Your daily jolt: Senate Dems to push back on ethics, abortion, HOPE and foreclosures

On Feb. 5, when the south Georgia contest to replace John Bulloch is completed, Republicans will have 38 members in a 56-member state Senate.

That will give the GOP a super-majority of two-thirds. Which means Democrats will be a super-minority.

Nonetheless, Senate Democrats this morning intend to push out their agenda for this year’s legislative session. Much of it is blue-skying, but here’s a quick rundown of the new legislation they’ll attempt:

– A bill to eliminate all distinctions between the Zell Miller scholarship and other HOPE grants, and to require colleges universities and tech schools to accept HOPE payments as full tuition. Sponsor: Curt Thompson of Tucker;

– A bill to reduce GPA requirement for HOPE grants to 2.0. Sponsor: Jason Carter of Decatur;

– A prohibition on the use of handheld devices while driving. Horacena Tate of Atlanta;

– Repeal of the “fetal pain” bill that the Legislature passed last year, reducing the period during which a woman can seek an abortion to 22 weeks. Nan Orrock of Atlanta;

– Restoration of health insurance mandates to out-of-state health care insurance policies, removed by the Legislature last year. Sponsor: Orrock;

– A bill to require judicial review of home foreclosures. Sponsor: Vincent Fort of Atlanta. This could resonate with Republicans who have been critical of Georgia’s eminent domain laws. And you’ll recall that former House speaker Glenn Richardson ran on this last year, during his unsuccessful run for the state Senate.

– Establishment of an independent redistricting commission. Sponsor: Hardie Davis of Augusta, who no doubt would like to see Republicans stop toying with his congressman, John Barrow.

– A more stringent version of the $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers: $100 a year, in aggregate, with no loopholes. Sponsor: Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson of Tucker;

– The addition of an early voting day on the third Saturday before elections. Sponsor: Henson;

– Restoration of advance voting time to same period as absentee voting. Sponsor: Henson.

Walter Jones of Morris News Service offers an account of Monday’s opening hostilities in the state Senate that includes these paragraphs:

Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan, offered an amendment to strip Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s ability to appoint senators to committees and decide which committees consider bills. Crane was blocked when the Senate voted to prohibit any changes to the proposed rules, which eventually passed 42-12.

“This is may be the end of my political aspirations, but I will never stop fighting for liberty,” thundered Crane, who speculated afterward that Cagle would assign him to insignificant committees and stifle consideration of his bills as punishment.

As a matter of fact, we’re told that a list of Senate committee assignments, due to come out at 3 p.m. Monday, was delayed 90 minutes in order to review Crane’s assignments – and those of former state Senate president Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, who also lodged a complaint from the well.

Crane ended up with no leadership positions and a seat on the following committees: Retirement; Special Judiciary; State and Local Government Operations; and State Institutions and Property. Which means his prediction came through.

Williams fared somewhat better, with appointments to Agriculture and Consumer Affairs; Appropriations; Reapportionment and Redistricting; and Public Safety.

*** reports that U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, deleted his Twitter account shortly after reports that he told a group of constituents that former U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri was “partly right” when he spoke of “legitimate rape” and the unlikelihood of a woman becoming pregnant as the result of a violent assault.

Ruling Republicans in the Legislature have said they’ll hold off on any major bills to address illegal immigration until they see what their GOP brethren in Washington produce. That process has begun, with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida taking the lead with a few trial balloons.

From Matthew Kaminski of the Wall Street Journal over the weekend:

Whether Mr. Rubio is courageous or foolhardy, the outcome on Capitol Hill and the impact on his career will tell the story. Immigration has long been a profitable wedge issue for Democrats and Republicans. On Wednesday at the Biltmore Hotel near his home here, Mr. Rubio spells out a reform plan that charges up the middle.

His wholesale fix tries to square—triangulate, if you will—the liberal fringe that seeks broad amnesty for illegal immigrants and the hard right’s obsession with closing the door. Mr. Rubio would ease the way for skilled engineers and seasonal farm workers while strengthening border enforcement and immigration laws. As for the undocumented migrants in America today—eight to 12 million or so—he proposes to let them “earn” a working permit and, one day, citizenship.

Those proposals amount to a collection of third rails for any number of lobbies. Organized labor has torpedoed guest-worker programs before. Anything that hints of leniency for illegals may offend the talk-radio wing of the GOP.

And from today’s New York Times:

“We can’t have the kind of vibrant growth we need and the economy we want, based on limited government and free enterprise, if we don’t have a legal immigration system that works,” Mr. Rubio said. “And in order to have a system that works, we have to deal with those people who are already here illegally.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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84 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 15th, 2013
9:47 am

The out of power dummycrats pushing for stricter ethics, now that’s rich.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 15th, 2013
9:52 am

Great, a bidding war for the votes of illegal immigrants –

I see your free illegal immigrant housing subsidy and raise with a lifetime gold plated pension plan for Pedro, my yardboy.

