Thursday, March 03, 2005

Glenn Richardson reverts to type.

This is pathological:

Public colleges could keep secret all information about their private donors - even those who give large gifts - under a bill scheduled for a Thursday vote in the Georgia House.
Republican sponsors and the state Board of Regents say the secrecy is needed because public colleges are at a disadvantage when they can't promise donors privacy.
Democrats are preparing to fight the bill, calling it the latest in a series of GOP plans to close government business from public view. . . .
"It's terrible," said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter, who is also a newspaper publisher. "They want to close off access to information on their donors. The problem is, when people are making conditions on these gifts, you'll never know about it."

When Georgia voted Republican, did it vote for this? The Republican victory in 2004 presented Georgia Republicans with the opportunity to show themselves to be who they claimed to be: the party of reform. Instead, they've given the Democrats the opportunity to become who they always should have been:

Open government grabbed center stage in the Legislature on Wednesday, as Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and other Democrats proposed amending the state Constitution to require open records and meetings unless specifically exempted.
Democrats also suggested that, for the first time, the records generated by state legislators and the meetings they attend should be required to be open and available to the public.
"The business of our government should never be a covert operation," Taylor said, citing a string of Republican-backed measures that Democrats say prompted them to propose the constitutional amendment.

I know, I know - closed government is not as pressing a threat as, say, same-sex marriage, but still. A good idea. Unless, of course, you're Glenn Richardson:

House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) charged the process outlined by Democrats would "make it easier for criminals to steal the identity of Georgians" and would give "pedophiles and child abusers . . . unprecedented access to our children."

The hell?

Anywho, despite his hysterical assertions to the contrary, Glenn "La Cucaracha" Richardson's photophobia is not wholly in the service of babies and puppies, as he's made clear in his opposition to ethics legislation:

Republicans for years howled that Democrats at the state Capitol blocked efforts to raise ethical standards for politicians. But during their first year in control, Republicans have so far been unable to advance ethics reform legislation. . .
The 45-page bill has been languishing in the House Ethics Committee, where it has undergone a major overhaul. Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) said recently he will not support the gift limit or the disclosure of lobbyists' fees and salaries. Those items have been been removed.
"I'm still a little old school. I don't think it's my business what you make," Richardson said. He said a gift cap "ignores how business is done in the real world."

Me, I think if you have as much influence over the lawmaking process as lobbyists do, the right to know trumps the right to privacy, the same as it does for legislators. But then, I'm not an "old school" defender of babies, puppies, and . . . lobbyists, apparently.