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House Appropriations chair Terry England (HD 116)

House Appropriations chair Terry England (HD 116)
February 25, 2013 --

Terry England, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had to close his Winder-based farm supply business in 2012 but still owes the quasi-governmental Georgia Development Authority the better part of $575,000 borrowed to consolidate its debts in 2009. The property was rezoned in February 2013 to allow a church to operate there under a lease-purchase arrangement that will cover payments on the loan.

Thanks to a homestead exemption and conservation use assessment, England has achieved the enviable goal of paying virtually no property taxes on the 11 acres in Barrow County where he resides. His 2012 tax bill was $1.25.

Wayne D. McLocklin, England’s long-time campaign treasurer, was named in 2012 to fill a new Superior Court judgeship in the Piedmont Judicial Circuit. England co-sponsored a bill to create the position, needed because the circuit had one of the heaviest caseloads per judge in the state.

Feb. 18-24, 2013

February 25, 2013 --

Armed robbery in Georgia: Unequal justice Amid budget cuts, lawmakers seek millions in tax breaks for special interests State board votes to oust 6 DeKalb school board members City, ParkAtlanta officials get tickets dismissed Supreme Court deals stunning blow to Albany hospital merger Ga. has little set aside for retirees’ health care costs Guest worker […]

House Motor Vehicles chair Tom Rice: $32K in mystery expenses

House Motor Vehicles chair Tom Rice: $32K in mystery expenses
February 20, 2013 --

Rep. Tom Rice’s campaign has reimbursed him for nearly $27,000 in campaign expenses since late 2005. His disclosures give virtually no clue how that money was spent. Most of the payments were described as reimbursements with no further description, and none identified the end recipients of the money. State campaign finance rules require disclosure of end recipients, the amounts paid and a description of the goods or services provided “with sufficient detail to identify it as a lawfully authorized use of campaign funds.”

Feb. 11-17, 2013

February 19, 2013 --

SEC complaint filed over City of ATL pension investment DeKalb grand jury wants to unseal its probe of CEO APS outspends every system in state Years after scandal, APS gets millions in E-rate dollars Atlanta losing millions on 75-year Underground lease FBI to investigate Savannah metro police complaints Lawmakers back private talks on Ga. school […]

House to plug ethics loophole?

February 19, 2013 --

Feb. 19, 2013 — A previously unnoticed loophole could allow Georgia politicians to reimburse themselves thousands of dollars from campaign funds without explaining how they spent the money. A key legislator shepherding House Speaker David Ralston’s ethics bills says the problem will be fixed. Details of the proposed solution, however, were not immediately clear. Without a fix, candidates could use political contributions any way they wanted by simply buying something with personal funds and getting their campaign accounts to pay them back.

Feb. 4-10, 2013

February 11, 2013 --

  Feds receive evidence of fraud in ATL’s jobs program FBI investigating Rep. Tyrone Brooks New stadium plan shifts, doesn’t cut, public money Georgia’s tuition tax-credit law weakest in nation Lobbyists asked to sponsor Senate lunches State Bar: Willis stole thousands from child; special master appointed Disbarment recommended for Atlanta city councilman State superintendent collects […]

A thousand foxes, a thousand henhouses …

A thousand foxes, a thousand henhouses ...
February 8, 2013 --

Feb. 8, 2013 — Another consequence, perhaps unintended, lurks in an ethics bill moving through the Legislature. Enforcement of some aspects of campaign finance law, under a bill sponsored by House Speaker David Ralston, would shift to city clerks and county election superintendents. They would be expected to collect late fees from local candidates, recall committees and the like — a task now assigned to the state ethics commission. The question is: How diligently will local election officials rat out incumbents who are, in many cases, their bosses?

House panel backs relaxed lobbyist rules, trims fee to $25

House panel backs relaxed lobbyist rules, trims fee to $25
February 7, 2013 --

Feb. 7, 2013 — In response to activists’ complaints about possible infringement of free speech, a House panel voted today to relax proposed registration requirements for lobbyists and to reduce their annual fee from $300 to $25.

Rep. Jay Powell (HD 171)

Rep. Jay Powell (HD 171)
February 6, 2013 --

State records show the state Department of Transportation wrote $691,500 in checks to Powell’s law firm in 2009, but he said they were never deposited in the firm’s account. Powell said his law partner, who has handled right-of-way acquisition for the DOT, endorsed the checks over to a new limited liability company created to continue that work rather than asking the state to reissue them. Powell said he had no affiliation with the new LLC.

Deja vu all over again: Lobbyist fees unconstitutional?

Deja vu all over again: Lobbyist fees unconstitutional?
February 5, 2013 --

Feb. 5, 2013 — How soon they forget. Georgia tried once before to charge hundreds of dollars for citizens to lobby state legislators, and a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. In 1995, U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob held that a $200 fee for union members violated their rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.

Jan. 25-Feb. 3, 2013

February 4, 2013 --

Investigators: Fulton election documents were altered Opinion: GA’s back-door voucher program riddled with deception Metal detectors were inoperable during Price Middle shooting DeKalb political donations under scrutiny Ethics reform could cost citizen advocates Plant Scherer pollution claims prompt wave of lawsuits Money in waste funds is tug-of-war between counties, state Ex-Speaker Terry Coleman arrested with […]