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House panel backs pension at 60 for appellate judges

January 28, 2016 --

Jan. 28, 2016 — Georgia’s appellate court judges could retire at age 60 under a bill passed out of a House committee Wednesday.

Fleming said the lower retirement age would encourage the best young lawyers to take a pay cut to leave a lucrative law practice for a judicial appointment.

Senate panel stalls bill on Sandy Springs hotel/motel tax

January 27, 2016 --

Jan. 27, 2016 — A bill allowing Sandy Springs to spend hotel/motel taxes on a new performing arts center stalled today as senators questioned whether the levy shouldn’t be abolished instead.

Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill (SD 4)

Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill (SD 4)
January 21, 2016 --

Jan. 21, 2016 — Jack Hill’s come a long way. For his first Senate campaign in 1990, he vowed not to take donations over $100. After serving three terms, his 1996 re-election bid raised $3,050 — less than any other senator.

Now, Hill raises more than $100,000 a year in political donations because, as Senate Appropriations chair, he’s one of the guys that everyone sucks up to. Hospitals, nursing homes, doctors, dentists and other medical providers — all dependent on state Medicaid reimbursements that Hill’s committee oversees — are prominent among the top contributors to his campaign fund.

Sen. Bill Jackson: 4 late disclosures, $5.4M in real estate

Sen. Bill Jackson: 4 late disclosures, $5.4M in real estate
January 19, 2016 --

Jan. 19, 2016 — After serving 24 years in the Georgia Legislature, Bill Jackson should have financial disclosures down pat.

Or so you’d think. Twice since 2007, Jackson has filed his annual disclosure of personal finances two to four months late. One, due five weeks before a special election, wasn’t submitted until three weeks after he’d won and taken office. Jackson didn’t file a personal disclosure at all in 2014 or 2015.

“You got me buffaloed there,” he said recently when reminded of the oversight.

Sen. Burt Jones (SD 25): Were $103K in campaign loans legal?

Sen. Burt Jones (SD 25): Were $103K in campaign loans legal?
January 13, 2016 --

Jan. 13, 2016 — Burt Jones’ 2012 Senate campaign enjoyed two distinct advantages: His good name, as special teams captain of the 2002 SEC champion Georgia Bulldogs, and that of his father, a prominent businessman who’d served eight years in the Georgia House.

The $103,500 borrowed from his father’s business also made a difference. That help, though, may not have been entirely legal.

AG asked to weigh in on removal of audit overseer

January 7, 2016 --

Jan. 7, 2016 — Two state senators are asking Attorney General Sam Olens whether a colleague had the authority to remove a member of DeKalb County’s new Audit Oversight Committee. Sen. Gloria Butler rescinded the appointment of former county employee Harmel Codi last week, prompting speculation that politics has compromised the panel before it even started work.