Political RoundUp: April 2007
Justices’ journey: The state Supreme Court likes to hold sessions outside Atlanta from time to time, so it was no surprise when justices drove about 75 miles southeast to the Putnam County courthouse in Eatonton to hear a couple of appeals. They heard oral arguments in the appeal of a death penalty case involving Reinaldo Javier Rivera, who was convicted for the September 2000 rape and murder of Marni Glista, a sergeant at Fort Gordon in Augusta. The special Supreme Court session also included the appeal in a civil lawsuit filed against Gwinnett County school officials by a student who was attacked and beaten by another student.
Looks good for Sue: When Georgia Republicans hold their annual state convention in May in Gwinnett County, they’ll be picking a new chairperson to replace Alec Poitevint, who will be stepping down after four years. If you’re betting on who that replacement will be, it might be a good idea to put your money on longtime party activist Sue Everhart of Marietta. She’s already picked up the early endorsements of Gov. Sonny Perdue, House Speaker Glenn Richardson, State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Sadie Fields of the Georgia Christian Alliance and Jim Beck of the Georgia Christian Coalition.
Foreign affairs: State Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) is taking on issues that happen far beyond Georgia’s state boundaries. He introduced and secured Senate passage of a resolution condemning the government of Iran for “continuing its nuclear program in defiance of the will of the international community and international law” and urging the international community “to impose meaningful sweeping sanctions on the governments of Iran and Syria.” After the Senate took its vote, Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus) asked Hill, just slightly tongue-in-cheek, “Do you expect the result of this is that the Ayatollah will fly directly to New York and surrender to the United Nations?”
Setting a timetable?: U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has been a staunch and reliable supporter of President Bush and the war in Iraq, but during a recent visit to the state capitol even Chambliss was talking about setting some limits on how long the fighting would continue. “I don’t know whether it’s going to take 60 days, 90 days, six months, nine months, but give me a chance to make this work,” Chambliss told reporters in a discussion of Bush’s plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. “If it doesn’t work, I promise you I’ll come back to you and tell you, this is not going to work.”
Familiar faces: Bob Terry, the Atlanta lawyer who was in charge of the Georgia securities division from 1997-2001 under former secretary of state Cathy Cox, has been re-appointed to his old position by current Secretary of State Karen Handel. Terry is once again director of the division that regulates charitable organizations, securities, investment advisors, and cemeteries. “I am confident he’ll bring the proactive, aggressive approach that Georgians deserve to the management of this division,” Handel said.
Looking for a solution: The federal funding crisis that threatened the financial stability of PeachCare during the legislative session has prompted the House Children and Youth Commit-tee to establish a new subcommittee that evaluates legislation affecting the popular health insurance program for uninsured children. Rep. Sean Jerguson (R-Canton), a first-term House member, was named chairman of the new subcommittee.
Helping the arts: Gov. Sonny Perdue has appointed chief financial officer Tommy Hills chairman of the Capitol Arts Standards Commission, the panel responsible for deciding which works of art should be hanging on the capitol walls. Perdue also named Carrollton portrait painter Steve Penley and Turner Broadcast-ing System Vice President Steve Smith to the commission. The ap-pointments clear up an oversight by the governor’s office, which neglected to appoint members to this state commission for a period of more than a year. The missing appointments became an issue when several black lawmakers made proposals to hang portraits of Coretta Scott King and other civil rights leaders in the capitol.
One for Zell: The University Sys-tem of Georgia Foundation recently selected retired governor and senator Zell Miller as this year’s winner of its Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller, who enacted the HOPE scholarship program and also spent some time working as a college instructor, was presented with the Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding service to higher education in Georgia.