The Savannah Morning News has posted this editorial, noting their displeasure that a project that is often cited by members of both political parties as the most important economic development project in Georgia is possibly being used for leverage in the fight for control of the Senate:
Mr. Cagle has no legitimate reason to strip away the $104 million that the state has advanced for port deepening. It’s too important.
The state-owned port in Savannah helps support nearly 300,000 jobs statewide and contributes nearly $15 billion in income and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes. For any statewide politician to put personal ambition over the economic health of fellow Georgians isn’t just the height of selfishness. It’s political suicide. Anyone who suggested it couldn’t get elected dog catcher.
That said, Mr. Carter doesn’t have the reputation of telling fibs. When he says that Mr. Cagle told him last Thursday that we was going to need the lieutenant governor’s support to keep port deepening in the budget, he can’t be brushed off as a teller of tall tales.
Thus neither man should be branded a liar. Instead, chalk up this incident as fallout from increasing tension in the GOP-controlled Senate. It had stripped Mr. Cagle, a fellow Republican re-elected last November, of much of his power before the session started. It gave most of the control to an eight-member GOP caucus chaired by State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons.
Meanwhile, Jim Galloway is reporting that Uber-Social Conservative Pat Tippett has called for Cagle to resign, with a follow up slight hedge of “if true”: Read more
Senate President Pro-Tem Tommie Williams tried to sneak one in yesterday:
Late Monday morning, as the Senate was about to convene, a housekeeping measure was introduced for unanimous consent. Included in the legislation was a slight modification of the Senate rules.
It would have made Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, automatic chairman of the chamber’s Committee on Administrative Affairs, which holds the Senate’s purse strings. Right now, the chamber’s fiscal affairs are controlled by Cagle.
The language would also have allowed Williams to deal directly with House Speaker David Ralston on certain matters. The formation of some committees – we’re not sure whether conference committees were included.
In essence, it was an attempt to complete the coup against Cagle that was launched in November.
Cagle’s people caught the language. Word quickly spread, and the matter was withdrawn – though discussion continued. Apparently many people were taken by surprise, including some members of the ruling Committee of Assignments – all of whom met with the lieutenant governor at 2 p.m.
Expletives were uttered by people who usually don’t.
Part of what I’m hearing about all this is that conservatives in the Senate want to make marginalize Cagle because they don’t view him as a someone that shares their principles. It’s a point well taken, but there is a lot of inconsistency there. Voters don’t care about the inside baseball that we write about here on a nearly day-to-day basis. Georgia Republicans have benefited from national discontent and a completely dysfunctional state Democratic Party and now have significant advantages in both chambers of the General Assembly. But what they are going to hear about this on the news is going to make Cagle look like the victim, while Senate leadership continues to defend a state senator, who happens chair the Senate Banking Committee, that is currently being sued for gross negligence for his role in a failed bank.
I’m not a fan of Cagle, but you guys have managed to make him look like a brilliant politician.
The following is my column from today’s Dublin Courier Herald:
Only days after receiving his appointment as Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Senator Jack Murphy (R-Cumming) is being sued by federal regulators for “Breach of Fiduciary Duty” and “Gross Negligence” from his service as a director of the now failed Integrity Bank. The FDIC is seeking $70 Million in damages from Murphy and 7 other directors and bank insiders.
Murphy’s reaction has been to classify this as a civil action, which is technically correct, and says it has no bearing on his ability to chair the committee which sets Georgia banking laws. Georgia currently leads the US in the number of bank failures since 2008.
Two members of the Senate’s Committee On Assignments, Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) and Cecil Station (R-Macon), have indicated they back Murphy remaining, though Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) did acknowledge that the COA will meet today to discuss the situation. Read more
Republicans have had a lot to smile about lately, and look for Cheshire grins to be on display in Athens as the epicenter of Georgia government to be in Athens today and tomorrow. The biennial meeting, hosted by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute, is a meeting held for all legislators and other interested members of GA Government, represents the first time for the newly expanded Republican majorities to meet en masse.
Moving beyond the obvious successes of a statewide constitutional sweep and the resulting parade of party switchers, however, there is still a bit of friction that must be addressed in-house. The Senate leadership and the Lt. Governor are still at war with each other, and bits of this fissure continue to show themselves publicly.
A story was floated again last week, this time landing in the AJC, regarding government affairs work Majority Leader Chip Rogers has done for a “plant based diet” advocacy group. While the work was not done to influence the Georgia legislature, nor when the legislature was in session, someone has been working hard to make sure you know that Chip Rogers has worked for a group that breaks neither state law nor (almost nonexistent) ethics rules, or worse, that he may be a vegetarian.
Nathan Deal has selected his floor leaders in the State Senate, and one of these has committee chairmanship implications.
Senate Finance Chairman Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone), Bill Jackson (R-Appling), and Jim Butterworth (R-Clarksville) are to be named Floor leaders, the folks that sponsor and move the Governor’s legislation.
The Finance Committee Chair is a significant position, and one not normally occupied by a floor leader for the Governor. As such, Chance is expected to give up this position.
Senate chairmanships, including Chance’s replacement on Finance, are far from certain. Read more