Political Notes: January 2012
ups, downs and in-betweens
’Tis The Season: Georgia’s legislators arrive in the Capitol in full force on Monday, January 9, to begin this year’s legislative session.
Among the bills likely to keep the session lively is HB 25, prefiled by Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross), that would affirm that postsecondary education is a state and local benefit for citizens and “lawfully present and eligible aliens” and requires verification of eligibility through the federal SAVE program.
Then there is HB 668, prefiled by Republican Reps. Jason Spencer, Penny Houston, Wendell Willard and Paulette Braddock, that would require drug tests to be administered to applicants for public assistance. A similar bill, SB 292, has been prefiled in the Senate by Sens. John Albers, David Shafer, Chip Rogers, Buddy Carter, Steve Gooch and William Ligon Jr., all Republicans.
Also on the Senate side, SB 293 would require “In God We Trust” to be printed on Georgia license plates, with a county name decal available for purchase – currently the county names are imprinted and “In God We Trust” decals are sold. Republican Sens. Bill Heath, Jack Hill, Chip Rogers and Lindsey Tippins are the bill’s authors.
The List: Some of the candidates are already destined for obscurity, but the Executive Committee of the Georgia Republican Party officially submitted 10 names that will appear on the March 6 Super Tuesday Republican Presidential Preference Primary ballot: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Debate Team: The Georgia GOP will partner with CNN to host the 2012 Super Tuesday Republican Presidential Debate, to be scheduled just before the March 6 primary date.
New Department Head: Gale Buckner, former chair of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, is the new commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. She succeeds Amy Howell, who is now general counsel at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Both appointments were made by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Buckner has worked with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and served as executive director of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council during the Barnes and Perdue administrations.
Pushing For More: John Sherman and the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation are pushing for an additional county commissioner for North Fulton. In a press release, the foundation says that the northern part of the county has only one and a half districts “because Tom Lowe’s District 3 is split between Buckhead in Atlanta and Sandy Springs in North Fulton. Based on the 2010 Census, North Fulton, with a population of 34 percent of the county, is entitled to at least two county commissioners.”
Taking Aim At IT Theft: Attorney General Sam Olens and 38 other state and territorial attorneys general are urging the Federal Trade Commission and its Bureau of Competition to use its enforcement authority to prevent foreign manufacturers from utilizing stolen information technology.
“The theft of our intellectual property represents economic losses not only to U.S. information technology companies, but also real losses to law-abiding manufacturers doing business in our states that pay the costs of legally acquiring information technology,” the group wrote in a letter.
The software industry estimates that in emerging markets, more than 80 percent of all packaged business software used by manufacturing and other firms is stolen, Olens’ office says.
BOR Chair Again: Benjamin J. “Ben” Tarbutton III of Sandersville has been elected to a one-year term as chair of the Board of Regents, which governs Georgia’s university system. Tarbutton served a six-month term as chair last year, reflecting the regents’ decision to change the bylaws to have the chair and vice-chair’s terms follow the calendar year rather than the state’s fiscal year.
Tarbutton, assistant vice president of the Sandersville Railroad Company, is a graduate of Georgia Tech.
Solyndra Fallout: Georgia’s Sen. Johnny Isakson offered an amendment to a House-passed appropriation bill to guarantee that American taxpayers will be repaid first if a recipient of a Department of Energy-issued loan guarantee goes into default. His amendment was in response to the failure of California solar energy company Solyndra after it received a $535-million loan guarantee from the energy department. The loan was then restructured just months before the company folded.