Archive for November, 2010

Two House Democrats finally decide to switch to GOP

The final shoes from the Nov. 2 election in Georgia may have just dropped. This has arrived from the office of House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge:

State Representatives Ellis Black and Amy Carter today announced that they are joining the House Republican Caucus and resigning from the House Democratic Caucus.

“This is where I belong,” said Rep. Black. “When I was first elected, we had conservative Democrats in the leadership of the Democratic Party; today, there are none. I have a ten-year record of voting the thinking of my constituents, and I believe I can best serve my constituents as a Republican.”

“I am excited about this transition,” said Rep. Carter. “Many changes were brought about by our last election, and I feel that I can best represent my district as a member of the Republican Party. My record shows that I have always maintained an independent mindset, and I will continue to reach across party lines for solutions that will benefit my …

Continue reading Two House Democrats finally decide to switch to GOP »

How Democrats can avoid the next fight over the Ga. flag

Is it possible for the upraised middle finger wielded by so many of you in metro Atlanta’s traffic lanes to become — in say, the next 100 years or so — a greeting of welcome and brotherhood?

Your answer to the question, believe it or not, could determine what kind of future Democrats have in Georgia. At least in the near term.

At the state Capitol, we are on the verge of yet another culture war over our state flag. Early this month, while they were emasculating Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in Macon, Senate Republicans took a spare moment to declare that all members of that chamber will be required to recite a daily pledge of allegiance to the Georgia flag.

The 1879 Georgia flag

The 1879 Georgia flag

The author of the proposal, state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said he had no intention of igniting a debate over state sovereignty. But inside and outside the Senate, those who would like to see the federal government shrink to its 19th-century waistline will certainly see it as a sign of favor.

Two …

Continue reading How Democrats can avoid the next fight over the Ga. flag »

Jack Kingston jumps into race for chairman of House Appropriations Committee

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah came out into the open today with his intra-party campaign to become the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

He sent the letter below to members of the Republican caucus.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

Among Republicans, Kingston is four or fifth in seniority on the committee – and his success could depend on whether a waiver is granted to Jerry Lewis of California, who has already served as chairman. GOP rules prohibit a second try.

I’ve placed in bold what may be Kinston’s best selling point – that with tough budget cuts to come, he would be capable of explaining them to a broad audience. To wit:

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to announce my decision to run for Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and to ask for your support. I believe I could be helpful in this position for a number of reasons.

Primarily, I am a committed conservative with a long track record to prove it. My lifetime score with the …

Continue reading Jack Kingston jumps into race for chairman of House Appropriations Committee »

Your morning jolt: How blind will Nathan Deal’s trust be?

My AJC colleague Alan Judd has a must-read piece on Gov.-elect Nathan Deal’s plans to give an “unprecedented” level of control over his assets to a blind trust once he’s sworn in:

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal at his first press conference in the state Capitol. John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal at his first press conference in the state Capitol. John Spink/jspink@ajc.com

Deal will give a trustee unilateral authority over his homes, his investments, his half-interest in an automobile-salvage company — “everything,” said Randy Evans, the governor-elect’s attorney. The trustee will publicly disclose his or her actions but may act without Deal’s knowledge or approval.

Sonny Perdue broke a three-governor tradition of placing personal assets in blind trusts – a move that made many Republicans nervous. Including, according to this morning’s column, Jim Wooten.

We’ll let Judd continue for a few more paragraphs:

Deal’s situation appears to be much more complicated than his predecessors’, a review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicates. Almost …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: How blind will Nathan Deal’s trust be? »

Name the new rulers of the Georgia Senate

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a crisis.

Two weeks ago, the Senate Republicans overthrew Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and declared that they would be ruled by a Committee on Assignments – Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, five GOP caucus officers and two Cagle appointees.

There have been worse names for a power elite, though none come immediately to mind.

Name the new rulers of the Georgia Senate

  • Committee on Assignments
  • Committee on Public Safety
  • The Kryptonite Cabal
  • The Crazy Eights
  • Los Ocho
  • The Power 6 Plus 2
  • Tommie’s Rangers
  • The Magic Eight Ball

View Results

Loading ... Loading …

Senate Republicans need your help in arriving at something with a little more flash. Jiggy, as the young people used to say – a decade or two ago.

We’ll start with these suggestions – many of which are already floating around the state Capitol. Pick your top three.

