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Legislature


From power to prison, Walker still dispensing advice on politics

He revelled in the nickname. The Hammer. A share-cropper’s son turned millionaire Augusta businessman, Charles Walker rose to become the Georgia Senate’s first African-American majority leader. He had the power to make sure most anything he wanted for his community made it into the state budget, and the political muscle to get things done at the Capitol. When the feds came after him, they...


How did your Cobb neighbors vote in the 6th District special election?

How did your Cobb neighbors vote in the 6th District special election?

North DeKalb County Democrat Jon Ossoff won every Cobb County precinct included in the 6th District special election, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a runoff against Fulton County Republican Karen Handel. The runoff is set for June 20. Unofficial numbers show that 192,000 votes were cast in Tuesday’s race, which garnered national attention. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution...
6th District: Bob Gray won in these three North Fulton precincts

6th District: Bob Gray won in these three North Fulton precincts

If there are such things as moral victories, Bob Gray can take one from Tuesday’s special election. In the race to fill Tom Price’s seat in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, Gray was the only other candidate outside of Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel to win a precinct. Gray, a former Johns Creek councilman, took home wins in three north Fulton County neighborhoods. Still, he fell...
Karen Handel won 8 precincts — and they were all in N. Fulton

Karen Handel won 8 precincts — and they were all in N. Fulton

Karen Handel should be thanking voters in Milton. In Tuesday’s election, there were just 11 precincts in Georgia’s 6th congressional district where Democrat Jon Ossoff didn’t carry the vote and eight of those were in Milton, won by Handel. An AJC map illustrating how neighborhoods voted shows a ton of blue for precincts won by Ossoff and a little yellow for the three precincts...
Here’s how every DeKalb precinct voted in the 6th (for Jon Ossoff)

Here’s how every DeKalb precinct voted in the 6th (for Jon Ossoff)

Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who led Tuesday’s special election for the 6th District Congressional seat, won every precinct in DeKalb County. Not that he didn’t have an upper hand facing a crowded pool of Republican contenders.  Karen Handel, the Republican former Georgia secretary of state, was second in most precincts, as detailed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution map below....
6th District: Turnout was mighty

6th District: Turnout was mighty

Georgia’s 6th District voters put the “special” in special election.  According to unofficial results, more than 192,000 votes were cast in Tuesday’s congressional election in parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties.  Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel finished first and second, respectively, and will face-off again in a June runoff. ...
Next state Senator for Cobb and Fulton to be decided in runoff

Next state Senator for Cobb and Fulton to be decided in runoff

Voters will determine the next state Senator to represent portions of Cobb and Fulton counties in a runoff election May 16. Democrat Christine Triebsch, a family and juvenile attorney, and Republican Kay Kirkpatrick, a retired orthopedic surgeon, will compete to replace longtime state Sen. Judson Hill, who vacated his seat to run for the U.S. House. The race attracted eight candidates — five...
6th District vote: Fulton extends polling hours; DeKalb and Cobb smooth

6th District vote: Fulton extends polling hours; DeKalb and Cobb smooth

Voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district have reported few problems Tuesday across the three-county region, although flare-ups have occurred.  The most concerning is in Fulton County, where a judge agreed to let Fulton County keep two precincts open past 7 p.m.  Problems at Centennial High School and the Johns Creek Environmental Campus led county leaders to seek...
Fulton extending voting hours at two polling places

Fulton extending voting hours at two polling places

UPDATE: Eligible voters whose designated polling locations are Centennial High School or the Johns Creek Environmental Campus will have a few extra minutes to cast their ballots Tuesday due to the polling locations not opening on time. Eligible voters can only vote on provisional paper ballots during the extended hours. All other polling locations will close at 7:00 p.m. Centennial is open until...
Cobb hits the polls in special Georgia 6th district race

Cobb hits the polls in special Georgia 6th district race

A Mercedes, a BMW and a Tesla all jockeyed for position at 7:20 a.m. in the parking lot of the Cobb County Government Service Center. It’s Election Day. Each car carried a voter trying to voice their opinion on who they want to fill Georgia’s 6th Congressional district vacancy left by Tom Price, now serving as health and human services secretary under President Donald Trump....
Many metro Atlantans confused whether they can vote in 6th District 

