Chances are that Georgia House Resolution 395 doesn't ring a bell. It didn't get a lot of attention when it was passed, and doesn't involve a lot of sexy political hot buttons.
What it does involve is us, and a sizable group of elected officials who represent us.
H.R. 395 created something called the Joint Georgia-Alabama Study Committee. Among its seven principal sponsors were Reps. Calvin Smyre, Richard Smith and John Pezold of Columbus, Gerald Greene of Cuthbert and Randy Nix of LaGrange. Smyre, Smith and Greene are now members of the House committee the legislation created; Ed Harbison of Columbus and Freddie Powell Sims of Dawson serve on its Senate counterpart. All members of both panels represent districts that abut the Alabama-Georgia state line.
The idea is for Georgia and Alabama to work together on matters of common interest and concern. (Does anything come readily to mind?)
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A Thursday story in the Rome News-Tribune quoted Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, also a member of the Senate committee, as saying, "I don't think there has been a lot of communication in the past and we're going to try to get some started." He mentioned water, of course, but also mutual interests such as development, tourism and, of course, transportation.
The only problem, if there can be said to be one, is that right now the Joint Georgia-Alabama Study Committee involves -- officially, at least -- just Georgia. The News-Tribune could find no information regarding a corresponding effort in the Alabama statehouse.
"If [Georgia] did it and we didn't," Alabama state Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, told the newspaper, "it's not going to be worth much."
Lindsey made it clear he did not mean that as a dismissal of the concept. On the contrary, he alluded to the Kia plant at West Point as an example of successful economic cooperation across state lines: "If there is an opportunity for something else like that along the border, it helps both states quite a bit." He also mentioned the possibility of resolving border disagreements over the Coosa River. (The Hooch isn't the only river of critical interest to both states, though at this point it's the most important.)
People in the greater Chattahoochee Valley area know, of course, that local interests, both public and private, have been communicating across the state line for some time -- especially, though not exclusively, about water. Indeed, it could be credibly argued that communication at the local level has yielded better results than any of the state or federal disputes.
Now the General Assembly, at the urging of some of the local officials who have been involved in these issues for a long time now, has created a framework for making that communication official.
Our local team in Montgomery should do likewise. While water wars are being fought to successive standoffs among governors and in federal courts, a lot can get done right here along the border.