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Braves exec: we hope fans will ride bikes to new stadium in ‘burbs
2 years ago

Braves exec: we hope fans will ride bikes to new stadium in ‘burbs

A Braves executives said at a recent public forum that he hoped fans would choose alternative transportation methods, like bicycles, when traveling to the team’s new suburban stadium.

Mike Plant, Braves executive vice president of operations, told a business association Tuesday that he hopes fans will consider biking to the team’s new location in suburban northwest Atlanta to relieve congestion.

“We’re working closely with [community improvement districts] because we’re going to have a lot of bikers, and we want people to ride there, certainly on the weekends are take cars off the road,” Plant said at a meeting of the Kennesaw Business Association according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

The new stadium, into which the team will move in time for the 2017 season, is located off of one of the city’s major arteries, I-285. Last year, a cyclist was struck by a motorist down just down the road from the site of the new stadium. Read More

Perdue one of 8 no votes on ‘doc fix’ bill
2 years ago

Perdue one of 8 no votes on ‘doc fix’ bill

Republican David Perdue was among a small handful of mostly southern GOP senators who voted against Medicare reform legislation to abandon a flawed repayment program for health care providers.

The legislation was offered as a permanent solution to the yearly congressional tradition known as the “doc fix,” in which Congress was forced to annually override a 1997 federal repayment formula that tied Medicare payouts to increases in the economy.

When it passed the House last month with overwhelming bipartisan support—it fell 37 votes shy of the complete chamber’s backing—two Georgians voted it down. Conservative Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Tom Graves argued the new blueprint was insolvement and would increase the national debt by $500 billion in the next two decades.

The legislation passed the Senate Tuesday on similar overwhelming margin, 92-8. In a statement, Perdue echoed the concerns of his fellow Peach State dissenters in the lower chamber.

“We have got to stop borrowing at these outrageous levels to meet our federal priorities,” Perdue said via spokeswoman Megan Whittemore. “Meeting the needs of our seniors, doctors, and rural health centers is a priority, but we need to find the money within the budget process, and put together a responsible way to pay for these priorities, not use more borrowed money that adds to our long-term debt.”

The bill marked one of the first fissures between Perdue and senior Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, who voted for the doc fix-fix. The two have generally been in line on most matters since Perdue took office earlier this year.

Isakson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the abandonment of the old formula was an “important first step forward on strengthening Medicare and reforming entitlements.” Read More

Isakson raises $1.6 million in Q1
2 years ago

Isakson raises $1.6 million in Q1

Senator Johnny Isakson raised more than $1.6 million in the first three months of the year, according to an aide.

Fundraising reports are not due with the Federal Election Commission until Thursday, but an Isakson spokeswoman previewed the campaign’s filing with Tipsheet Tuesday.

The GOPer, who faces reelection next year, will report a cash balance of $3.75 million and zero debt, a far stronger financial position than this time last cycle.

“I am proud that Georgians continue to feel that I effectively represent their interests in Washington,” Isakson said in a statement. “I look forward to this campaign and supporting all those conservative candidates across the country who are also dedicated to keeping our Republican majority and taking back the White House.” 

His campaign had raised less than $400,000 in the first quarter of 2009 and had a war chest of just $2.47 million, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Isakson already faces one nominal challenge—from MARTA engineer Derrick Grayson, who secured just over 6,000 votes in last year’s Republican Senate contest—but the 70-year-old is hoping to preemptively big foot any serious primary trials by posting strong fundraising numbers lest any would-be challengers think him easy prey. Read More

Ga. man arrested after attempting to build guard rail on spot where daughter died

By  •  Local

A grieving north Georgia father took the state’s infrastructure backlog into his own hands last week when he attempted to construct guard rail along a bridge where his daughter recently died.

White County sheriff’s deputies arrested Shannon Hamilton of Cleveland, Ga. over the weekend for attempting to construct a safety barricade on the spot where his 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend died after their vehicle overturned and plugged into a creek earlier this year.

The county commission voted last month to add guard rails to the spot but Hamilton considered the government’s pace dangerously sluggish — so he acted himself and now faces a felony charge.

“For 30 days to go by and nothing to happen is disgusting, disrespectful, it’s negligent, and it’s reckless disregard,” he told a local Fox News affiliate after his arrest.

Hamilton’s arrest was caught on film. In the cell phone-recorded video, he’s seen saying, “[i]t’s sad the community of grieving parents have to make things happen when the White County roads department can’t do shit.”

He was booked into the White County Detention Center on a felony charge and posted a $5,000 bail. Read More

RFRA sponsor: nondiscrimination rider would hold hostage people of faith
2 years ago

RFRA sponsor: nondiscrimination rider would hold hostage people of faith

The author of Georgia’s failed religious liberty legislation says he will revive the divisive proposal next year as written — without non-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians that supporters in the General Assembly deemed a poison pill.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, the Columbus Republican who authored the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said in a Monday radio interview that possible discrimination based on sexual orientation is totally immaterial to his bill—it’s already the case in Georgia that private businesses may refuse service to LGBT persons barring municipal nondiscrimination ordinances—and accused activists of dishonestly leveraging the debate over free exercise of faith to force an unrelated discussion about nondiscrimination.

