For 41 years, every day that the Legislature has met during its annual, 40-day sessions, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “The Lawmakers” has been there with a 30-minute, televised recap.
That’s about to change. One of Georgia’s longest-running public affairs programs will shift to a twice-a-week format for its 42nd season.
GPB executives say the decision has more to do with viewership than budget cuts. The problem is that “The Lawmakers” has aired only on days when state lawmakers meet. But the 40 days allotted to each session are spread out over four months.
“We’re trying to make it easier for the viewer to know when to expect it. If you don’t have a legislative calendar in front of you, in the past it was really hard to figure out when the show was airing,” said Robert Brienza, vice president for news and sports at GPB.
“One week it may be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the next week it may not be on at all. The third week, it may be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.
For the first week of the Legislature, “The Lawmakers” will broadcast the full week in its traditional 7 p.m. slot, Monday through Friday. But beyond that, the program will broadcast at 7 p.m. each Thursday and Friday.
“The Lawmakers” last year averaged an estimated viewership of 11,500 Atlanta households or 17,500 statewide — a number GPB would obviously like to see grow. But this is a decision more ticklish than you might think. Legislators, who vote on GPB’s budget each year, tend to think of “The Lawmakers” as their program.
Teya Ryan, president and executive director of GPB, has sent a note to lawmakers explaining the change. Also, GPB intends to send out a daily email to lawmakers – and anyone else who’s interested – that will include the previous day’s highlights. Video will be a major feature of the emails.
“It should be fairly robust,” Brienza said.
Full disclosure: Yours truly is scheduled to be an (unpaid) panelist on the opening Jan. 14 edition of the program.
Former Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who led the war in Afghanistan and can’t be accused of toadying for the Obama administration, had this to say about assault weapons in civilian hands today, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:
“I spent a career carrying typically either an M-16 or later an M-4 carbine. An M-4 carbine fires a .223-caliber round, which is 5.56 mm, at about 3000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed to do that. And that’s what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America.
“I believe that we’ve got to take a serious look—I understand everyone’s desire to have whatever they want—but we’ve got to protect our children, we’ve got to protect our police, we’ve got to protect our population, and I think we’ve got to take a very mature look at that….
“I think serious action is necessary. Sometimes we talk about very limited actions on the edges and I just don’t think that’s enough.”
When you’re the new guy, everyone wants to make friends. Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston on Wednesday will host a fund-raiser at the Buckhead Club for David Shafer, who will become the Senate president pro tem when the Legislature convenes next week.
The invitation listed no minimum contribution for entry, but did note that the contribution cap was $2,500 for each election cycle.
AJC photographers have put a number of archived photos of Georgia political figures on Tumblr – you’ll want to see them. Among them is this election night photo of Newt Gingrich and wife Jackie, taken in 1974 when Gingrich unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Jack Flynt:
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at the claim by Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express, that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is among those who “votes with the Democrats more than they do with the conservatives.” Spoiler alert: It ain’t so.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider