Archive for the ‘Casey Cagle’ Category

Your daily jolt: If Saxby Chambliss is frustrated with Washington, what do his BFFs think?

Neither the transcript nor the video is available as I write this, but on NBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on Sunday, Chuck Todd noted one of the many implications of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ decision not to run for a third term.

One of Chambliss’ best friends in Washington, Todd noted, is House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. If Chambliss is frustrated enough to abandon Washington, Boehner may be, too.

There’s another leg to that stool. Chambliss’ other BFF in Washington is U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. The two have been together since their halcyon days at the University of Georgia in Athens. (Where Chambliss will appear today with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.)

Isakson has already declared himself a certainty to run for re-election in 2016. “Absolutely,” said one aide last night. But the man who will soon become Georgia’s senior senator has also just been named to the Senate Finance Committee, which will be at the center of any further negotiations over …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: If Saxby Chambliss is frustrated with Washington, what do his BFFs think? »

Your daily jolt: A state Senate under new management

In the minutes surrounding the passage of Senate Bill 24, Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the “bed tax” dilemma, the sharp-eyed could – through the door leading to President pro tem David Shafer’s office – spot a giddy state Sen. Jeff Mullis dancing through the anteroom, arms in the air.

That’s how happy the new leaders of the state Senate were on Thursday, following passage of the Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act. The bill, which now will receive the same railed treatment in the House, solves the sticky problem of legislative approval for a continued levy on hospitals by shoving the issue behind the executive curtain of the state Department of Community Health.

In fact, the contrast with Senate passage of the original “bed tax” in 2010 couldn’t be starker. Three years ago, GOP senators tortured themselves over the issue for three months. The caucus split, and two Republicans lost chairmanships when they refused to go along – despite furious …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: A state Senate under new management »

Your daily jolt: Bloody Marys, stogies dropped from Senate lunch menu

By tradition, Coca-Cola has served as the corporate sponsor of a luncheon honoring the president pro tem of the state Senate at the opening of each year’s session.

Also by tradition, the menu has included Bloody Marys and cigars. But no more. We’re told that both alcohol and stogies have been removed from this afternoon’s festivities honoring David Shafer, R-Duluth, the Senate’s newly elected leader.

The reason? The flourishes were thought to clash with the Capitol’s embrace of ethics reform, including a $100 per lawmaker cap on gifts from lobbyists passed by the Senate on Monday.

Or perhaps it was fallout from Coke’s new anti-obesity campaign. Either one.

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Speaking of ethics, here’s the exchange that just took place between House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at this morning’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, sponsored by the Georgia Chamber. My AJC colleague Greg Bluestein said Cagle had just finished bragging about the Senate’s approval of a $100 …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: Bloody Marys, stogies dropped from Senate lunch menu »

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 …

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

Lobbyist alert: Your list of Senate committee assignments

The Committee on Assignments late Monday released its list of state Senate committee memberships. Click here to read, but I’m also experimenting with the embed function on Google Docs.

See if it works for you below:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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

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Jeff Mullis moves into his new quarters — as Senate Rules chairman, we think

At 4:40 p.m. Monday, Jeff Mullis was slouched in a red chair outside chambers, in conversation with yours truly, when an aide brushed by to let him know that the letter containing his Senate leadership assignment had been sent out.

“What’s it say?” the senator from Chickamauga asked, pretending that his appointment as chairman of Senate Rules Committee wasn’t the most badly kept secret in the state Capitol.

State Sen. Jeff Mullis totes his object d'art to his new offices.

State Sen. Jeff Mullis totes his object d’art to his new offices.

With a reporter present, the aide refused to bite, and said the sealed news was waiting for him in his basement office. The committee assignments had been due out at 3 p.m., but had been delayed due to some last-minute tweaks – made to account for angry floor speeches from former Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and Sen. Mike Crane, R-Newnan.

