U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, and a colleague who helped organize a 25-hour sit-in on the House floor to protest Republican inaction on gun violence this summer called a GOP proposal to punish lawmakers for similar protests an “unconstitutional gag order” akin to “Putin’s Russia.”
Politico reports that, in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, Lewis and Connecticut Democrat John Larson vowed to fight against the proposed House rules:
“While we agree with the need to maintain protocol on the House floor — this kind of proposal is unprecedented and amounts to a gag order without due process or the ability to members to contest sanctions,” they added.
Some critics have raised constitutional concerns about the proposed rules change, since it delegates responsibility to a senior House official and seemingly wouldn’t let lawmakers appeal the fines or other penalties.
A New York Times piece on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to form the nation’s mayors into a coalition capable opposing a Donald Trump administration on issues such as immigration includes these paragraphs:
In conference calls and informal meetings, mayors from Seattle to New Orleans have been discussing how to best position their cities as a kind of bloc of island nations, with shared concerns over the prospect of diminished federal support for urban centers, and of major shifts in policy on immigration, public safety and climate change.
“We’re taking a no-excuses strategy, as opposed to lamenting President-elect Trump’s win and his policy positions,” said Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, a Democrat. “We think that by joining together that we can have a very strong counter-message.”
The significant scheduling and procedural overhauls we outlined on Thursday weren’t the only big changes coming to the state Senate next year.
We are also told that at a GOP caucus meeting later Thursday Senate leaders announced plans to consolidate the two judiciary committees – one that focused on criminal law and one on civil – into one unified panel. Which also likely means state Sen. Josh McKoon, chair of the civil Judiciary Committee, loses a coveted chairmanship.
(We should note here that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s office did not comment.)
If it comes to pass, it could be a mixed bag for McKoon. Committee chairs bring political donations, which would obviously help his likely run for attorney general or other higher office. But being on the outs with the state Senate could also bolster his insurgent credentials, especially if he plans to revive the “religious liberty” fight again.
Thanks to Jon Richards of GaPundit.com for pointing us to this:
Speaking of technology, over at the Macon Telegraph, reporter Maggie Lee has a piece on the approval of a state House-Senate study committee report on rural broadband access:
In six hearings over the last few weeks, the committee heard from dozens of people testifying on behalf of hospitals, schools, counties, companies and economic development agencies and others. The report from the Committee on High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians says reliable access is a clear “statement to maintain Georgia’s global economic standing.”
Some of the suggestions in the committee’s report have to do with making the money side more attractive: the Legislature might consider tax credits or public loans for certain rural broadband builds, for example. The report also suggests reworking some regulations around rights-of-way to lay fiber or getting local permission to do projects.