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.
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.
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.
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