With a transportation bill finally passed, and an ethics measure to bleach out the scarlet “E” on their chests on its way to the governor, Georgia lawmakers are basking in the exhaustion of a productive 38th Day.
There’s even talk of adjourning for good next Tuesday, on the 39th day.
But there’s one last fight to resolve, an intra-mural struggle between House Republican leaders and Georgia Right to Life.
SB 529, the anti-abortion bill designed to become a court challenge to Roe v. Wade, made it out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is now poised for a floor vote next week. The bill would prohibit physicians from performing abortions on women who have been “coerced” into the procedure.
But the bill would also bar abortions that are based on the race or gender of the fetus – and that’s the portion of the measure that backers think will attract constitutional attention.
Speaker David Ralston has come under a deal of national pressure to bring the bill to a vote – in pristine form, as GRTL lawyers have crafted it.
Through an aide, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, the Republican from Coweta County, said he was contacted by his Republican colleague Trent Franks of Arizona, who has sponsored similar legislation on the federal level.
Franks asked Westmoreland to speak to Ralston about the bill. The Georgia congressman made a quick stop at the state Capitol early this week, urging passage of the measure. Westmoreland’s visit came on the same day that the House Judiciary Committee backed off an effort to pass the bill by substitute.
We’re told other Georgia congressmen have become involved as well.
Dan Becker, president of GRTL, said he understands SB 529 will reach the House floor on Tuesday, via a supplemental calendar. If floor substitutes are allowed, Becker said his group will be tracking all votes.
If voice votes are permitted, he said, then GRTL will be watching a handful of targeted Republicans to see how their lips move “and gauge the intent of their hearts.”
Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle both might want to peek at this morning’s post by Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. It includes this:
What is unexpected is that, over time, so few state attorneys general actually do go on to the governorship. Since 1984 there have been exactly 250 state AGs, but only 28 (a mere 11%) became governor.
This is precisely half the gubernatorial success rate of lieutenant governors. In the last quarter-century, fully 22% of the state No. 2’s became No. 1….
There’s a major reason for the discrepancy, of course. Under most state constitutions, the lieutenant governor directly succeeds the governor when he or she leaves office mid-term (because of death, resignation, or impeachment). Just in recent years, 28 lieutenant governors have become governor in this fashion.
Down in south Georgia, the Statesboro Herald operates a morning talk radio program out of its newsroom.
On Tuesday, host Phil Boyum was talking with Ray Boyd, the real estate executive who has declared his intention to put $2 million into a Republican race for governor.
Do not count Boyd among those who will praise the efficiency of this year’s General Assembly. From the Herald:
While Boyd spent the majority of the interview obviously upset by the Georgia GOP’s request for him to sign the oath of affirmation, he [unexpectedly] talked about his vision for the structure of the state legislature.
Boyd said that if the federal government can run a country whose population is over 300 million with only 535 representatives and senators then Georgia, with 8 million people, could be governed by less representation.
“We’ve got 236 (state) senators and representatives in there. I don’t think we need but about 50,” Boyd said. “We could save a hell of a lot of money by sending those others…..I don’t think we need a Senate and House of Representatives. I’ve been seeing in the paper about bills being sent back and to between the Senate and the House. I think we can get 50 good people in there and they can decide what they do. Let’s have one house. Instead of a bicameral house, let’s have a unicameral house.”
With the entrance of state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond into the U.S. Senate race, clearing Carol Porter’s path to the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, there has been some wondering whether her husband, House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter, would give up his run for governor.
Both Porters quickly put a stop to that line of questioning on Wednesday, announcing that they will both be at the Capitol at 11 a.m. Monday to qualify in two races – governor and lieutenant governor.
A federal judge has thrown himself into the Bartow County school board races. This from the Cartersville Daily Tribune:
A Bartow County school board member will be allowed to qualify for re-election following a judge’s order Wednesday granting an injunction against a state law that bars relatives of school administrators from running for their district’s school board.
The order issued by U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy will allow Lamar Grizzle to seek a third term to the board if he chooses to qualify next week….
Murphy’s order … came after a Tuesday hearing on a suit filed in January by Grizzle and former Gainesville City Board of Education member Kelvin Simmons. They contended that provisions created [by the state Legislature] were unconstitutional.
Simmons had been disqualified for running for re-election last November because of the new law, as his wife is an assistant principal at Gainesville Middle School.
Had the preliminary injunction not been granted, Grizzle would not be able to qualify for re-election, as his daughter, Kimberly Ruff, serves as assistant principal of Pine Log Elementary.
On Wednesday, state Rep. Mark Hatfield (R-Waycross), introduced a measure to force President Barack Obama to present birth documents before he is granted a spot on the 2012 presidential primary ballot in Georgia.
Many of you immediately noted the source of the idea. This from KPHO in Phoenix:
The Arizona House on Wednesday approved a bill that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state’s ballot when he runs for re-election.
The House approved the measure on a 31-29 vote, sending it to the Senate.
It would require U.S. presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president.
Supporters say the bill would help settle a controversy over whether Obama was born in the United States.
The state of Hawaii, where Obama was born, has said innumerable times that the controversy is nonsense.
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.