Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Brunswick News on term limits for members of the Georgia General Assembly:
The national debate over limiting the terms of those serving in the U.S. Congress has trickled down to the state level. There’s now a movement afoot to adopt term limits for members of the Georgia General Assembly.
Sen. Greg Dolezal, a Republican from Cumming, is crusading for a constitutional amendment to define the number of years or terms state legislators can represent their districts in the 40-day law-making session at the Capitol in Atlanta. He feels members of the House ought to be capped at six two-year terms. Under his proposal, the terms of senators, who currently must run for re-election every two years like their counterparts in the House, would be expanded to four years but capped at three terms.
If passed, term limits would kick in following the 2024 elections.
Dolezal has his reasons. He says it would bring the curtain down on career politicians and, best of all, minimize the influence of lobbyists and wealthy groups on Georgia politics.
When making his pitch for the resolution before the Senate Government Oversight Committee, Dolezal mentioned that term limitations are a popular concept. It has bipartisan support in all 50 states, he told the committee.
Not everyone sees it his way. Sen. Nikki Merritt, a Conyers Democrat elected to the legislature just last year, disagrees with the notion that term limits would produce a more effective legislator. On the contrary, she submitted, “they’d just be more indebted to lobbyists” because of the shortened time in politics.
There are dozens of pros and cons to both sides of this issue. More often than not, how one leans at any given moment depends on who’s in office at the time and whether the officeholder is in sync with the particular voter.
What those favoring term limits are unlikely to take into account is the dearth of men and women in the state who are willing to jeopardize careers or businesses for a handful of years at the Capitol podium. Candidates certainly haven’t been beating down the bushes in Glynn and surrounding counties to represent the folks at home. For many, it requires too much time and sacrifice.
As alluring as term limits might sound, it is one measure state legislators will want to give a lot of thought to before deciding whether to proceed.
The Daily Citizen-News on volunteering as a court appointed special advocate:
The Daily Citizen-News recently featured a story on Janet Lovelady, who retired last month after 18 years as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). During that time, Lovelady fulfilled a vital role in Whitfield and Murray counties as an advocate for children who through no fault of their own had been removed from their home because of abuse and/or neglect.
CASAs have the difficult but essential role of deciding what is in the best interest of the child and then making recommendations to the court handling the matter.
Lovelady “has effectively handled some of the program’s most difficult cases, including cases of high-need, medically-fragile children, and children who have suffered egregious sexual and physical abuse,” said Chelsea DeWaters, manager for the CASA program that is under the Family Support Council. “She is persistent, diligent in her investigations, treats everyone with respect, is a good listener, and is thorough and compassionate, but firm.”
We commend Lovelady for her great service, and we also hear her when she says “I’d love to see more people get involved with CASA, because there’s a need, and we have a lot of people in this community who would be good” at it.
Our two counties have well-deserved reputations as places where people step forward selflessly to meet such needs, as Lovelady has done, and this is another situation where compassion and love are needed.
As Lovelady said, “When you see the success stories, you feel a peace. That they’re in a safe environment makes you feel good.”
So we ask, as Lovelady did, can you help, and do you want to help?
If so, the next CASA volunteer training begins March 1. If you are interested in learning more, contact Tracy Harmon, CASA’s volunteer outreach coordinator, at (706) 428-7931 or [email protected]
We encourage you if you can to be that difference in a child’s life through the CASA program, as Lovelady was for so many years.
You too may feel that peace.
The Valdosta Daily Times on fraudulent vaccine offers:
It is unconscionable that anyone would be scamming the public with fraudulent vaccine offers.
The FBI has issued a warning about several scams related to COVID-19 vaccines.
We urge our readers to be cautious and to trust legitimate, known sources for public health information.
The feds have been getting complaints of scammers using bogus vaccine claims to obtain personal information and money through various schemes.
We are happy to share these words of caution from the FBI and other federal agencies. Be aware of fraudulent claims, including:
— Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee.
— Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list.
— Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine.
— Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee.
— Unsolicited emails, telephone calls or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine.
— Claims of FDA approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified.
— Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online or from unsolicited/unknown sources.
— Individuals contacting you in person, by phone or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Here are a few additional tips that federal agencies have shared to help consumers avoid COVID-19 scams:
— Consult the state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.
— Check the FDA’s website for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.
— Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.
— Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.
— Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.
— Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.
We just find it incredibly offensive that anyone would attempt to take advantage of the fear, pain and suffering that millions of people have endured and continue to face during this public health crisis. Anyone caught in connection with these kinds of scams should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
We also want the public to know you can trust your local health department, pharmacy, the hospital and your family physician when it comes time for you to receive one of the federally approved vaccines.
Please continue to practice other reliable forms of mitigation, including wearing a protective face mask, social distancing, avoiding gatherings and washing your hands frequently.