God help us all.


January 15th, 2013
10:07 am

the war on womens wombs continues…how many JIM CROW bills wiill pass?…


January 15th, 2013
10:08 am

Reducing the GPA requirement to that low of a number only will make things worse in public ed.


January 15th, 2013
10:13 am

will they debate “legitimate rape” vs “fake rape?..


January 15th, 2013
10:14 am

when the racist repubs are in session, no womans womb is safe….lol


January 15th, 2013
10:15 am

I’m pro choice, but an abortion at 22 weeks is just sick. What is wrong with humanity.

Aunt Thelma

January 15th, 2013
10:20 am

There are times it is very tough to be a Democrat, Jason Carter’s bill to sponsor a reduced GPA requirement to 2.0 is one of those times. It is just plane dumb. Let us not move the incentives in the WRONG direction. As I am fully confident the GOP will dismiss this why present it??


January 15th, 2013
10:25 am

I am a proud white male Democrat.


January 15th, 2013
10:33 am

The only reason the house republicans are threatening not to raise the debt limit is because OBAMA is black. I wish journalists would admit this but they won’t.


January 15th, 2013
10:38 am

The radical right wing of the Party of the Pale Male will never accept the moderate pragmatic offerings of Senator Rubio relating to illegal immigrants. Since the radical right wing represents the majority of the Party of the Pale Male, this reform is doomed.

The radical right wing believes their message of “send them home, line them up and let them apply for admission” is the right message, it was just the delivery of this message came across a little too strong in November. What does that mean? It means the radical right wing will continue to tell Hispanics to go to hell but will smile when doing so in the future!


January 15th, 2013
10:41 am

Senator Fort is spot on with his judicial-review-of-foreclosures bill. It is simply unconscionable that residential homeowners in Georgia are losing what is usually their most valuable possession – their homes – without any type of court review or supervision ensuring that homeowners’ rights are protected.

Remember the robo-signing controversy? Remember foreclosures where no one knew who owned the mortgage loans? Remember predatory mortgage lending? Remember lending without regard to the borrower’s ability to pay? Remember the subprime mortgage-backed securities fiasco? Remember credit default swaps? Remember the millions upon millions of residential foreclosure in America? Remember the collapse of the US housing market? Remember the worst US recession since the Depression? And, finally, remember the trillion dollar US (and foreign) bank bailouts paid for by US taxpayers?

We need to do what it takes to protect homeowners’ rights going forward if we ever expect to restore confidence in the housing market. This bill will help to achieve that goal.

The Snark

January 15th, 2013
10:44 am

It’s “eminent domain,” not “imminent domain.”

Unless, of course, Georgia Power has something specific in mind it needs from our ruling party …


January 15th, 2013
10:45 am

Aunt Thelma, if you don’t know the difference between a plane and plain, then you are the one who is dumb. I agree though, you should have a GPA of 3.2 or higher, legitimate financial need, be a community servant and have school involvement beyond doing well in class to receive Hope. These are the requirements to attend the best schools, so let’s encourage students to perform at that level.


January 15th, 2013
10:47 am

bigbill, remember the government (read Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and their cohorts) forcing banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them? Remember them threatening institutions who wouldn’t toe the line? Remember that? Remember Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were protected by the democrats? Remember that?


January 15th, 2013
10:48 am

The Republican’s real nightmare is that the children of illegal immigrants, who are U.S. citizens, will turn against them with a vengeance when they turn 18 because of the difficulties and humiliations heaped upon their parents. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you blame them?

Road Scholar

January 15th, 2013
10:54 am

Scrivener: But as business men, bankers had the duty to do what was right for their bank, RIGHT? Greed didn’t enter into their decisions, RIGHT?


January 15th, 2013
11:07 am

Can State Employees finally get a raise? Between benefits and taxes our checks are going away

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 15th, 2013
11:13 am

crush – The Blog title is “dums push back.”


January 15th, 2013
11:19 am

Scrivener must have just emerged from a cave that had Rush on an endless loop.

Buckhead Boy

January 15th, 2013
11:29 am

Scrivener, you obviously don’t remember that the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress until 2007, or that the GSE’s then paid Gingrich (among other GOP lobbyists) to forestall their regulation. You also doubtfully remember that at the time the GSE’s were publicly-traded entities, virtually private and wholly profit-driven.


