Friday, March 23, 2012

Minority of lawmakers in a standoff

A good case study on the need for DEMOCRATS for Education Reform – even in heavily red states, sometimes it's critical to be able to win a few supporters among Dems:

Democrats in the Georgia Senate hold all the cards this year on a proposed change to the state constitution that would restore the state's power to approve charter schools — an issue close to the hearts of Republican leaders.

Whether or not they win, the ongoing stalemate on the issue has flashed a brief but defining spotlight on the Democratic minority. It is in a unique position this year because it holds enough votes to block the measure, which must pass by a super-majority.

"I truly hope the Democratic members of the Georgia Senate will not play politics — it's too important for education reform in Georgia," said House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. "There's a time and place for partisan politics," and this isn't it, he said.

Democrats counter that they support charter schools, but forcing the measure through now does nothing to address concerns over the schools' quality as more are opened across Georgia.

The circumstance has prompted rebukes, debate and legislative maneuvering. It has galvanized the Senate's minority members, who over the past year and a half seethed as the GOP redistricted them into oblivion and squashed calls for HOPE scholarship reforms because they ran counter to the governor's wishes.

At this point, the question is whether Republicans would agree to a major compromise on other issues in order to get the measure passed. If not, they could wait out the Democrats until next year, when the Republicans likely will have a super-majority.

The diminished Democrats see it as one last stand at the Gold Dome before GOP-led changes to the areas they represent take effect this fall. When that happens, they are likely to lose more members and the ability to bring the majority party to a halt.


Minority of lawmakers in a standoff

By Kristina Torres

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

With 10 days left on its annual calendar, the state's GOP-controlled General Assembly has found itself stymied by a 20-member minority that has gained the upper hand.

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