“There’s nothing about this bill that impacts the current state of Georgia law as to whether we’re going to recognize sexual orientation as a protected class,” McKoon told Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE. “I think that one of the objectives of the opposition to this bill has been to create confuse about [religious freedom] to then leverage it to try to talk about [nondiscrimination].”

McKoon evaded questions by host Denis O’Hayer why those two debates—the barring of government from interfering with the free exercise of faith, and codifying in state law sexual orientation as protected class—could not be had in tandem as a means of diffusing criticisms of his bill and similar measures in states like Indiana and Arkansas.

“I don’t think that people of faith in this state should be held hostage to any other issue, any other public policy issue,” he said. “That debate … has nothing to do with the fundamental protection of the first freedom of all Georgians, which is the right of free exercise.”

The GOPer also said he expected state party activists to send a “very strong message” to the General Assembly that the base supports his bill. Party activists will huddle this weekend for district conventions and again next month for the state Republican party’s convention in Athens.

“I’ve been spending most of my time talking to congressional district Republican party chairmen around this state. We’ll be having conventions this Saturday,” he said. “And I expect you’re going to hear a very strong message sent from all over this state and all 14 congressional districts on this issue.”

Asked if that strong message might translate to primary challenges for the three Republicans who were instrumental in the bill’s demise by supporting the inclusion of nondiscrimination clause in committee, McKoon said he wasn’t “in the business of getting into threatening people” but expected it would “certainly impact the debate.”

Listen to the full exchange at WABE’s website. Read More

Dem. congressman: it’s ‘open season on black men’ for bad cops
2 years ago

Dem. congressman: it’s ‘open season on black men’ for bad cops

A Georgia Democratic congressman said in a Monday speech that it was “open season” on African American men by bad actors in law enforcement.

Rep. Hank Johnson, who has represented his southwest Atlanta district since 2007, took to the floor of the U.S. House Monday to condemn his colleagues for falling to address recent police-involved shootings of black men.

“It feels like open season on black men in America and I am outraged,” Johnson said. “In fact, all Americans are at risk when bad actors in law enforcement use their guns instead of their heads.”

Johnson asked for unanimous consent to enter into congressional record an index of recent police-involved shootings, including several from Atlanta.

One Georgian Johnson named, 23-year-old Nicholas Thomas, was shot last month by Smyrna police after an arrest attempt went awry. After serving an arrest warrant for a probation violation, police allege Thomas stole a nearby vehicle and used the vehicle as a weapon against the arresting officers.

Watch Johnson’s speech after the jump. Read More

Collins nabs 13 cosponsors for net neutrality resolution
2 years ago

Collins nabs 13 cosponsors for net neutrality resolution

Georgia Rep. Doug Collins has secured more than a dozen GOP lawmakers as cosponsors for his resolution of disapproval aimed at blocking the Federal Communications Commission new internet regulatory framework.

The list of cosponsors, according to a Collins aide, includes four other Georgians. The are: Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Rick Allen, Barry Loudermilk, and Buddy Carter. And the remaining boosters: Reps. Bob Goodlatte, Steve Chabot, Glenn Grothman, Bob Latta, Bill Posey, Ryan Zinke, Sam Johnson, Dennis Ross, and Vern Buchanan.

The FCC voted along partisan lines in February to reclassify broadband internet as a common carrier service, much in the same way the agency regulates telephone service.

Collins’ resolution, a one-pager introduced Monday afternoon, makes use of the Congressional Review Act, which empowers the legislative branch formally to reject rules set by major federal agencies.

The measure requires only a simple majority in both chambers, thus avoiding a filibuster threat by Senate Democrats, but the president must still authorize it.

The resolution’s nut: “Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating tot he matter of protecting and promoting the open internet … and such rule shall have no force or effect.”

Read the resolution after the jump. Read More

House GOP leader to resign: source
2 years ago

House GOP leader to resign: source

The third most senior GOP lawmaker in the Georgia state House of Representatives will resign his leadership post in exchange for a state appointment, a Republican with knowledge of the arrangement told Tipsheet.

House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, who was elected to leadership in 2010 after his party’s representation under the Gold Dome jumped by triple digits, will be appointed to a state board in about a month’s time, according to a GOP source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the plans.

O’Neal, a tax lawyer, had originally sought to lead state Department of Revenue, but Gov. Nathan Deal instead appointed then-state Rep. Lynne Riley as commissioner last November.

The source, who cautioned that the jump had nothing to do with the majority leader’s role in the recent transportation spending package, said that O’Neal’s timeline may be accelerated now that word of the arrangement has leaked.

Attempts by Tipsheet to contact O’Neal and a Deal spokesman Monday morning were unsuccessful.

O’Neal’s plans to resign were first reported over the weekend by Tom Crawford of GA Report. Read More