Political Notes — At least three Georgians voted to gut House ethics panel

[private]Most of Georgia’s 10 Republican House members are trying to hide from the debacle that was the aborted attempt to shut down the independent Committee on Congressional Ethics, but at least three yes votes have been identified.

Newly sworn-in Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-West Point), in his first vote as a congressman, confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he voted with his GOP colleagues to gut the ethics committee.  So did Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett County).

The Talking Points Memo website, which has been compiling yes and no votes on the ethics measure, has identified Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) as another yes vote to kill the committee.

The AJC reported Wednesday that two congressmen — Reps. Tom Graves and Austin Scott — are declining to say how they voted, which is probably a good indication that they voted yes but don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of admitting it.

The other five Republicans — Jody Hice, Tom Price, Buddy Carter, Barry Loudermilk and Rick Allen — have yet to report in.

The House Republican Conference voted Monday night in a closed meeting to essentially squash the ethics committee, whose past targets have included Gov. Nathan Deal and Paul Broun during their tenures in Congress. Their action was in the form of a rules change that would have been formally adopted on Tuesday when a new session convened.

The public outcry from constituents was so great, however, that Republicans backed down in less than 24 hours and reversed their action.

The secret vote and resulting reversal set up GOP House members for a barrage of criticism from their Democratic colleagues.

“The GOP is doing nothing to alleviate fears of an unaccountable majority party if this is their priority on the first day of the 115th Congress,” said Georgia Democratic Party Chair DuBose Porter.

Peake wants cannabis vote

State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), the leader behind efforts to legalize medical uses of marijuana in Georgia, says he will introduce legislation calling a statewide referendum on the cultivation and harvesting of cannabis.

He’ll also continue his efforts to expand the list of medical conditions for which cannabis treatments are authorized.

“We would let the citizens of the state decide whether to go down this path or not,” he told the Macon Telegraph.

Legislation allowing medical cannabis passed two years ago, but subsequent attempts to widen the law’s provisions have fallen short.

Behold the Zell Miller Institute

Former governor and senator Zell Miller now has an institute named after him that will attempt to preserve his legacy in Georgia’s political history.

The Zell Miller Institute, founded by some of the heaviest hitters at the state capitol, will work for “bipartisan solutions to the critical issues facing Georgia and encouraging stakeholders to work together to achieve results.”

“Zell has dedicated his life to serving the people of Georgia, and the Miller Institute will make sure that important work continues,” said Miller’s wife, Shirley.

Miller’s grandson, Bryan, is the executive director of the institute.  The board members include lobbyists Keith Mason, Eric Tanenblatt, Charlie Harman, and Pete Robinson, retired University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby, former attorney general Thurbert Baker, and former legislator Dean Alford.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

[/private]

Tags: Allen Peake , Committee on Congressional Ethics , House Republicans , medical cannabis , Zell Miller Institute