Many metro Atlantans confused whether they can vote in 6th District 

Elections boards around metro Atlanta have been slammed with calls for the past few weeks from voters who are confused about whether they can vote in the 6th congressional district. For all Gwinnett County callers with that question, the answer is always the same: No.  "Elections has fielded several dozen voter calls over the past two weeks asking about voting in the 6th ... . But as you...
Georgia’s 28 public colleges will see 2% tuition  increase 

Georgia’s 28 public colleges will see 2% tuition  increase 

The Board of Regents today announced a 2 percent tuition increase at Georgia’s 28 public colleges and universities for full-time, in-state students. “With the generous support of the governor and legislature, we continue to focus on college affordability, while providing quality education,” said Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “Keeping tuition increases to a minimum allows the University...
“Tax Freedom Day” was Monday in Georgia, is April 23 nationally

“Tax Freedom Day” was Monday in Georgia, is April 23 nationally

Taxes are due today, but Georgians have already apparently paid their fair share. The Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation does an annual report this time of year on “Tax Freedom Day,” the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year. As a nation, that day is April 23, the group said, but folks pay different state and local taxes, and it...
North Fulton voters cast ballots in Ga. 6th District race

North Fulton voters cast ballots in Ga. 6th District race

A Fulton County school bus driver honked his horn as he drove by the Milton Public Library on Tuesday morning. Rhoda Mayfield, proudly waving a sign for Jon Ossoff, giggled. "He gave me a thumbs down," she said. Mayfield just politely waved back. Mayfield, 68 of Milton, voted a week ago during the early voting period. But on a cloudy April morning, the day of a special election to fill Georgia's...
Polls open as DeKalb helps decide Georgia 6th District race

Polls open as DeKalb helps decide Georgia 6th District race

The polls opened at 7 a.m. in the northern reaches of DeKalb County, where voters are asked to choose the new representative in the 6th Congressional district. The race, particularly consequential with the current make-up of Congress, is a crowded field, which will likely head into a runoff. There are 18 candidates vying for the seat stretching from east Cobb County across north Fulton County...
Donald Trump to speak this month at NRA conference in Atlanta

Donald Trump to speak this month at NRA conference in Atlanta

Donald Trump will speak in Atlanta this month at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, making him the first president to address the group since Ronald Reagan. Trump’s April 28 speech at the NRA’s Leadership Forum is the highlight of a four-day conference that is expected to attract 80,000 people and hundreds of exhibitors to the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown...
Voters’ personal data at risk in Cobb theft

Voters’ personal data at risk in Cobb theft

State officials are investigating the theft last week of equipment from a Cobb County precinct manager’s car that could make every Georgia voters’ personal information vulnerable to theft.  The equipment, used to check-in voters at the polls, was stolen Saturday evening, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Monday.  Cobb County elections director Janine Eveler said the stolen machine...
Do you live in the 6th District? Not if you’re in Bartow

Do you live in the 6th District? Not if you’re in Bartow

Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district is a private affair just for those voters who live in parts of Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties.  At least some folk in Bartow County were disappointed to learn they aren’t invited to the party. That county, in the northwestern Metro Atlanta exurbs, is wholly in the 11th District.  Bartow County elections...
6th District early voting soars

6th District early voting soars

Nearly 55,000 voters cast ballots ahead of Tuesday’s special election for Georgia’s 6th District congressional seat, data from the Secretary of State’s office show.  Early voting in the race to replace former Rep. Tom Price ended Friday.  Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said almost 50,000 ballots were cast in person while another 5,000 were mailed-in absentee...
Georgia Senate hopefuls eye health care, transportation and schools

Georgia Senate hopefuls eye health care, transportation and schools

Before Tom Price was appointed to be health and human services secretary, before he was a member of the U.S. House and chairman of the House Budget Committee and before he was a state senator, he was a doctor. In east Cobb County and Sandy Springs, a subregion of Price’s former congressional district, an election for an open state Senate seat that has drawn wide interest from the medical community...
Last day to vote early in Georgia’s 6th District special election