Both had expressed disappointment that their fellow senators, by adopting a new set of chamber rules, this morning returned much of Lt. Gov. …

Continue reading Jeff Mullis moves into his new quarters — as Senate Rules chairman, we think »

Those new Senate rules: $100 gift cap, but private citizens remain barred from filing ethics complaints

We’ve got a copy of the new Senate rules about to be approved by the chamber. Click here for your copy, or browse through it here:

From a quick reading:

The same rules that put a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers include a large loophole for travel, and also shrinks the list of those who may file complaints alleging violations to the Senate Ethics Committee – dropping “volunteers” from the list.

Complaints may only be brought by “a Senator or Senate staff, aides, or interns.” I.e., those who receive a paycheck from the chamber.

You’ll recall that the recent complaint against Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour was originally filed with the state ethics commission by a junior majoring in political science at Georgia Gwinnett College, who compared Balfour’s mileage claims and found lobbyists reported buying Balfour meals on the same dates in August in New Orleans and San Antonio.

The state ethics commission referred the complaint to Senate Ethics …

Continue reading Those new Senate rules: $100 gift cap, but private citizens remain barred from filing ethics complaints »

A Christmas miracle marks the end of a tumultuous era

Note to readers: This marks my last post of 2012 — I’ll be on vacation the rest of the year. My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy in Washington, dmalloy@ajc.com, has graciously agreed to take on blogging duties and keep you informed as we stray ever closer to that fiscal cliff. Best holiday wishes to all.

Much has been written about the sudden departure of Chip Rogers for a custom-made job with Georgia Public Broadcasting, four weeks after his re-election to the Legislature and three weeks after he was forced to withdraw his bid for a second term as state Senate majority leader.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, left, cracks a smile as he talks with Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, right, during last session’s debate on the proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools. Chance will replace Rogers as majority leader next year. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, left, cracks a smile as he talks with Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, right, during last session’s debate on the proposed constitutional amendment on charter schools. Chance will replace Rogers as majority leader next year. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

But too heavy a focus on Rogers detracts from the larger development: The return of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle as a figure of …

Continue reading A Christmas miracle marks the end of a tumultuous era »

Introducing the next leader of the state Senate

You’ll recall that last Sunday’s column focused on the behind-the-scenes GOP struggle over leadership of the state Senate.

With Tommie Williams bowing out of the No. 1 spot of president pro tem, a slate has been fashioned by those who led the 2010 coup against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that would have Bill Cowsert of Athens replace Williams. Chip Rogers would retain his position as majority leader.

But the column included this:

[F]orces in the state Capitol [are] lining up behind two alternative candidates for the top Senate slots: David Shafer of Duluth for president pro tem and Ronnie Chance of Tyrone for majority leader. Chance is currently the governor’s floor leader….

The 35 to 38 Republican senators expected to be elected Nov. 6 will make the final leadership decisions in the days or weeks that follow.

We now have one additional tidbit to offer: Republicans held a fundraiser for state Sen. Tim Golden of Valdosta last night. The event was held in nearby Lakeland.

Shafer …

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Behind two days of shotgunnin’ and golf coursin’

Last week, a number of lobbyists — those willing to part with up to $10,000 — were invited up to Adairsville for two days of fun with shooting irons and five irons in the company of Republican state senators.

It’s fair to ask why a group of golf coursin’, shotgunnin’ lawmakers might be important to you and yours. The explanation is complicated, very insiderish — and might require a second cup of coffee.

Got it? Good. Let’s begin.

November will answer two important political questions in Georgia. Neither has to do with the presidential contest. Mitt Romney is an all-but-sure bet to carry this state. The Republican candidate’s problems lie elsewhere.

Control of the charter school movement in Georgia is one piece of the Nov. 6 puzzle — a topic for another day. Control of one-half of the Legislature is the other.

Two years ago, Senate Republicans celebrated Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s re-election by stripping him of most of his authority over the chamber — in part …

Continue reading Behind two days of shotgunnin’ and golf coursin’ »