The Jolt: Peachtree City ordinance would permit libel suits against critics

Bad ideas are apparently like the measles – especially contagious in populations that have neglected their vaccines. Or in this case, basic civic lessons.

You know about the state lawmaker from Henry County who has proposed a measure to form a state panel to discipline journalists who displease. The governor has labeled the situation "bizarre."

The Citizen newspaper now reports that the Peachtree City Council on Thursday will take up an ordinance to allow city officials and employees – at the Fayette County city's expense -- to sue citizens who defame them and their work in any medium, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, on the airwaves or in a newspaper. In part:

"Legal counsel shall be selected by the defamed individual requesting representation and be reimbursed by the city at a rate not to exceed the approved hourly rate of the city attorney plus 20%. Further, in the event that a defamation suit is settled in the city's favor, the city shall seek reimbursement for the actual legal costs incurred…."

Did we mention that every single person in Peachtree City's government, from the mayor to the city manager to the guy who fills the potholes, is practically perfect in every way? Read the ordinance here, or stroll through it below:


U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey brings his Democratic presidential campaign to Atlanta today, with a 3:30 p.m. appearance at Paschal's restaurant. Discussion topics will include ballot access and abortion rights.


President Donald Trump will headline a summit targeting prescription drug abuse next week in Atlanta. Trump will address the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit on April 24 at 1 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.


Up in D.C., the conservative Free Beacon has pointed to a $2,000 campaign contribution that U.S. Rep. Illhan Omar, D-Minn., reported making to fellow freshman Democrat Lucy McBath of Marietta.

The website noted that McBath did not report the contribution – which is true. The McBath campaign told us this morning that the contribution was not accepted.

Omar is one of two Muslim lawmakers elected to Congress in 2018. She has recently been criticized by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who allege she recently spoke too lightly of 9/11 during a speech last month. She has also made remarks interpreted by many as anti-Semitic.

McBath’s rejection of the donation is more important than it may sound. The Sixth District has a significant Jewish population – particularly in Sandy Springs and east Cobb County.


The insurgency will be livestreamed: State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, only attracted about 10 signatures on his resolution to oust House Speaker David Ralston. But he's back Wednesday with a press conference targeting Ralston with what he says are new details about his use of legislative leave privileges that allow him to delay cases in his private legal practice.

William Perry, a transparency advocate, has arranged for the 11 a.m. press conference to be livestreamed on Facebook.


11Alive has compiled a list of state lawmakers who skipped votes during the 2019 session of the Legislature. Tops was state Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia. The former DeKalb County CEO missed 98 votes, or 25% of those cast during the three-month session.


According to the Albany Herald, Georgia's Legislative Black Caucus is buzzing over Senate Bill 278, a measure filed in the last days of the 2019 session that would remove the state's historically black colleges and universities from the umbrella of the Board of Regents, and place them under a separate "Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University System."

The bill’s sponsor is state Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah.


Kennesaw State University political scientist Kerwin Swint takes on Georgia's electoral runoff system and ranked voting in a Georgia Trend column built around this thought:

[O]nly one state requires a runoff in the November general election if no candidate gets a majority of votes on Election Day. And it's us. Just Georgia. That's a pretty exclusive club.


Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday spoke at the memorial service for the late U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings of South Carolina, who left the political arena some 15 years ago. Below are three important paragraphs from the New York Times' account of the funeral:

Younger Democrats have little personal connection to Mr. Hollings and those who are aware of him recall that he began his career, like many other white politicians of his generation in the South, as a segregationist.

Mr. Biden, who is himself facing intense questions about his 1970s opposition to school busing, handled Mr. Hollings's evolution on race delicately in his speech, referring only obliquely to the senator's earlier support for segregation.

"He was constantly evolving," said Mr. Biden, standing before a Citadel choir that was made up equally of black and white members.