Political Insider blog 

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

Into the weeds: Exploring the edges of Georgia’s new gun law

  • 5:28 pm Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by Jim Galloway

We are 72 hours into Georgia’s new concealed-carry law, and questions that were once theoretical are sprouting like weeds.

All of us have a steep learning curve in front of us, including the firearms enthusiast in Valdosta who wasn’t sure that the fellow in front of him at the local convenience store was, in fact, a good guy with a holstered gun.

The enthusiast drew his own weapon and demanded the other’s carry permit. And was then arrested for disorderly conduct. Under Georgia’s new gun statute, you see, no one can require the display of another’s carry license without cause. Not [More]

Georgia schools aren’t racing to arm teachers, principals

  • 12:56 pm Friday, June 27th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Georgia’s new gun law goes into effect on Tuesday. Kathleen Foody of the Associated Press says school systems aren’t racing to arm teachers and principals:

Georgia school leaders are turning down a new option to arm teachers, arguing that it doesn’t make kids any safer and creates more problems than state lawmakers intended to solve.

A string of attacks at schools and colleges in California, Oregon and Washington state hasn’t swayed education officials who say bluntly that they don’t believe guns belong in schools.

“We could give (teachers) all the training in the world as to how to a shoot a gun, but [More]

Blowback for Tom Graves over role in House leadership election

  • 9:11 am Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

On Thursday, Republicans in the U.S. House elected Kevin McCarthy of California, a business-friendly ally of Speaker John Boehner, to replace the tea party-slain Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The result surprised no one. But what caught many off guard was the man who nominated McCarthy at the closed-door meeting: Tom Graves of Ranger.

“I submit to you today that we cannot make good on the hope of America as a broken party. We cannot lead the way if we do not trust each other. As of late, there has been a lot of talk about holding our leadership accountable, as if [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]

Brian Kemp tries to tamp down envy for Mississippi’s three-week runoff

  • 10:07 am Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Recognizing some state Capitol unhappiness with this year’s new election calendar, which cut short the annual legislative session and rewarded Republicans candidates for U.S. Senate and others with an expensive, nine-week runoff, Secretary of State Brian Kemp may be trying to head off some rash fixes.

In a letter dispatched last Friday to the governor, lieutenant governor, and leaders of the House and Senate, Kemp said he was aware that “many potential solutions” are being discussed by state lawmakers and others.

Some, Kemp said, have pointed to Mississippi, where U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran will face GOP challenger Chris McDaniel in a runoff [More]

A quiet beginning to the campaign for a cap on state income tax rate

  • 5:06 pm Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Come the November general election, voters will be asked to answer this question:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?”

The campaign for this proposed constitutional amendment quietly began today, with a press release from the bill’s sponsor, Senate President pro tem David Shafer, listing 17 Georgia economists who have endorsed the measure. They include:

– Paul H. Rubin, Samuel Candler Dobbs professor of economics. Emory University;

– Jeffrey H. Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics, University of Georgia;

– Donald Ratajczak, Regents professor emeritus of economics, Georgia State University;

– W. [More]

Local angst over Georgia’s new concealed-carry law bubbles up

  • 10:34 am Thursday, June 5th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

 A city hall is a city hall is a city hall. Unless it’s also a courthouse, in which case it becomes exempt from HB 60, Georgia’s new concealed-carry law — which goes into effect on July 1. …The name change is significant. Under the new law, guns are prohibited in courthouses with security checkpoints. But other government buildings like city halls are not afforded the same protection.

The Norcross City Hall and Municipal Courthouse are housed in the same building. Although there are separate entrances for each and only a security checkpoint outside municipal court.

“They are undermining the intent of the [More]

A burned toddler revives a rare ‘no-knock’ alliance

  • 5:31 pm Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

It doesn’t matter whether you credit God or Charles Darwin. The looks that babies give us are designed to bring out our most protective instincts.

And so the image of 19-month-old Bounkham “Bou Bou” Phonesavanh, with his face burned away by a flash-bang police grenade hurled into his playpen, has done more than wring a few hearts.

In little more than a week, the injured toddler has sparked a rare alliance of Georgia’s disparate political factions: rural Republicans and urban blacks, tea partyers and liberal Democrats — all out to rein in the use of “no-knock” search warrants.

The stun grenade that landed [More]

Michelle Nunn steps carefully into a national CO2 debate

  • 10:02 am Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposal to slash carbon emissions was big news across the country on Monday. As Matt Kempner Georgia’s Democrats were mostly silent. Not one of the state’s five U.S. House Democrats wanted to weigh in when contacted Monday.

Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn, then, had to carry the banner with a very careful statement that included a big hug for Georgia Power. Nunn neither blasted the EPA as her Kentucky counterpart Alison Lundergan Grimes did, nor give it the Harry Reid seal of approval. Here is Nunn’s statement in full:

“I am reviewing the new guidelines [More]

Sam Olens, Nathan Deal slam door on talk of ‘accidental’ campus-carry law

  • 12:49 pm Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein

Less than 24 hours after a gun group went public with its contention that language contained in two separate gun bills passed by the Legislature would allow concealed weaponry on public university campuses, Attorney General Sam Olens formally shot the idea down.

Read the background we posted this morning. Olens’ judgment on the state of campus carry in Georgia can be found in an FAQ piece his office just produced, to guide state agencies on enforcement of gun legislation passed by the General Assembly this spring. You can read it below.

The attorney general explains that two bills passed by the [More]