What’s New for 2017?
Not only was January 1, 2017 a new day, it was the first day of a brand new year that was escorted in with bells and whistles and world-wide celebrations. The new 2017 calendar reminds us that a new year has come and gone 2,016 times since the birth of Jesus Christ.
So, what’s new for 2017? Nobody knows the future, but if it goes according to the state constitution, the Georgia General Assembly will convene on January 9th to begin a new 40-day session on the second Monday in January. That’s when the new crop of senators and representatives will take the oath of office to start their new two-year terms.
Twenty-eight new legislators will become part of the 180-member House of Representatives. Fourteen new legislators are Democrats and 14 are Republicans, so the make-up of the House will be 61 Democrats and 119 Republicans, meaning Republicans are one seat short of a two-thirds majority in the House. But that’s nothing new for the House.
The 56-member Senate has five new members, 18 Democrats and 38 Republicans, which is a two-thirds majority for Republicans.
New bills and resolutions will pour in during the session, but eager legislators began pre-filing new bills and re-cycling old ones on November 15, giving us a taste of what’s coming in the New Year. The new, H.B. 10 and H.B. 11 re-open the debate about guns; and H.B. 3 adds new language to an old law against wearing a mask or hood in public.
H.B. 16 will be the umpteenth time they’ve tried to give three behaviors – gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity – new civil rights status, but the new emphasis on trans-gender could create a new problem for Georgia parents. While trans-male or trans-female identities may be outwardly assumed by different clothes or mannerisms, and a permanent outward transition may be acquired by medication or surgery, the DNA won’t become new. Biological male or female DNA remains the same.
New “trans” surgery: Surgical transition of male-to-female or female-to-male could create a new problem in Georgia, because Georgia’s Family Planning Act authorizes minors to consent to unlimited reproductive healthcare – including surgery – without parental consent. That Act could provide the foundation for a situation in Georgia similar to the case in Minnesota, where the mother of a teen-age son went to court to stop the surgical removal of her son’s genitalia.
She is suing her child’s school district and the county board of health because her 17-year-old son has been receiving (without parental consent or even knowledge) hormonal treatments to change his secondary sex characteristics to those of a woman. The suit refers to “life-changing surgery.”
Such facts should prompt Georgia legislators to restore parental authority the state took away in the 1960s, when the Family Planning Act passed the General Assembly, decades before anyone saw “trans” coming. If parental authority is restored, 2017 will be a much happier New Year!
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