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.
Last month, the Senate Republican Caucus reported spending $22,000-plus to support Gwinnettian Garry Guan’s race for the state Senate. That would be a problem. Georgia law treats those expenditures as campaign contributions — capped at $2,400 per race. The remaining 20 grand would be illegal. Now, Republicans say that disclosure was a mistake, that the spending benefited other candidates as well. But that explanation only underscores other weaknesses in campaign finance practices.
A defiant Preston Smith today posted this fascinating speech, in which the Rome Republican acknowledges he was removed as chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee for refusing to support the so-called hospital “bed tax.” Gov. Sonny Perdue offered the 1.45 percent tax on hospitals’ revenue to help plug a $600 million deficit in the state’s Medicaid […]