More can be added through comments below. If they’re good enough, we’ll add them …

Continue reading Name the new rulers of the Georgia Senate »

Your morning jolt: State cuts to unemployment benefits on the table in January?

Huge changes in unemployment benefits could be in the works when the General Assembly convenes in January. The state owes $418 million – and ranks 17th among a list of 32 debtor states – for money borrowed from Uncle Sam to cover payments to the jobless.

State Sen.-elect Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, was interviewed by Lori Geary with Channel 2 Action News:

Millar said that total grows to $1.1 billion by the end of 2013 if the state does not make changes to taxes or how it pays benefits.

“Most of your elected officials, certainly in the General Assembly, I don’t think have a clue about the magnitude of this obligation,” said Millar.

“We need to be talking about fixing it; we need to be talking about fixing it right now.”

The fixes aren’t easy. If Georgia’s current 10 percent unemployment rate doesn’t improve then tax hikes for employers and benefit cuts for the unemployed must be on the table, according to Millar.

The video:

***
Kennesaw State University’s most famous …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: State cuts to unemployment benefits on the table in January? »

The price of the earmark ban in Georgia

Dredging of the Port of Savannah has been in the works since 1996. AJC file

Dredging of the Port of Savannah has been in the works since 1996. AJC file

The tea party movement claimed its first post-election victory in Washington this week, forcing even the most reluctant GOP members of Congress to swear off the earmarks that have come to symbolize out-of-control federal spending.

Many Republicans celebrated. But not all did.

The impact of the earmark ban on Georgia is substantial. Federal funding for the state’s biggest economic development project — the $551 million dredging of the Port of Savannah, worth thousands of new jobs — just became more tenuous.

But another consequence may startle tea party enthusiasts even more. The earmark moratorium has made Democrats like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed even more valuable to Republicans in this red state — as a thin but crucial bridge into the Obama administration.

Plans to deepen the Port of Savannah by six feet, to handle cargo ships that will soon begin to pass through an enlarged Panama Canal, have …

Continue reading The price of the earmark ban in Georgia »

Bill would bar all illegal immigrants from Ga. universities

From the Associated Press:

A Republican state lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban all Georgia’s public colleges and universities from accepting illegal immigrants.

The Board of Regents last month adopted a policy under which the university system’s five most competitive schools are effectively barred from accepting illegal immigrant applicants beginning in fall 2011.

The legislation prefiled on Wednesday by state Rep. Tom Rice, a Norcross Republican, would prohibit all of the university system’s 35 schools from admitting illegal immigrants.

Rice said he did not think the Regents went far enough.

Immigration is expected to be a hot topic at the state Capitol when lawmakers reconvene in January.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

Continue reading Bill would bar all illegal immigrants from Ga. universities »

Sanford Bishop: ‘Nancy Pelosi’s season has passed’

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, having survived a close call on Nov. 2, let it be known last week that he would not vote for the soon-to-be-demoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to continue as leader of the Democratic caucus.

Lawmaker Scholarships

This morning, the congressman issued a more formal statement regarding his decision to support a yet-to-be-named alternative. I’ve marked in bold what I think is the gist of his argument:

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, it is written “for every thing there is a season.” After prayerful reflection and numerous conversations with constituents who both supported and opposed my re-election, it is with a heavy heart that I have concluded that Speaker Pelosi’s season has passed. Consequently, I cannot in good conscience support her nomination as House minority leader for the 112th Congress.

On a personal level, I hold Speaker Pelosi in the highest regard. We served together first on the House Intelligence Committee and later on the House Appropriations …

Continue reading Sanford Bishop: ‘Nancy Pelosi’s season has passed’ »

Your morning jolt: Georgia’s Jack Kingston as chairman of House Appropriations Committee?

Backed by an endorsement this week from the Wall Street Journal, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, is said to be angling for the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.

He may have a chance. Who wants to sit in the most uncomfortable chair in Congress? From Politico.com:

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah. AP

[T]he Appropriations Committee just doesn’t seem to be the plum assignment it once was, and the line is short for new recruits to join a panel where the longtime focus on bringing home earmarks and other goodies will shift to finding $100 billion in spending cuts. Even conservative reformers who do get assigned to the committee are likely to be stymied once their appropriations bills reach the floor and get amended to death, then potentially earmarked into oblivion by a Democratic Senate.

“Anybody who’s a Republican right now, come June, is going to be accused of hating seniors, hating education, hating children, hating clean air and probably …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: Georgia’s Jack Kingston as chairman of House Appropriations Committee? »