Thursday, March 08, 2007

Georgia's legislative priorities: English-only, PeachCare cuts.

It's an orgy of Republicanism at the capitol.

From Political Insider, Republicans want to make it unconstitutional to speak a language other than English:

H.R. 413 escaped a House subcommittee on Tuesday. If it gets a two-thirds nod from the General Assembly, it would still require a crowd-pleasing vote in the November general election next year.

Yes, like the gay marriage prohibition, English’s place as the official language of Georgia is already in the state code. There’s a good reason to put it in the state Constitution as well, but it’s something only lawyers can put into words.

At the risk of losing some of you, we’ll attempt the technical explanation passed on to us by a high-ranking member of the state bar:

Currently, using Spanish in official state documents is merely illegal. Whereas, if the prohibition is part of the state Constitution, it is really, really illegal. Which is another thing entirely.

Glenn Richardson wants to deprive 21,000 Georgia children of their health insurance:

The top Republicans in the state House and the Senate are floating plans that would slash children from the PeachCare rolls, increase premiums and make dental and vision coverage a more expensive add-on.

. . . . House Speaker Glenn Richardson said the funding fight "has given us a good clean opportunity to give the program a fresh look."

. . . . Mr. Richardson has introduced a bill that would lower the income threshold for PeachCare to 200 percent of poverty, a move that would eliminate about 21,000 children from the rolls.

Mr. Richardson also said he wants to tighten eligibility by checking participants' immigration status and verifying income levels of applicants.

And lest we forget who is responsible for this "clean opportunity" to deprive children of health care:

President Bush has proposed only $5 billion for SCHIP as part of his budget for the coming fiscal year. That's less than half of the $11 billion to $13 billion that would be needed to fund the state programs at current levels.