Political Notes – Kemp will release voter data report on Monday

[private]Secretary of State Brian Kemp says he’ll release on Monday the results of an internal investigation into a recent data breach involving the release of sensitive information about the state’s 6.2 million registered voters.

“Documents will be made available to any member of the public for inspection,” Kemp said in a statement released Friday by his office.

The report will, among other things, “describe the events leading to the release, including over 5000 related emails, communication with the Georgia Department of Revenue, personnel files for relevant employees, [and] IT project documents.”

Kemp, rumored to be interested in running for governor two years from now, has been dealing with the fallout from the data breach since it was first reported by the media last month. The incident was initially disclosed in a lawsuit filed against the secretary of state’s office in Fulton County Superior Court.

Judge says Deal’s judicial appointments are OK

Fulton Superior Court Judge Jack Goger ruled Thursday that Gov. Nathan Deal’s recent appointments of Brian Rickman, Nels Peterson, and Amanda Mercier to the Georgia Court of Appeals were constitutional.

A group of lawyers is challenging the appointments on the grounds that when the Court of Appeals was expanded, the constitution required that the new judgeships be filled through the election method rather than by appointment.

Goger, however, ruled that a governor can make the appointments in “situations such as the case at bar, where the vacancies are caused by newly created judgeships that otherwise would sit empty until the next nonpartisan general election at which such judgeships can be filled.”

The case will be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Peake will move forward with cultivation bill

Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) indicated he will move ahead next session with a bill that would authorize the in-state cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes, even though the study commission he headed has recommended otherwise.

In an op-ed newspaper column distributed Friday, Peake said:

It is crucial for us as lawmakers to pass legislation next session that will take away the potential criminal consequences for hurting Georgians attempting to access a product that is now legal within our own borders. . . .

Some have said there is not enough demand for businesses to invest in building a growth/distribution facility under our current law. I have personally spoken to several companies, some who have testified at our Commission hearings that are fully prepared to invest millions if licensed to grow medical cannabis oil in Georgia, even under the current parameters of our law.

The time has come. We must provide safe and legal access to medical cannabis oil in Georgia, under a tightly regulated, very restricted model, similar to the model in Minnesota. Every hurting Georgian who suffers from a debilitating illness deserves that option. That is our job as legislators.

Johnson urges review of Dow-DuPont merger

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-DeKalb County) is recommending a cautious approach on the proposed merger of chemical giants DuPont and Dow:

“The proposed merger of DuPont and Dow Chemical raises serious competition concerns and implications for consumers. If consummated, the combined entity will be one of the largest chemical and agricultural suppliers globally and would reportedly control well more than one-third of the U.S. corn seed market.

“Furthermore, this transaction occurs during a period of mass consolidation across multiple industries, and there seems to be little preventing even further consolidation in the chemical and agricultural markets. Accordingly, it’s imperative that this transaction receives a thorough review.”

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Allen Peake , Brian Kemp , hank johnson , judicial appointments , medical cannabis , Nathan Deal , voter data breach