Your morning jolt: Immigration bill gutted with unrecorded votes

The most important question for this morning: With only 48 hours left in the winter session of the General Assembly, and much of its major work done or abandoned, do lawmakers have an appetite for hard-nosed negotiations on a measure aimed at illegal immigration?

Late Monday, the Senate again staked out a firm, pro-business position. From my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon:

By a vote of 39 to 17, the Senate approved House Bill 87 after nearly three hours of debate and a lengthy and sometimes confusing discussion about several amendments.

Among other things, the Senate eliminated a provision in the bill that would have required many private businesses to use a federal work authorization program called E-Verify. That program helps businesses confirm their newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

The amendment to strip the E-Verify requirement was sponsored by John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee. Another amendment to re-insert the requirement, but make it applicable only to larger businesses, failed. It was sponsored by Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, and Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga.

A successful amendment sponsored by Democrats Jason Carter of Decatur and Doug Stoner of Smyrna weakened the law enforcement provisions by giving police the right to stop suspected action involving illegal immigrants – whether harboring or transporting – only when a felony is involved.

As you will note in the bill’s history, none of the votes on the measures were recorded. All save the final vote for passage were conducted by head count.

”I live in a whole new world, from my side. I’m sick to my stomach right now,” said D.A. King, the immigration activist, who watched from the gallery. He noted this morning that not one Republican senator protested the lack of recorded votes.

King said he will try to identify Republicans who voted to weaken HB 87 through archived video.

The important point to remember in all this is that, in this entire session, only one House-Senate conference committee has been employed – on next year’s state budget. That’s because the appointment of Senate negotiators goes directly to the power dispute between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate Republicans.

***
Many of you are still digging into the Mystery of Beth Merkleson and Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton’s connection with said person – if she exists. A fellow named Arch Adams of Hartwell discovered that she and Staton shared a certain IP address.

Others of you have noted that Adams is a campaign contributor to state Sen. Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia, an ally of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. “Merkleson” had sent a note to the chairman of the Habersham County GOP, urging him to field a primary opponent against Butterworth.

***
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss told members of the Atlanta Rotary Club that President Barack Obama “threw us a little bit of a curveball” with the weekend announcement that he planned to deliver a speech on deficit-reduction this week.

But today’s Washington Post has a bit of good news for Chambliss and Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia, who have been spearheading the U.S. Senate’s effort to tackle the $14 trillion federal deficit. From Ezra Klein:

Obama will throw his support behind the bipartisan effort in the Senate to turn the Simpson-Bowles plan into legislation ….This will raise as many questions as it answers — if Obama is such a fan of this approach, for instance, why didn’t he say more about it during his budget? — but it is, at base, a more realistic plan both in terms of policy and politics.

***
AJC’s Politifact today looks at a statement from U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Mark Warner, who say that Social Security once had 16 workers behind every retiree – but now has only three.

***
After sending out notice that he had signed on as campaign manager for presumptive GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, Atlanta’s Nick Ayers sent a more personal e-mail to friends, explaining that his decision shouldn’t be read as a slight to other possible candidates – most specifically Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who headed up the Republican Governors Association during a portion of Ayers’ tenure as executive director.

Wrote Ayers, in part, as recorded by Ben Smith of Politico:

It was going to be much easier to sit on the sidelines in Georgia, enjoy the fruits of the private sector, and cheer on all of my friends as they jostled for the Republican nomination for president. That path would have been politically safe, financially sound, and personally very comforting. But it was not the right one.

Over the past six months, I have prayed deeply about my purpose in life and how best to utilize the talents God has given me. I wanted my decision to be wholly about how best to serve Him, not what was most politically or financially expedient for my family and me. As He often does in walks of faith, He has called me to a higher purpose.

I believe that our Nation is truly on the wrong path. We need a new direction that is positive and hopeful. Simply said, we need new leadership. I believe that Governor Pawlenty is best positioned to provide that leadership. Therefore, I am pleased today to join Governor and Mrs. Pawlenty in their pursuit of the presidency.

My decision does not mean I think less of Haley Barbour, Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels or Newt Gingrich should they decide to run, because I do not. I know them all personally and believe in their intellect, capabilities, and principles.

