Georgia Says

The Times, Gainesville, Ga., on some hits and misses under Gold Dome:

When the Georgia General Assembly was gaveled into action in January, hope was that a lightning-quick session would focus on high-priority legislation and fewer of the usual "hey look at me" proposals that often clog progress under the Gold Dome.

For the most part, that's been the case. The most important bill signed so far is one that was expected: The move of the state primary from July to May 20 to match the federal primary date.

With the primary date set, lawmakers are in a hurry to breeze through the 40-day session so they can start campaigning. State law prohibits them from raising money during the session, so they won't be spiking the ball to stop the clock very often.

It's inevitable some bills of lesser importance will be pushed along to get the attention of voters and certain special interests.

We wonder, for instance, why lawmakers continue to focus on a bill addressing where Georgians can legally carry firearms.

We agree knee-jerk moves to tighten gun laws after such tragedies are closing the barn door too late, aimed at preventing crimes rather than punishing lawbreakers, and mostly wishful thinking.

Yet there's also no hue and cry to make more guns available more places by the public at-large. So why are lawmakers preoccupied with guns instead of more important priorities? Two likely reasons. One, the gun lobby is powerful and influential, and lawmakers seek its money and support. And two, it's an election year, when officeholders play to voters with those "hey look at me" hot-button issues aimed more at gaining political attention than solving real problems.

For the most part, we're glad to see the legislative session conducted at a brisk pace with a focus on worthwhile issues. Let's hope they don't take up any more time than they already have and derail efforts to pass a short list — a very short list — of meaningful reforms to address real problems.



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