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March 25-29, 2013

March 29, 2013 --

Ex-APS Superintendent Beverly Hall, 34 others indicted Ethics reform passes with push from Deal Open Meetings case used to protest $2M land deal Charges expected in APS test-cheating scandal Judge tries to halt hearing in DeKalb grand jury case Lawmakers agree on more money, transparency for private school scholarships Brunswick commissioner indicted on racketeering charges […]

Juvenile Justice secrecy bill fizzles at sine die

March 29, 2013 --

March 29, 2013 — A bill to seal allegations of misconduct inside Georgia’s juvenile prisons remained stuck in committee when the Legislature adjourned last night. Senate Bill 69, sponsored by Jack Murphy and others, would have exempted reports of “abuses or wrongdoing in the juvenile justice system” from disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act and authorized dismissal of whistleblowers leaking such allegations to the news media or advocacy groups.

Ethics reform for dummies, Part 2: Campaign finance

March 28, 2013 --

March 28, 2013 — Sen. Jeff Mullis wants to level the playing field regarding campaign fund-raising for legislative races (because incumbents are at such a disadvantage). A worthy goal, but I’d do it a little differently. Five ideas to improve Georgia’s campaign finance laws:

1) Bar incumbent legislators from accepting political contributions if they don’t draw opposition at qualifying time.

Common Cause: Robocalls spur personal attack by House leader

Common Cause: Robocalls spur personal attack by House leader
March 27, 2013 --

Common Cause of Georgia just sent out this news release, which I post here in its entirety: Atlanta, GA – In a surprising response to a letter sent to ethics committee conferees requesting consideration of amendments and informing members of advocacy calls to voters in their legislative districts, House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal (R-Bonaire) replied […]

Ethics reform for dummies, Part 1: Lobbyist gifts

Ethics reform for dummies, Part 1: Lobbyist gifts
March 26, 2013 --

March 26, 2013 — To Georgia legislators: As you struggle toward a compromise on ethics “reform,” here are five suggestions that would REALLY help to restore Georgians’ faith in government.
1) Limit lobbyist gifts to $25 per day, with a limit of four per year. That allows them to buy you a meal and a beer, but not the bottles of wine that really drive up the cost up of these $100 meals. And no gifts for spouses. Pay for those yourselves. Suck it up.

Tolleson loses bid to strip buffers from Ga. wetlands

Tolleson loses bid to strip buffers from Ga. wetlands
March 25, 2013 --

March 25, 2013 — Sen. Ross Tolleson lost badly last week when he tried an end run around a judge’s ruling protecting Georgia wetlands. Tolleson, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, took to the well Friday seeking to amend an unrelated bill with language that, he said, would clarify the state’s rules for development around state waters. The amendment would also have cleared the way, however, for Grady County to proceed with building a 960-acre lake near Cairo, Ga.