January 15th, 2013
11:31 am

“A bill to reduce GPA requirement for HOPE grants to 2.0. Sponsor: Jason Carter of Decatur;”

Idiots. Let’s reward an average student with free tuition. This is the same idiot who wanted to put a income limit on who receives HOPE. Keep it dems; you soon will disappear in this sate.


January 15th, 2013
11:33 am

“A bill to reduce GPA requirement for HOPE grants to 2.0.”

Only a Carter would be stupid enough to push this idea. Screw it, let’s just lower it to 1.0 and start handing out money on streets. DC can always make more, right?? No need to pander to the black community, Jason. I’m sure most of your supporters are white liberals who lap up the Kool Aid you are putting in their bowls like good, little puppies….er, I mean yuppies.


January 15th, 2013
11:36 am

@Question: if you want a raise, then get a job in the private sector.

Of course, unless you’re a corporate Vice President somewhere, you’re not going to get much in the way of raises there either; I speak from personal experience.

Sucks that you haven’t gotten a raise, but things are tough all over, and government employees can suffer with the rest of us (since your bosses in the legislature and Governor’s mansion sure aren’t hurting).


January 15th, 2013
11:37 am

Protip: Jason Carter wants to run for Governor in 2014.


January 15th, 2013
11:40 am

As if the twitter account was the problem. Geebus.


January 15th, 2013
11:45 am

I’m cool with free school for anyone who pulls a gentleman’s “c”.


January 15th, 2013
11:49 am

re: 2.0 GPA. This is talking about college GPAs, but the same issues apply in high school:

“Figure 2 suggests that students at the highest income level were significantly more likely than those at the lowest income level to have GPAs of at least 3.0 (56 percent versus 44 percent, respectively). Insofar as GPA relates to future economic and educational opportunities, the data suggest that disparities in GPA may contribute to perpetuating inequity for low-income and first-generation students.”


January 15th, 2013
11:53 am

Carter’s 2.0 proposal is not outlandish when one considers that: 1) the Georgia Consitution specifically makes public education a primary govt. duty, and, 2) until the last 20 years or so, that meant that one could get an almost no tuition college education in Georgia based on merit admission. Granted the admission standards were low then, and fortunately the quality of our public university system has risen as have admission standards, but that takes actually enhances the argument that tuition should be free, or at least very low. Carter’s proposal is a step in that direction and that is good.


January 15th, 2013
12:08 pm

Disparity between lower income and higher income? I thought all of those years ago when the schools were fully integrated, that was supposed to be the answer to all of the inequality in education. Now it is income level? Go to any park or public place even before school shoudl be out and who do you see playing basketball or just hanging out. Guess what the proportions are? Of course, this could not be a problem with fatherless homes, single mothers, the entitlement mentality. I can come up with a whole lot of reaso why their is a grade disparity in schols – but we have already lowered the standards for elementary and high schools, now we can push it on into college.


January 15th, 2013
12:09 pm

@ Roekest

Where does Senator Carter’s bill mention race? Oh wait you just had to bring it up! Just a reminder why you guys may NEVER win another national election.


January 15th, 2013
12:14 pm

Synonymous: Just remember that when you go to get your driver’s license or want to trust the state with your income tax information. Ever wonder why state lines are so long?


January 15th, 2013
12:25 pm

A 2.0 GPA is a bit low, but some of you don’t understand how difficult a 3.0+ is to achieve at schools like Georgia Tech. Most students should be able to get a 3.0 at schools like Perimeter, Georgia Southern, even UGA…but a 3.0 at Tech is not easy. I think a 2.5 to 2.75 makes more sense. A Tech student who graduates with a 2.0 will be more respected than any other 3.0 grad at any other school in the southeast.


January 15th, 2013
12:37 pm

A 3.0 at Georgia Tech is not at all hard to maintain for someone who should be at Georgia Tech.


January 15th, 2013
12:45 pm


January 15th, 2013
12:25 pm

“A 2.0 GPA is a bit low, but some of you don’t understand how difficult a 3.0+ is to achieve at schools like Georgia Tech.”

My niece just graduated last year with a 4.0 and she said it was not that hard.

Jimmy Foley

January 15th, 2013
12:46 pm

Libs strive to be more like Europe. Pretty much all of Europe has a ban on abortions after 3 months. This is a lot more strict than Georgia’s law.


January 15th, 2013
12:47 pm

@Synonymous: And state services will continue to suffer; you get what you pay for.

Middle Man

January 15th, 2013
12:48 pm

Rather than complain, moan and insult each other, why don’t all of you meet somewhere and figure out a way to make things work. Think flash mob. Remember, it’s not a dictatorship or a theocracy, and everybody has a different opinion. And you have to work with them everyday so you can’t be a SOB. Let’s see what you come up with to solve the problems of our great state and country. Then you can go en mass and submit your ideas to the General Assembly. Or is it too easy to complain, sit in your chair, do nothing that requires you to put a real effort into it and pat yourself on the back about how smart you are and have all the answers? Use your brain and get off your arse.

