Political Notes – On this issue, Obama follows Gov. Deal’s lead

[private]It isn’t often that you’ll see Gov. Nathan Deal supporting a liberal issue before President Obama does, but that was the case with Obama’s recent executive order that will “ban the box” for federal job applicants.

The president’s order means that persons who apply for federal employment will not be asked on their initial job application to check off a box on a question that asks if they have a criminal record.

A “yes” answer at the outset typically means that the job applicant is screened out of any further consideration for a job. By “banning the box,” an otherwise qualified applicant might be seriously considered for employment and have the opportunity to explain that part of their life history.

Advocates of criminal justice reform for years have urged governments and businesses to “ban the box” on job applications so that people who have served their time and paid their debt to society would have a better chance of being gainfully employed.

On this civil rights issue, Deal was actually way ahead of Obama in taking executive action.

Deal said last year he would be willing to “ban the box” for state job seekers as part of his ongoing criminal justice reform efforts.

He did just that on Feb. 23 when he signed an executive order to that effect, declaring that the new employment policy would “enhance Georgia’s reputation as the number one place to do business.”

It took Obama more than eight months to catch up.

Senate wants to strike down ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule

Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue voted with their GOP colleagues Wednesday to pass a resolution that expresses disapproval of the EPA’s new “Waters of the U.S.” rule that expands the definition of waterways subject to federal clean water act regulations.

The vote was 53-44 and largely along party lines. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican voting no, while Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia were the only Democrats voting yes.

“The administration’s ‘Waters of the United States’ rule allows federal bureaucrats to assert control over thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches throughout the country,” Isakson said. “This rule harms not only landowners, but our entire agriculture industry in Georgia.”

“Thirty-one states have come together to stop this land grab and today we’re finally putting this harmful regulation back on President Obama’s desk for him to strongly reconsider,” Perdue said.

The measure now goes to the U.S. House, where the Republican majority will be inclined to support it. Obama is expected to veto it if the resolution reaches his desk.

Latino, Asian politicians advance

Two more Latinos were elected to political office in Tuesday’s elections in metro Atlanta.

Roger Marmol, a Dominican-Cuban born in Miami, was elected to the Snellville City Council, defeating Dexter Harrison with more than 63 percent of the vote.

Marcelo Zapata, originally from Argentina, was elected to the Roswell City Council with 57 percent of the vote against Rich Dippolito.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice said at least one Asian candidate won political office in Georgia’s elections while two others made it into Dec. 1 runoffs. Six Asians in all qualified for elections in metro cities.

MD Naser, a Bangladeshi Muslim who’s an officer with the DeKalb County sheriff’s office, was elected to the Doraville City Council by a margin of four votes over Tim Snyder. Naser is the first Asian American elected to the council.

In the Johns Creek City Council elections, Jay Lin and Nazeera Dawood advanced to the runoff for council posts.

“Six Asian Americans running in Georgia in one year is historic and proof that our community members are interested and capable of occupying civic leadership positions at all levels of government,” said Helen Kim Ho, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Asian American candidates , ban the box , Barack Obama , David Perdue , Johnny Isakson , Nathan Deal , Waters of the U.S.