By Bridget Cantrell

Rep Caldwell’s Legislative Tracker

H/T to Three Jack in yesterday’s Morning Reads.

Rep Michael Caldwell’s Legislative Tracker.  He proactively posts his votes for his constituents to easily see and understand.  Oh but wait – there’s more.  Not just how he voted, but why he voted a particular way.

Some of his votes might not endear him to his legislative brethren, but if all legislators were this transparent we probably wouldn’t need ethics reforms now would we?

Ready : FIRE! : Aim

There are some things on which I agree with tea partiers.  There are some things I don’t – because I’m not against everything just to be against it.

This email. This has to stop if anything of note is going to get accomplished.  This email was broadcasted far and wide to South Georgia. The gist of it is “I haven’t read the whole bill, but it looks like it’s going to pass so it must be baadd.”

My favorite lines:

  • H.B. 512 is long, and I haven’t finished analyzing it in detail. And our volunteer legal staff hasn’t had a chance to review it, either.
  • Please call these bill sponsors immediately and insist they reject all of these poison pill provisions or withdraw their bill outright.

Pro tip: I openly admit I have a lot to learn about politics, but I know this – when you demand ALL or NOTHING…you usually end up with nothing.

The whole email (except for the names and phones numbers to call) for your reading pleasure:

“Late yesterday, we received word from our sources at the State Capitol that gun lobby insiders have struck a deal with House leadership and written a gun bill in secrecy that is “likely to pass.”

That statement alone should have pro-gun supporters worried.

Read more

Saints and Sinners Find New Common Ground: Gun Carry

479825_321203967982994_600611041_nTwo of my girlfriends and I went to the gun range yesterday afternoon. She has a restraining order against a guy who has escalated to briefly sitting at the end of the driveway.  Her eyes are now open to the wonderful world of Glock.  That look – when someone takes their first  silhouette home.  The empowerment.  The transition from feeling like a potential statistic to someone who can defend their person.  Everyone needs that.

Once a woman feels undeniable threat to her life, it’s amazing how carrying “icky, dangerous guns” becomes as natural as carrying a Coach handbag.  Last night’s Instagram was “Sundays in the South: Guns and Jesus.”  Hallelujah, indeed.

HB 512 will likely say the same thing.  As Hassinger notes in the PP Daily, HB512, called the “Safe Carry Protection Act” was introduced Thursday and will have a hearing in the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee today at 3:00 PM. The bill has the support of the NRA and Georgia Carry, Georgia’s two largest pro-2nd Amendment groups. The bill also has the support of the House Rules Committee Chairman, who is the first co-sponsor of the measure.

As you read down through the bill, you’ll see that “Bar” as well as “Place of Worship” has been removed from the list of unauthorized locations.

What would Georgia look like if….

UPDATE:  “What I’ve Since Heard…” 

Donna Sheldon is giving serious thought to running in the 10th and Handel is waiting to see what Price does before she decides what to do – but she’s running for something.

For the PP family, most of our dinner conversations include politics on some level.  I had dinner with one of my favorite politicos tonight, and we started scootching pieces around our imaginary chess board.

What would Georgia look like if…

  • Karen Handel ran in the 6th
  • Donna Sheldon ran in the 10th
  • Tricia Pridemore ran in the 11th

I’d probably overlook a white-headed Senator if we had three women in our Congressional delegation.  NOTE: these are not even rumors – I haven’t talked to these women nor heard anything of note.  

Morning Reads for Thursday, February 28th

Scottsdale, Arizona – It’s early out here.  Good morning, sunshine.




Georgia’s Bill to Keep TANF Recipients from Shooting Up.. has been Shot Down

As I type this post from my work laptop, I’m reminded I had to pass a drug test prior to my first day on the job.  Company policy says HR would immediately fire me should I ever fail a random drug test.  People use drugs/alcohol as a temporary escape from a life they don’t enjoy.  It’s the same concept  whether a rich Stepford wife or someone in dire poverty – pain is pain.

You/legislation can’t help people who aren’t ready to better themselves, but damn – it chaps me that I’m held to a higher standard in order to make money to pay taxes to extend welfare to others.

Federal Court Strikes Down Florida Law that Requires TANF Recipients to be Drug-Tested. As a result, Georgia’s HB861, passed in 2012, cannot be implemented.

Atlanta, Georgia – Today, a panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously struck down Florida’s law that required people who applied for assistance must submit to drug tests. In so doing, the Court has established a precedent that would prevent a nearly identical law, House Bill 861, that passed in Georgia in 2012 from being implemented.

In their ruling in the case, Lebron v. Secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families, the Court wrote:

“While we recognize that Florida has a significant interest in promoting child welfare, the State has presented no evidence that the general welfare of the children in the TANF program is at greater risk absent its drug testing.”

“There is nothing so special or immediate about the government’s interest in ensuring that TANF recipients are drug free so as to warrant suspension of the Fourth Amendment. The only known and shared characteristic of the individuals who would be subjected to Florida’s mandatory drug testing program is that they are financially needy families with children. Yet, there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a “concrete danger” that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use….” Read more

Morning Reads for Thursday, February 21st

Goood m’awnin from N’awlins!   Louisiana is my fourth state in under a week.   Are you familiar with “Trade Show Season”?  It effectively means I’m on the road every week from the middle of January to the end of April.  Arguably much like our legislators except I thankfully get paid a tiny smidge more than $17k.  Waaait a minute – I guess educating decision makers and then selling on the best solution makes me a lobbyist of sorts?




