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Ex-Santorum aide: Georgia doesn’t need a religious liberty bill
1 year ago

Ex-Santorum aide: Georgia doesn’t need a religious liberty bill

A former aide to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign wrote in a wry Sunday opinion editorial that a religious liberty bill under consideration by the General Assembly would “chase away business and jobs” as it “create[s] a frightening solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Marisa Flores, who directed Hispanic outreach for Santorum’s Georgia operation, took to the pages of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer to urge lawmakers to abandon the First Amendment Defense Act lest the local economy backslide.

“For the first time in eight years, Georgia’s unemployment rate fell last month to pre-recession levels,” Flores wrote. “Things were looking up for the state, finally. And then the Georgia General Assembly convened.

“Rather than busy itself with a growth-oriented agenda that might capitalize on the shifting economic tide, lawmakers instead proposed a smattering of bills that would facilitate discrimination by government and business against law-abiding Georgians. Just what we need: something to chase away business and jobs.”

Flores, who said the proposal would facilitate discrimination against gays and lesbians, cohabitating unmarried couples, and divorced persons, said she was terrified government would “grow to a size to empower itself and others to discriminate.”

“Faith genuinely informs my politics, just as it does for Sen. Santorum,” she wrote. “I place my faith in God, not government — and I don’t need government to tell me how to exercise my faith. The expression of my faith free of government intrusion is not in jeopardy, I am certain. But the safety and wellness of some among us are.”

The vehicle for the commentary’s publication is worth noting: the Ledger-Enquirer is the largest newspaper in the district of Senator Josh McKoon, the chief sponsor of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and one of the most vocal proponents in the legislature of related proposals. Read More

GOP group opposes religious liberty bill
1 year ago

GOP group opposes religious liberty bill

Opportunity.US, a young conservative group led by the grandson of former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen Jr., came out Monday in opposition to Georgia’s First Amendment Defense Act, a controversial religious liberty proposal that critics argue would facilitate discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“Young professionals today demand that political leaders embrace policies ensuring our competitiveness and equality of opportunity,” Beau Allen, Opportunity.US co-founder, said in a statement provided to Tipsheet. “Opportunity.US stands with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and like-minded groups who fiercely oppose the proposed First Amendment Defense Act, a discriminatory bill which threatens the progress our great City and State has made in the past decades.

“The next generation of our nation’s leaders believe in an inclusive society creating economic and political opportunity for all.”

Opportunity.US, a social welfare outgrowth of the Republican super PAC Concord 51, has previously played in Georgia, endorsing U.S. Senator David Perdue and Georgia state Sen. Hunter Hill. Read More

Study: Ga. Aquarium contributed $2 billion in state revenues
1 year ago

Study: Ga. Aquarium contributed $2 billion in state revenues

By  •  Local, Business

As the Georgia Aquarium celebrates its tenth anniversary, a new economic impact study finds the museum has injected $1.9 billion in the local economy in the last decade.

According to a new report by Bleakly Advisory Group, since opening the Aquarium has attracted some 22 million visitors, from which a majority hailed out of state, and contributed $8.1 million annually in state and local sales taxes in the last year.

“Every dollar invested in Georgia Aquarium generates an additional $2.50 of private and public investment to the area,” chief operating officer Joe Handy told the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Already the largest aquarium in North America, the facility is slated to open a new $40 million California sea lion exhibit next month, with later expansions for an expanded dolphin exhibit underway as well. Read More

<em>Atlanta Business Chronicle</em> publisher urges: kill religious liberty bill for economy’s sake
1 year ago

Atlanta Business Chronicle publisher urges: kill religious liberty bill for economy’s sake

The publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle wrote Wednesday on the newspaper’s website that a religious liberty proposal under consideration by the General Assembly “threatens to undo so much of the progress our region has made.”

David Rubinger, who was named publisher of the weekly business paper last year, said the giants of Atlanta history—”[l]ast names like Woodruff, Hartsfield, Russel, Abernathy, and King”—would be “appalled” by the First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow for persons and non-profits to deny service on the grounds of sincerely held religious beliefs.

Critics of the legislation maintain it will enable discrimination against gays and lesbians, single mothers, unmarried co-habitating couples, and divorced persons.

Already some businesses have said they intend to leave the state in protest, like the Decatur-based telecommunications startup 373k, and some fear that the film and entertainment industry will boycott the state if it is perceived as a discriminatory environment.

“Most Atlanta business and civic leaders believe that this bill should never have gotten to this point,” Rubinger wrote. “Now the business community is rallying to speak as one voice, protecting Atlanta from the potential public relations damage this legislation could have on future business growth, convention business, and sporting events like the Super Bowl.

“If Gov. Nathan Deal and the Speaker of the House David Ralston are unable to untangle this mess that the General Assembly has created, then it is much more than the LGBT community that suffers,” he said. “We will all suffer is business, conventions and major events decide to leave our city over this debate.”

The bill passed the state Senate last week and awaits final consideration by the House of Representatives. Read More

Kasich campaigning in Ga. today
1 year ago

Kasich campaigning in Ga. today

The next Republican contest will be decided Tuesday in Nevada, where caucus-goers will huddle to name the state’s choice for the GOP nod, but Ohio Governor John Kasich will instead spend the day campaigning in Georgia.

Kasich, who played fifth in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Saturday, will address the Georgia House of Representatives before holding a pair of townhalls, one at Kennesaw State University and a second in Sandy Springs, later in the day.

The Ohio governor boasts a handful of endorsements from the General Assembly, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, Sens. Fran Millar and Chuck Hufstetler, and Reps. Wendell Willard and Tom Taylor. Read More

After loss, Barrow to sell Augusta home
2 years ago

After loss, Barrow to sell Augusta home

By  •  U.S. House

UPDATE: In a statement circulated Monday morning on Facebook, Barrow confirmed that he was leaving the twelfth district to be closer to his family.

“When our district lines were …
Read More

RIP Mack Burgess

By  •  Uncategorized

Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia Republican Party suffered a tragic loss yesterday when field staffer Mack Burgess was killed in a car accident. Burgess had previously served as Tricia …
Read More