Oh, sure, state Sen. Joey Brush, R-Appling, gets picked on a lot for some of his legislation - it's hard not to roll your eyes when you see a state official, year after year, trying to change the law so he can ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
But you gotta give him points for persistence - and not just for those motorcycle laws.
For the fifth time, Brush is pushing a bill that would end lawmakers' promiscuous practice of naming public structures after their colleagues and the well-connected. Under Brush's bill, which has already received unanimous approval in the Senate Ethics Committee, public structures couldn't be named after politicians unless the person was either out of office five years or dead.
We'd prefer both - dead, and five years out of office. But as Brush has found, his colleagues love to bask in the glow of naming things after their political cronies, especially those who are still alive to repay the favor. As a result, Brush's bill in years past hasn't gotten beyond the Democrat-controlled Georgia House.
But this isn't just a matter of buddy-to-buddy slaps on the back. Especially in a time of tight budgets, it's a money matter, too. According to The Atlanta Constitution, Georgia has spent $1.25 million to dedicate 197 roads and bridges in recent years; some 500 facilities in the state are named after various public officials and famous Georgians.
How vain can we get?
Are there people who deserve to have buildings named after them? Absolutely. But there should be sensible guidelines to keep the practice from being abused.
The Columbia County School Board wisely passed a policy revision last year that, while still prohibiting the names of individuals from schools, allows worthy names to be attached to such facilities as libraries and lunchrooms. That policy also restricts the naming to those who've been out of public life long enough that they have an actual legacy - not just a history of favors and political longevity.
Maybe for Brush the fifth time around with his bill will finally be the charm - though unfortunately it won't come soon enough to prevent his colleagues from naming River Watch Parkway after ex-state Rep. Jack Connell while he's still alive, and just three months out of office.
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