The civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the circumstances surrounding the city of Lilburn’s decision to block the expansion of a local mosque, Mark Winne of Channel 2 Action News reports.
A federal official confirmed the probe, but declined further comment. Richard Carothers, attorney for the city, said the local government is cooperating.
“We think that we are being discriminated against. We think they don’t want the Muslims to continue to worship in the city,” said Doug Dillard, attorney for the Dar-e Abbas Shia Islamic Center.
Joe McCutchen, the sage of Jasper, sends word that U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, broke his foot on Thursday during a game of basketball. He’ll be on crutches for a while.
On Thursday, live camera trucks from both CNN and Fox News parked themselves in front of the state Capitol to hear former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich’s announcement that he has decided to plunge – into the formation of a website that will gauge the temperature for a presidential run.
The result of this misplay: The Marietta Daily Journal, Gingrich’s former hometown newspaper, played the event on Page 5A. Shannon McCaffrey of the Associated Press explains the significance of Gingrich’s “testing the waters phase:”
That means the former Georgia congressman can raise and spend money to hire staff and conduct polling to gauge how much support he would have for a presidential bid. He will only have to disclose his fundraising and spending if he ultimately jumps into the race.
Earlier, Gingrich’s spokesman Rick Tyler said Gingrich and his wife oversee a web of commercial and nonprofit ventures and must tie up some loose ends with those businesses before they can take that step of forming an exploratory committee.
The Legislature’s annual fight over where firearms can and can’t be carried has begun. From Greg Bluestein of the Associated Press:
A proposal unveiled Thursday would allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons into churches, synagogues and other houses of worship with the approval of the congregation. It would also allow them to keep their weapons in locked boxes within school parking lots and safety zones.
Another provision would require probate judges to send notices to gun owners at least 90 days before a firearm license expires. The proposal also would no longer require those seeking to renew their license to undergo another criminal background check, although the measure’s backers said they expect to delete that language after it came under fire.
“Some gun rights are still being repressed in Georgia as I see it,” said state Sen. Jeff Mullis, the Chickamauga Republican who sponsored the measure. “I hope this adds value to the right to bear arms.”
The measure, which is before the Senate Public Safety Committee, comes a year after lawmakers adopted a proposal that allowed permit-holders to carry guns into some bars and the parking lots of colleges, courthouses, airports and jails.
Another measure that would have allowed guns into parts of airports throughout the state was vetoed in June by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The 23-page overhaul would further expand the list of places gun owners can carry their weapons.
The measure would specifically ban law enforcement officers from seizing firearms from suspects, unless the weapons are evidence in a criminal investigation. It bars local governments from adopting any gun restriction that’s more stringent than the state law.
At a subcommittee meeting, critics took aim at the new notification requirements for probate judges, saying that it would force lawmakers to hike the $30 firearm license fee to cover the costs. There was also pushback against allowing licensed gun owners to bring their weapons into houses of worship.
“If everybody pulls a pistol, who’s going to be left?” said state Sen. Valencia Seay, a Riverdale Democrat. “We’re relaxing everyone’s right to carry. When are we going to stop?”
But gun rights advocates said houses of worship should also be entitled to Second Amendment protections. State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh said churches are now the only owners of private property that aren’t allowed to decide whether gun owners can carry firearms on their property.
“This would allow a church to develop their own policies,” said Seabaugh, a Sharpsburg Republican. He said congregations could even use the proposal to “secretly allow members of their church to develop their own security.”
Something to file under “Who Knew?” A small item in the Coastal Courier addresses a coming performance of “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” at the Glennville city auditorium in Tattnall County.
The show features Katie Deal, daughter of Gov. Nathan Deal, as “one of America’s top Patsy Cline interpreters, officially sanctioned by the Patsy Cline Estate and Charlie Dick, Cline’s husband.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider