Two attorneys, one from Decatur, on Thursday reported coming home to find the following unlikely robo-call on their answering machines:
“Georgia progressives have a chance to protect the rights of workers by voting yes on Amendment 1. Amendment 1 will give workers protection from being forced to sign unfair employment agreements at the workplace.
“Please take the time to vote yes on Amendment 1 at the end of your ballot. This message has been provided by the working Georgians at Jobs of Tomorrow. And we urge you to vote yes on Amendment 1.”
What’s unusual is that Amendment 1, despite its vague language, is designed to help strengthen the reach of employment contracts. To a degree that some say is unfair – especially in the current economy.
Jobs of Tomorrow is sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and its website says the measure is needed because current judicial rulings have:
….. resulted in cases of employees or franchisees being able to ignore signed employment agreements and take customers or proprietary knowledge with them to other companies with no consequences.
On the other side, critics say the proposed constitutional amendment – and legislation already conveniently in place to enforce it – could permit companies to require any worker described as a “professional” to sign an agreement that would bar the employee from engaging in any competing enterprise for years. Even if the employee is laid off or fired.
A committee comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker determines the order that constitutional ballot questions appear every other November. So it is fair to say Amendment 1 is the top Republican priority – even ahead of the effort (Amendment 2) to establish a state trauma network.
But many have been put off by what they say is the wording of the ballot question:
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?”
In a recent session with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Republican nominee for attorney general Sam Olens said that he is in agreement with the aims of the proposed constitutional amendment. But he added this:
“The biggest problem with Amendment 1 is, there’s a lot of bad press due to the wording of the actual amendment. And candidly, I think voters deserve better. I think we ought to have restrictions on amendment language similar to Florida, where it has to be in plain English.”
State Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Atlanta, won a brief Fulton County court battle with the state Democratic party on Thursday. Chambers is locked in a tight battle with Democrat and attorney Elena Parent.
Democrats have been sending out campaign material detailing Chambers’ recent bankruptcy and divorce, including some material that Chambers said left her open to identity theft.
Following a short hearing Thursday afternoon, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Alford J. Dempsey Jr. granted Chambers’ request for a temporary restraining order barring the Democratic Party of Georgia from disseminating any portion of the lawmaker’s Social Security number for 30 days.
Chamber’s attorney, Sparks, had asked the judge to order the halt to any further mailing containing the numbers, and to order the party to gather any artwork, data, proofs or other materials containing the information and to file it with the court, but Dempsey declined to do so.
Democratic Party attorney Michael K. Jablonski told Dempsey that the party had no intention of mailing any more of the fliers and that no restraining order was necessary, but Sparks said those assurances were not sufficient.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon, has sent a letter to Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts that includes this:
Your persistent efforts to relocate the Georgia Music and Sports Halls of Fame from Macon to Atlanta give me cause to withdraw my support of and encourage others in the Georgia Legislature to oppose your proposal to bring Casino gambling to Georgia.
Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal continues to fight back against Democrat Roy Barnes allegations that, while a state senator, he initiated legislation that would have weakened Georgia’s rape shield law.
This four-page defense arrived Thursday evening, featuring a rape victim whose attacker was prosecuted by Deal – then a district attorney. From the flyer: “Roy Barnes says Nathan Deal doesn’t care about rape victims. Roy Barnes is wrong, because Nathan Deal cared for me when a lot of other people wouldn’t.”
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia takes on the claims by Republican nominee Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes that they would keep their general election campaign civil. So far, we’ve counted a combined 27 negative ads. Where there’s smoke…..
Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA, and InsiderAdvantage all use automated polling equipment for their surveys – i.e., robo-calls. So over the next four days, you might keep in mind this observation from Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com:
Most of the automated polling firms have a Republican-leaning house effect. For instance, it’s about 2 points for Rasmussen Reports (our estimate for Rasmussen includes polls conducted by its subsidiary, Pulse Opinion Research) and 4 points for SurveyUSA.
Another automated polling firm, Public Policy Polling, has almost zero house effect. But some of the smaller robopoll firms, like Magellan and Merriman River Group, also have a Republican-leaning effect.
On average, the robopoll firms have a 2-point Republican-leaning house effect, whereas the live interviewer polls have a 0.7-point Democratic-leaning house effect. The difference between the two, then, is 2.7 points.
The timing – five days before the vote – is unusual and perhaps even useless, but the Georgia Association of Educators on Thursday announced it had endorsed Democrat Michael Thurmond in the U.S. Senate race over Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson and Libertarian Chuck Donovan.
One day after Newt Gingrich dropped in on a Gwinnett County rally to support Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal, the Washington Post has this about his 2012 presidential ambitions:
The former [U.S. House] speaker, who flirted with the idea in the past, is less coy about it this time. Gingrich says he won’t make an official announcement until early next year. But he notes that he is already “transitioning” his four businesses so that they don’t become political impediments.
The remaining question, Gingrich said in an interview, is “whether or not it is practical, which I increasingly think it is.”
Gingrich acknowledged that he wouldn’t be the GOP establishment’s pick – or an immediate front-runner. He also said he knows the race for the nomination would be a steep climb “when you have someone as well financed as [former Massachusetts governorMitt] Romney would be.”
But if Gingrich could pull this one off, it would be the greatest political resurrection since Richard Nixon – a name that comes up often when you talk to Gingrich’s longtime friends and advisers.