The blog.

12
Jan

Rep. Tom Price: Realistic Scoring

Your Washington – GA 6 – Desk

From Congressman Tom Price

Price

Realistic Scoring

Last week, the House of Representatives approved its rules package for the 114th Congress. Included in that package was a provision that requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to incorporate what’s called “macroeconomic” analysis into the cost estimates that CBO provides for legislation considered by the Congress. In short, we are asking CBO to give us a broader view into the impact of policies being debated so we ensure lawmakers have a more realistic and honest analysis of the budgetary and economic impact of major legislation.

The inclusion of this realistic analysis provision in the House rules is an important victory in a larger effort to bring more transparency and accountability to the legislative process on behalf of American families. As history has shown and common sense would lead one to believe, laws passed by Congress can have a broad effect on the nation’s economic activity, on job creation and investment decisions. What we are saying is let us take what the experts at CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) can measure about the real-world impact of policies and incorporate those more realistic assessments into an honest analysis that policymakers can use to make better informed decisions.

To learn more about the need for macroeconomic scoring, please click here.

Continue Reading..

12
Jan

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland: The Year of the Veto Threat

Your Washington – GA 3 – Desk

From Congressman Lynn Westmoreland

Cap Lyn

The Year of the Veto Threat

Last week, the House passed jobs bills that restore the 40 hour work week under Obamacare and approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. For the first time in years the jobs bills passed by the House have a chance to pass in the Senate, and the American people may finally see some relief in the job market. But before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could add them to the Senate calendar, President Obama issued veto threats on both of the bills.

Losing control of the Senate has left President Obama with two options to protect his liberal agenda: vetoing legislation from Congress or passing executive orders. Vetoing good, bipartisan bills does nothing to end the gridlock in Congress and without the president offering his own solution or working with Congress, it freezes any progress made. Bypassing congress and issuing executive orders, is one of the reasons for the historical change we saw in the last election. The American people don’t want executive orders and the president acting alone on national reforms, like immigration or education. The people want the government to do its job, and when the president issues vetoes or executive orders, he isn’t allowing Congress to do so.

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12
Jan

Sen. Johnny Isakson: Pays Tribute to Victims of Paris Terror Attack

Your Washington Desk

From Senator Johnny Isakson 

Isakson France

Isakson Pays Tribute to Victims of Paris Terror Attack

Condemns senseless acts of violence against innocent human beings by radical Islamists

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, paid tribute to the victims of last week’s deadly terror attack in Paris, France. Earlier today, Isakson joined Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France, along with other members of the committee, at the Foreign Relations Committee room in the U.S. Capitol to sign a book of condolences on Monday.

During remarks, Isakson offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the Jan. 7, 2015, terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in France and the subsequent hostage-taking that left 17 people dead and the entire world on high alert.

“I am deeply saddened by last week’s terrorist attacks that were perpetrated against the French people,” said Isakson. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and the entire nation of France.”

He further condemned the Islamist militants who have taken responsibility for the attacks, calling on the United States to assist the French in any way possible and urging the administration to double down on our national security efforts to eliminate this terrorist network and protect our homeland from a similar attack.Continue Reading..

12
Jan

Deal Inaugural Address: ‘A New Term, A New Vision, A New Mandate’

Your Georgia Desk

The Deal Inaugural

Deal Oath

Deal inaugural address: ‘A new term, a new vision, a new mandate’

Lt. Governor Cagle, Speaker Ralston, President Pro Tem Shafer, Speaker Pro Tem Jones, members of the General Assembly, constitutional officers, members of the consular corps, members of the judiciary, my fellow Georgians:

Today, we stand under the watchful eye of History. In a nation founded by pilgrims seeking new religious freedoms, in a state formed by an English nobleman looking to give debtors and religious refugees from the Old World a fresh start, in a city symbolized by the phoenix rising from the ashes of a civil war, and across from a new plaza where Georgians of today and tomorrow can exercise their rights to speak freely, to petition and to assemble, the hundreds of you here today represent the 10 million people across Georgia as we inaugurate a new term, a new vision, a new mandate to address the needs of our citizens.

This is an occasion not to honor me or those who come after me, but rather to celebrate the will of the people of Georgia. Inaugurations of elected officials pay homage to our democracy – to the belief that all citizens have a say in who governs them.

