Your second jolt: Shocker! Republican senator speaks politely with Democrats

You can’t start the winter session of the Legislature without noting the latest turn of the screw in the state Senate.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has let it be known that he was ready to re-assert his authority in the chamber – which was ripped from his hands 15 months on a vote by the Senate GOP caucus.

Last Wednesday, Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, who now heads the chamber, paid a visit to a gathering of the Senate Democratic caucus. Nathan Humphrey, Williams’ chief of staff, acknowledged a brief meeting, but said it was nothing out of the ordinary.

“Senator Williams has traditionally tried to speak with at least the minority caucus leadership — if not the minority caucus as a whole — prior to the start of session,” Humprey reported.

But Democrats say the visit was without precedent. He made no promises, we’re told, but did encourage a dialogue between the two caucuses. Democrats took the visit as a sign that Williams might need their help to retain his leadership position this session. Which would be odd, given that many Senate Republicans last year criticized Cagle for consorting with the enemy.

Williams spoke at a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus the next day, but we’re told he didn’t mention his prior meeting with Democrats. That has some Senate Republicans miffed – but truth be told, it doesn’t take much to miff a Senate Republican these days.

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In a conversation with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM), House Speaker David Ralston late last week said that he doesn’t expect a House committee studying legislation to permit pari-mutuel betting in Georgia to advance a bill this session.

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The Georgia Supreme Court this morning upheld a lower court ruling ordering DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis to reinstate a fire department captain dismissed in 2010 after a house fire in Dunwoody killed an elderly woman. Caldwell was dismissed for failing to locate the address of the burning home, and failing to take command of the scene.

The county will be obliged to pick up the legal fees for Capt. Sell Caldwell III.

***
Today’s doings in the state Capitol will be mostly ceremonial – but one bit of news is likely to be produced by a 2 p.m. joint meeting of the House and Senate economic development committees – where lawmakers will review projections for pre-k and HOPE scholarship funding. The gathering will be Room 506 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building.

***
The Morris News Service has this update on House committee chairmanships:

Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, becomes the new chairman of the House Higher Education Committee succeeding ex-Rep. Len Walker, R-Loganville who took a post as chaplain of Big Canoe Chapel in North Georgia. The committee oversees legislation related to the state’s public colleges, including a recently introduced measure to prohibit the admission of any illegal aliens. Currently the Board of Regents policy is to only exclude them from universities that are so crowded they’re turning away qualified Georgia residents.

A pending proposal to merge eight schools into four, however, won’t require legislation. Still, it is likely to be a subject the committee will look into.

Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon, becomes the new chairwoman of the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee, giving up the same position as head of the House Human Relations & Aging Committee to Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson. Purcell replaces ex-Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, who stepped down to take a job in the Deal administration.

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Our friends at Creative Loafing are going after the “sock puppets” on the weekly newspaper’s website:

CL encourages all its readers to share their …. But we don’t want them posting their opinion 15 times under different names because that undermines our efforts to create a forum where people can speak their minds and get a sense for what others are thinking. Also, we want to foster an online community of wise-asses, insiders and malcontents that doesn’t need to worry about the conversation being hijacked by comment-bots.

Therefore, as soon as our web folks get all the logistics worked out, we’re going to limit commenters to a single online identity. Plus, we’re going to be more aggressive in dealing with apparent sock puppetry, deleting obviously fake comment and even banning violator’s IP addresses when necessary.

You’ve already got anonymity if you want it, people; you don’t need multiple aliases.

It’s food for thought. Just saying.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

39 comments Add your comment

dre

January 9th, 2012
9:17 am

RE: “Your second jolt: Shocker! Republican senator speaks politely with Democrats” – whatever! More importantly, remember to lock up your wives and daughters, them thar legislator fellers are crawlin’ out of the woodwork.

