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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: ‘Substantial’ belief that Balfour broke rules

June 1, 2012 --

The Senate Ethics Committee said today there’s “substantial cause” to believe Rules Chairman Don Balfour violated rules for expense reimbursements. The next step: A settlement with Balfour on public meetings that would air the details of the case.

What’s the cost of NOT passing juvenile justice reforms?

March 29, 2012 --

By JIM WALLS Budget concerns stalled juvenile justice reform in Georgia this week, as the Georgia Senate declined to take it up in the waning days of the 2012 legislative session. But what about the costs of not passing juvenile justice reform? The proposed 246-page Child Protection and Public Safety Act would have strengthened programs […]

Spotlight on Don Balfour’s $29K condo, 123 committee days

Spotlight on Don Balfour's $29K condo, 123 committee days
February 6, 2012 --

Sen. Don Balfour in 2011 spent more than $29,000 given to him by political supporters to rent a downtown Atlanta condo that he could use year-round. For eight-plus months of the year, though, records indicate he drove home to Snellville, rather than stay in the condo, on each of the 103 days that he worked on public business. Most of those days were charged to a committee — Rules — that never met.

May 11

May 11, 2011 --

Cancer-causing poison in metro water supply Legislative session’s over, but lobbying continues Panel says Catoosa judge should go DeKalb owed tens of millions in unpaid fees, fines Lawsuit: Mayor had truck towed for campaign sticker

April 24

April 24, 2011 --

FTC seeks to block Albany hospital merger Lobbyists spent close to $1M during 2011 legislative session King & Spalding gags employees over Defense of Marriage Act

AG asked: Does law limit candidates’ donations to other campaigns?

AG asked: Does law limit candidates' donations to other campaigns?
August 25, 2010 --

Attorney General Thurbert Baker has been asked to opine on whether political campaigns may make unlimited financial contributions to other campaigns. A decision by the State Ethics Commission last week raised the possibility that unopposed candidates with fat campaign accounts could give unlimited amounts to candidates in close races, creating a legal path to circumvent contribution limits.

Budget geeks: Perdue should veto latest tax breaks

Budget geeks: Perdue should veto latest tax breaks
May 20, 2010 --

The 2010 Georgia Legislature took some positive steps to address the state’s $5 billion budget deficit, such as passing bills to raise almost $375 million in new revenues and to improve tax collections and transparency. But it also approved long-term tax cuts ($624 million a year when fully implemented) that will shift the cost of government services onto middle-class and low-income Georgians, says the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Loophole lets legislators pocket $343K despite session ban

Loophole lets legislators pocket $343K despite session ban
May 11, 2010 --

Georgia legislators cannot accept campaign contributions while they are in session. Except when they can. Four lawmakers running for Congress collected more than $343,000 in campaign funds between them while the General Assembly was in session this year, federal campaign filings show. Rep. Clay Cox, seeking the seat being vacated by Congressman John Linder, led the pack with $114,712.

Who’s got the phattest crib in the GA Legislature?

Who's got the phattest crib in the GA Legislature?
April 13, 2010 --

Well, it’s probably a Republican, since they’re the ones whose campaigns are rolling in dough these days. But the phattest? That’s in the eye of the beholder, and Atlanta Unfiltered works only in cold, hard facts. We can tell you who’s spent what from campaign money for a crib during the 2010 legislative session, though. The biggest spender: state Sen. Don Balfour.

Ralston campaign’s $137K take nears Richardson’s pre-session total

Ralston campaign's $137K take nears Richardson's pre-session total
April 7, 2010 --

State Rep. David Ralston’s campaign raised $137,750 in less than a month after Republicans chose him to be speaker of the House, disclosure reports show. He had less than half the fund-raising time as his predecessor, Glenn Richardson, before his first legislative session as speaker, but Ralston nearly reached Richardson’s total of $149,920. The most generous donors to Ralston: hospitals and the health care industry.

One legislator = 8 years of unpaid taxes

One legislator = 8 years of unpaid taxes
March 10, 2010 --

Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam has racked up $22,381 in liens for unpaid federal and state income taxes for eight consecutive years. The state Revenue Department executed the latest lien Jan. 25, shortly after reporting that a House member had not filed a 2008 tax return, but officials aren’t saying whether it’s her. “I don’t have money,” Abdul-Salaam said. “I struggle like most of my constituents, but I never run from my obligations.”