Watch last Sunday’s Georgia Gang on Youtube

  From the March 26th Georgia Gang: a countdown to Sine Die at the State Capitol, the ongoing disaster that is the Atlanta Streetcar, and two new Georgia cities. Subscribe to the channel to keep up with IAG CEO Phil Kent and the rest of the gang as they break down the latest in Peach State politics every Sunday!...

Busy day under Gold Dome as session winds down

  The penultimate day of the 2017 legislative session was a busy one as many key bills met their fate Tuesday for better or for worse.  Firearm legislation was a big player, as was immigration and terrorism as national and state issues collided under the Gold Dome. HB 406 – State Rep. Allen Powell’s gun reciprocity-with-Virginia bill passed the Senate with ease and goes to Governor Nathan Deal’s desk, where it will more than likely be signed into law.   HB 292 – This complex gun bill from state Sen. Rick Jasperse that would prohibit probate judges from altering the process of approving a GWL application along with allowing licensees of states with reciprocal agreements with Georgia a 90 day grace period to obtain a GWL, among other issues, will go back to the House for further debate before another chance to pass on Thursday. HB 280 – The 2017 version of ‘campus carry’ heads back to the House, expect it to be a major topic of debate on the session’s final day. HB 37 – State Rep. Earl Ehrhart’s controversial bill would take away state funding from Georgia universities that declared themselves as ‘sanctuary campuses.’  The bill passed the Senate with relative ease and heads to Governor Deal’s desk for his signature. SB 1 – An embarrassing end for one of the state Senate’s top priorities as the bill died after two separate votes in the House.  Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert and endorsed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, SB 1 would have classified certain crimes as acts of ‘domestic terrorism’ and increased their punishments.  Opposition, which included nearly...

State looks to experiment with healthcare

Following the U.S. Congress’ failure to repeal and replace Obamacare last week some states’, including Georgia, indicated their desire to explore their own changes to health care.  While light on specifics, GA Governor Nathan Deal this week indicated that his state would look at alterations to programs including Medicaid in coming months.  While these proposals are just getting started, the state’s willingness to move forward on health care has its ship...

Debate Over Role of Schools’ Chief Turnaround Officer

​The education turnaround legislation being debated before the General Assembly, now labeled the First Priority Act, has gone through several revisions. But on the second-to-last day of the session one section has remained: creation of a public school system “chief turnaround officer” who would report to the state Board of Education. Various groups — from teachers’ organizations to conservative think tanks — have asked that the CTO position report to the elected state school superintendent instead. Georgia Association of Educators President Sid Chapman says he’s hoping a majority of legislators change their minds about where the officer reports. “The state school superintendent is elected by the people,” Chapman says. “And he has no one else in that whole department who doesn’t report to him.” Gov. Nathan Deal and his legislative allies believe the state school superintendent has a dismal record when it comes to reforming, closing or turning failing schools into charters. They just want the superintendent to “consult” with the CTO. During recent testimony before the Senate Youth and Education Committee, Superintendent Richard Woods said the mission of the education department is to implement the state’s educational directives and that his agency should lead the process to improve schools. Woods also urged that criteria for what is considered a failing school should align with the federal definition. In the bill, a failing school would include one that has received “an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate” by the CTO. Officials with the Georgia School Board Association as well as the state’s largest education association– the Professional Association of Georgia Educators– also cite concerns over the reporting...

Bird flu found in Georgia chickens

Nearly 18,000 chickens had to be destroyed in Chattooga County last week after being found to have avian influenza, the infamous bird flu.  The incident is the first case of bird flu found in a commercial flock in the state.  Very worrying for the state’s poultry industry, which is the largest agriculture in the state with an estimated annual economic impact of nearly $26 billion.  Hopefully it stays contained, but the threat of such a devastating illness has the state’s poultry industry...

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