Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Georgia Capitol

Little success

When readers of The Current were asked before the start of the latest session of the Georgia General Assembly to rank their top legislative preferences from a list of nine candidates, you rated “climate resilience” and “education funding” as your top priorities.

That was followed — in order — by “rural health care access,” “mental health beds and staffing,” and “revising runoff, ballot access law.”

With the latest session of the General Assembly now in the rear-view mirror and with the results of that informal survey in mind, we now look back and ask: How did lawmakers do on the issues readers of The Current said they cared most about?

As a previous recap of the legislative session suggested, local lawmakers, with a few notable exceptions, had little success in achieving their declared legislative priorities or making headway on them, The Current’s Craig Nelson writes.

Much the same, it seems, can be said for how the legislature fared when it came to the priorities that those Current readers who responded to our survey deemed most important.

Gov. Brian Kemp Credit: GPB News

Hot seat?

Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to address a GOP donor retreat in Nashville later this week. What normally might be just a set piece in a pre-presidential election year now looms as a political minefield for Georgia’s Republican governor.

First of all, former President Donald Trump is also on the speaker’s list. Kemp refrained from talking about Trump during his reelection campaign last year. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published last month, however, he was openly dismissive.

For Kemp, confronting Trump’s dominant role in the party — if not Trump himself — may prove unavoidable.

Then there’s the site of the meeting — Nashville — where two Black Democratic state legislators were expelled from the state legislature by Republican lawmakers for their roles in a protest calling for more gun control in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in the city. A third legislator who participated in the protest — a white woman — was spared censure.

Kemp, who appears to be carefully choreographing the next steps in his political career, is likely to come under pressure to comment on Tennessee’s political turmoil.

To add to the party’s woes, the GOP last week came under fire from no less than the bible for GOP conservatives: The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page.

The Journal’s editorial board called last week’s results in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race — in which a conservative, GOP-backed candidate was defeated by a progressive, Democratic-backed one — “a five-alarm warning to Republicans about 2024.”

A day later, under the headline, “The GOP’s Abortion Flop,” a Journal columnist, Kimberly Strassel, said that the Wisconsin defeat was the latest indication of the GOP’s need to “find a sensible middle” on the issue of abortion.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

‘Assault on the Supreme Court’

At last month’s meeting of the Ladies on the Right on Skidaway Island,organizers distributed postcards picturing the Stars-and-Stripes, Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, and the caption “Chatham County Conservative Coalition”.

On the back of postcard was the office address of U.S. Supreme Court Justice — and Pinpoint native — Clarence Thomas. Meeting attendees were urged to send the postcard to Thomas as an expression of support.

The justice may appreciate those postcards more than ever, following the publication last week of a story by detailing his acceptance of luxury trips nearly every year from Republican megadonor Harlan Crow without reporting them on his financial disclosure forms.

Thomas said he wasn’t required to report the trips, describing them as “personal hospitality from close personal friends, who didn’t have business before the Court.”

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called the story, published by ProPublica, a “smear,” saying it was another example of the “Left’s assault on the Supreme Court.”

In its editorial, the Journal failed to note that the founding editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica, Paul Steiger, was the Journal’s managing editor from 1991 to 2007.

Nor did it note that the nonprofit, investigative journalism organization group’s ex-president, Richard Tofel, formerly served as the Journal’s assistant publisher and as the vice president of Dow Jones & Company, the Journal’s publisher.

Full disclosure: The Current’s recently published stories on TitleMax, the nation’s largest title lender, are a joint project of The Current and ProPublica.

rooftop solar
Rooftop solar installation in the Savannah area. Credit: Creative Solar USA


  • Rep. Carter discusses China concerns, other issues” (Brunswick News, April 8, 2023) “U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter believes elected officials in Congress cooperate more than most people believe. ‘There are a lot of good people in Washington D.C.,’ he said. ‘For the most part, we do work together.’”
  • Harris promotes huge community solar deal in Georgia visit” (Associated Press, April 6, 2023) “Continuing its efforts to promote renewable energy, the Biden administration on Thursday announced what it says will be the largest community solar effort in U.S. history, enough to power 140,000 homes and businesses in three states. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the deal during a visit to the Qcells solar panel factory outside Atlanta.
  • GOP embraces a new foreign policy: Bomb Mexico to stop fentanyl” (Politico, April 10, 2023) “[I]t illustrates the ways in which frustration with immigration, drug overdose deaths and antipathy towards China are defining the GOP’s larger foreign policy.”

The Tide: Did lawmakers address your top issues?

When readers of The Current were asked before the session’s start to rank your top legislative preferences from a list of nine candidates, you rated “climate resilience” and “education funding” as your top priorities.

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Doctors worry about accidents as Georgia seniors face delays getting routine cataract surgeries 

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The Olympics could change the future of college cheerleading

As cheerleading moves closer to an Olympic future, a new level of competition could get the sport more resources, recognition and more opportunities for athletes.

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Solar power fans pine for sunnier days after Georgia lawmakers stalled big changes

One bill on door-to-door sales was the only solar measure to win final approval in both the state House and Senate. Half a dozen solar-related bills that still remain alive when lawmakers return in January for the second half of the two-year session.

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Is Young Thug trial delaying Jackie Johnson’s day in court?

An Atlanta attorney represents indicted former Brunswick DA Johnson, but his other client rapper Young Thug’s delayed could be what’s causing Johnson’s prosecution to grind to a halt.

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Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...