Last day to vote early in Georgia’s 6th District special election

Early voting ends today for a key April 18 special election that includes the nationally watched race to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. The deadline comes as more than 46,000 ballots have already been cast in the election. Early voting in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties for the election started March 27, with each county as of this week opening at least two polling locations where eligible...
Opponents urge governor to veto guns on Georgia college campuses

Opponents urge governor to veto guns on Georgia college campuses

Will he or won’t he? Both sides of the campus carry debate are watching Gov. Nathan Deal to see if he will repeat last year’s veto of a bill allowing guns on Georgia’s public colleges campuses. This year’s version of campus carry, House Bill 280, contains concessions designed to persuade the governor to sign it, including continuing to outlaw guns in campus-based childcare...
Lobbyists give Georgia lawmakers a $400,000 buffet

Lobbyists give Georgia lawmakers a $400,000 buffet

Lobbyists spent more than $400,000 on group events over three months during the 2017 legislative session which ended in March. Those group expenditures ranged from large, open-invitation buffets at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot across from the Capitol to dinners hosted at some of Atlanta’s best restaurants, where entire committees were feted by special interests. While individual gifts...
A closer look at individual donors to Georgia District 6 campaigns

A closer look at individual donors to Georgia District 6 campaigns

With less than a week remaining for the special elections for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, the AJC decided to look at where donations are coming from.  To answer this question, we combed through Federal Election Commission campaign filings for five candidates -- Democrat Jon Ossoff, and Republicans Dan Moody, Bob Gray, Judson Hill and Karen Handel -- to produce...
Georgia lobbyists, lawmakers dine out on weak ethics law

Georgia lobbyists, lawmakers dine out on weak ethics law

Asking lawmakers at the State Capitol to give up the freebies they receive from lobbyists is like asking an alcoholic to stop drinking. They first have to admit they have a problem. In 2013, the General Assembly passed a significant lobbying reform bill, answering the loud complaints of voters across the political spectrum. With four years of perspective, I think we can admit that parts of it don&rsquo...
6th District early voting soars past 32,000

6th District early voting soars past 32,000

Early voting totals have soared past 32,000 for a key April 18 special election that includes the nationally watched race to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. Early voting in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties for the election started March 27 and ends Friday, with each county as of this week opening at least two polling locations where eligible residents can cast ballots. Voting will then resume...
Georgia lawmakers’ tax break tab: $483 million over next five years

Georgia lawmakers’ tax break tab: $483 million over next five years

State lawmakers failed to pass legislation to give most Georgians a tax cut, but they did approve breaks for select industries and areas of the state that will cost the state treasury about $483 million over the next five years, according to a new report. The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute added up estimated price-tags of a dozen tax breaks state lawmakers approved, mostly on the final day of the...
Little uncertainty among voters as Georgia special election nears end

Little uncertainty among voters as Georgia special election nears end

Early voting in the northern Atlanta suburbs has been underway since March 27 in a steady if uneven stream, raising expectations of a better than average turnout for the 6th Congressional District special election. Both major parties have pulled out all the stops in a ramped-up effort to get people to the polls. Now, with less than a week to go before Election Day, it’s working well...
Lobbyists spend $21,000 to keep Georgia lawmakers fed on final day

Lobbyists spend $21,000 to keep Georgia lawmakers fed on final day

Lawmakers worked about 15 hours - with a few breaks - on the final day of the 2017 session last month. Lobbyists worked their wallets almost as hard to keep them fed. From mid-morning on March 30 to almost 1 a.m. the next day, lawmakers voted about 145 times, while also holding backroom meetings, welcoming family members and guests to the House and Senate floor, getting their ears bent by lobbyists...
Carr outlines his priorities as Georgia’s attorney general

Carr outlines his priorities as Georgia’s attorney general

Five months into office, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr sees his primary responsibility as protecting the state’s residents against unlawful overreach. “To ensure that government remains within its limited powers, there needs to be an Attorney General’s Office willing to challenge actions that overstep those limits,” Carr said. While other attorneys general have interpreted...
Here’s how to vote Saturday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race

Here’s how to vote Saturday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race

