Political Notes – Kemp says he’ll sign ‘clean’ adoption bill

[private]Secretary of State Brian Kemp put a little distance between himself and the religious right by saying he will sign a “clean” adoption bill if he’s elected governor.

Kemp was referring to the attempt last session to pass a bill that would have comprehensively revised the state’s adoption laws, a bill that was authored by Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta)l

The measure easily passed in the House of Representatives but bogged down in the Senate when Republicans insisted on adding a provision that would have allowed adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

The bill died in the wrangling between the two chambers, angering both Gov. Nathan Deal and Speaker David Ralston.

“As governor, I will refuse to play politics on this incredibly important and timely issue,” Kemp said in a statement issued Monday. “Instead, I will urge lawmakers to pass a clean version of Rep. Bert Reeves’ bill and I will sign it immediately.”

More money for cyber center

Gov. Nathan Deal said he’ll budget an additional $35 million for an expansion of the Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta. That’s on top of $58 million that was allocated earlier this year.

The additional facility will be an incubator for technology startups and provide training space for the state’s cybersecurity initiatives.

“Given Georgia’s growing status as a technology and innovation hub, this additional investment will further cement our reputation as the Silicon Valley of the South,” Deal said.

The first phase of the cyber center is scheduled to open on July 10, 2018, and the second building is planned for completion in December 2018.

Atlanta will sell Civic Center

The City of Atlanta has sold the Civic Center to the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) for $31 million.

AHA will team with Weingarten Realty Investors on development plans for the site, which is expected to be a $300 million total investment with a commitment to 30 percent affordable housing.

“Through its focus on affordable housing, the redevelopment of the Civic Center property will give families and working people the opportunity to live in an area with access to transit, employment and good schools,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed later announced that a new sculpture honoring boxer Evander Holyfield will be placed in front of the Flatiron Building in Downtown Atlanta. The nine-foot bronze sculpture, by sculptor Brian Hanlon, will be installed on the site in early 2018.

“Holyfield is an Olympic bronze medalist, the four-time heavyweight champion of the world and now a hall-of-famer,” Reed said. “He represents what is possible in Atlanta: coming from humble beginnings, through dedication, hard work and a supportive community, rising as a champion. This statue is a fitting tribute to an individual who has meant so much to our city and our nation.”

Personnel notes

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed three new members of the Judicial Nominating Commission: Ryan Teague, David Werner and Thomas Worthy. Teague and Werner were executive counsel to Deal at different times, and Worthy is also a former aide to the governor.

Nikki Randall, a former state legislator from Macon, is now working with Navicent Health as director of community outreach and civic engagement.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

Tags: adoption law , Atlanta Civic Center , Brian Kemp , Kasim Reed , Nathan Deal , Nikki Randall , state cyber center