***
You knew that Jimmy Carter was a deacon. But who knew that he was a member of The Elders? Conspiracy theorists will have a field day. From the AFP news service:

SEOUL — Three former world leaders will accompany ex-US president Jimmy Carter to North Korea this month to discuss tensions on the peninsula and food shortages in the communist state, a report said Monday.

JoongAng Daily, quoting diplomatic sources in South Korea, said Carter would be accompanied by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, former Irish president Mary Robinson and former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The four are members of a group of ex-leaders known as The Elders. The group said on its website it was concerned at high inter-Korean tensions and the reported food shortages.
“A small group of Elders is considering a visit to the region at the end of April to discuss with officials and others how these issues may be addressed,” the weekend statement said, adding that plans were not finalised.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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77 comments Add your comment

Centrist

April 12th, 2011
10:07 am

The good news is that there is going to be tougher laws in Georgia concerning ILLEGAL immigration. Of course, the word “Illegal” is purposely missing from the headline of this blog.

The bad news is that unless somehow the House version prevails, it will be watered down. Hopefully, in subsequent legislative sessions the terms will be tightened and businesses using illegal workers will be weaned from their employ in favor of U.S. citizens – especially during our high unemployment.

HL

April 12th, 2011
10:11 am

I’m shocked that businesses will still be able to entice immigrants to work for low pay and no benefits but at least we’ll be able to follow around their school age children. Good times.

Road Scholar

April 12th, 2011
10:14 am

The Repubs HAVE screwed up a one car funeral. God help us!

td

April 12th, 2011
10:17 am

Stoner and Carter make me sick. They really do want open boarders. The police can only ask if a person is illegals if they are committing a felony.

Cobb Woman of Color

April 12th, 2011
10:20 am

Same old rhetoric…nothing accomplished…

Big business wins and pits Americans against each other…

Americans must unite and protest the encroachment of illegals…make our government work for Americans!

td

April 12th, 2011
10:20 am

I also would like to know which Republicans voted for this amendment so that I can campaign against them in next years primary.

eatmotacos

April 12th, 2011
10:21 am

“….. not one Republican senator protested the lack of recorded votes”

Remove them all – they are prostitutes. You can’t elect worse. Boycott chicken, onions, and any floor covering manufactured in Georgia.

Pete

April 12th, 2011
10:21 am

the Republicans are driving me from the party. In addition to flaunting a total lack of ethics now they don’t have the spine to defend thier position. I’ve never seen such a sad state of affairs, and no hope for the future.

Aquagirl

April 12th, 2011
10:25 am

A vote on illegal immigration without a head count? Hahahahaha! The Republicans sure took a stand there.
This bill doesn’t change a thing in the real world. More illegal immigrants will stream into Georgia. These people face Zetas, dehydration, rape, and other dangers to get here. Only an idiot would think they’re the least bit discouraged by this bill. Its real effect is in the brain of immigrant-bashers. Republicans know they can throw a sop to the rabid mobs, who will continue to follow them like lemmings over a cliff.

That’s right Repub voters, dance for your corporate masters! DANCE! Yeeehaw!

GaBlue

April 12th, 2011
10:27 am

Are these schmucks seriously getting paid for this joke of a legislative session? Can I get a refund?

Another Voice

April 12th, 2011
10:33 am

I thought GA was broke yet they want to spend millions just like AZ defending a law that has no real shot of ever come to fruition…..really smart!! They could use those millions to help the students that were cut out from hope…..Immigration is a federal issue and the states have no business in it, the courts have spoken what part of this do the legislator do not understand.

Pinche Huevos

April 12th, 2011
10:38 am

VIVA LA LIBERTAD!

Another Cynic

April 12th, 2011
10:39 am

LOL… “Tougher laws in Georgia”… PLEASE! Do you really think these laws will make a difference? As long as there is a need for cheap labor in this country you will NEVER see tough laws on illegal immigration. When will people wake up and understand how this game works? The multi-billion dollar agriculture and service industry runs the show… we will have watered down versions of everything complete with loopholes so they can continue to make money. Politicians will promise “reform” to the easily influenced sheep to get elected and then reality sets in.

