Archive for February, 2011

‘They came for our toilets. Now, they want our light bulbs’

Earlier this afternoon, we gave a mention to SB 61, the bill that declares Georgia’s sovereign authority over incandescent light bulbs that do not cross state lines.

Federal energy efficiency regulations are forcing a phase-out of Mr. Edison’s version. Here’s the gist of the bill:

”Notwithstanding any other law, a person may possess, use, manufacture, purchase, install, transport, sell, or internationally export an incandescent light bulb that is manufactured commercially or privately in this state if the light bulb is not exported to another state.

“This Code section applies to an incandescent light bulb that is manufactured in this state from basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state. The importation into this state of any generic or insignificant part that has other manufacturing or consumer product applications or any basic materials does not subject the incandescent light bulb to federal …

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The Sunday sales bill is dead. But there’s still time to save the American light bulb

While a scrum of TV, radio and print reporters waited outside a Senate office door for the formal pronouncement that the Sunday sales bill was dead, the AJC’s Christopher Quinn was getting a bit of analysis from the deposed ruler of the chamber.

Said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle:

”This is Majority Leader Chip Rogers’ bill – which he co-authored, and made certain commitments. So it’s a little surprising and somewhat different course of action than has been taken in years past.

“Usually you have a committee process by which bills are passed through, and then after they passed, they go to a rules committee.

“Having a caucus vote determining what bills come the floor and what bills do not actually to my knowledge has not been done in the past. So this is a little bit of a change in the procedure with the Senate, and the minority party is pretty much shut out of the process.”

Now, a little background here. First, many senators blame Cagle for the eruption over Sunday sales. It was he who …

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Your morning jolt: Shirley Franklin ‘regrets’ ATL acceptance of guns at airport

If you’re a regular reader of the Political Insider, then you know that, even while she was mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin would occasionally stir the pot with a comment or two.

Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

You now have a chance to return the favor. Franklin has started up her own political forum, “Blogging While Blue” – with her son Cabral and her former communications director, Beverly Isom.

Franklin kicked off the launch of her blog with a bit of news – an expression of disappointment in her successor, Kasim Reed. From Ben Mayer with 11Alive:

In an interview Wednesday, Franklin was relaxed, eager to talk about the city she moved to from Philadelphia decades ago, but still has the spark of a politician now only arm’s length from her old office.

“I’m really upset about anyone that thinks guns and concealed weapons belong in an airport that serves 200,000 people. They don’t belong there whether they’re licensed or not,” she said. …

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Carter Center to send delegation to Egypt to meet with military

Jimmy Carter may be about to dip back into Egyptian politics.

The former president, who negotiated the Camp David Accords in 1978, resulting in a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, told students at the University of Texas in Austin this week that “the Middle East is still a testing box for the whole world – and I say that greatly recognizing that there are other places threatening to erupt.”

From ABC News:

The Carter Center, the former president’s humanitarian organization, will be sending a delegation to Egypt within a few weeks to visit with military leaders, help draft a constitution and set up democratic elections for September.

The former president has also met members of the Muslim Brotherhood during his time in Egypt. According to Carter, only 15 percent of Egyptians would actually vote for the Brotherhood during elections.

“I think that the Muslim Brotherhood is not anything to be afraid of,” Carter said. “They will be subsumed in the overwhelming demonstration of …

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Nathan Deal warns against a hasty defunding of health care reform

Every now and then, you and I are allowed a glimpse of reality by the people we elect to high office.

They pull the curtain aside for a few valuable seconds — just long enough for us to be startled.

The surprise doesn’t have to be a lie — and usually isn’t. More often, what we are met with is a situation that is far more nuanced and complicated than the spoon-fed rhetoric that we get from the flat screens in our living rooms.

Take the issue of Republicans and the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. Last fall, “repeal” was the byword among GOP candidates — until it became clear that Democrats would retain control of the Senate.

Then the slogan shifted to “defund.” We will starve the beast into irrelevance, House Republicans vowed.

Last week’s unanimous vote for an outright repeal of health care legislation was understood to be a largely a symbolic gesture to tea partyers.

