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Representative Paul Broun (R., Ga.) opposed the legislation because it made an exception for cases of rape and incest. Georgia Right to Life opposed the legislation because of the exceptions, and Broun decided on Monday to follow suit. He’s running for Senate, and the other Georgia primary candidates who are in Congress — Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston — voted for the legislation.
I asked him if he thought the most pro-life position was to oppose the bill.
“I believe that we ought to try to protect the lives of children, and these are children,” he responded.
Dan Becker, from Georgia Right to Life, told me he thought Broun’s decision was courageous.
Georgia Rep. Paul Broun has worked to paint himself as the most conservative candidate in the GOP primary for the state’s open Senate race. But his vote on Tuesday against the House’s 20-week abortion ban bill drew mixed reactions from anti-abortion groups.
The congressman was one of just six GOP “no” votes on the measure, but only Broun and his home state colleague Rob Woodall said they opposed the measure because it was amended to include exceptions for rape and incest.
While the National Right to Life Committee strongly endorsed the Republican bill passed on Tuesday, Georgia Right to Life opposed the legislation, with the group supporting abortion exceptions only for the life of the mother.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted, the move by Broun could help him get the GRTL endorsement in the growing primary to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. But his vote will cost him with the group’s national arm, the NRLC, which said in a statement they were “extremely disappointed” in Broun and Woodall’s votes against the bill.
Tuesday’s vote could provide a stark contrast if the groups wade into the primary–with GRTL refusing to endorse legislators who back exceptions for rape and incest, while the NRLC said this vote will be key as they make political decisions.
Broun faces Reps. Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston, who both voted for the bill, in the primary, along with former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel; others are still looking at the race.
The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) says increased tax contributions from “aspiring Americans” under the new law would add $2.3 billion to Georgia’s budget over 10 years, making more resources available for schools, infrastructure, and local services.
“Clearly, the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score and the economic analysis on the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform legislation point towards reaching a solution which will benefit our state and our nation. We urge our U.S. Senators to get on board with the legislation,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO.
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker is under investigation for allegedly leaking information from closed City Council sessions. The City Council voted this week to hire an outside law firm to look into the mayor’s conduct over the past several years relating to sharing privileged information discussed in executive sessions.
Bodker, the city’s first and only mayor since incorporation in 2006, said the investigation is politically motivated and a waste of taxpayer money. Bodker is up for re-election this fall. He has never been opposed for the seat.
Rumblings of an investigation began in March when Councilman Randall Johnson passed a measure to hire an outside attorney to study state and city laws concerning leaked information from closed sessions. The city paid $4,000 for that report.
If found in violation, the mayor could be removed from office by a vote of five of the six City Council members.
Monday’s vote for the investigation was 5-0, with Councilwoman Kelly Stewart absent. Stewart was the only council member to question the initial probe last March and could not be reached Wednesday.
Bodker said he thinks the conflict arises from the natural tension that occurs between the executive and the legislative branch.
“But it gets magnified by the fact that I’m a very forward-thinking, go-getting, strong-personality mayor,” he said. “I think that’s what the citizens wanted in electing and re-electing me.”
Vacancies in the United States Senate sometimes create an opportunity to break a glass ceiling. Many people know that Senator Bob Menendez, for example, became the first Latino United States Senator from New Jersey as the result of a vacancy. Few people, however, know the story of Rebecca Felton, who became the first woman United States Senator in America as a result of a vacancy in the State of Georgia.
Although Rebecca Felton served for less than 24 hours in 1922, she made history. By appointing her, Georgia Governor Thomas W. Hardwick shared a part of that history. To this day, Felton remains the only woman United States Senator from the State of Georgia.
In 1922, Georgia Senator Thomas E. Watson died in office. It was up to Governor Thomas W. Hardwick to fill the vacant seat. Governor Hardwick had alienated women voters by opposing the 19th Amendment and wanted desperately to make amends and restore his electoral appeal to the new women voters. Even though Congress was in recess and not scheduled to reconvene until after a permanent successor was elected, Governor Hardwick seized the opportunity and appointed Felton.
This week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling partly blocks Georgia from enforcing a law requiring would-be voters to prove U.S. citizenship, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Wednesday.
In a 7-2 decision Monday, the court ruled a similar statute in Arizona is pre-empted by federal law. Passed in 2009, Georgia’s law requires voter registration applicants to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as copies of passports or birth certificates.
Kemp, however, said Georgia has never been able to enforce that statute because it has not been given access to a federal immigration database it could use to confirm the U.S. citizenship of those seeking to vote.
