March 14, 2016 — A Senate committee took no action today on a bill to guarantee insurance agents a minimum commission for selling health coverage to small businesses.
The bill — championed by House Rules Chairman John Meadows — was highlighted Sunday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a prime example of a bill that would benefit its legislative backers. Meadows is a Calhoun insurance agent.
Wilkinson’s latest personal financial disclosure failed to note that he is chair of the Georgia Republican Senatorial Committee Inc., the political fund of the Senate Republican Caucus. It’s raised $188,000 since he became chairman in 2015. Top donors in that period were the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association ($20,000), MGM Resorts International ($15,000), and the Georgia Apartment Association, Georgia Auto Dealers Association and Georgia Power Co. ($10,000 each).
Curt Thompson, during his first several terms in office, was a serial late-filer of campaign and personal financial disclosures. From 2002 to 2010, he amassed $1,725 in penalties for missing 31 filing deadlines. He paid them all.
March 7, 2016 — Bill Cowsert has had trouble paying property taxes on time for his 89 acres of lakefront property in Elbert County. Five times since 2008, he’s been late — once by nearly two years — in taking care of taxes and penalties amounting to more than $18,000.
This morning, the Elbert County tax commissioner’s website showed unpaid bills in Cowsert’s name for $3,388.74. A buyer for the property was to have paid the taxes, Cowsert said, until the sale fell through. The senator said he paid the bills today.
April 1, 2016 — Kinder Morgan Inc. can be forgiven if it didn’t see Rep. Jon Burns standing in the way of its proposed Palmetto Pipeline.
In February 2015, when Kinder Morgan announced the $1 billion project,
Burns was still three months away from becoming House majority leader. His financial disclosures also omitted several large tracts of timberland and described others in vague terms, making it difficult to pinpoint their locations.
As it turned out, Burns owns an interest in five Effingham County parcels comprising 456 acres that lay directly in the path of the proposed 167,000-barrel-a-day pipeline. Other family members own an additional 501 acres on the route.
Kinder-Morgan has suspended work on the pipeline after lawmakers voted to suspend its right to condemn property for the project.