Archive for April, 2011

ADL declares immigration bill will drive away business

Gov. Nathan Deal has already declared he intends to sign HB 87, but the following just arrived from Bill Nigut, the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League:

“It is unfortunate that legislators did not heed the advice of many voices in the Georgia business community, hospitality industry, the Farm Bureau, human rights organizations and others who urged them to reject this harsh immigration measure that is all but certain to drive business and tax revenues away from Georgia and send the message that this state is not a welcoming place for the diverse global community.

“If H.B. 87 is signed into law, it will likely lead to many negative economic consequences:

“Georgia businesses will be required to spend the money and time to implement a new government mandate – requiring all employers of ten or more people to use the E-Verify program to determine legal status of employees.

“Convention and tourism business will likely dip, as it did in Arizona, where …

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In Arizona, presidential candidates will have to provide proof of birth – or circumcision

State Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross, didn’t get his legislation requiring certain presidential candidate to show his birth certificates in order to be allowed on the Georgia ballot next year.

But the legislature in Arizona on Thursday night did just that. The Associated Press includes this line in its report:

The Arizona proposal would require political parties and presidential candidates to hand in affidavits stating a candidate’s citizenship and age and to provide the candidate’s birth certificate and a sworn statement saying where the candidate has lived for 14 years.

If candidates don’t have a copy of their birth certificates, they could meet the requirement by providing baptismal or circumcision certificates, hospital birth records and other documents.

Circumcision certificate? Now, there’s something every fellow in America keeps folded up in his wallet — although some might think it violates our constitutional ban on religious tests for high office.

And while …

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A very late jolt: Tommie Williams on the Senate leadership fight

In the waning minutes of the winter session of the Legislature, Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, sat down in his office and quietly explained why Senate Republicans couldn’t accept Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s proposal to resume command of the chamber.

Williams produced his copy of Cagle’s letter – you can read it here – and went through it point by point. Williams specifically pointed to this section:

There will be a daily meeting of the Lieutenant Governor, the President Pro Tempore, and the Majority Leader to consult on the flow of legislation, bill assignments, procedure, conferees and day-to-day operations of the Senate during the legislative session….

Consulting isn’t power-sharing, Williams noted. The lawmaker from Lyons drew three silos on the back of Cagle’s letter: One was Cagle’s power to name conferees, another was the lieutenant governor’s power to assign legislation. The third silo was the Committee of Assignments – which Cagle …

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What’s the difference between an anti-abortion bill and a sugar pill? Not much

Anti-abortion forces at the Capitol are in a depressed state this evening, after getting to the bottom of the one bill that held any interest for them.

SB 177 originally provided for the establishment of a health insurance advisory council, until a House committee turned it into the chamber’s lone anti-abortion measure of the year.

The version of the bill prohibited the use of “tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments,” received through President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, to be used for abortions.

But the bill included exceptions for cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. This upset Georgia Right to Life, which has angered many Republican politicians for refusing to recognize rape and incest as instances in which a woman might legitimately claim access to the procedure.

So in a blink, the House Rules committee eliminated all exceptions – including the exception for the life of the mother. Which thrilled GRTL, until one of …

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Casey Cagle’s pitch to GOP senators for a return to power

We’ve been slipped the letter that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle presented to 36 members of the Senate Republican caucus this morning, arguing for a return to strong lieutenant governor system. It’s a kind of contract guaranteeing individual members a greater say:

”While all of us are tired as we approach the end of a long – and at times, trying – legislative session, we all understand the importance of resolving this critically important issue before the end of the session.

“This is not an easy issue. Many of us are convinced that the current system is an appropriate method to conduct the people’s business. On the other hand, many of us are in support of an amendment that would restructure the Committee on Assignments to include two members of leadership and five Senators that I appoint.

“Rather than retreat to our respective corners and refuse to come together, I contend that it would be healthy for us to reach a reasonable compromise that reflects the interests of us …

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ACCG on illegal immigration: Don’t make us suffer alone

Only rarely do you see schadenfreude – the joy of seeing someone else miserable – used as the basis of a lobbying campaign.