Jed Clampet

January 15th, 2013
1:08 pm

How about the rights of the unborn?! They can’t make the decision, those already born can so do the unborn deserve the same opportunity as you? You were in the same position as they are liberalefty.


January 15th, 2013
1:29 pm

Gingrey had a twittered account, I thought idiots were prohibited from having one…

And Déjà vu The attack on women continues, stupidly over Hope….Look you morons in the legislature it the people that buy the LOTTERY tickets that need the help…Give Kids a chance at an education, you idiots might be surprised what they can do…Look at what the Colleges are doing to help struggling students. Hold the college Accountable (hold the college presidents pay hostage….)

Remember you GOP slime bags this is not Washington, Do whats right for the tax paying Citizens of GA.

2014 will be here soon..Bye SHADY deal, and a few more GOP slime.


January 15th, 2013
1:36 pm

Folks — the HOPE grant is about certificates, technical training… mainly from TCSG, not USG institutions – see definition:
“HOPE Grant Program” or “HOPE Grant” means a State of Georgia student financial aid program that provides grant assistance to Georgia Residents seeking technical Certificates or Diplomas from TCSG and USG Eligible Postsecondary Institutions.

IP Frieley

January 15th, 2013
1:50 pm

When are we going to start seeing serious action to primary Mayor Reed? I’ve been canvasing this site for months looking for who to volunteer for and not so much as a peep of even a hail mary campaign.

I mean, do people think that beating this guy is really THAT popular? He’s practically a Republican.

Don Abernethy

January 15th, 2013
1:52 pm

Do very many Democrats go to church??


January 15th, 2013
2:00 pm

“Party of the Pale Male”

Now that’s funny….


January 15th, 2013
2:16 pm

Leave it to Jason Carter to suggest lowering the HOPE and continuing to allow Georgia to dumb down our kids. The HOPE should be for those who work hard, not a given to those who don’t. It was intended to keep the best and brightest in GA, NOT to give a free ride to any and all who want to abuse it.


January 15th, 2013
2:22 pm

the solution to all of society’s ills…..if the bar is set to high (ala GPA), then just lower the bar!!


January 15th, 2013
2:24 pm

after all, that will help our kids better compete and get jobs in the new world order…..since there aren’t any smart, hard working people in china or india (or other……)

J Throckmorton Malcontent

January 15th, 2013
2:26 pm

Don, I personally attend coven every full moon. Y’all come on over and we’ll get naked and sacrifice a goat together sometime.


January 15th, 2013
2:36 pm

Cassidy, you make no sense at all. I graduated Tech with a 2.6, and I’m proud to say it. Granted, I probably spent more time playing pool than I did studying. I passed the EIT without hardly studying at all on my first attempt (one of the most difficult tests in existence that tests you on EVERY single engineering discipline…electrical, civil, mechanical, etc.). Too bad HOPE wasn’t around, I probably would’ve made a bit more effort and saved myself a huge loan. But to contend that Tech graduates (or ANY college graduates for that matter) with under a 3.0 shouldn’t be there, is just plain dumb.
td: someone that says a 4.0 is not hard to achieve at Tech is either lying to make themself seem smarter than they are, had the easiest major at the school (and probably only took classes with professors they had word on), did not have a life and spent all of their time studying, is one of those people who always seems to test well (I’m not one of those people), is actually a freakish genius bookworm, or some combination of the above. Pretty much nobody gets a 4.0 at Tech without putting forth a LOT of effort, which means it was quite hard. Kudos to your niece, that is quite an achievement.


January 15th, 2013
3:11 pm

in re: Buckhead Boy: “Scrivener, you obviously don’t remember that the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress until 2007, or that the GSE’s then paid Gingrich (among other GOP lobbyists) to forestall their regulation. You also doubtfully remember that at the time the GSE’s were publicly-traded entities, virtually private and wholly profit-driven.”

Being profit driven is a bad thing? Is that what you’re saying? Without researching your point about Gingrich I could freely admit that both parties did stuff to contribute to the housing bubble bursting, but the lion’s share was the government forcing lending institutions to make bad loans. Bush tried numerous times to warn about the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and was slapped down by the democrats, lead by Barnie Frank. And by the way, I actually enjoy listening to Rush. The liberals who post here love to try to marginalize anyone who does, and that’s pretty amusing because Rush is actually a very sharp guy and is almost always proven to be right. He doesn’t have millions of listeners and hundreds of syndicated stations for nothing.