Watch the March 5th Georgia Gang on Youtube

  On the first Georgia Gang of March, IAG CEO Phil Kent and company discuss the premiere of Atlanta United FC, the sprint to the finish of the 2017 legislative session, and of course the ongoing scandal at Atlanta City Hall. Be sure to subscribe to catch up on old episodes and catch the newest episodes as they are uploaded....

Crossover Day roundup – which bills made it through?

  A slew of bills made their last stand last Friday, Crossover Day at the Georgia Capitol.  As we said in our coverage of the day’s action, any bills that hope to be signed into law must pass through at least one legislative chamber or else be dead for 2017.  Let’s look at some of those bills and their statuses for the remainder of the legislative session. HB 280 – The ‘campus carry’ bill passed the House by a margin of 108 to 63, moving on to the state Senate where it is expected to pass by a similarly close margin.  The bill was among the most controversial of the day, with fierce debate on both sides mostly mirroring party lines.  Last year Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a similar bill once it got to his desk, but he has been cautious about saying whether he would do the same this year. HB 452 – State Rep. Jesse Petrea’s bill dealing with the GBI and criminal illegal aliens cruised through the House with 144 yea’s to only 26 nay’s. HB 292 – Another gun bill, this time streamlining a handful of regulations.  The bill passed the House with relative ease and bipartisan support. HB 353 – A title pawn bill that was the source of some debate, it failed initially but was later withdrawn and sent back to committee.  Expect to see a similar version in the future. SB 134 – Backed by some heavy hitters in the state Senate, the ‘Save, Earn, Win Act’ would create a ‘savings raffle’ to encourage more saving by Georgians.  Only two Senators voted against the bill, which hopes to find...

James Magazine’s Top ‘Political Hangout Restaurants’ 2017

    Voting is now open for James Magazine’s ‘Top Political Hangout Restaurants’ 2017.  We are thrilled to be partnering this year with Taste of Atlanta, the city’s premiere food and drink festival that attracts thousands of foodies from across the Southeast, as well as the Georgia Restaurant Association, the state’s premiere advocate for the restaurant industry.  Voting will remain open through the end of April. The top 20 restaurants will be featured in the upcoming May/June Political and Law issue of James, and the top vote-getter will be featured in Taste of Atlanta’s wildly popular “Bite of News” blog. If you don’t see one of your top restaurants on the list, use the ‘other’ option at the bottom of the page and we will make sure they get added. Additionally, we’d love to hear any of your favorite memories or stories from your favorite spots! Use the space below the questionnaire to share your most memorable anecdotes. Vote HERE...

Bills to watch on crossover day

  Crossover Day at the Georgia State Capitol is here, which means that any bills that hope to be signed into law must pass through at least one legislative chamber or else be dead for 2017.  Below are some of the key bills up for votes throughout today’s hectic schedule.   HB 280 – The ‘campus carry’ bill returns to the House floor.  This year sponsored by state Rep. Mandy Ballinger, the bill would allow individuals with weapons permits to carry guns on college and university campuses.  Last year a similar piece of legislation passed both houses but was vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal. HB 452 – Sponsored by state Rep. Jesse Petrea, the bill would require  the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to share information received from the federal government on the release of criminal aliens with Georgia sheriffs and to post it online for the public.  It would also give ICE agents additional time to determine whether criminal aliens need to be taken into federal custody. HB 292 – State Rep. Rick Jasperse hopes to streamline a handful of gun laws with his bill, which would allow gun owners from reciprocating states to obtain a temporary Georgia Weapons License, protect firearms instructors from unjust lawsuits, and more. HB 353 – Seeks to protect Georgians in need of a car title pawn by offering them amortized loans that can’t be rolled over and that return excess proceeds should the vehicle be repossessed. HB 406 – A gun reciprocity bill, it would allow for individuals with a concealed weapons permit in Georgia to enjoy that same right in Virginia, and vice versa. SB...

Governor Deal Lauds Passage of Education Legislation

Following last year’s failure of the Opportunity School District (OSD) vote at the ballot box – Speaker Ralston called it a “resounding defeat” – eyes turned to Governor Nathan Deal and other Republicans at the Capitol who had declared education solutions a priority. The OSD failed for a variety of reasons, Ralston has also called a lot of the information about the bill not accurate, but a common complaint was a fear of losing local control. So, when Republicans returned to the state house in January, a priority was finding a path for both local control and a state-based impetus for improving chronically failing local schools. On Wednesday, the house passed their answer, HB 338, by a vote of 138-37. House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D- 89 Atlanta) urged her part members to support the bill and nearly half of the chamber’s Democrats ultimately voted for the Republican sponsored bill. The bill would create a turnaround plan for Georgia’s lowest performing schools. It would “provide for system of supports and assistance for the lowest-performing schools identified 3 as in the greatest need of assistance” and create the position of Chief Turnaround Officer and provide for turnaround coaches. The State School Superintendent would provide consultation and on-site evaluations and recommendations would be developed. A two-year period would be given to implement the “intensive school improvement plan” and further intervention would be possible if improvements were not made in that window. Additionally, an Education Turnaround Advisory Council would be created, as well Joint Study Committees on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process and the Establishment of a Leadership Academy. Local...

Georgia 6: GOP favored, but not a safe bet

  The special election to replace US Rep. Tom Price (R), who is now Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump Administration, will be the first test of the Democrats’ ability to win over Republican voters who did not support Donald Trump last November. The open seat race has attracted 18 candidates, eleven Republicans and five Democrats. The “jungle primary,” which means all candidates, regardless of party, are listed on the same ballot, will be held on April 18; if no candidate receives a majority – highly unlikely with 18 candidates in the race, a runoff will be held June 20. The 6th District covers the northern suburbs of Atlanta and includes parts of Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb Counties. Some two-thirds of its residents were not born in Georgia; it has almost half of the state’s Jewish population and a large Catholic component. Combined with more traditional “country club” Republicans, it is easily the most moderate of the state’s ten Republican districts; it was the only GOP district that did not vote for Trump in the primary, but was won by Marco Rubio. Although it gave an average of 64% of its votes to the GOP’s statewide candidates in 2014, Trump carried it by a very slim one percentage point last November. The strongest Republican candidates include former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who carried the district in her close but losing race for governor in 2010 and has the most name ID. In second place is probably state Sen. Judson Hill, who has been in the Senate for 12 years and represents about one-quarter of the...

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