But this is what’s happening at the state Capitol today.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia is asking county officials today to call state lawmakers and argue that, if local governments are going to be required to use E-Verify to screen for illegal immigrants, then Georgia businesses should be forced to sit in the same boat.

Says the ACCG:

Your Senators have an important choice today – the final day of the 2011 legislative session:

1) Enact real illegal immigration reform;

2) Simply saddle local governments and taxpayers with symbolic illegal immigration reform; or

3) Do nothing at all!

Please call your Senate members immediately and ask that, if they must pass illegal immigration reform this session, to please pass the current House version of House Bill 87. ACCG has worked hard to ensure this version is workable for Georgia …

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Chip Rogers: Senate close to a deal on illegal immigration

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, a supporter of HB 87, said lawmakers were close to an agreement on the illegal immigration measure – the most important piece of legislation facing the chamber on its final day.

Negotiations with the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, have focused on giving businesses – which would be required to use the federal E-Verify data base to screen hires – a probationary period to correct lapses.

A similar clause already exists in the legislation for local governments found employing illegal immigrants.

Under Rogers’ plan, the Senate would be asked to “agree, with amendments” to the House version – a tactic designed to avoid a conference committee whose Senate members would appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. If successful, another House vote would be required.

Opponents of HB 87’s toughest provisions still hope to push the bill into a conference committee. More background can be found here.

As …

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Just in time for a Senate immigration debate: McDonald’s managers accused of selling phony IDs

This is likely to become fodder for today’s Senate debate over illegal immigration and HB 87. From the Associated Press:

Savannah, Ga. — Federal prosecutors in Savannah have charged two managers at a loca lMcDonald’s restaurant with selling stolen identities to prospective employees.

U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver said Wednesday that 51-year-old Oscar Lazo and 35-year-old Eva Ramos were charged with conspiring to sell the stolen identities of U.S. citizens and harboring illegal aliens.
Prosecutors also charged Maurcio Cruz and Manuel Cruz — both citizens of Mexico — with using the stolen identities to obtain employment at the restaurant.

Lazo and Ramos face more than 100 years in prison, if convicted. The other two face up to 37 years of prison if they are convicted.
Attorneys for the four could not immediately be contacted.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: A Sine Die fight over Senate leadership

The Senate Republican caucus has gathered again this morning, to continue its debate over who will lead the chamber through the last day of the session.

A session that started on 1 p.m. Wednesday ended in time for the 7 p.m. Braves game – with a few breaks in between. Casey Cagle paid two visits during the day, to argue his case for a return to a chamber led by the lieutenant governor.

The object is to settle the issue before senators point their brake lights toward Atlanta – rather than allowing it to fester until the General Assembly re-assembles later this summer.

A vote to change the Senate rules is possible today, though it would require Democratic cooperation – and the approval of two-thirds of the chamber.

GOP members of the Senate will be asked to vote on one of two proposals now on the table. Peach Pundit offers this description of the first:

The proposal pushed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle would alter the make-up of the Committee on Assignments from the current …

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A Republican photo finish on illegal immigration

Next Monday is the official start for the shipping of Georgia’s Vidalia onion crop. Prospects for a high-quality season are good.

To some rural Republican members of the state Senate, that means a large number of hands, in the field and beyond, will be needed quickly and temporarily, through June. Hiring will often be done on the spot, in isolated places without Internet service.

To many suburban Republicans in the same chamber, illegal immigration in Georgia has become such a drag on taxpayers that a slight, inexpensive inconvenience — specifically, requiring all businesses to run hiring prospects through a federal database — is an absolute necessity.

If a crop can’t be brought in without a certified, legal labor force, then perhaps it should stay in the field, the hardest of the hardcore argue.

We have arrived at the end of the winter session of the Legislature. HB 87, a measure addressing illegal immigration and sponsored by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, …

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