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By State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia

Rural Development Council. Speaker David Ralston has appointed me to serve as a member –at-large on the RDC. The RDC is a fifteen member committee tasked with travelling to rural parts of the state, identifying policies and ideas that will enhance economic opportunity outside of the metro areas. My first meeting as a member will be this week in Camden County at the College of Coastal Georgia in Kingsland. The meetings are public with local government officials, health care providers, civic groups, business leaders, and educators, working together to find ways to encourage economic growth.

Georgia is considered the number one state in the nation for business, generating 750,000 new private sector jobs since 2010. But citizens of rural Georgia have not participated in this economic success. The task of the committee is not to identify the problems. The problems are well known. Our task is to drill down into the issues for specific legislation that will help create good jobs for rural Georgians. It really has to be the number one priority. Government doesn’t really fund education, public safety, and healthcare. The taxes paid by Georgia citizens do. The income, corporate, and sales taxes paid by Georgia businesses, and the taxes generated by the paychecks of the people who work in them pay teachers, and state patrolmen, not government. We forget that at our peril.

Paying College Athletes. As I expected, a Democratic legislator has announced plans to introduce legislation to allow college athletes to be paid. The bill presumably, will be modeled after California law that compensates athletes for the use of their name, image or likeness. The idea is as idiotic as it is asinine. Oh I almost forgot. The athlete would also be allowed to hire agents to represent them. Can you imagine trying to recruit athletes in a state that doesn’t allow it against a school in a state that does? I love college football and couldn’t bear to see it turn into the NFL. When I look as those sidelines I see young student athletes on Dooley Field and I feel proud to see them representing my Alma Mater. Turn on the NFL and you’re liable to see some unpatriotic jack$%@ making 50 million dollars kneeling during the National Anthem. But that’s private enterprise. If people want to pay to see that, it’s their right. This bill would enrich others at the expense of the Georgia taxpayer and ruin college athletics and I will oppose it.