While we planned to have this ceremony in our new forum, Liberty Plaza-which pays tribute to our freedoms, those rights endowed by God, enshrined in our Constitution and defended by free men and women-Mother Nature had a different idea, as she did four years ago. However, if this term produces results on a magnitude of those of my first term, I gladly gather with all of you inside this beautiful Chamber.

In that plaza, which we will dedicate this Friday afternoon, we prominently display symbols of our freedoms: the Statue of Liberty and Georgia’s Liberty Bell. Soon, on Capitol grounds, we’ll add a statue of Georgia’s native son, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who helped fulfill America’s promise of freedom and equality for all. He serves as a symbol for those ideals, but history recognizes him as a man of action. Within our new plaza, the symbols of freedom will welcome the exercise of freedom. There, Georgians will engage in the marketplace of ideas. There, they will advocate or oppose government actions. There, they will assemble to express their thoughts and opinions, openly and without fear.Continue Reading..

12
Jan

Hipster Glasses – Adoptable Dogs for January 12, 2015

We couldn’t locate any adoptable dogs named “Nathan,” so here are three dogs chosen in honor of the swearing-in of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.

Casey Lab Macon

Casey is an adorable and very sweet 6-7 month old, 26 lb lab mix who was found abandoned with her sister, Sasha. She is an absoute love bug who gets along well with other dogs, is he nearly all the way housebroken and walks well on a leash. Casey does well in a crate at night and is good in the house during the day with the normal supervision a puppy needs. Please help us find a wonderful home for this lovely little girl who just loves to snuggle and give kisses! Casey is available for adoption from The Pixel Fund in Macon, Georgia.

Casey Grace

This is Casey Grace, a 15 months old female Catahoula Leopard Dog. Casey is energetic and full of her youth. She is spayed, chipped and up to date on her shots. Her owners are having a hard time keeping up with her.

She is a runner and has had many near misses running out and gone. She will grin for you and loves to be loved.Casey Grace is available for adoption from Catahoula Rescue Southeast in Acworth, Georgia.

Casey Greyhound

WW Casey Ceith is a retired racing Greyhound who tolerates small dogs and cats and is a graduate of the Second Change Greyhounds Prison Program. Casey is available for adoption from Second Chance Greyhounds in Douglasville, Georgia.

You can watch some of his races on video.

Marco Polo

In honor of Lt. Gov. Cagle’s North Georgia upbringing, we present these beautiful Treeing Walker Coonhounds, a pair of country dogs if ever there was one.

Marco and Polo came in wearing their radio tracking collars on 1/3/15, but their people didn’t track them to the shelter. The smaller one (Marco – 50 lbs.) is a little more shy than Polo, 60 lbs. Polo sounds like a typical hunting dog. They are both well behaved and will sit when asked. Marco ID 571803 & Polo ID 571805 are sharing run 17, and are about 1 1/2 years old. They are up to date on shots, neutered, heartworm tested negative and will be microchipped when adopted. Please come meet these handsome boys!

When calling the shelter about a cat or dog, please use THE ID NUMBER, the names are oftentimes made up by volunteers.

Marco and Polo and many others need a forever, loving home and are available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter at 1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, call (770) 499-4136 for more information. Our Shelter hours for Adoptions are: Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., CLOSED Mondays and Holidays.

If your neighbors are snooty about dogs, you can tell them these are Foxhounds, like President George Washington raised.

12
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 12, 2015

On January 12, 1775, St. Andrews Parish on the Georgia coast passed a series of resolutions that included approving the actions of patriots in Massachusetts, three resolutions critical of British government actions, and a renunciation of slavery. The resolutions also appointed delegates to a provincial legislature at Savannah and urging that Georgia send two delegates to the Continental Congress to be held in Philadelphia the next year.

Marvin Griffin of Bainbridge was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia on January 11, 1955.

After Republican Bo Callaway won the popular vote but fell short of a majority, the General Assembly elected Lester Maddox, the second-place candidate, as Governor on January 10, 1967 and he was inaugurated that day.

Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia on January 12, 1971.

The first inauguration of Governor Joe Frank Harris was held on January 11, 1983.

During a snowstorm, Governor Nathan Deal was inaugurated in the State Capitol for his first term in office on January 10, 2011

Georgia History Today

State Representative Michael Caldwell offers this scripture to begin the 2015 Session of the General Assembly:

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?

1 Kings 3:9 (New International Version)

And we offer in response,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves….

