Political Notes — Senate could vote on guns, money later this week

[Private]The state Senate could vote as early as Thursday on two of the biggest issues remaining in this legislative session: the state budget and a bill allowing students to carry guns on public college campuses.

Both measures made it out of committee Monday, but are not on Tuesday’s calendar for a Senate vote. It is likely that they will get floor votes on either Thursday or Friday, however.

The $23.7 billion budget for fiscal year 2017 would give teachers and state employees alike pay raises of at least 3 percent. The spending plan passed the House with little debate and is expected to slide through the Senate as well.

HB 859, the campus carry bill, would allow Georgians with firearms licenses to bring guns on campuses, although weapons would still be prohibited in dorms, fraternities and sororities, as well as at athletic events.

Campus carry was deleted from the “Guns Everywhere” bill that was enacted two years ago and the issue is still opposed by the Board of Regents and the University System. Gov. Nathan Deal has signaled, however, that he might sign this measure.

Supreme Court rules for Clark

Clark Atlanta University was the winner in a decision handed down Monday by the Georgia Supreme Court.

The justices ruled unanimously that Clark is entitled to three tracts of land it deeded to Morris Brown College more than 70 years ago. The court ruled against Invest Atlanta, the city’s development authority, in their decision.

Clark deeded the property totaling 13 acres to Morris Brown in 1940, but the deed stated that if the property were not used for “educational purposes,” it would revert back to Clark.

After Morris Brown filed for bankruptcy, it sold the three tracts to Invest Atlanta. Clark sued in 2014 to get the property back.

“The structure and language of the deed reflects the parties’ clear intent that the property, in toto, comprise a donation to Morris Brown College of a unified tract of land for the one and only purpose expressed in the deed, i.e., for the particular aspects of education set forth therein,” said the decision written by Justice P. Harris Hines.

Delta chief blasts ‘religious freedom’ bill

The new CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, is taking aim against the “religious freedom” bill still pending before the General Assembly.

“Delta applauds Governor Deal for his leadership and clear message that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” Bastian said in a statement.

“With a diverse workforce that includes more than 30,000 employees across Georgia, we fully support Governor Deal rejecting a bill, including Bill 757, that would do anything other than uphold equality and ensure Georgia remains a welcoming state for everyone,” Bastian added.

Delta was one of many prominent Georgia businesses that opposed the religious bill last year. At the urging of Rep. Earl Ehrhart (Powder Springs), the legislature repealed a lucrative tax break that Delta had long enjoyed to punish it for taking this stand.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: campus carry gun bill , Georgia Supreme Court , religious freedom , state budget