Cayenne to park in front of the double—wide, drug addiction in the winner’s children, a diet rich in death, the acquisition of a big boat hopelessly aground on the first outing and the remote possibility that your spouse, aided by his or her new love interest, will kill you and throw your body in a dumpster.”
It would also disclose that lottery proceeds help fund the college education of young citizens who will become lawyers who advertise on TV and billboards, members of the general assembly, conspiracy theorists and newspaper columnists.
The Shade Preservation Bill: The Georgia Department of Transportation would be required to hold a statewide referendum before denuding the formerly attractive rights-of-way along major roads. The official word from the DOT is the silvan carnage was to save lives, to give motorists who leave the roadway a chance to regain control before they hit a tree. I have my doubts. I think something shady went on with our shade, but I could be barking up the wrong tree.
The Make the Tourists Suffer With Us Act: This would be local legislation for St. Simons Island only. It would require that all road projects be conducted during the summer beach season and on Georgia-Florida weekend. The one time that traffic eases up on the island is during the fall — sometimes — and between Christmas and spring break. So what happens? That’s when the county schedules road projects and residents get year-round gridlock. High season traffic nightmares would also would help control development.
What prompted this one? I wanted to go fishing this week, but the 4-mile drive from my house to Village Creek landing takes about an hour because of road work. Yeah. It’s personal.
Oh, and one more. The Unneeded Signage Reduction Act. The law would forbid naming any stretches of highway, bridges or buildings after anyone who has been head of the DOT or who has general assembled with state lawmakers.
Those who go on to be lobbyists would be exempt but only for the naming of a landfill or sewage treatment plant.
Terry Dickson has been a journalist in South Carolina and Georgia for more than 40 years. He is a Glynn County resident. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.