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Balfour, Senate defeat bill commending Jane Fonda

Sen. Don Balfour may not mind "Barbarella," but he sure doesn't like "Hanoi Jane."

The Republican from Snellville voted against a resolution to honor actress Jane Fonda in the Senate last week.

Balfour said honoring Fonda - the actress turned Vietnam war protester - would disrespect everyone who has served in the nation's armed forces.

"Jane Fonda doesn't deserve to be honored by this Senate or anyone else," Balfour said after the 38-1 vote defeating the resolution. "I will never support a resolution honoring anyone who is a traitor to this country. Her actions in 1972 cost American prisoners of war their lives. Nothing she does now can change that."

Fonda, who regularly protested the United States' presence in the Vietnam War, was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi and denounced U.S. military leaders, calling them "war criminals" during radio broadcasts.

A Senate resolution commending Fonda for her work with the teen pregnancy issue was introduced on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday along with several other resolutions that did everything from recognize the birth of a senator's grandson to a resolution designating March 16 as Atlanta Motor Speedway Day at the Capitol.

Sen. John Douglas, R-Covington, requested that the Fonda resolution be reconsidered after it was approved during a procedure commonly known as "unanimous consent." Douglas is a retired Army major and chairman of the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

On Thursday, the resolution was reconsidered, and the Senate voted against issuing the commendation.

Oxendine opposition

John Oxendine's competition in this year's Georgia insurance commissioner race is taking the fight to the campaign treasure chest.

Guy Drexinger, a Democrat in the race, held a joint press conference last week with Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna, to support a Senate bill that would keep the commissioner from taking contributions from an entity the insurance office regulates.

Senate Bill 679 is co-signed by two other local representatives, Sens. Curt Thompson of Norcross and Steve Henson of Tucker.

"This bill is straight forward and sensible" Drexinger said. "It will put an end to a major loophole that exists today in Georgia campaign finance law. Georgians deserve elected officials who serve them, not the big corporations that can afford to write big checks."

By supporting this bill, Drexinger took a direct hit at the current Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, a Republican from Duluth.

"Insurance executives and other special interests have contributed nearly $2 million to the current insurance commissioner over the last decade, and what do they get in return? A record number of approved rate increases. Georgians deserve better," Drexinger said.

In stark contrast, Drexinger pledged to refuse campaign contributions from the insurance industry or those employed by it and challenged Oxendine to take the same pledge.

For additional information, call Sara Steptoe at 770-426-1770 or visit www.guyforinsurance.com for more about the campaign.

Gang bill gets vote

One bill that did get through during crossover day may have only won a vote because a Republican was pushing it.

A proposal from Democrat Pedro Marin to combat gangs didn't get much attention last year.

But this year, fellow House member and Gwinnettian David Casas incorporated some of Marin's bill into his own anti-gang legislation. The House approved that measure Monday.

"These are bills that continue my efforts to promote stronger and safer communities in Gwinnett County and across the state," Marin said. "They supplement legislation I passed in 2003 that provides for the use of inmate labor to clean up gang graffiti and is already making a difference. I am pleased that the provisions of these bills, which are co-sponsored by a bipartisan team of Gwinnett legislators, are a step closer to becoming law."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.