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Tamar Hallerman

Mid-day roundup: Isakson tees up retirement rule challenge, absentee ballots out

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Jan. 12, 2016 -  Atlanta -  U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson delivers his address.   Isakson, Governor Nathan Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and House Speaker David Ralston were featured speakers at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast.  The event was expected to attract more than 2,000 Georgians, including many of the state's  elected officials and business leaders.  BOB ANDRES  / BANDRES@AJC.COM

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson  BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

It’s been a quiet week following Gov. Nathan Deal’s momentous ‘religious liberty’ veto. (Even the morning jolt asked for a vacation.) Here’s a quick roundup of what’s been going on in Georgia politics:

Sen. Johnny Isakson said lawmakers are planning to do everything at their disposal to stop an Obama administration rule finalized Wednesday aimed at changing the way retirement-savings advisers work with their clients. The so-called fiduciary rule offers more concessions to the financial industry than initially anticipated, but Isakson said it would still “make it harder for small investors and average Americans to get investment advice.” Isakson, who chairs a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over employment issues, said there is already a resolution of disapproval introduced and ready to go in the Senate. “We’re going to do everything we can within the statutes to do so,” he said Wednesday morning.

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Absentee ballots began going out to Georgia voters this week ahead of the May 24 primaries. The deadline is April 26 for voters to register ahead of the election.

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Sen. David Perdue spent the most recent congressional recess in the Middle East, touring Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia with a handful of colleagues from the House and Senate. The group met with leaders from the respective countries, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as well as U.S. diplomats and military figures in the region. Perdue, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said discussions ranged from the Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic State and the refugee crisis.

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The chairman of the board that serves as a watchdog over Georgia’s judges resigned yesterday, writing that the work of the Judicial Qualifications Commission is threatened by political and other outside forces that are interested only in protecting jurists connected to the right people. Cartersville attorney Lester Tate wrote in a letter to the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia that he was resigning as chairman and as a member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission because of a series of attacks on the JQC and its authority to investigate judges. Read more from our colleague Rhonda Cook.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed banned city employees from traveling to North Carolina on non-essential, publicly-funded business. The move came after the Tar Heel State enacted a law that critics said discriminates against gays, lesbians and transgender people. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and New York City, have put in place similar policies since North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the legislation.

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The district offices of U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, and Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, were not the only ones on the receiving end of suspicious packages over the last few days. Turns out at least four other Georgia delegation offices, including those represented by both Democrats and Republicans, got similar packages. In the cases of Johnson and Carter the FBI ruled that the substances appeared to be tea. It’s unclear if they’re connected or who they were sent by but the FBI said similar cases in the past have originated from “affiliates of a political or tax protest movement.”