Afterwards, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia promised that an amendment to defund …

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A fresh argument against Sunday sales: ‘We don’t want to be like California’

Majority Whip Cecil Staton, R-Macon, said he hoped to finish by late today a count of Senate Republican for and against SB 10, the measure to permit the package sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The whip count was ordered by Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, Staton said.

But after the confidential count, there’s still no guarantee that the bill – stalled by a sudden surge of conservative Christian protest, and possibly some behind-the-scenes liquor interests – will emerge from the Senate Rules Committee and be sent to the floor.

“That will be the basis upon which there will be further discussion of what to do,” Staton said.

In one of several interviews conducted by my AJC colleague Christopher Quinn, Staton said he personally favors the bill. “If the vote was held today, I would probably vote for it. I’m a big believer in local control,” he said.

Rogers, the majority leader and second-signer on SB 10, simply said, “The …

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Your morning jolt: Five lawmakers join ethics push

Since January, the question for the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform – that cross-ideological coalition of tea partyers, Common Cause of Georgia, and such – has been what kind of legislative support it can muster in the state Capitol.

An answer could come this morning as the group begins a day of lobbying for tighter ethics laws – including a $100 cap on gifts for lawmakers.

The lawmakers expected to appear with GAER this morning:

– Sen, Joshua McKoon, R-Columbus, a freshman;

– Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, grandson of the former president;

– Rep. Wendall Willard, R-Sandy Springs, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and an advocate of gift caps;

– Rep. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, a freshman who defeated Republican Jill Chambers in November;

– Rep. “Rusty” Kidd, I-Milledgeville.

Note the perfect partisan symmetry, right down to the independent.

***
HB 216, a measure sponsored by state Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, comes up for a hearing this afternoon. The bill would

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‘Gambling zones’ on Jekyll Island, at Lake Lanier and in Savannah?

If you are a conservative Christian wandering the halls of the state Capitol, it is not just SB 10, the Sunday sales bill, that has you spitting nails.

Or the business lobbyists who once conceded your influence – and now do not.

There is more. Possibly you weren’t too fond of last week’s decision by the House to table the English-only requirement for drivers’ license tests, sponsored by state Rep. James Mills, R-Gainesville, a strong ally.

Surely you were upset by the re-introduction by state Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, of a measure to permit horse-racing – and the gambling that comes with it.

But what may have pushed you over the edge is the idea of establishing gambling zones in the state – at tourist locales like Jekyll Island and Lake Lanier. Even though the likelihood of passage is slim.

From Walter Jones and Morris News Service:

Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, said he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment toward the end of the current legislative session to …

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Senate Republicans to settle fate of Sunday sales bill in private caucus

Senate Republicans will have an hour-long, private caucus on Wednesday to determine if legislation to permit package sales of alcohol on Sunday has a future, according to a report just posted by Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM).

Listen to the audio here.

“If we don’t have a majority of our senators in favor of it, then we’re not going to bring it to the floor,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, who supplied the second signature on SB 10. “If the caucus is for it, it’s going to come to the floor.”

One day earlier, Rogers had raised the possibility that the Sunday sales legislation had been stalled for the session by a last minute surge of opposition from conservative Christian groups.

Today, via O’Hayer, Rogers rated the future of his bill as “a coin toss. It has not hit a wall.”

Personally, Rogers said, “95 percent” of the communications he’s received on the bill have been in favor.

“The polling that’s been done in my district shows overwhelming support – in …

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Georgia’s chief justice: We can’t afford to lock up so many people

Update at 3:50 p.m.: This announcement just came in for a 1:45 p.m. event on Wednesday:

Gov. Nathan Deal will join Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, state Rep. Jay Neal and others for a news conference to discuss new legislation on criminal justice reform.

Original post:

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the state Supreme Court appears ready to endorse Gov. Nathan Deal’s efforts to reduce the number of non-violent offenders that Georgia locks up.

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court will give her “State of the Judiciary” address on Wednesday. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Chief Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court will give her “State of the Judiciary” address on Wednesday. Kent D. Johnson, kdjohnson@ajc.com

Hunstein will offer her “State of the Judiciary” address to a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday. Her office released a few highlights today:

“Georgia’s leaders in all three branches of government recognize that we can no longer afford the more than $1 billion it costs us annually to maintain the …

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