By Chris Billingsley
Decatur High teacher and Close Up Club sponsor
More than 40 Decatur High School students were at the General Assembly Wednesday participating in Georgia Close Up.
Several legislators, including Margaret Kaiser of Grant Park and Stephanie Stuckey-Benefield of Winnona Park, invited us to the floor before the start of the session for Q&A concerning some of the critical bills being considered over the next few days.
Later in the morning the students met with influential lobbyists Tripp Martin and Mo Thrash. Returning to the house gallery, the students were honored when Representatives Kaiser, Stuckey-Benefield, Abrams, Elena Parent, Mary Margaret Oliver and others asked them to stand and be recognized. Before leaving the building, Republican representative Tom Taylor came out and explained the reasons behind some of the more controversial bills.
After a quick lunch, where the guys said, "Ladies First," the students went to the Georgia Supreme Court where they met Presiding Justice George Carley and the Court's newest member, Justice David Nahmias. Justice Carley surprised the students when he said that his 10th grade government teacher at Decatur High School (Carley graduated from DHS in '56) inspired him to become a lawyer. That teacher, Miss Emily Norton, was still teaching at DHS when I started in 1976.
When asked about the Troy Davis case, Justice Nahmias provided a detailed explanation of the appeal process pertaining to the case. Very Interesting! Needless to say, the students had quite a day at the capital.