He said he is now considering asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to add new instructions on federal voter registration forms so Georgia can require proof of U.S. citizenship. In its ruling, the court indicated that is a possible pathway forward for Arizona.
“We will put all options on the table — whether we need to talk to the governor or Legislature or the Attorney General’s Office,” Kemp said.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office referred questions about the ruling to Attorney General Sam Olens on Monday. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Olens said his office was still reviewing the court’s ruling.
Under the court’s ruling, Kemp concluded, Georgia is prohibited from requiring proof of citizenship when people fill out the federal voter registration form. Kemp said only a small percentage of those who register to vote in Georgia use that federal mail-in form, though he was unable to provide statistics. His office said about 600,000 people registered to vote in Georgia for the first time last year.
Meanwhile, Kemp said, the state could legally require people to provide evidence of their U.S. citizenship when they register to vote with separate state forms. The state has not started requiring such evidence, he said, because the federal government has not given it access to its Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, an immigration database. Kemp said that program would help state officials confirm identification submitted by voter registration applicants.
For more than a year and a half, public records show, Georgia has been asking the federal government for access to that program. A spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said this week that she was looking into the matter.
Critics of Georgia’s law cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying there is no evidence to substantiate voter fraud is widespread in Georgia.
Chambliss, Isakson Must Respect the Will of the Voters, Says FAIR
By Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A statewide poll of likely Georgia voters finds strong opposition to a bill before the U.S. Senate that would grant amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens and dramatically increase overall immigration to the United States. According to the poll, 55 percent of Georgia voters oppose S.744, the Gang of Eight immigration bill – including 34 percent who said they are “strongly opposed.” Only 32 percent of voters indicated that they support the bill and only 10 percent said they “strongly support” it.
The poll also indicated that Georgians disagree strongly with the Gang of Eight’s priorities. Under S.744, amnesty for illegal aliens would begin within six months of enactment, while the provisions of the bill promising enhanced immigration enforcement would not have to be implemented for a decade or more. Only 16 percent of Georgia voters favor this approach, while 79 percent stated that border security, employment verification, or deportation of illegal aliens should be the “highest priorities” of an immigration overhaul.
The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted on June 12 and 13 by the national polling firm Pulse Opinion Research on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The poll has a margin of error of +/-4.5 percent.
They’ve waxed philosophic about “legitimate rape,” reflected on the economic role of “wetbacks” and denounced the actions of “brazen, self-described illegal aliens.” They’ve lamented that “mom got in the workplace” and called out the United States attorney general for casting “aspersions on my asparagus.”
Call them the clueless caucus of the Republican Party.
It all got started last fall when two Senate candidates — Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock — blew up their campaigns with offensive remarks about rape. But the trend of self-destructive, largely marginal Republicans seizing the spotlight has only continued in 2013.
In January, it was Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey trying to explain how Akin was “partly right” about rape and pregnancy, after all.
A bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, with 228 members voting for it and 196 members voting against it.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where it is not expected to pass.
The vote was mostly along party lines, with half a dozen Republicans voting with Democrats against it and another six Democrats voting with Republicans in its favor.
The six GOP crossovers were Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Jon Runyan (N.J.), Rob Woodall (Ga.), Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Paul Broun (Ga.).
Broun, notably, is running for Georgia’s open Senate seat, in which he faces other conservatives in the GOP primary. He removed himself as a co-sponsor of the bill when exceptions were added for rape and incest.
WASHINGTON — Paul Broun just might have secured the Georgia Right to Life endorsement in the U.S. Senate race. He did it with typical Broun flair — crossing the GOP leadership and national pro-life organizations in favor of an absolutist stance.
Broun voted against a “fetal pain” abortion bill backed by House Republicans that would ban abortions after a fetus is 20 weeks old, a message bill that faces a sure roadblock from Democrats in the Senate and White House. He and Georgia Right to Life blanched when House Republican leaders inserted exceptions for rape and incest into the bill. (That was a response to Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., playing down the idea of conception from rape during a committee hearing, and the resulting firestorm.)
Broun’s House Republican rivals for the Senate seat – Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston – voted for the bill. And we know how GRTL feels about Karen Handel.
“Georgia Right to Life is pro-life, and the only exception that we allow for is life of the mother,” said GRTL spokeswoman Suzanne Ward. “That is the main thrust of our criteria for endorsements.”
Ward said the group’s PAC board would make the decision on endorsements down the road. But the message of the last-minute flurry from GRTL was clear, as it urged its supporters to call their member of Congress to request a no vote on the “hijacked” bill.