Philippians 2:3-4 (New International Version)

Today’s ceremonies begin with a Prayer Service at Mount Paran Church at 9 AM, which you can also watch via live stream on the Church’s website.

With predictions of rain this afternoon, the inauguration of Governor Nathan Deal has been moved inside the Capitol. Guests with tickets to the inaugural will be seated in various locations inside the Capitol and other nearby buildings.

Early plans included ringing Georgia’s copy of the Liberty Bell to begin the ceremony. We don’t know if that will still take place.

Deal Inaugural Locations

The Georgia House of Representatives will gavel into Session at 10 AM. All legislators should remove any donation links, buttons, or pages from their websites, as members of the General Assembly are not allowed to accept contributions once Session has begun. Both chambers should adopt a resolution scheduling at least the next legislative day of Session.

What We’re Watching this Session

The Budget – the only legislation required by the state Constitution is the yearly budget. First, we’ll also see a Supplemental Budget to “true up” last year’s budget, reconciling the revenue predictions made in the legislature and the realities of state income. Then they’ll move onto the next Fiscal Year’s “Big Budget.”

Last year seems to have seen Georgia’s economy and state revenue picking up steam. While that’s good, the austerity cuts made over the past decade have left many needs in state and local government deferred. Those deferred expenditures are coming due, from maintenance of existing roads and bridges and state buildings, to raises for many employees, it will feel like everyone in the Capitol has a hand out. More requests will likely be denied than granted.

Transportation Funding – the Chambers of Commerce have made clear that their highest funding priority is transportation infrastructure, citing a study that shows roughly 1 billion to 1.5 billion in annual spending needs. It appears that the Chambers are poised to back increased funding, with the Georgia Chamber endorsing an increase in the federal gas tax.

The Chamber supports efforts to preserve the solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund.  Should Congress not successfully address this critical transportation funding measure, Georgia will see reduced and delayed reimbursements for needed transportation projects, putting some at risk for completion.  While the federal gas tax, currently 18.4 cents per gallon, has been the traditional source of revenue, it has struggled to keep pace with expenses as vehicles have become more fuel-efficient.    Both reauthorization of federal funding and an increase in the gas tax is necessary to keep our highways and transit systems efficient for transportation and commerce.

2015_Eggs_Issues_Event_Page_Header

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, the Georgia Chamber will discuss state legislative priorities at their annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (invited), Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston will provide a preview of the 2015 legislative agenda at this year’s event. Maggie Bridges, Miss Georgia 2014, will sing the National Anthem and Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church, will lead the invocation.

If your organization has two extra tickets for the Breakfast available, we’d consider taking them off your hands.

Medical Marijuana – State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) has become the patron saint of all who suffer from illnesses that might be alleviated by medicinal cannabis. Earlier versions of his bill would have allowed the CBD-rich cannabis oils not only for children with seizures, but also to adults and expanded the diagnoses for which it would be available. Governor Nathan Deal has announced he will support a more-limited version of Peake’s bill.

Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary talked exclusively with the governor Friday about the new bill that would mean big relief to families with children who suffer from seizure disorders.

Deal told Geary he supports Peake’s efforts to offer immunity from prosecution for the families in those states who want to return home to Georgia with the medicine.

“It’s an important step. We recognize it may not be the last step,” Deal said.

In a statement from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s spokesman Ben Fry, he said, “The Lt. Governor believes that by working cooperatively the General Assembly can find a responsible solution that will provide much needed relief to the children and their families afflicted by these terrible conditions.”

A new poll from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution found that 84 percent of registered voters support the legalization of cannabis oil.

It appears that Peake will scale back his legislation to meet the Governor’s policy preferences.

Its sponsor, State Representative Allen Peake, says after lengthy discussions with Governor Nathan Deal, the bill will no longer include a model to grow and distribute medical cannabis in the state.

“Ideally, I would have liked to see both the immunity language and the grow model in this bill but the fact that we are getting full immunity and protection from prosecution for possession for families to have access to cannabis oil is a huge win and it will allow Georgia families to come home,” Peake told 13WMAZ.

Peake says Deal was clear they needed further research into a better regulatory system before Deal would sign off on the bill.

“It’s not as fast as I would’ve liked, but we had to do something that would pass the Governor’s desk,” Peake said Saturday.

The bill includes full immunity for those who bring back medical cannabis legally obtained from other states.

