Crucial details – a name would be handy, for instance – are missing, but rumors are swirling that Friday could see an attempt by House members to impeach Attorney General Thurbert Baker for his refusal to join a legal challenge to the new federal health care law.
PeachPundit says a piece of paper is floating around with 30 names on it.
We’ll add some background to the mix: On Wednesday, a spokesman insisted that Gov. Sonny Perdue harbored no ill will toward Baker, a Democratic candidate for governor. Said Bert Brantley:
“We asked him to participate and go with us, and he has not chosen to do that. And that’s fine. That’s his — he’s been the attorney general for a long time. He certainly knows his stuff. He’s also a candidate for governor. And so we know there are multiple things that he’s thinking about, looking at. And that’s fine.”
Perdue and former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich have a joint press conference this morning. The governor is likely to announce that he’ll pursue a legal challenge on his own.
Secondly, any attempt to impeach Baker would eat up much of the crucial 30th day of business in the House. And that could affect another lengthy, previously scheduled debate on the creation of Milton County.
Impeachment also requires a simple majority vote in the House, and a two-thirds vote by the Senate. The numbers argue futility.
In Washington, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer voiced concern Thursday over warnings of violent reprisals against members of Congress who voted for landmark health care legislation, saying the threats are being taken “very seriously.”
Ten House members are reportedly receiving beefed-up protection. We’re assured that U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta, who had a nasty encounter with a tea party crowd on Saturday, was not among them.
Wednesday was not a good day for Gov. Sonny Perdue. As my AJC colleague Nancy Badertscher notes:
The Georgia House handed Gov. Sonny Perdue a major defeat Wednesday, rejecting his proposal to merge the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The 108-59 vote against his plan followed more than an hour of heated debate on the floor.
Advocates for the change argued that it would eliminate unnecessary duplication of bureaucracy and help streamline operations. Critics said it would create a giant agency and might not save money.
Tom Baxter of InsiderAdvantage adds these tidbits:
This bill had not attracted much attention before last week, when WSB-TV reported that the governor’s office put pressure on the state Pardons and Paroles Foundation – which is not a part of state government – to fire lobbyist Wendy Clifton, who had been hired to work against the measure.
Legislators were also informed through e-mails of a transition team which had been working on the proposed consolidation even before the bill was introduced, and opponents complained of other strong-arm tactics. Opponents in the hall even passed around a photograph of a car already marked with the emblem of the newly combined department.
That wasn’t the worst for the governor. Travis Fain of the Macon Telegraph picked up signals that Perdue’s transportation initiative may be falling apart:
[T]he House and Senate both re-appointed conference committees for a couple of pieces of transportation legislation: House Resolution 206 and House Bill 277. Those were the vehicles for last year’s version of a transportation funding plan, which then Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson seemed to put on hold at the end of the session.
If the House and Senate are getting ready to fire that conference committee back up, that means they don’t think the governor’s transportation bill is going anywhere.
The Georgia Hospital Association’s acquiescence to the bed tax? It came with some serious strings, according to my colleague Aaron Sheinin:
As part of an agreement struck between lawmakers and the state’s hospitals for the medical centers to accept a new tax on patient revenue for the next three years, lawmakers have agreed to protect hospitals from “bills harmful to hospitals” for three years, according to a copy of a memo obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Late Wednesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue issued a writ setting May 11 as the date for a special election to fill the state Senate seat of David Adelman of Decatur. Adelman was confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. ambassador to Singapore.
Jason Carter, grandson of the former president, and attorney Thomas Stubbs have already spent months campaigning for the seat.
Another possible reason for Ralph Reed’s decision to opt out of the 7th District congressional race? It may have interfered with his book tour — for a sequel to last year’s “Dark Horse.” Here’s the promo that Reed sent out last night:
And finally, former Hawks star Dominique Wilkins has a photo op at the state Capitol this afternoon with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other state legislators. Wilkins will be named Georgia’s diabetes ambassador.
Lawmakers are currently debating bills – one pitched by the governor – to permit Georgians to buy health insurance policies from insurance companies in other states. Critics say the measures would allow insurance companies circumvent coverage now mandated by the state – for such diseases as, say, diabetes.
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