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Lawmakers down to wire on ‘Incumbent Protection Act’

Lawmakers down to wire on 'Incumbent Protection Act'
March 31, 2015 --

UPDATE: Early this afternoon, the House Rules Committee amended the Senate bill (SB127) to delete any changes in early-voting procedures. The House then passed the amended bill on a 167-7 vote. The Senate stripped this language from a similar last week and now must decide whether to stand firm or let the House have its way. After dinner tonight, senators voted to stand firm. 

March 31, 2015 — Once again, Georgia enters the final week of a legislative session with the prospects for an ethics bill up in the air.

The Georgia House and Senate have two business days left – today and Thursday – to act on a bill that would allow waivers of late campaign disclosure filing fees for thousands of local candidates.

Both chambers have passed similar versions of the bill. Twice, though, the House has tacked on a controversial amendment that could help re-elect legislators facing primary challenges from within their own party — earning it the nickname “the Legislative Incumbent Protection Act.”

Ethics panel backs off plan for closed-door deliberations

March 30, 2015 --

March 30, 2015 — Members of the state ethics commission have distanced themselves from a proposal requiring that they deliberate privately on complaints against political candidates and lobbyists. At a public hearing last week, no commission members took ownership of the proposed language on closed sessions, and staff attorneys said they don’t even know how it got there.

New transparency rules: A little more, a little less

March 26, 2015 --

Georgia lawmakers made history, of a sort, two years ago when they imposed a $75 limit on the value of gifts that lobbyists may offer public officials.

But the devil’s in the details, and it’s never been clear exactly how the limit would be enforced. Now, the state ethics commission is considering an interpretation so broad that it would allow gifts of $1,000 or more in some circumstances.

Former ethics top cop admits to corruption

March 23, 2015 --

By JIM WALLS March 23, 2015 — The state ethics commission’s former top investigator pleaded guilty today to federal corruption charges. Robert Bentivegna, as a Dunwoody police detective in 2011, misused his access to the Georgia Crime Investigation Center’s database in exchange for valuable gifts for himself and his family, federal prosecutors said. He pleaded […]

House bill could open floodgates for caucus PACs

House bill could open floodgates for caucus PACs
March 9, 2015 --

March 9, 2015 — A bill making it easier for political caucuses to help incumbent Georgia legislators get re-elected may be headed for a House vote this week.

The change would come just in time to protect the 70-some incumbent Republicans who could be targeted for Tea Party primary challenges for their votes last week for Rep. Jay Roberts’ $1 billion transportation funding bill.

Bill OK’d to protect Confederate monuments

March 4, 2015 --

March 4, 2015 — Cities and counties could not remove monuments and other symbols of the Confederacy without relocating them to a place of equal prominence under a bill passed today by a House committee.

Bill to waive ethics fines advances

March 2, 2015 --

March 2, 2015 — The Senate Ethics Committee today endorsed a plan to absolve many Georgia candidates from having to pay fines for missing financial reporting deadlines.