Self-serving lawmakers will have to wait til '02

A lot happened in the last furious days of the 2001 General Assembly. Some bills stalled, including two separate bills that would personally benefit Rep. Terry Coleman and Sen. Don Cheeks.

Coleman's bill would have given franchise owners the upper hand when disputing contracts with franchise parent companies. (Coleman owns two Huddle House franchises.) Although the bill wasn't defeated, per se, it never made it out of committee. Look out for it next year.

Cheeks' bill would have benefited billboard companies — you know, the people he leases land to and makes money off of — but it didn't make it to the House floor for a vote. Again, watch out next year.

And remember Rep. Bob Hanner's last-minute amendment to the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District that aimed to ban inter-basin transfers?

The good news is that the Senate left it alone and it passed as part of the entire bill. The bad news is that more environmentally minded lawmakers are worried that the amendment doesn't ban inter-basin transfers outright.

The wording of the amendment says the planning district will not plan on transferring surface water from outside the district to inside the district. That means transfers outside the district will be allowed, and counties inside the district can do them on their own.

Environmentalists loathe inter-basin transfers because they soak up water needed to sustain aquatic habitats. Rural lawmakers loathe them because they could soak up water from their habitat and get sucked up by metro Atlanta.??

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