Georgia Political News for March 29, 2012 Sine Die edition


Georgia Political News for March 29, 2012 Sine Die edition

Three female and two male (the yellow one is a male) puppies, 6-8 weeks old, weighing about seven pounds each. They are current on their vaccinations and are available from Walton Animal Control Services. Please click through to see the individual shots, then go adopt one today.

ObamaCare Lawsuit

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has been shuttling between Atlanta and Washington this week, monitoring the state’s lawsuit seeking to overturn ObamaCare, as well as juggling bills he has worked on with the legislature.

Tea Party activists in Savannah rallied against ObamaCare.

Legislative Day 40, Sine Die

Sine Die is the last day of the legislature, when the General Assembly adjourns “without day,” meaning that no further legislative days are scheduled.

The Senate Rules Calendar is here, and you may click here for the House Rules Calendar. No meetings are scheduled today for standing committees; much of the action today will be in conference committees, to which each chamber appoints three members, with the Speaker appointing house conferees and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle appointing senate conferees.

State Rep. Doug Collins (R-Hall County) told the Gainesville Times that he is not ready to give up on the “Fetal Pain Bill,” which he co-sponsored.

Collins, who co-sponsored it, is taking the anything-can-happen approach, and says he’s hopeful there will be resolution by the end of today. In fact, Collins said it could “very easily” come back from the dead.

“No bill — and especially this one — is dead until the sine die gavel hits,” Collins said.

The Fiscal Year 2013 Conference Committee final substitute for the budget may be viewed here and you may click here for the budget tracking document.

Senate Bill 469, which seeks to protect the privacy of private homes has been amended to ban picketing at all private residences, not just those of executives involved in labor disputes. AP’s Ray Henry notes that opponents of 469 include unlikely allies GRTL President Dan Becker, Georgia Tea Party Patriots, the AFL-CIO and OccupyAtlanta.

Opponents of legislation to require drug tests for welfare applicants suggest the bills would face an uphill legal battle if challenged in court:

Emory law professor Robert Schapiro says blanket drug testing violates the 4th amendment, which guards against unreasonable government searches.

“The government can’t search you unless it has some reason to do that and therefore I think it would be difficult for Georgia to apply this law without some showing of suspicion.”

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Rusty Kidd (I-Milledgeville) to allow very limited tasting at local distilleries has passed and awaits the Governor’s signature. We assume this sample was provided in order to highlight the job creation potential of local distilleries.

Local legislation revising the Gainesville city charter, which would include voting for a Mayor rather than rotating through City Council members, passed both chambers and awaits action by Gov. Deal.

Local legislation to add a third Superior Court judge for Forsyth County passed the House.

A number of legislators traveled to Columbus yesterday for the funeral of Cecilia Harbison, late wife of Senator Ed Harbison.

Governor Deal Defends Tax Reform, Announces New Jobs

Governor Nathan Deal defended the tax structure reform that he will sign. WABE’s Charles Edwards has audio of the Governor defending the measure.

“Anytime that you make those kind of major sweeping changes from one form of taxation to another you have to be very careful because the constitutional mandate is the budget has to be balanced at the end of the day.”

Gov. Deal announced that PyraMax, which manufactures oil and gas industry supplies, will bring 60 new jobs to Jefferson County.

“We are committed to making Georgia the No. 1 state in the nation to do business and a central plank in our strategy is to boost the manufacturing sector,” said Deal. “In Georgia, PyraMax will find a progressive business infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce and an abundance of natural resources that will help the company continue to provide the best product to its customers in the energy sector. I am proud that Pyramax chose to locate and manufacture here.”

Campaigns and Elections

Gary Barham is running as a Republican for Henry County Commission District Three.

The Peach Tea PAC is targeting 16 Republican legislators and Independent Rusty Kidd because they say the lawmakers “displayed a willingness to depart from the conservative principles that form the bedrock of the Georgia Republican Party platform.” Targets include:

Don Parsons
Harry Geisinger
Jay Powell
Joe Wikinson
Judy Manning
Kip Smith
Mickey Channel
Mike Jacobs
Richard Smith
Ron Stephens
Rusty Kidd
Sharon Cooper
Tom Taylor
Tommy Benton
Wendell Willard
Chuck Sims
Amos Amerson

Please allow me to make a couple points here. First, I don’t know why anyone would have expected Rusty Kidd to adhere to Republican principles, since he made the decision to seek office as an Independent, even though it meant he was required to gather signatures to get on the ballot. Second, Amos Amerson has already announced he will not seek reelection; chalk that up as a win?

Finally, opposing State Rep. Joe Wilkinson for not being Republican enough is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard in politics and demonstrates an ignorance of the history of the GAGOP. As the State Field Director who worked to organize the first-ever statewide Republican Primary and the first UGA student intern to work for GOP members of the legislator, Joe has a clear claim as one of the founding fathers of the GAGOP. Having served in Ronald Reagan’s White House, he has one of the few indisputable claims to be a “Reagan Conservative” with first-hand knowledge of what that means. Finally, as a career Naval officer and Chairman of the House Ethics Committee, his personal honesty and integrity are unquestionable, even if you disagree with the legislature’s approach to ethics legislation.

We wonder whether Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, who is a “Contributing Editor” of PeachTea Party’s website mentioned his group’s opposition to these Republican legislators when he was seeking to preserve his PSC Chairmanship.

Also in the “tilting at windmills” category comes a rumor passed along by Jim Galloway that some of his colleagues may be seeking an opponent for freshman Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), who had the temerity to suggest that a $100 limit on lobbyist gifts to legislators might help restore voters’ confidence in the General Assembly. The only real question, should an opponent surface, will be the magnitude of McKoon’s landslide reelection.

The City of Grantville will vote on Sunday Sales and liquor by the drink in the July 31 General Primary Election.

Local Items

Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie is offering a limited amnesty for citizens who possess synthetic marijuana following Gov. Deal’s signature of the  bill outlawing the substance. The Sheriff’s department will arrange pickup and destruction of remaining “spice,” but anyone found in possession without having made arrangments with the department may be charged.

Carroll County’s Child Support Court illustrates the use of special “accountability courts” that are part of justice reform bills in the legislature.

“The agency that studies Child Support Court did a study of our work and found that Carroll County Child Support Court paid 1,000 percent more child support than the control group they were studying,” Simpson said. “This whole issue of problem-solving courts, our governor has taken it up as one of his major initiatives in the Legislature and is passing a big bill to have our court system move in this direction.

“Carroll County was also one of the leaders with drug court and one of the first courts to have a drug court in the state of Georgia.”

Legendary Banjo Player Earl Scruggs Dies

NPR ran a great obituary for Scruggs this morning.

Random Notes

Fort Benning will host the David E. Grange Best Ranger Competition April 13-15th.

An Alpharetta student who says he was removed as class president because he advocated opening the prom to make it more inclusive to gay students, is suing in federal court seeking reinstatement.

Paula Deen’s lawyers are seeking dismissal of a sexual harassment suit, arguing that it was filed “improper and unethical purposes.”

Here’s a handy checklist for when you win the half-billion dollar Mega-Millions drawing tomorrow night.

A California man who delivered medical marijuana was attacked by ninjas. He was later attacked by a large pizza and two pints of Ben and Jerry’s.

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