Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

Board of Regents to consider same-sex marriage eligibility in retirement plan

  • 8:57 am Monday, June 30th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to deliver its verdict in the Hobby Lobby case, which weighs the religious rights of employers and the right of women to their choice of birth control.

Whichever way it goes, the decision will soak up today’s media attention – and that’s just fine with the state Board of Regents, which today will consider whether to recognize same-sex marriages for participants in a University System retirement plan.

Consider it the most important clash of state and federal policies since last year, when the Georgia National Guard refused to recognize same-sex marriage – and was [More]

When it comes to college tuition hikes, Georgia gets silver

  • 9:55 am Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Looks like Georgia’s unofficial state motto, “Deo gratias, quia Mississippi,” needs updating. Only in New Mexico, where net tuition and fees rose a remarkable 188 percent, did state officials shift the cost of college from government to students more than legislators in Georgia. Here, net tuition revenue per student went up by 93 percent as legislators cut education appropriations and reduced the value of the HOPE Scholarship many students depend on for college expenses…

Even though Georgia students pay a lot more in tuition now than five years ago, the average tuition paid by a full-time Georgia student, $4,484, is still [More]

Did Georgia accidentally pass a campus-carry law?

  • 10:03 am Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

A Georgia gun group is contending that, whether he intended it or not, a set of bills signed by Gov. Nathan Deal this spring will permit the legal carrying of concealed weaponry on public university campuses.

State Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, author of one of the two gun bills, agrees. “I believe that’s where we’re going to be on July 1,” Setzler said this morning.

Lawyers for the governor strongly disagree. Attorney General Sam Olens has been asked for a formal interpretation of the matter by many of the parties involved. Given that the issue of campus carry would quickly be enveloped [More]

Nathan Deal, ‘a mighty thin line,’ and a $1.1 million lawsuit

  • 9:13 am Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

In a post-election interview aired on WABE (90.1FM), Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday that, at most, only “a mighty thin line” connects his office to an ethics lawsuit that resulted in an April verdict that has To WABE’s Denis O’Hayer, Deal repeated his argument that his office had nothing to do with the ethics agency, which is designed to be independent. That’s when O’Hayer pointed out that Deal’s executive counsel, Ryan Teague, helped recruit her replacement, Holly LaBerge.

Take a look inside the red circle and the young man behind the fellow with the camera. That’s White. He was a 16-year-old [More]

Georgia business launches a sudden campaign aimed at the state Capitol

  • 9:00 am Saturday, May 17th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

This winter, the state Capitol erupted in a sudden and unexpected fight over a set of “religious liberty” bills that were interpreted as a hostile reaction to the ground that gay marriage has gained through the courts.

Tea party supporters sought protection for the Christian wedding photographer who, out of conscience, refuses to snap pictures of a same-sex couple exchanging vows.

But Georgia’s corporate giants saw something else: Legislation that would open their businesses to boycotts and lawsuits, trapping them in unwanted disputes perhaps generated by their own workers – the UPS driver who won’t deliver a package to a gay bar, [More]

A House speaker under siege by tea party forces

  • 6:06 pm Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Ellijay, Ga. — On Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal and his extensive entourage could have trekked to any one of 180 House districts to sign HB 60, the gun bill – now law – that will greatly expand where concealed weaponry can be carried.

But as a favor to one of his most important allies in the state Capitol, Deal chose the picturesque banks of the Coosawattee River here in House District 7.

That’s because Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge, the second Republican to hold that position and the first from north Georgia, is under siege.

Among the high crimes and misdemeanors allegedly [More]

Jimmy Carter: ‘I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored’

  • 9:34 am Monday, March 24th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Count former President Jimmy Carter as one of those Americans who thinks he’s being watched. If not by the NSA, then by someone else.

“As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored. And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it…

“Because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored.”

Carter, who is plugging his latest book — which advocates women’s rights, also said that while most of his successors in the White [More]

Democratic poll: 63% of metro Atlanta voters say Nathan Deal flunked his own ice storm test

  • 9:22 am Friday, January 31st, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

We told you Thursday that someone was already measuring On Wednesday, the first full day of paralysis, Huttman polled 1,000 likely voters statewide (MOE +/-3.1%) and 492 likely voters (MOE +/-4.4 percent) in the disaster-declared zone of Fulton, Cherokee, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Rockdale, Fayette, Henry.

Crosstabs can be found here. Highlights of the poll:

– 73 percent of voters in the snow-affected areas of metro Atlanta rated the performance of Deal, the state Department of Transportation and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency as fair or poor. Statewide, 63 percent disapproved.

– The poll quoted Deal’s assessment following the 2011 ice [More]

A black lawmaker takes up for federal judicial nominees caught in Democratic crossfire

  • 9:27 am Friday, January 24th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

A tight-lipped Mike Boggs made the rounds at the state Capitol on Thursday, trying hard not to say anything that would get him noticed.

Boggs sits on the state Court of Appeals, but is also one of four who have been nominated for federal judgeships in Georgia’s Northern District by the White House. A hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is imminent.

Boggs is also one of two nominees who have attracted the attention of House Democrats in Georgia, who are miffed at President Barack Obama for the deal he worked out with U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss. Too few [More]

Legislative tip sheet: Gun bill? What gun bill?

  • 7:50 am Friday, January 24th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Both the House and Senate will gavel in at 9 a.m. today, the better to boogie out by noon for the weekend.

The Senate is expected to pass out S.B. 297, which clears up some minor issues related to campaign disclosure rules for local government officials.

The House will take up the mid-year budget – which makes spending adjustments for the current fiscal year.

But the big question of the day is what happens next with the gun bill, now that S.B. 101, which had made it all the way to a conference committee last year, has been abandoned.

House leadership will need to [More]