Political Notes — Spencer yanks controversial anti-burqa bill

[private]Under fire from both Democrats and Republicans, state Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) has withdrawn his controversial bill that would have banned Muslim women from wearing burqas and veils in public.

“After further consideration, I have decided to not pursue HB 3 in the upcoming 2017 legislative session due to the visceral reaction it has created,” Spencer said in a statement released late Thursday.

“While this bill does not contain language that specifically targets any group, I am mindful of the perception that it has created,” Spencer said. “My objective was to address radical elements that could pose a threat to public safety. However, further consideration dictates that other solutions will need to be considered.”

Spencer’s bill was pre-filed this week in support of president-elect Donald Trump’s proposals to ban Muslim immigrants and require Muslim citizens to register.

The measure immediately sparked controversy, however, and was eventually pulled.

“Even Will Rogers wouldn’t have liked Jason Spencer,” remarked Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs).

PSC elects next chairman

Public Service Commission members voted Thursday to elect Stan Wise as the PSC chairman for 2017 and 2018, succeeding Chuck Eaton in the job.

Wise has been a member of the regulatory panel since 1994 and a leader in the efforts to allow Georgia Power to pass along to its ratepayers most of the massive cost overruns on the Plant Vogtle nuclear project.

“I thank my commissioners for their confidence in me,” Wise said at Thursday’s meeting.

“I didn’t say I had confidence in you,” Commissioner Doug Everett quipped.

All charges against EMC’s former CEO are dropped

The last criminal charges in a longstanding racketeering case against Dwight Brown, former CEO of the Cobb EMC, were dismissed this week by Cobb County Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy.

As reported in the Marietta Daily Journal:

Indicted on 35 counts in 2011 and accused of racketeering and theft related to the way he ran the utility co-operative, the charges against Brown were chipped away over the years. Flournoy announced the final seven charges would be dismissed after a hearing on Oct. 18.

Brown was represented by former Gov. Roy Barnes and John Salter, Barnes’ son-in-law and a partner in his law firm, among others. In a statement provide to the MDJ in October, Brown’s attorneys said the case against him was “legally flawed and in deliberate disregard of known facts” and they are thankful the case is over.

Flournoy, appointed to the Superior Court bench by then-Gov. Roy Barnes in 2000, gave Brown’s attorneys a deadline of Nov. 4 to file a proposed order dismissing the charges for review. Flournoy’s staff attorney previously told the MDJ that the proposed order was filed by Brown’s attorneys on Oct. 21 — Flournoy took the three weeks that followed to review and edit the order before signing it on Nov. 11.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: anti-burqa bill , Cobb EMC , Dwight Brown , Jason Spencer , PSC , racketeering charges , Stan Wise