A little backstory here: Several GOP governors and state officials around the country have promised to ban books dealing with topics of race and gender. Among the targets: Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” a novel about the horrors of slavery that includes graphic descriptions of sex, and Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a memoir and graphic novel that contains explicit illustrations of sexual acts.
Books like these have sparked backlash from the governors of South Carolina and Texas. It was also a recurring theme in the Virginia governor’s race. Parents in conservative areas complain that these materials available for checking out contained inappropriate content, but many educators have argued that these books have literary value, are vetted and help students learn about different identities.
It’s not immediately clear if Jones and Woods have Kobabe or Morrison’s book in mind or what their definition of “obscene” would be.
But a state Senate measure proposed earlier this year could provide them a template. It would give school boards and principals more discretion than librarians over which books to offer students. That measure, Senate Bill 226, never gained traction.
State Rep. Josh McLaurin, D-Sandy Springs, predicted that “obscene” books would soon become the same buzz words in GOP circles as “critical race theory.”
“Why is it needed?” McLaurin posted on social media. “Purpose remains the same: to allow some parents to harass teachers / librarians over cultural change … and the kids still have the internet.”
UNDER THE GOLD DOME, Monday, Nov. 15:
- 9:00 a.m.: Committee meetings begin;
- 10:00 a.m.: The state House convenes;
- 10:00 a.m.: The state Senate gavels in.
The state House could vote as soon as Monday on the new proposed state Senate maps, which would conclude the state-level redistricting process in Georgia. That will leave the state’s congressional maps as the final big-ticket item to resolve in this year’s special session. We expect those maps any day now.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich became the highest-profile Republican urging David Perdue to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp next year.
Writing on his website, Gingrich said he’s worried about Georgia Republicans in 2022, since, he reasons, a run for reelection by Gov. Brian Kemp would be “equally divisive” as a Stacey Abrams governorship.
“Even if Kemp somehow won the primary, he would almost certainly lose in November,” he wrote.
The Mar-A-Lago aficionado compared Perdue to Glenn Younkin, the Virginia Republican who just won the state House there, and declared the former senator the only one who can win next November.
The governor, meanwhile, is full-steam ahead on his campaign-- and isn’t taking the threat lightly.
As Gingrich’s blog made the rounds, Kemp’s camp scoffed at his suggestion that Perdue would better unify the GOP. Several Kemp aides noted that Perdue failed to beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in both the November election and January runoff when the entire GOP machine was behind him.
“Perdue already had a ‘united’ GOP,” a Kemp ally texted. “He lost. Twice.”
Three of the four top GOP U.S. Senate candidates participated in a debate on Saturday hosted by WSB’s Shelley Wynter. The debate was notable for its civility and for the one no-show: Herschel Walker.
Over nearly two hours, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and military veterans Kelvin King and Latham Saddler outlined their policy proposals and avoided much of a clash with each other.
Black took several shots at Walker for skipping such events, in keeping with his aggressive approach toward the former football star, but the other two largely avoided any major criticism.
The harshest words were reserved for U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. King questioned how a pastor could support abortion, while Saddler said Congress was wholly unprepared for China’s rise.
Black might have gotten the loudest laughs. After Saddler reminded the audience of his youth, the commissioner joked he was “only 63″ – and could still bring down the median age in the Senate, which is 64.
President Joe Biden will sign the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill Monday and a seven-member team of AJC journalists has written up everything you want to know about what’s in the $1.2 trillion bill for Georgia.
A few topline numbers:
- At least $8.9 billion for roads, $225 million for bridges;
- At least $100 million for broadband upgrades and expansion;
- $1.4 billion for public transportation;
- $619 million for airports;
- $8 million to address congestion at Georgia ports;
- At least $135 million to address climate change, including EV charging stations and coastal resilience efforts.
While Democrats do a victory lap Monday, the Savannah Morning News has a word of warning from the coast, courtesy of opinion editor Adam Van Bremmer:
“Former President Donald Trump divided the Republican Party and gave rise to the Democrats’ 2020 success. As the midterms approach, the Democrats’ push left is undermining their future.”
This would be interesting: We’re picking up word that Atlanta School Board President Jason Esteves is considering running for the Georgia Senate seat vacated by Democrat Jen Jordan.
The district spans parts of Atlanta and Sandy Springs and will continue to lean Democratic after redistricting.
Esteves would be a formidable candidate. He was first elected to the school board in 2013 and is treasurer of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
In endorsement news, NBA legend Dominique Wilkins is backing Atlanta mayoral candidate Felicia Moore. He said he was drawn to the city council president’s “experience and integrity” in her runoff battle against Andre Dickens.
A reminder that Dickens and Moore will faceoff in their first televised one-on-one debate Tuesday night on GPB.
POSTED: We have more detail from our colleague Tamar Hallerman on the possibility of Fulton County DA Fani Willis empaneling a special grand jury in her investigation of Donald Trump. The former president is accused of violating Georgia election laws by attempting to overturn Joe Biden’s win here.
A person with direct knowledge of the discussions said that the move “could be imminent.” More:
The main benefits a special grand jury would provide are continuity and focus, former prosecutors said.
A regular Fulton County grand jury is seated for two months. Jurors typically hear hundreds of felony cases before their service ends.
But a special grand jury, which typically has 16 to 23 members, is focused on a single case and remains active for as long as prosecutors need. That could be beneficial given how complicated the issue of investigating a former president is.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
State Rep. Matthew Wilson married his partner, Robert Poole, over the weekend.
State Sen. Kim Jackson, an Episcopal priest, officiated, while several fellow members of the General Assembly were spotted in the audience.
Wilson, a Brookhaven Democrat, is one of the first openly gay members of the Legislature and a candidate for Insurance commissioner. We hear there’s a rainbow cake coming to the statehouse this week to celebrate the nuptials.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has scheduled another tele-town hall for her Congressional District 14 constituents. The meeting will be held on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., and people interested in attending can RSVP here.
On the campaign front, Holly McCormack became the second Democrat to report raising $1 million in her bid to unseat Greene in 2022.
From the personnel department, former state Rep. Nikki Randall has joined veteran lobbyist Graham Thompson’s firm, Thompson Victory Group. Randall, a former Democratic lawmaker, was most recently an Atrium Health executive.
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