Nearly 15,000 voters had cast early ballots as of Friday morning as Georgia prepares for a key April 18 special election that includes the nationally watched race to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price.  Early voting in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties started nearly two weeks ago and will include this Saturday, when at least one polling location in each county will be open. Early voting...
Georgia lawmaker: Flat tax will be back

Georgia lawmaker: Flat tax will be back

The chairman of the Georgia House Ways and Means Committee vowed his flat tax plan will be back, after it ran aground last month in the Senate. “No question,” Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, said this week. “The plan took a little tweaking … but it’s a good, solid plan.” When it passed the House, House Bill 329 sought to strip the Georgia income tax of its graduated...
Author of ‘campus rape’ bill complains of threats

Author of ‘campus rape’ bill complains of threats

A powerful member of the Georgia Legislature has asked law enforcement officials to look into harassing emails and social media posts targeting him and his staff after he tried to pass the so-called campus rape bill. State Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, said he has contacted both Capitol police and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation about individuals who have left him threatening or vulgar...
More poor and elderly Georgians could get basic dental care under bill

More poor and elderly Georgians could get basic dental care under bill

It took a few years, but dental hygienists finally may have gotten the ability to provide basic dental care to thousands of poor children and elderly Georgians without a dentist present. That’s a big deal because most counties in Georgia don’t have enough dentists to meet the need and emergency-room visits for dental care cost taxpayer-funded health programs big money, supporters of the...
AJC Watchdog: Is a flat tax right for Georgia?

AJC Watchdog: Is a flat tax right for Georgia?

It didn’t happen this legislative session, but the day is coming when state lawmakers will address — in a comprehensive way — the Georgia income tax. What that will mean to you depends on where you fall on the income scale, and that’s something House Ways and Means Chairman Jay Powell knows all too well. Georgia has had a graduated income tax structure, which means...
Ossoff raises record haul in race for Georgia’s 6th District

Ossoff raises record haul in race for Georgia’s 6th District

Jon Ossoff on Wednesday announced record haul in the race for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, a stunning figure for the previously unknown Democrat.  Ossoff’s raised more than $8.3 million in advance of April 18’s special election, a number 17 times greater than his nearest competitors in the multi-party election and an apparent record for a congressional...
Ossoff pulls in record donations for Georgia special election

Ossoff pulls in record donations for Georgia special election

Democrat Jon Ossoff has raised more than $8.3 million for his campaign to represent suburban Atlanta in Congress, the most significant sign yet that the political newcomer has become a national symbol of the resistance to President Donald Trump. Ossoff’s financial disclosure, to be released Thursday, shows he has $2.1 million on hand for the final stretch of the campaign. His contributions came...
Elections bill with 26-month voter verification deadline sent to Deal

Elections bill with 26-month voter verification deadline sent to Deal

Georgians could continue to use federal tribal identification cards as proof of citizenship but would face a 26-month deadline to correct any discrepancies on their voter registration forms under a bill sent to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. House Bill 268, sponsored by state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, is generally considered a cleanup of the state’s election code but has drawn the ire...
‘Upskirting’ ban in Georgia is a step closer to becoming law

‘Upskirting’ ban in Georgia is a step closer to becoming law

It took until the final hours of the legislative session, but a measure has passed that would ban “upskirting” and make it illegal to surreptitiously take a video of a person’s private parts in a public place in Georgia. Senate Bill 104 is now on Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for his signature, after lawmakers negotiated over both the upskirting ban and numerous pieces...
10 top Georgia highway contractors as state ramps up roadwork spending

10 top Georgia highway contractors as state ramps up roadwork spending

On the night of the I-85 bridge collapse state lawmakers were finishing up their 2017 session, and a few suggested - at least partially in jest - that they needed to pass an emergency appropriations bill of $20 million or so to pay for the repairs before they left Atlanta. State officials say they don’t yet know how much the I-85 rebuild will cost. “We are going to do everything we can...
More than 8,000 people have already voted ahead of Georgia’s April 18 special election

More than 8,000 people have already voted ahead of Georgia’s April 18 special election