You cannot escape history… this country was built on the backs of cheap (free) labor (African Slaves) and other immigrants over time. Most Americans WILL NOT work for that level of pay… so the cycle will only continue.

gsueagle

April 12th, 2011
10:41 am

who cares about saxby , can’t wait to vote against him and for a true republican

Light on policy

April 12th, 2011
10:46 am

Any legislation passed without an E-Verify requirement has no teeth.

Not only are our legislators telling us that low-skilled labor can be used without penalty, but any private business that’s getting State Tax Dollars can hire illegal immigrants with impunity.

Last Man Standing

April 12th, 2011
10:52 am

Pete:

“the Republicans are driving me from the party”

I could possibly make that statement concerning Georgia RINO’s, but the problem would then be where would I go? The democrats, or what is left of them, is not a viable alternative for me. I agree with td: if I knew who they were, I’d do what I could to encourage that they are challenged in their next primary.

Roger

April 12th, 2011
10:56 am

To TD: I think you mean “open borders.” I don’t know what an “open boarder” is? The world had mostly open borders before the 20th century. We should have them again. I don’t think President Carter is for them, however. Do you have statements that prove otherwise? Please educate us then.

As for the “show me your papers” bill, it needs to fail. People had to show papers in Nazi Germany. Is this something we really want in America? More government is not the answer here.

td

April 12th, 2011
10:59 am

Maybe D.A. King will be able to find out.

Aquagirl

April 12th, 2011
11:00 am

SI SE PUEDE…..hire cheap labor.

Last Man and Pete, if you’d look at individual politicians you’d find some decent Democrats. Problem is, y’all respond to spewed rhetoric. For instance—who cares if your State legislator supports Roe v. Wade or not? But they blow that dog whistle about bay-beeeees and you’ll vote for any idiot they toss on the ballot.

GeorgiaLatino

April 12th, 2011
11:01 am

Hopefully this kills the bill for this session and forces the lawmakers here in Georgia to look more closely at Utah’s law, which combined enforcement with a human approach to those who are here with roots, and not breaking any other laws.

Please people, there is a solution. Enforcement alone is not the answer!

sunkawakan

April 12th, 2011
11:04 am

Sen. Curt Thompson had some great information about the “vigilante” portion of the bill. Apparently, only registered voters are allowed to complain to the Atty. General about a perceived failure of a municipality,etc. to enforce provisions pertaining to “illegals”. Constitutionally, this takes right of redress away from non-voters. Are there no attorneys on the judiciary committees in the GA Assembly that something this obvious was missed, or do they just not care, and are using this for political “states’ rights” fodder?

td

April 12th, 2011
11:05 am

Roger

April 12th, 2011
10:56 am

I am talking about State Senator Jason Carter (Some type of relation to Jimmmy). He and Doug Stoner offered the Amendment to pull the strick law enforcement piece of the bill.

There is no way we can have an open border and just let anyone and everyone in this country now. The only way that could happen is if we had a single government for the entire world. Are you advocating a single one world government?

sunkawakan

April 12th, 2011
11:11 am

td, Jason Carter is the grandson of Jimmy. What’s a “strick”? And are you one of those conspiracy theorists who believes – like D.A. King – that there’s a push for a one world government? King has a whole website devoted to this topic: http://americansov.org/

Aquagirl

April 12th, 2011
11:17 am

Oh, geez, the Left Behind crowd is cranking up. Get out your tinfoil hats.

Ric

April 12th, 2011
11:21 am

STILL no fiscal note on HB 87.

sunkawakan

April 12th, 2011
11:24 am

Here’s another of King’s websites on the purported “North American Union” conspiracy:
http://www.theamericanresistance.com/index.html

sunkawakan

April 12th, 2011
11:25 am

Ric, that’s because they don’t want anyone to know just how much this (with thanks to Sen. Curt Thompson) pig in lipstick and a fancy dress will cost.

Beth Merkleman

April 12th, 2011
11:31 am

Interesting admission from Nick Ayers that he could have “enjoyed the fruits of the private sector” — hmmmm, cushy corporate jobs are available when you leave politics? Don’t worry, they’ll still be waiting after you’ve followed God’s call to work for Pawlenty.

LarryM

April 12th, 2011
11:37 am

Well put Aquagirl.

Can we move on to more important things now, folks?

