"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
Allen Peake may just be the most interesting
lawmaker to watch this session of the state Legislature.
Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog
The House Republican broke with Gov. Nathan Deal over his proposal to expand Georgia's nascent medical marijuana program in December, and he stepped down from the governor's leadership team soon after. With more than 100 sponsors in the House and momentum in the Senate, now the Macon restaurateur is putting the issue at the center of a re-election campaign.
Wrote Peake to his constituents over the weekend:
After much deliberation and wise counsel, I am excited to announce that I WILL BE RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION in 2016. I am as energized as ever to represent Middle Georgia, to use my business experience to pass common sense legislation, and to fight for hurting Georgians to have access to medical cannabis to make their lives better.
We haven't heard of any primary challengers targeting the five-term incumbent, but Peake tried to pre-empt his potential rivals by confessing in September to opening an account on Ashley Madison during a bad patch in his marriage.
On a related topic, Georgia CARE, a group that advocates the legalization of marijuana, takes note of the large number of bills on the topic this year:
As the weekend began, state Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, had a Facebook reaction to our news that former state labor commissioner and DeKalb County school superintendent Michael Thurmond was considering the race for DeKalb CEO. Wrote Millar:
"He would be a good interim because the position as is needs to go."
Also on Facebook was state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, whose "religious liberty" bill has stalled in the House. Commenting on Speaker David Ralston's declaration that he wouldn't allow a bill to ban assault rifles to reach the House floor, McKoon dug the hole a little deeper:
"If only there was as much enthusiasm to protect the 1st Amendment as the 2nd. But I can officially say 1 year and 15 days into this legislative biennium of the General Assembly that we have identified a difference between how Republicans and Democrats would handle a public policy issue."
Gov. Nathan Deal's
former communications guru is no longer working for Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
The director of the Democratic-leaning advocacy group Better Georgia filed a formal protest of Kemp's decision to award a $6,000 monthly consulting contract to Brian Robinson, who for five years was Deal's spokesman. Robinson played a behind-the-scenes role in trying to soften the fallout of the data breach that exposed information of more than 6 million Georgia voters.
Robinson, though, confirmed over the weekend that he's no longer pursuing the no-bid contract and that his gig was never intended to be long term.
In any of election-year session of the Legislature, it pays to look for the gun bill that will ruffle the fewest feathers and thus has the greatest chance of smooth passage. The Gwinnett Post may have found it:
Sen. P.K. Martin, R-Lawrenceville, said his bill will give the retirees the ability to carry weapons in the same places that law enforcement officers can carry them. Senate Bill 270 covers any state statute that limits the places where a person can carry a firearm, as well licensing to carry those weapons.
Our AJC colleague Katie Leslie was at the Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Sen. Johnny Isakson shared the stage with his wouldbe challenger Raphael Warnock.
From her dispatch:
He's attended nearly two dozen times since, but "not because I thought I ought to, but because I knew I needed to" he said to applause.
Isakson spoke quickly and for only a few minutes, yielding the podium to colleague and Congressman Sanford Bishop and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, among others.
But speaking of King's life and legacy, Isakson said: "Our commitment today on this commemoration should be that we will be the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and all that he did for peace, for tranquility, for faith and for justice."