As a longtime supporter of state Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta), I was interested to read the MDJ article about his “unsatisfactory” marks in the Georgia Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Scorecard.
I was curious about which bills the Chamber used to rank legislators, so I did some research. The results were surprising. Of the eight bills the Chamber used, Thompson voted “No” on only two of them.
HB 643 contained Chamber supported “pro-business” language that would allow wrongdoers to hide or destroy evidence without penalty of wrongdoing. What this means to the average person is illustrated by the case of Brooke Melton, a Georgian who was killed on her 29th birthday in 2010 as the result of a faulty ignition switch in her 2004 Chevrolet Cobalt. The Chamber’s “pro-business” language would have allowed GM to evade accountability instead of being compelled to recall 1.4 million cars to fix the faulty ignition switch.
I’m proud Sen. Steve Thompson voted against this bill.
The second bill, HB 714, would bar privately contracted bus drivers and other school employees from collecting unemployment benefits during the summer. Many Georgia school districts contract for private services to save money. The contractor pays these workers for nine months and then instructs them to file for unemployment during the summer. The contractors get 12 month employees for nine months’ pay. Without unemployment benefits, drivers and other school workers are only paid nine months out of the year. Is this fair? This bill was a priority of the Georgia Chamber and it passed weeks after the snowstorms that stranded many children — bus drivers from Cobb County were hailed for staying on the job and protecting the children.
I’m proud Steve Thompson stood with the bus drivers and other school workers and voted against this bill.
Instead of relying on a legislative scorecard from an Atlanta-based organization, I hope Cobb County will consider what Steve Thompson has done for the people, local businesses and community organizations and use that information to give him a grade as a legislator. I’m giving him an A.
Cathy H. Bruning