Political Notes — House Democrats move forward with new leadership

[private]Because of a couple of early resignations, Democrats in the Georgia House of Representatives held a caucus meeting Monday to replace about half of the caucus leadership.

The midterm vote was necessary as Minority Leader StaceyAbrams (D-Atlanta) and Caucus Chair Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) both stepped down from their leadership positions to launch campaigns for governor.

Rep. Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville), who’s serving just his second term in the House, was elected the new minority leader after two rounds of balloting eliminated Reps. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus) and Winfred Dukes (D-Albany).BobTrammell

The choice of Trammell was noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, he’s a relative newbie in the Legislature compared to Hugley and Dukes, who have both been serving in the House for more than 20 years.

Trammell, a white attorney, was also elected over two experienced black legislators by a caucus whose membership is roughly three-quarters African American.

Trammell’s election was interpreted in some quarters as a bit of rebuke to Abrams, the outgoing minority leader, but he pushed back on that reading of the caucus vote.

“That’s not the right observation,” Trammell said. “I think that Stacey Abrams was an incredibly effective advocate for the Democratic argument in the General Assembly as the Democratic leader. The election we just had is more about the way forward for the caucus and not something looking backward.”

Three other caucus leadership posts were decided in Monday’s meeting. Rep. James Beverly (D-Macon) was elected caucus chair, Rep. Erica Thomas (D-Austell) is the vice chair, and Rep. Kimberly Alexander (D-Hiram) is the new treasurer.

“In coming weeks, we’ll be working with our members to examine their priorities individually and our priorities as a caucus for the 2018 session,” Trammell said.

One of the caucus priorities will be healthcare, an issue surrounded by uncertainty right now because of congressional wrangling over the future of Trumpcare.

“The area of healthcare and the fact that we continue to be one of the states with the highest number of uninsured residents, and the state of rural healthcare and the crisis with rural hospitals is an issue that won’t go away,” Trammell said.

“The uncertainly that exists in Washington about healthcare and the state of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t change the fact that people still need to be able to go to the doctor,” he added.

Carr sues Marvelay

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and the state law department have filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping Marvelay LLC, a business operating under the names “Spot Reservation” and “Rushcube,” from defrauding consumers through misleading internet advertising and deceptive sales practices.

The complaint alleges that the business represents itself as different companies that provide recreational activities such as sky diving, hot air balloon rides, helicopter tours, and airplane flight lessons. The companies named on the websites do not really exist, however, as the defendants book the events they are offering through third-party vendors.

Consumers believed they were dealing with the companies that actually provided the activities when they purchased an adventure product from the defendants, Carr said.

“Our office is committed to protecting the public from companies whose business models rely on misleading, deceptive acts and practices,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “As we investigated Marvelay, we found overwhelming evidence of these types of behaviors, and we will hold them accountable for their actions.”

Ralston appointments

House Speaker David Ralston has announced appointments to several more legislative study committees —

The Joint Transparency & Open Access in Government Study Committee: Reps. Katie Dempsey, chair, and Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins), Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), and Brett Harrell (R-Snellville). Ralston also named Gary Dent of Vidalia, Anu Jain of Johns Creek and Patrick Mayer of Alpharetta to the committee.

The House Study Committee on Utilization and Modernization of the State Capitol and Other Buildings: Reps. Matt Hatchett, chair (R-Dublin), Penny Houston (R-Nashville), Bert Reeves (R-Marietta), Richard Smith (R-Columbus), and Al Williams (D-Midway). Ralston also named Paige Greene of Ellijay, Marshall Guest of Atlanta and Tom Hall of Dublin to the committee.

The Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a Leadership Academy: Reps. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) and Valencia Stovall (D-Forest Park).

The State Commission on Compensation: Craig Barrs and former legislator Barbara Sims of Augusta.

The House Study Committee on Elementary and Secondary School Nutrition Programs: Reps. Amy Carter, chair (R-Valdosta), Pam Dickerson (D-Conyers), and Robert Dickey (R-Musella).

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Bob Trammell , Chris Carr , David Ralston , House Democrats , Stacey Abrams