Am I right to assume Bulloch’s e-verify amendment effectively killed SB-10 in the House? Nice going, Senator …

yuzeyurbrane

April 12th, 2011
11:42 am

Shock and surprise!! This was always the fix. If the House had guts, it would just let the whole thing die rather than let Deal demagogue a signing ceremony for a bogus bill. Probably won’t happen though. Now what we suspected is confirmed–the fatcat donors (agribusn., contractors, etc.) prevail over the base. And Republicans will spin their demagogic and probably illegal remnants of a bill without really doing anything on the 1 provision, E-verify, that would have materially impacted the core of the problem.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
11:54 am

Here’s Rome’s stated plan for using illegal immigration to take over America: http://www.amazon.com/National-Publication-Publishing-Promotion-Conference/dp/1555861997

The Republicrat and Demublican party politicians fear the focussed electoral and judicial wrath of Rome, hence: no immigration bill.

Fulton County Democrats, White, Black, Jew and Gentile, opposed to tory treason and “the real Anti-Christ’s” design on the People we came here to escape: fascist plutocracy’s spiraling concentration of wealth having gotten away with the Holocaust; killing Kennedy and King to send us to die for the pope in Vietnam; and committing 9/11 to steal Iraqi oil and to shore up Rome’s bankers of the Fed with the Wall Street Bailout, come to the meeting of the Fulton County Democratic Party, Thursday, April 14th, at 7:00pm at the Communications Workers of America (3204) Hall at 279 Logan Street SE Atlanta, GA 30312

Obama was just a start. He let us know in “Audacity” that he knew Bush and Cheney committed 9/11. Ventura has now talked about it explicitly to millions on an Atlanta subsidiary “TruTV”…and SO MUST THE DEMOCRATS to be the true party of the American PEOPLE!

Righteousness is Mine, saith the L-rd.
Death for Treason
Annuit Coeptis

Are Egyptians better Americans than we?

GaBlue

April 12th, 2011
11:55 am

From sunshinereview dot org: Georgia state legislators make $17,342 per year, plus a $173 per day for “expenses.”

Considering their level of productivity, the hours they actually work, and the steaming pile of *bleep* that constitutes their work product, I’d say they’re overpaid.

Cutty

April 12th, 2011
11:59 am

No tax reform, no immigration, didn’t hear much about water it transportation…… what exactly dis these guys do this session?? You republicans are suckers. Were any of your issues addresses with a a republican majority?? td and last man like to shift blame to democrats, but this is your party in complete control and still can’t walk and chew gum ay the same time.

Last Man Standing

April 12th, 2011
11:59 am

Aquagirl:

As I have said/wrote before, the Supreme Court has ruled abortion legal, and that isn’t going to change. The abortion issue will have to be resolved between the women who choose to abort and a much higher power at a later time. It isn’t an issue for me.

I will never vote for s democrat again. Obama, Pelosi and Reed settled that issue for me – forever.

Centrist

April 12th, 2011
12:03 pm

Although this blog makes it sound like it is a done deal that the (ILLEGAL) immigration bill has been gutted – not so fast. That was the Senate yesterday, but the House is standing firm:

http://www.ajc.com/news/house-objects-to-senates-906433.html

Joe Mama

April 12th, 2011
12:11 pm

Good news for me (illegal) as I get a bit of a break! :)

John Bowman

April 12th, 2011
12:12 pm

What is the current penalty for treason?

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
12:14 pm

Right “Joe Mama,” and all you need do in return is offer up your children for molestation by a pedophile priest just like “back home.”

Another Cynic

April 12th, 2011
12:19 pm

@Centrist… I’m glad you’re the optimist… Let’s just wait and see what happens after the dust settles.
I have a strong hunch that BIG BUSINESS will prevail yet again.

td

April 12th, 2011
12:20 pm

Cutty

April 12th, 2011
11:59 am
No tax reform, no immigration, didn’t hear much about water it transportation…… what exactly dis these guys do this session?? You republicans are suckers. Were any of your issues addresses with a a republican majority??

How are Republicans suckers? Even if this bad illegal bill passes it is an improvement and a start. You and I both know the Dems would not have even written this bill. Tax reform, most conservatives wanted this years bill killed and start over next year. The rank and file republicans won and the lobbyist lost this year. Water: The party passed a bill to set up more reservoirs and the court has ruled in our favor in the negotiations.

