Political Notes — Still not much enthusiasm among the leadership for casinos

[private]The casino/resort industry still has a hunger for a casino development in Georgia — and deep pockets to lobby for it — but recent remarks by House Speaker David Ralston indicates the legislative leadership still isn’t enthusiastic about legalized casino gaming.

In a speech last week to a group of retired teachers in Ellijay, Ralston was asked about the issue.

As reported by Lonnie Adams at Fetch Your News:

The Speaker took time to answer a few questions including one about the concept of Casino gambling in Atlanta saying, “I think the casino companies are a whole lot more interested in it than the members of the General Assembly.”

He went on to say there were several issues at play such as the general question of “Do you favor the expansion of gambling?” But if yes, more questions arise of “How many do you allow in the state?” “Do you allow one big one and one small one?” Ralston went further to say the next issues then would be about the tax rate and the distribution of proceeds.

With Ralston’s evident lack of enthusiasm and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s need to focus on a race for governor, that would suggest the casino interests might be better off waiting for the election of a new governor and a reconstituted legislature before they make their next pitch.

The speaker’s appointments

In other David Ralston news, the speaker has announced appointments to several study committees.

House Study Committee on State & Local Construction Management: Rep. Buddy Harden (R-Cordele) will replace Chuck Williams, who resigned from the House last month after being appointed director of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

House Study Committee on Distracted Driving: Rep. Doreen Carter (D-Lithonia) will replace Keisha Waites, who is resigning from the House effective Sept. 18.

Federal and State Funded Health Care Financing Programs Overview Committee: Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) – vice chairman, Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah), and Rep. Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville).

Joint Agricultural Exposition Authority Overview Committee: Rep. Tom McCall (R-Elberton) replaces Chuck Williams.

Georgia Halls of Fame Authority Overview Committee: Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) – vice chairman, Rep. James Beverly (D-Macon), Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), Rep. Bubber Epps (R-Dry Branch), and Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta).

Cagle appointments

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has appointed James “Jim” Edwards and JaNice Van Ness to the Georgia Commission on Compensation, a panel that recommends salary levels for members of the General Assembly, heads of state agencies and authorities, and constitutional state officers.

Edwards is the current Chairman and CEO of United Bank in Griffin. Van Ness is a former state senator and county commissioner from Rockdale County.

A new U.S. Attorney

Bobby Christine, a Columbia County attorney, has nominated as the new U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Christine was appointed State Judge Advocate for the Georgia National Guard ion 2012. He has served as a part-time judge of Magistrate Court for Columbia County since his appointment in 2005. Earlier, he was a prosecutor in the district attorney’s office in Augusta.

Another GOP candidate for governor

Clay Tippins, a political unknown who’s the nephew of state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), has filed the paperwork to run in the Republican primary for governor.

“I’ve never run for office before but I want to be your governor because Georgia politics needs some positive disruption,” Tippins said in a statement. “I’m angry that cronyism and identity politics have broken America and are endangering Georgia, and I want to do my part to fix it.”

Tippins is a former Navy Seal and a business consultant.

Gambill announces

Matthew Gambill, the executive director of the Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education, announced he’ll run for the House seat currently held by Rep. Paul Battles (R-Cartersville), who reportedly won’t run again.

Gambill is the son of Bill Gambill, a retired educator who was an assistant state school superintendent in the administration of Linda Schrenko. He is the nephew of former governor Joe Frank Harris. He is the husband of Danae Roberts Gambill, a former state House member from Columbus.

Jeffares wants term limits

State Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-McDonough), a candidate for lieutenant governor, has proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit future lieutenant governors to two terms in office.

“I believe that term limits are good for politicians, their constituents, and Democracy itself,” Jeffares said. “Citizens should serve, contribute their ideas and passion, then return to the private sector to live under the laws they pass.”

Jeffares’ proposal would have affected Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who’s serving his third term, and Zell Miller, who served four terms in the state’s second-highest office.

Supreme Court tweets

The Georgia Supreme Court has joined the world of Twitter, which it will use as an additional platform for informing the public about its activities.

The court issued its first official tweet on Sept. 10 to inform the public about the court’s closure on the following two days because of Hurricane Irma.

“We are officially entering the world of social media, and while I can’t claim I always understand it, I think it is vital that the Court connect with the public,” Chief Justice P. Harris Hines said. “People often look to Twitter to keep up with the latest breaking news, and this is a step toward making the state’s highest court more accessible and transparent.”

Media notes

Beth and Clay Neely have been named as the new publishers of the Newnan Times-Herald, which just celebrated its 152nd birthday.

They are replacing Walter C. Jones, who had been the Times-Herald’s publisher since June 2016. Jones, former chief of the Morris Newspapers’ Atlanta bureau, has been named director of legislative affairs with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Bobby Christine , Casey Cagle , casino gambling , Clay Tippins , David Ralston , Georgia Supreme Court , Matthew Gambill , Rick Jeffares , Walter C. Jones