Road Scholar

January 9th, 2012
9:26 am

That hand you feel in your wallet may not be yours!

findog

January 9th, 2012
9:30 am

Jim,
Are you sure CL wasn’t just trying to give you some, er, how do they say it, “constructive criticism?”

sam

January 9th, 2012
9:48 am

Love these biased headlines! Like it is a shock that a Republican speaks politely. Better look to the great unwashed liberals if you want to see people with very little regard for politeness and courtesy.

Bobby

January 9th, 2012
9:50 am

Any time the Georgia Legislature is in session it’s not good for Georgia consumers regardless of which Party is in power. Both are ethically, if not morally corrupt.

sheepdawg

January 9th, 2012
9:57 am

dangerous times for Georgia citizens when these egotistical underachievers are in session

The Snark

January 9th, 2012
9:57 am

Talking to the Democrats? Frankly, anyone who would do that is a sick, pathetic traitor!

(Newt, did I get that right? Newt?)

Snarky

January 9th, 2012
9:58 am

You said it, Snark!

Da Snarkman

January 9th, 2012
9:59 am

I couldn’t agree more.

Snarkster

January 9th, 2012
9:59 am

What he said.

The Snarkeroo

January 9th, 2012
10:00 am

Truer words was never spoke.

Dumb and Dumber

January 9th, 2012
10:00 am

Well it is a shock that a Republican will speak politely to a democrat. Republicans are unfailingly kind and courteous to lobbyists, Tea-Partiers, corporations seeking a handout in return for campaign contributions, etc., but democrats?

Why bother?

I mean its not like the democrats in Georgia belong to an organized political party with such essentials as a brain, spine and nervous system. Besides, the only place there are democrats left are a few neighborhoods inside 285 and Clayton County. Who cares what people who live in those awful places think?

The dems are just lucky that the “Wild Hog Dinner” (a/k/a Annual Sleazefeast) doesn’t feature democrats as the main entree.

nelsonh

January 9th, 2012
10:05 am

How is Bob Barrs campaign for Co ngress going? I have not heard anything. If it is a secret I wont tell.

td

January 9th, 2012
10:16 am

nelsonh

January 9th, 2012
10:05 am

Barr chose not to run about 3 weeks ago.

Bubba

January 9th, 2012
10:28 am

The degree of partisan nastiness is greatly overstated at the state level. I see Rs & Ds consorting together all the time.

td

January 9th, 2012
10:32 am

Bubba, you are absolutely correct. The Dems do not have enough power to be nasty and the Republicans have no reason because the Dems have no power. They all then concentrate on getting there own legislative agenda approved and will work with whomever they can to get it accomplished. There are really less the 15 bills a year that you see any partisanship.

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
10:36 am

Nice debate last night. Santorum seems to be getting stronger. This is going to be interesting.

Don't Tread

January 9th, 2012
10:39 am

“Therefore, as soon as our web folks get all the logistics worked out, we’re going to limit commenters to a single online identity”

The AJC might look into some of those web logistics. Sock puppetry (and namejacking) are rampant around here.

Centrist

January 9th, 2012
10:42 am

Along with the biased headline, we get this inside: “but truth be told, it doesn’t take much to miff a Senate Republican these days.”

double

January 9th, 2012
10:45 am

Does Newt have a chance?Looks like he took off the gloves ,then put on the mittens.

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
10:48 am

Double….Newt actually did a great job last night.

td

January 9th, 2012
10:51 am

double

January 9th, 2012
10:45 am
Does Newt have a chance?Looks like he took off the gloves ,then put on the mittens

Interesting take. All the main commentators on MSNBC said this morning that the old mean Newt came back the last two debates and as such would be his downfall.

double

January 9th, 2012
10:54 am

Banning violators IP address.TD need be careful on this one.

Centrist

January 9th, 2012
10:58 am

Forget about trying to stop the jerks on this website from using multiple names (is that a “sock puppet”?) – most folks have access to multiple computers with different IP addresses. IP addresses can also be changed if you know how.