You forget that conservatives understand that there is a role for government but do not want government running our economy. We really only want them to address the most pressing issues and to stay out of the way most of the time. With that said, the state legislature has done a pretty good job this session. I would give them a B- to a C+.

The Federal government is a whole different animal and since the Dems still control 2 of the 3 bodies then they are to blame for the mess going on up there. The House Republicans are doing what we sent them to Washington to do (get control of spending). Republicans know we have to help the house and that is what next years election will be all about.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
12:21 pm

“BIG BUSINESS”…what a “nice” way to say Fascism.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
12:22 pm

The Roman Catholics control two of three bodies – SCOTUS and Congress – and Obama’s in their pocket as Bush and Cheney are yet breathing our air.

td

April 12th, 2011
12:29 pm

Another Cynic

April 12th, 2011
12:19 pm
@Centrist… I’m glad you’re the optimist… Let’s just wait and see what happens after the dust settles.
I have a strong hunch that BIG BUSINESS will prevail yet again.

And if they do then the rank and file members will have to put more pressure on our Reps and Senators to change their minds.

Rachel Meadows (yes I watch the opposition) had a interview last night where she and her guest (some big time far left guy), they talked about the how the Tea Party movement has kept the Federal House in line to push the conservative agenda because the members are afraid of primary challenges. The Tea Party was able to pick off several Republican incumbents in the last cycle. Meadows and the guy was opining about how the far left needed their own version of the “Tea Party” movement to make the Dems hold the line and not give in. The moral of the story is that we conservatives are slowly taking back the Republican party from the special interest and this session has taught us that we still have some work to do in Georgia. First step was to crush the liberals and we did that last year in the state. Next step will be to purge the party of the RINO’s and we will start that next year.

counterpoint

April 12th, 2011
12:40 pm

Republicans aren’t suckers, it’s just that the Democrats have everyone brainwashed and are really the ones in control. It will take more than the Tea Party, etc. to break the addiction to socialism.

Saving the World and allowing illegals from all nationalities to continue to rape our nation will cost us dearly. The recession was just a wake up call to what is inevitably going to happen.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
12:44 pm

Here’s a taste of Our Founder’s view of “liberal”: http://books.google.com/books?id=ZTIoAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA52&dq=jeffersonian+cyclopedia+searchable&hl=en&ei=LYCkTbKUBYTl0gGc2ZDuCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=liberal&f=false

Who thinks him or herself more intelligent or closer to G-d than America’s Founder and Prophet?

Perhaps Nick Ayers does (though bet his wife knows he isn’t) now that he’s working for “twenty pieces of silver” to elect a papist as POTUS?

levotb

April 12th, 2011
1:09 pm

My thanks to the usually pro-lawbreaker AJC and particularly to writer Galloway for spelling out what’s happened in the GA Legislature, “the Legislature that can’t”. What shocks me is that Chip Rogers (who I’ve greatly respected) would come up with an asinine amendment making E-verify “only apply to larger businesses”, IE meaning that small businesses would be allowed to break Federal law!

Sorry, but that was a most stupid amendment. The Legislature that can’t. Oh, well. There’s always next year and with rampant crime and thousands of anchor babies in the interim.

Aquagirl

April 12th, 2011
1:16 pm

td
April 12th, 2011
12:20 pm
With that said, the state legislature has done a pretty good job this session. I would give them a B- to a C+.

That’s it, td, you are officially insane.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

April 12th, 2011
1:21 pm

“Rogers” is a Roman Catholic name and when I spoke with Chip and offered to show him my copy of Rome’s plan for promoting illegal immigration to take over America he said he’d have his secretary call me…

Never heard back from the hypocrite/loser.

td

April 12th, 2011
1:24 pm

Aquagirl

April 12th, 2011
1:16 pm
td
April 12th, 2011
12:20 pm
With that said, the state legislature has done a pretty good job this session. I would give them a B- to a C+.

That’s it, td, you are officially insane.

I guess that means the other 60% of this state and 50% of the country are insane too because they believe the same way as I do. Government is not the answer, they are a necessary evil and have a limited role and should stay out of the way of free enterprise the rest of the time.