Stepping Down: Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson, 73, will retire in January, after Harris Hines is sworn in as the new chief justice.
The retirement, combined with legislation adding two additional justices to the high court that takes effect in January, will give Gov. Nathan Deal the opportunity to make three appointments.
“Our court is undergoing significant change,” said Thompson, who was appointed to the court in 1994 by former Gov. Zell Miller. “We will have two new justices coming on board in January as our court grows from seven to nine justices. I believe that selecting my successor so he or she can start at the same time will make for a smoother transition.”
In a statement on the court website, he called his time on the bench “the fulfillment of dreams” and his colleagues “the most dedicated, committed and talented group of jurists in the nation.”
Ferguson On November Ballot: Former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson beat state Sen. Mike Crane (R-Newnan) in this summer’s Republican runoff election and is the GOP candidate for the 3rd Congressional District. He will face Democrat Angela Pendley in the general election in November. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who did not seek re-election.
Lee Out In Cobb: Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee lost to Mike Boyce, a retired Marine colonel, who claimed 64 percent of the vote in the summer Republican runoff. Lee’s loss is widely seen as a repudiation of his role in committing public money for a new Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb. Boyce has no Democratic opposition in November.
Awards For Loudermilk: Republican 11th District Rep. Barry Loudermilk was named a “Hero of Main Street” by the National Retail Federation for his support of legislation favorable to the retail industry. The organization annually recognizes members of Congress.
Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay called Loudermilk “an advocate for his thriving Main Street and [for] the long-term growth of the retail industry, our nation’s largest job creators.”
Earlier in the year, Loudermilk was honored by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste as a “Taxpayer Super Hero.” He was one of 17 members of Congress who received a perfect 100 percent score in the organization’s 2015 ratings.
Water Wars To Trial? Unless negotiations are successful in the interim, the next battle in the water wars between Florida and Georgia – fighting over the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola rivers – will take place in a Portland, Maine, courtroom beginning Oct. 31. It was originally slated for Washington, D.C., but moved because of staffing issues.
Florida filed suit against Georgia in 2014, claiming that Georgia’s projected water consumption will harm the Apalachicola River and Bay and the area’s ecology. Georgia disputes the claim and says Florida has failed to manage the Apalachicola waters properly.
Pridemore On Ethics Panel: Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Tricia Pridemore, who co-chaired his 2014 inaugural committee, to the state ethics commission. Deal backed her unsuccessful attempt to head the state Republican Party in 2011; she subsequently became head of the state’s workforce development agency, then ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014.
Pridemore replaces Rick Thompson, whom Deal originally appointed to the ethics commission. Thompson withdrew his name after questions arose about his having registered as a lobbyist for a company that does business for individuals regulated by the commission.
In Memoriam: Former State Rep. Robert “Bob” Argo died at his home this summer, at age 92. He sat on the State Properties Commission following his time in the state House of Representatives.
New Director: Rusty Garrison has been named by Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams as the new director of the Wildlife Resources Division, responsible for conserving and promoting the state’s wildlife. Garrison has been with the department for 18 years.