Georgia Lawmakers

In the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” the focus on language in politics is high. What a bill is or campaign is called can be just as important as the actual contents. With the recent string of “heartbeat” and related bills in several states, we took a look at the role language plays into how we debate issues in public. 

Dr Fern Johnson, professor emerita in English at Clark University, joined us to talk about the power of connotation and the tools legislators use. Her research centers on the discourse surrounding ethnicity, race and gender.

Bob Andres / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia — and the country — is divided over so-called "heartbeat" bills and other new state laws restricting abortion. Many are confused about who could be prosecuted and what, exactly, constitutes a violation of the law.

On Second Thought leaves the flashpoints of politics behind and attempts to get some clarity on the legal questions raised by HB 481.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

SINE DIE. 12:00 a.m. April 3. Sine Die! The House and the Senate are done with the 2019 legislative session, using the final minutes to pass a medical marijuana cultivation bill years in the making. 

All bills not passed by both chambers today will be on hold until next session begins January of 2020.

One notable set of measures that did not pass? A jet fuel tax break for Delta and other airlines, a rural transportation plan and a proposal for the state to take over Atlanta's airport. 

Medical Marijuana Clears Senate

Andre M / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia has been a major player in the music industry. Atlanta especially is a mecca for rap, hip-hop and R&B. Notable artists come here to record, and Georgia has been home to a number of famous names, including Ray Charles, Arrested Development, T.I., Ludacris and heavy metal band Mastodon.

 

Now, state legislators are working to make Georgia an even bigger hub for music and entertainment. Recently, Georgia Rep. Erica Thomas announced plans to co-chair a newly created Georgia Entertainment Caucus. She joined "On Second Thought," along with Grammy Award-winning music producer and engineer Matt Still, to discuss the caucus' potential impact.

 

Wikimedia Commons / Ken Lund.

Georgia lawmakers convene the second week of January. The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press recently analyzed financial disclosure reports from state legislators nationwide. They found many examples of legislators using their power to benefit personal interests.  We talk with Liz Whyte, reporter with the Center for Public Integrity. And James Salzer, who covers state politics for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.