Beer and a ride home – we don’t drink alcohol, but if we did, it would be either Georgia-made Richland Rum or some locally-produced craft beer. Then we’d get a safe ride home via Uber or Lyft.

I’ve written more extensively about Georgia’s laws for beer and people distribution here.

Uber 20

Disclaimer: if you sign up with Uber using my code, your first ride up to $20 will be free, and I’ll get a free ride too. That’s not a special deal I’m getting for including this in my morning email – if you sign up for Uber, you can get the same deal when your friends sign up using your code.

Jim Galloway writes in the AJC Political Insider blog that Auto Dealers are going to be fighting Tesla this session.

Traditional car dealers are in the midst of a legal fight to push Tesla, the fledgling California electric car company, out of Georgia. Never mind that metro Atlanta is one of the hottest markets for electric vehicles in the nation.

Signs point to a parallel battle in the General Assembly. Last week, the National Automobile Dealers Association began trolling for sympathetic lawmakers. While Georgia dealers say they have “no plans” to revisit an anti-Tesla bill that failed last year, Tesla is preparing a defense. It has already hired one of the top lobbying firms in Atlanta.

Most Georgia car buyers don’t realize that their purchases are guided by state laws that presume a two-tiered system: Manufacturers sell to independent franchise owners, who sell to consumers. You can’t buy a Ford or Chevy or Nissan or Toyota directly from the manufacturer.

Tesla breaks that mold. It has no franchisees, and thus, the company maintains, Georgia’s restrictions on direct sales to consumers shouldn’t apply. The company does, however, currently observe a 150-car annual limit set by the state on “custom design” vehicles.

GADA spokesman Chip Lake says the fight isn’t over technology. “Automobile dealers are very supportive of electric vehicles. There are dealers all over the state that sell electric vehicles,” he said. “Auto dealers just believe Telsa is not complying with state law.”

That last paragraph is the real money-quote, not for the content of the statement, but for the fact that political consultant Chip Lake has been engaged to help the auto dealers protect their pocketbooks.

Healthcare Systems – This is a complex set of issues that all resolve to the question of money. Rural hospitals have been closing due to funding shortfalls. In addition, some rural communities have limited access to medical professionals, particularly when their population is highly dependent on federal programs whose reimbursement rates are in the range of 50 cents on the dollar. Certificates of Need for some new facilities require a healthcare provider to prove to the state government that their proposed service is necessary. The CON requirement may stifle some medical facilities and prevent lower cost options to some communities, but supporters say it’s necessary to protect existing healthcare facilities from competition that doesn’t have the same mandates. These issues will be tough nuts to crack, and no one expects any one-shot solution.

We’ll be discussing other issues in coming days. Stay tuned.

10
Jan

Deal Inaugural Committee: Inaugural Ceremony To Be Moved Indoors

Your Georgia Desk

From The Deal Inaugural Committee

Inauguration Day Ceremony

Inaugural Ceremony To Be Moved Indoors

The National Weather Service forecasts “likely” rain for Monday, Jan. 12, with temperatures in the high 40s. Out of an abundance of caution, and with the health and safety of inaugural guests in mind, the swearing-in ceremony will be moved indoors from Liberty Plaza to the State Capitol. Gov. Nathan Deal and our constitutional officers will take the oath of office in the House Chamber.

While moving the event indoors limits seating and crowd capacity, the wellbeing and comfort of our guests is of utmost importance. With that in mind, please review the ticket information below for revised seating information.Continue Reading..

10
Jan

AUDIO – Gov. Nathan Deal – The Real Meaning of With A Servants Heart

Your Georgia Desk 

The Deal Inaugural 

Your Ga Pundit correspondent with Governor Nathan Deal at the City of Refuge  -  The real meaning of With A Servants Heart

 

10
Jan

AUDIO – Gov. Nathan Deal: On The With A Servant’s Heart Events

Your Georgia Desk 

The Deal Inaugural 

Your Ga Pundit correspondent with Governor Nathan Deal at the City of Refuge  - With A Servants Heart event

10
Jan

AUDIO – Tricia Pridemore: The Deal Inaugural Co-Chair on The Inaugural Celebration

Your Georgia Desk

The Deal Inaugural

Your Ga Pundit correspondent spoke with Deal Inaugural Co-Chair Tricia Pridemore about the Inaugural Celebration