More than 8,000 votes have already been cast in Georgia ahead of a key April 18 special election that includes the nationally watched race to replace former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. Early voting in Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties started a week ago and will include this Saturday, when polls will also be open. The 6th Congressional District that Price represented covers parts of Cobb, DeKalb...
House speaker calls for transit agencies to ‘be made whole’

House speaker calls for transit agencies to ‘be made whole’

Georgia transit agencies offering greater services in the aftermath of the I-85 bridge collapse should not face budget shortfalls after springing into action, House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said Monday.  In a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal, Ralston urged the governor to tap all available federal resources to help MARTA and other agencies and said state dollars should fill any remaining...
Rural Georgia lawmakers pour hope into investment plan many question

Rural Georgia lawmakers pour hope into investment plan many question

One top Georgia senator called it a “bad investment scheme” that would pay well-connected national capital companies millions of dollars even if their jobs program created no jobs. Another said the idea had proved a failure in state after state, costing taxpayers big money. But rural lawmakers seeking almost any legislation that might help small-town Georgia, urged on by a team of top...
House OKs Cobb rep’s bill to try minors as adults if they shoot a cop 

House OKs Cobb rep’s bill to try minors as adults if they shoot a cop 

The Georgia Senate will be next to consider a bill proposed by a Marietta legislator that would uncomplicate the process to try minors as adults if they’re accused of shooting police officers. The state House passed House Bill 166 on Monday with a 130- 36 vote. Rep. Bert Reeves sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was responding to a report...
Cobb rep’s bill would let minors who shoot cops be tried as adults

Cobb rep’s bill would let minors who shoot cops be tried as adults

A Cobb legislator’s bill making it easier for minors accused of shooting police officers to be tried as adults will be up for a vote on the House floor Monday. State Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta sponsored the bill after Marietta police officer Scott Davis was shot on duty early Aug. 11 by an unidentified 15-year-old member of the Bloods gang. That teen’s case started in...
Georgia settles federal lawsuit alleging it blocked thousands of minority voters

Georgia settles federal lawsuit alleging it blocked thousands of minority voters

Georgia has settled a federal lawsuit that accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising minority voters because of a requirement on registration forms that critics said blocked thousands of them from voter rolls. The state will no longer reject applications that don’t exactly match identification information in state and federal databases as part of the agreement...
How to contact your Georgia congressmen

How to contact your Georgia congressmen

Why should I contact elected officials?Feedback from constituents is a powerful tool for those who’ve been elected and it’s an opportunity to voice your opinion about the issues that matter to you. How should I contact them?While phone calls are the best way of contacting senators or representatives, email and snail mail are effective options as well. Emails can be sent directly from the...
Bill would impose greater transparency on state parole board

Bill would impose greater transparency on state parole board

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles would be required to hold public hearings before granting pardons or commuting a death sentence under legislation introduced in the state House.  House Bill 34, from Rep. Jesse Petrea, R-Savannah, would impose even greater transparency on the board by declaring all reports, files, records and other information related to the supervision of probationers and...
Bill would close school sex loophole

Bill would close school sex loophole

Legislation to be introduced in the state House on Wednesday would close a loophole in Georgia law that weakened efforts to punish school officials that have sexual relations with students.  Rep. Joyce Chandler, R-Grayson, will introduce House Bill 32, which would make state law clear that any “employee or agent of a school” is barred from having sexual contact with...
Winter weather postpones Wild Hog Supper

Winter weather postpones Wild Hog Supper

The winter storm bearing down on Georgia has claimed another victim: the Wild Hog Supper.  The event typically occurs the Sunday before every new session of the Georgia Legislature, a welcome-back-to-Atlanta event for lawmakers, elected officials and voters. The 2017 legislative session begins Monday.  Sarah Jackson, corporate partnership manager at Georgia Food Bank Association, ...
AJC January 2017 poll methodology statement

AJC January 2017 poll methodology statement

Abt SRBI conducted the survey of Georgia residents, 18 years and older, on behalf of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The survey included telephone interviews with a representative sample of 1,092 Georgia residents (including 919 registered voters). Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (n=396) and cell phone (n=696). Interviewing was conducted from January 2nd to January 5th, 2017. ...
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