Archive for the ‘Nathan Deal’ Category

Your daily jolt: Paul Broun’s wife declares he’s running for U.S. Senate

Ready or not, here comes Paul Broun.

Karen Handel, the former Republican candidate for governor, was supposed to the featured attraction at a Tuesday night meeting of Georgia C.H.A.R.G.E (Citizens Helping America Restore Government Ethics).

Then an unscheduled Republican congressman from Athens arrived with his wife and a staffer in tow. Broun spoke, but stopped short of announcing a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. We’ll let Andrew O’Shea of Viral Read take you the rest of the way:

As Congressman Broun sat down to a room full of applause followed by a short silence, Dr. Broun’s wife, Niki, stood up in front of the crowd and courageously declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy, the first to formally do so in the wake of Senator Chambliss’ declaration to resign following the remainder of his current term.

This morning, we called O’Shea, a …

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Sonny Perdue takes himself out of 2014 race for Senate

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue has declared himself out of a 2014 contest to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, but placed himself on the side of Republicans who believe the party has become too rigid in its approach.

In a statement e-mailed this morning, the governor declared himself “flattered” by the support that has been offered, but cited his reasons for avoiding the contest: A dozen grandchildren, business obligations and “a loving and devoted wife who has absolutely no interest in living in Washington.” From his statement:

Gov. Sonny Perdue has removed himself from the long list of Republicans considering a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Gov. Sonny Perdue has removed himself from the long list of Republicans considering a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

“Our country deserves more than the current dysfunction in Washington D.C. and our party needs to return to problem-solving conservatism. We have an opportunity, led by the examples of Republican Governors across the nation, to prove to the country that we are the party that can rise above the dogma and …

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A woodshed season for John Barge

State Superintendent John Barge consults with a staffer following a hearing before a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees. Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

State Superintendent John Barge consults with a staffer following a hearing before a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees. Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

A season of punishment has begun for state School Superintendent John Barge – payback for his opposition to last year’s ballot measure restoring the state’s power to create charter schools throughout Georgia.

But at the state Capitol, the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club. Those throwing the punches don’t want to appear vindictive. Those on the receiving end know that things could get ever so much worse.

This week, it was Barge’s duty to go before state lawmakers to explain educational spending in Gov. Nathan Deal’s $19.8 billion proposed budget for next year. Unless you had the document in front of you, you would never have known that Deal had shrunk Barge’s central office budget from $87 million to $27 million.

The governor had really, really liked that charter …

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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 …

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Nathan Deal to beef up mental health reviews, gives green light to guns for school administrators

Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday he will initiate a stricter review of Georgia’s mental health records for gun permit applicants, and gave a green light to legislation that would allow school administrators to carry concealed weapons.

The governor made his remarks during a reporters scrum that included my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein, who filed this:

Deal said he’d support procedural changes to ensure state agencies are checking mental-health records of people seeking guns. “We think that is one area where we need to be more vigilant,” he said.

Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said there’s no legislation tied to the effort, but that the state will beef up its review process to make sure the state is “doing everything it can to protect Georgians’ safety.”

A federal law adopted after the Virginia Tech massacre requires states to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns. While many states …

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Senate Republicans look for Dem help in ‘bed tax’ debate

My AJC collegue Kristina Torres reports that Thursday’s Senate debate over Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed new Medicaid funding plan will likely be lively. And necessarily bipartisan.

From Torres:

The chamber’s Republican leaders, who fast-tracked the bill through their usual process in these early days of the legislative session, now need help from the chamber’s Democratic minority to waive their normal rules and allow Senate Bill 24 to hit the floor.

That’s because the chamber requires a two-thirds majority – or 38 votes – to amend the rules. The Republicans hold 37 seats, at least until a special election Feb. 5 to fill the District 11 seat of former Sen. John Bulloch. And at least one Republican, Josh McKoon of Columbus, voted against SB 24 in committee on Tuesday.

The expected trade-off for Democratic cooperation is a full discussion before the vote – unlike a vote Monday on the chamber’s new rules, which returned power back to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle over things …

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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 …

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Nathan Deal: Dollars for new stadium ‘belong to Atlanta’

He didn’t give it his endorsement, but Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday laid out some arguments likely to be used by supporters of a new, $1 billion stadium that would serve as a new home for the Atlanta Falcons.

First of all, the governor told my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein that he wants the team to stay put. “I think it’s important for us to keep the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. We are proud of them, and they’ve had a great year, and we’re hoping they’re going to go all the way to the Super Bowl.”

Critics of a new stadium point out that the Georgia Dome is only 20 years old. But the governor said that if a new stadium doesn’t replace it, expensive updates would be required. “We do know the existing stadium, even though it looks very good now, within the not too distant future there will be significant repairs and upgrades that will be needed to maintain the current Dome,” he said.

As he has before, Deal said his involvement in the matter was limited, and …

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Grover Norquist’s verdict: ‘Bed tax’ solution a ‘step in wrong direction’

Last October, Grover Norquist, president of the D.C.-based anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, warned state lawmakers not to renew the state’s “hospital bed tax” passed in 2010 to plug a hole in the state Medicaid budget. The tax/fee expires on June 30.

Today, in a statement obtained by my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein, a spokesman for Norquist doesn’t like Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort, unveiled today, to shift the burden of raising the cash from the Legislature to the state Department of Community Health. From Josh Culling, the ATR’s state government affairs manager:

”Gov. Deal’s decision to shift taxing authority from the legislature to the Department of Community Health does nothing to improve the hospital bed tax. Instead, it is a step in the wrong direction, attempting to absolve the governor and legislature of any potential blame for the looming tax increase.

“The hospital bed tax remains a job-killing tax hike that will increase the cost of health care …

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Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the ‘hospital bed tax’ debate

Want your free copy of Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the debate over renewing “hospital bed tax”/Medicaid assessment fee? Just click here.

Here’s a summary from my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin, gleaned from last night’s Wild Hog Supper:

Gov. Nathan Deal believes he has found a possible solution to one of this year’s thorniest legislative issues: how to keep hospitals that rely on Medicaid solvent while allowing legislators to avoid voting on what some see as a tax increase, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

Deal’s floor leaders in the House and Senate will introduce legislation today that switches the responsibility for levying the fee from the Legislature to the Department of Community Health. The move to levy a provider fee would replace the so-called bed tax on hospitals.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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