Obama to sign flood insurance relief | savannahnow.com

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is set to sign into law a bipartisan bill relieving homeowners living in flood-prone neighborhoods from big increases in their insurance bills.

The legislation, which cleared Congress on Thursday, reverses much of a 2012 overhaul of the government’s much-criticized flood insurance program after angry homeowners facing sharp premium hikes protested.

The Senate’s 72-22 vote sent the House-drafted measure to Obama. White House officials said he’ll sign it.

via Obama to sign flood insurance relief | savannahnow.com.

Buddy Carter accused of having conflict of interest | savannahnow.com

Walter Jones, with Morris News, gives a good, unbiased look at a complicated topic.

ATLANTA — The frontrunner in the race for the open congressional seat along the coast is under attack for sponsoring a bill as a legislator that could benefit his industry.

An Atlanta television station aired a story Wednesday night addressing Sen. Buddy Carter’s Senate Bill 408 that would add requirements on insurance companies which could make mail-order pharmacies lose some of their price advantage. Carter, a Pooler Republican who owns three drug stores, is the top fundraiser and the leader in polls for the First District’s six-man GOP primary to replace U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston.

By morning, political partisans had emailed links to the story to reporters across the state. In it, Carter is shown on camera saying “it’s borderline” when asked if his sponsorship was a conflict of interest.

Thursday, he was certain it wasn’t.

“It was not a conflict of interest at all. This is just another example of the biased media attacking conservatives,” he told Morris News.

Carter said the bill is good for consumers. It would require insurance companies to update more often the maximum price they will pay for specific medicines.

Brick-and-mortar pharmacies like Carter owns operate with less of a profit margin than mail-order giants which can absorb drug makers’ prices increases better than the independent stores. He said quicker adjustments in the maximum price to reflect rises from drug makers would put the small stores on a more even footing with their large competitors.

But according to the senator, his stores would benefit no more than any other.

That is an important distinction, according to other legislators. Rules of the House and Senate prohibit lawmakers from doing anything that would benefit them or their families directly.

“A bill that benefits all pharmacies is not a problem,” said Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans.

But with part-time legislators who have full-time jobs in the private sector, they would miss many votes if they avoided every bill that affects them or their industry.

“You can’t have a part-time legislature and expect us to work and not be involved with bills on subjects we know the most about,” Harbin said.

For instance, many legislators serve on the boards of local banks, leaving few who could vote on bank legislation under a strict interpretation of conflict prohibitions.

“This came up for us many times,” said Rick Thompson, a former director of the state ethics commission. “There is absolutely nothing in the law that says you can’t do that.”

via Buddy Carter accused of having conflict of interest | savannahnow.com.

Sen. Hunter Hill: Named To GOPAC 2014 Class of Emerging Leaders.

Your Georgia Desk:

GOPAC Announces 2014 Class of Emerging Leaders

GOPAC announced its 2014 Class of Emerging Leaders. These promising legislators, who were nominated by a member of GOPAC’s Legislative Leaders Advisory Board, were selected because of the potential and ability they have shown to have an impact in their state and the Republican Party.

“Our Emerging Leaders program is a yearlong initiative to coach and develop promising state legislators on how to be effective legislative and political leaders. Continue reading

Sen. Burt Jones: Update from the Capitol

Your Georgia Desk:

Sen. Burt Jones: Update from the Capitol

By: Sen. Burt Jones (R- Jackson)

The pace is continuing to move quickly as we completed the 38th day of the legislative session on Thursday, March 13th.  The 40th day, also referred to as Sine Die, will be on Thursday, March 20th, until then we will continue to pass legislation and work on the balanced budget late into the night.

Wednesday I had the privilege of carrying House Bill 763 through the Senate.  HB 763 will allow Georgia Military College (GMC) the ability to offer students a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science degree.  Continue reading

Sen. Tyler Harper: Update from the Capitol

Your Georgia Desk:

HARPER: Update from the Capitol

 By: Sen. Tyler Harper (R- Ocilla)

The Georgia General Assembly is approaching the very last days of the 2014 Legislative Session. Although many people simply refer to the last day as Day 40, it is also known as Sine Die. The last day of the legislative session can be very long, but it is also full of tradition.

During the remaining two days of session – and in some cases, the last few hours of session – bills that will significantly impact Georgians statewide will be debated and adopted in both Chambers. Continue reading

Sen. John Albers: Gold Dome Update: Week 9

Your Georgia Desk:

Gold Dome Update: Week 9

By: Sen. John Albers (R- Roswell)

The Georgia General Assembly completed day 38 of the 40 day session on Thursday, March 13, 2014. As the 2014 Legislative Session progresses, there is a growing number of bills being sent to the Senate floor. We are laser focused on finishing our work to support families, business and public safety.

One of my bills, Senate Bill 235, received favorable passage out of the House of Representatives this week. SB 235 would allow firefighters who perform at least 1,040 hours of annual service to be eligible for membership in the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund. Continue reading

Senators Isakson & Chambliss: 23 GOP Colleagues Call on Administration to Immediately Rescind Rule Giving Unions a Carve-out from Obamacare

Your Washington Desk:

Isakson, Chambliss, 23 GOP Colleagues Call on Administration to Immediately Rescind Rule Giving Unions a Carve-out from Obamacare

Senators warn they will consider options such as the Congressional Review Act to prevent the rule from taking effect

U.S. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., joined 23 of their Republican colleaguesThursday in calling on the Obama administration to immediately rescind its rule creating an unwarranted special carve-out for some unions from Obamacare fees.

In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell, the senators wrote: “We write to express deep disappointment that your agency has approved a final rule creating an unwarranted special carveout benefitting certain unions over other Americans. Continue reading

Sen. Ross Tolleson: Update from the Capitol

Your Georgia Desk:

TOLLESON: Update from the Capitol

 By: Sen. Ross Tolleson (R- Perry)

It is that time of year again, the time of the year when Dublin is filled with visitors to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the end of the legislative session is near. The pace is continuing to move quickly as we completed the 38th day of the legislative session on Thursday, March 13th.  The 40th day, also referred to as Sine Die, will be on Thursday, March 20th, until then we will continue to pass legislation and work on the balanced budget late into the night.

The Dublin-Laurens Economic Development Authority visited the Capitol this week, this group does a fine job promoting the “location, leadership, and livability” of the area. Continue reading