But – at least a single name can be associated with each IP address which will stop the hijacking of screen names.

double

January 9th, 2012
11:02 am

TD I only watched Sat. He appeared no different to me.Wish he could win it all way.

double

January 9th, 2012
11:07 am

Centrist I’m sure you know far more about the IP add.than I.One screen name per blog should be enough,unless you are deceptive by nature.

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
11:07 am

double….I dont think he will. Although he seems the most knowledgeable about most of the topics. I still believe it will be Romney….I just wonder if Christie will be Mitt’s running mate.

Centrist

January 9th, 2012
11:19 am

Despite the desire of the media and other contender supporters, Romney has the nomination wrapped up. There is a reason he has more money, endorsements and leads in all of the primary states – he is the most popular of the contenders. His advertising and organization is not going to allow those leads to be lost – only a blunder or health issue is the last hope for other contenders.

He is going to win big in NH, and leads in all recent polls in both SC and FL.

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/mitt-romney-leads-new-florida-poll-with-36-percent-of-vote/1209811

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
11:21 am

Centrist…..agreed.

Look before I leap...

January 9th, 2012
12:05 pm

@Centrist

I think after Tuesday’s primaries, there are going to be significant discussions revolving around who is going to be the standard bearer for the right-wing of the GOP. The ABR candidates are cannibalizing each others votes (and money). Though Mitt will undoubtedly win NH and his polling numbers in SC and FL are on an upward trajectory, he is still only polling in the mid 30’s. This means by a 2:1 margin, those being polled are either uncommitted or against Romney. hardly a mandate. If they somehow find a way to unit behind a single non-Romney candidate (and it won’t be Paul), they could make it interesting.

Romney looked pretty relaxed on Sat night (I did not see the Sun AM debate). Huntsman looked like a deer caught in the headlights, Paul – well he looked and sound like Paul (the microphone snafu was pretty funny). Gingrich – well his statement that being an Army brat somehow made up for his lack of military service was just comical. Santorum came off better than I expected and Perry should have gone with his first instinct and quit after Iowa.

I just gotta think Chris Christie has to be kicking himself right about now regarding his decision not to run.

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
12:08 pm

Look before…..I just wonder if Christie is going to to be Mitt’s running mate.

double

January 9th, 2012
12:10 pm

Makes one wonder.Will Mittens get most of the hispanic vote?

double

January 9th, 2012
12:13 pm

I doubt Christie could kick himself.

Look before I leap...

January 9th, 2012
12:15 pm

@UGA 12:08
Interesting notion and the fact that he appeared on stage with Romney adds some weight to the idea but I just don’t see it happening.
They are both northern Republicans, not much there to excite the southern GOP base and Christie may be a bit too moderate for some in the GOP. Given that Romney is ideologically all over the map, they need to look to someone who can fire up the evangelical base (a la Palin but with brains).

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
12:19 pm

Look…..not a bad idea. At first I thought he would grab Marco Rubio, but Rubio is saying that he will not run. I do think a Romney/Christie ticket could defeat Obama. It would be the strongest ticket we have seen from the GOP in a while.

Look before I leap...

January 9th, 2012
12:34 pm

@UGA 12:19

Seeing a lotta chatter about Rubio the past few days and frankly, I just don’t get it. He is virtually unknown to the general electorate outside of FL. He is a tea-party darling due to his consistent stance on balanced-budget and debt-ceiling freeze but where is his appeal beyond that? His approval ratings are about the same as the DEM senator from FL.

UGA 1999

January 9th, 2012
1:20 pm

Look…..correct but he would bring the southern states in as well as the hispanic vote.

[...] the measure. Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said the right-to-work bill will get a …Your second jolt: Shocker! Republican senator speaks politely with DemocratsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Democrats hope to regain edge in state delegationGreat Falls [...]

Amazing

January 9th, 2012
8:18 pm

Instead of acting so cynical, maybe we should consider the possibility Sen. Williams is simply trying to change the culture of partisan politics. History may not support that view, but it is possible.