U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said he was “disappointed” in Democrats, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who testified against Senate colleague Jeff Sessions during his attorney general confirmation hearings earlier this week.
The Republican said in an interview Thursday that he did not see the testimony by Lewis or Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., but that, “out of professional courtesy,” they should have avoided the witness stand. Said Isakson:
“I love John Lewis, he’s a great icon and a hero of the United States and he and I are contemporaries. I was very disappointed in all the members that in essence testified against a sitting member of the Senate.
“I just think that Cory Booker and some of the things that were said were self-serving for the person saying them and warrant disclosures, as far as the process of approving or confirming the nominee.
“But everybody’s got to do what they’ve got to do. You ought to be held responsible for what you do, and I don’t want to editorialize one way or another other than to say I was disappointed…”
In today’s Marietta Daily Journal, state Sen. Lindsey Tippens, R-West Cobb, addressed where he thinks Gov. Nathan Deal’s pared-down plan to rescue failing Georgia schools might be headed.
No separate bureaucracy, and an emphasis on elementary education, said Tippens, named by the governor in his “state of the state” address as one of several Capitol figures helping him draft Plan B. Plan A failed at the polls in November. From the MDJ:
“I think you’re going to see (in this bill) more of a utilization of the existing organizations within the state. It will not be a creation of a new organization to oversee these schools,” Tippins said. “I think most of this is going to be handled in conjunction between the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement…
Tippins said the bill will aim to have elementary students become proficient in the areas of literacy and math before they enter the sixth grade.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was in town today talking healthcare law:
Leadership teams in the state House and Senate are now complete.
Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday announced his floor leaders, those lawmakers who will carry his agenda in the two chambers. On the Senate side, he tapped P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, Larry Walker III, R-Perry, and Butch Miller, R-Gainesville. In the House, Dean named Terry Rogers, R-Clarkesville, Trey Rhodes, R-Greensboro, and Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula,
With that announcement complete, expect to start seeing the governor’s legislative agenda start hitting House and Senate bill hoppers.
House Democrats, too, on Thursday fleshed out their leadership group. The Minority Caucus’ “whip” team, i.e., those lawmakers charged with getting members to vote the caucus position includes:
Minority Whip Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus, Chief Deputy White Gloria Frazier, D-Hephizbah, Kim Alexander, D-Hiram, James Beverly, D-Macon, Spencer Frye, D-Athens, Craig Gordon, D-Savannah, Brian Prince, D-Augusta, Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain, Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, and David Dreyer, D-Atlanta.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp took to Facebook on Thursday to support a bill backed by state Senate leaders that seeks to speed up the business regulation process.
Senate Bill 2 – dubbed the FAST Act – would require data sharing among state agencies to expedite permits and licenses, and mandate that state agencies publish maximum turnaround times for licenses and permit registrations. It was introduced by a raft of Senate GOP leaders.
“As SB2 moves through the legislative process, I trust that leaders in the State Senate will work to protect the sovereignty of local government,” wrote Kemp, whose office oversees business licensing, on Facebook, “but this is a good first step toward supporting small business owners in our state.”
A Kemp aide says his biggest concern is a section of the law that, among other elements, would require the Department of Community Affairs to grade cities and counties on “business readiness” based on turnaround times for permits.
Their clout undercut by the expected departure of their two most senior lawmakers, Lynn Westmoreland and presumably Tom Price, Georgia Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are hoping that better committee assignments will help the state maintain its influence.
Seniority is often key on Capitol Hill, but Tom Graves, R-Ranger, and Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, are hoping that having well-placed lawmakers will help. They used their positions on the secretive GOP panel that doles out committee assignments to shift members of the delegation to committees they think are key toward maintaining the state’s interests.
Buddy Carter is moving to the Energy and Commerce Committee, the powerful panel that will help replace Obamacare and have oversight over the new nuclear reactors at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle.
There will now be two Georgia Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has been ground zero for Georgia’s water wars against Florida and Alabama in recent years. Ditto for the Agriculture Committee, which will soon begin the process of writing the new farm bill, mammoth legislation that will set aside hundreds of billions of dollars for subsidies and insurance for key Georgia crops such as peanuts and cotton.
“One of my goals for this Congress was to make sure that we can maximize the talent that we have in our delegation by getting each member on committees that are important to our state and provide the maximum impact and influence for the priorities that are important for our state,” Graves said in a recent interview. “And I’m pleased to say that we have done that.”
Read the full list of assignments here.
With the departure of Price, however, Georgia will soon lose its Republican spot on arguably the most powerful committee in the House, the tax-writing Ways and Means panel. Democrat John Lewis also sits on the committee.
State Sen. Vincent Fort on Thursday received endorsements in his run for mayor of Atlanta from three Teamsters locals (728, 528, and 527). It’s the first big labor endorsement to come in the campaign – which is still in its very early stages.