Rumor Has It…

…via Twitter that Seth Harp is running for GAGOP Chairman.

… and via FB that “[Rep Phil Gingrey is] running [for US Senate].  Tom price is not and Paul Broun is running.  Phil is our congressman and we heard last week.”

Why Republicans Expect a Wide-open Senate Race

This article by Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy is basically a summary of various posts and comments made here on PP over the last couple of weeks; it’s a nice lil Sunday afternoon read.  Here are some highlights:

  • The Republican Party’s nightmare scenario is a U.S. Senate race so crowded and divisive that Democrats have a shot at the bruised-and-battered eventual nominee.
  • National GOP groups are wary of being seen as interfering, and influential state politicians are staying on the sidelines. Gov. Nathan Deal, perhaps the only state figure who can play kingmaker, has relayed to several potential challengers who made pilgrimages to his office that he’ll avoid behind-the-scenes tampering.
  • “I have been asked if I would be the one that would mediate among my friends,” Deal told the AJC in an interview. “I do not value that role and nor will I assume that role.”
  • Democrats are pursuing a very different strategy. State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Berlon said the party is trying to coalesce around one candidate in the next few weeks. Potential candidates include U.S. Rep. John Barrow, of Augusta, and Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. Read more

Herman Cain joins Fox News Channel as Contributor

Updated: Ohhh, damn.  This is going to be in the news this weekend.  

I noticed Herman Cain trending on Twitter.  Looks like Fox News is adding another Southerner as a contributor.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former presidential candidate Herman Cain will be getting some regular TV work at Fox News Channel.

The network announced Friday that Cain, a failed Republican presidential contender in 2012, will be a network contributor. Cain, the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza from Georgia, will also contribute to the Fox Business Network.

Cain said he’s looking forward to the job because it is “an opportunity to be one more voice for intelligent thinking in America.”

Fox has been shuffling its contributor lineup since the election. It has hired Dennis Kucinich, Scott Brown and now Cain, while cutting ties with Sarah Palin and Dick Morris.

HR 273: Repeal of the 17th Amendment (How Senators Are Elected)

Wow – where to start on this one.  There’s this: State Rep. Buzz Brockway wants to choose your U.S. Senator.  It’s no secret there is no love lost between Bryan Long and Buzz.

Repealing the 17th Amendment via HR 273 needs to be talked about though – especially since the upcoming U.S. Senate race is such a hot topic.  I can only assume Buzz will post his take on why he’s supporting this, but I do not want the current White Male legislature picking my next Senator.

I would appreciate a guest post from any of the sponsors explaining why they think Georgia should be the first state calling for a repeal of the 17th Amendment.  Until then – sorry guys….it looks like shenanigans.



Pros & Cons of Atlanta BeltLine in the NY Times

It looks like a lot of people want to be up in our business this week. #kindofabigdeal.  The NY Times discusses the Atlanta BeltLine.

ATLANTA — Until last year, the old railroad tracks that snaked through east Atlanta were derelict. Kudzu, broken bottles and plastic bags covered the rusting rails.

The Eastside Trail, as the path is known, is one of the first legs of an ambitious proposal that has been in the works since the early 2000s — to transform 22 miles of vine-covered railroad into parks, housing and public transit around Atlanta.

But the Eastside Trail is only a start. And while some civic boosters, among them Mr. Reed, are calling for the pace to accelerate (he wants to see the entire loop paved and streetcars installed within a decade), the fulfillment of the grand plan, called the Atlanta BeltLine, is not assured.

Voters last year rejected a penny sales tax that would have allotted $600 million. And a special property tax, created in 2005, has generated less revenue than expected before the market collapse. Last week, the State Supreme Court heard arguments from a group of taxpayers who say school taxes have been spent unconstitutionally to pay for part of the BeltLine.

Critics have urged that the project be scaled back. The city’s biggest transit challenge, they argue, is not beautifying in-town neighborhoods but reducing gridlock from the suburbs.

“The BeltLine doesn’t go where people want or need to go,” said Michael Dobbins, an architecture professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who has studied the project’s feasibility. “The parks and trails are great, but it makes no sense to add streetcars while traffic elsewhere is so bad, especially in this economy.”

Georgia Ramps Up Campaign to Shift Tennessee Border

Braveheart-braveheartOur Water Battle Hits Fox News:

Georgia residents are thirsty for Tennessee water. And state lawmakers are willing to try and move the border in order to get it.

Lawmakers in Atlanta, at the start of a new legislative session, are quickly moving to renew efforts to tap into Tennessee’s water supply by contesting the state’s border with its northern neighbor. The Georgia House of Representatives voted 171-2 this week to adopt a resolution seeking a thin strip of land leading to the Tennessee River.

That would give drought-parched Georgia a slice of the water rights. Tennessee lawmakers say Georgia can keep dreaming — and they are ready to do whatever it takes to protect their water from Peach State poachers.

Geisinger said getting Georgia “the water it’s owed” is a priority. He adds that while the state’s water supply is “fine” now, it won’t stay that way in 15 years.