Political Notes: July 2013
Champion Award: State Sen. Jesse Stone
Honor For Stone: The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) presented Sen. Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) its Legislative Champion Award in ceremonies in Richmond County. Stone was selected for his successful sponsorship of SB 86, which provides additional protection for victims of family violence, and his support for HB 78, which increases protection for at-risk adults. Both bills were signed into law by Gov. Na-than Deal in May.
Judge Stephen Kelley of the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, chair of the GCFV, says of Stone: “His determination to give law enforcement the tools they need to stop the cycle of violence will not only benefit countless numbers of victims but all citizens of Georgia by making Georgia a safer place to live.”
Business-Friendly: State Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) and State Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta) are the Georgia Chamber’s 2013 Legislators of the Year, based on their support of pro-business legislation. Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) is the Freshman of the Year.
All three of the honorees scored an A-plus on the chamber’s 2013 Legislative Scorecard, which grades Georgia’s lawmakers based on their votes on key bills. Some 41 of 56 state senators earned an A or A-plus. In the House of Representatives, 84 of 180 members earned top grades.
The chamber is the state’s preeminent business organization. The scorecard is available via the chamber’s website at www.gachamber.com.
Handel In: Former Georgia Secre-tary of State and Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive Karen Handel is officially in the race to be the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that Saxby Chambliss is leaving next year. She joins three Georgia Congressmen, Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey. Handel lost the gubernatorial primary to Gov. Nathan Deal in 2010.
Not So Fast: Elections for the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government, originally scheduled for July 16, have been postponed.
The U.S. Justice Department, responding to a challenge from Bibb County Democrats under the Voting Rights Act, has requested information from the local legislative delegation about why and how the elections were changed from partisan races in Novem-ber, as specified in the consolidation charter, to non-partisan races in July.
Georgia is one of nine states with elections supervised by the Justice Department, under provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The challengers believe the change in date and format would lessen the impact of black voters. Local officials were given 60 days to respond to the Justice Department’s request for more information or the department could rule without any additional local material.
Harbor Lights: Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Republicans Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, hailed the Senate’s 83-14 passage of the Water Resources Development Act of 2013, now awaiting consideration by the House of Representatives.
The bill, says Isakson in a joint press release issued by the senators’ offices, “represents major progress in terms of allowing the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project to move forward. The port of Savannah is critically important to our state and local economies, and I will continue to work to see this project through to its completion.”
The bill allows the Army Corps of Engineers to go ahead with projects, such as the port expansion, that have a current cost higher than the amount Congress authorized when the projects were initiated.