Politics

Ferguson
10:25 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Protesters Plan Atlanta Protest Of Ferguson Ruling

Protesters hold candles during an earlier Ferguson vigil in Atlanta.
Credit Evan Jang / WABE

Activists plan to rally in downtown Atlanta in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

Organizers say the "Community Speakout" is set for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Underground Atlanta, a shopping area in the heart of the city.

Thousands of people demonstrated late Monday in several U.S. cities to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer who killed Michael Brown, who is black, on Aug. 9.

Read more
Politics
6:01 am
Tue November 25, 2014

For State Lawmakers, High Court Ruling Highlights Need For Private Probation Bill

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs.
Credit GA House of Reps.

Georgians who can’t afford to pay off traffic tickets and other misdemeanor fines are routinely put on probation until they can pay, but that may be changing soon.

Georgia, by far, has more people on probation for low-level offenses than any other state in the country. About 300,000 at any one time, in fact. And at a rate that’s quadruple the national average.

“We have to wonder is that because people in Georgia are so much less law-abiding?" says Sarah Geraghty. "I have to believe the answer to that is no."

Read more
Politics
6:00 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Faith-Based Groups Split on Obama's Action on Immigration

Immigration rights activists staged a protest last fall outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Atlanta Headquarters.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

President Obama’s executive action on immigration will provide temporary deportation relief and work permits for millions of undocumented immigrants. But some faith-based communities are split on whether it was wise for the president to take matters into his own hands.

Atlanta’s Catholic Archdiocese favors the president’s plan.

Read more
A Talk With Attorney General Sam Olens
6:11 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Georgia Heads For Supreme Court Water Fight With Florida

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, on the left, speaks with WABE's Denis O'Hayer in the Attorney General's office on November 24, 2014.
Credit Lauren Kane

Georgia and Florida are preparing to fight the latest round of the water wars in the nation's highest court.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Florida's lawsuit, challenging what it says is Georgia's overconsumption of water flowing through the state into Florida.  

Read more
Politics
6:10 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

GOP Congressional Delegation Spurns Obama In Hagel's Resignation

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Members of Georgia’s Republican Congressional Delegation are criticizing the Obama administration after U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s resignation.

In prepared statements, Republicans Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Tom Price said Hagel’s departure reflects President Obama’s failed foreign policy.

Sen. Isakson said the move shows uncertainty over the president’s stated mission to destroy the group calling itself the Islamic State.

Read more
Politics
6:02 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

GEMA Head English To Step Down

Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

Georgia Emergency Management Head Charley English is stepping down as the agency’s leader, moving down the ranks to deputy director starting at the beginning of next year.

In a press release, Gov. Nathan Deal Monday announced the shakeup as part of a larger staff reorganization in his upcoming second term.  

English has been with GEMA since 1996 and served as director since 2006.

Read more
Politics
5:56 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Rev. Bernice King Releases Statement On Ferguson

Rev. Bernice King, the daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speaks during a "I Have a Dream" Gospel Brunch at Willard Hotel in Washington.
Credit Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

 

Rev. Bernice King, one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s children and CEO of the King Center, has issued a statement asking for nonviolent and restraint while the world waits for the grand jury verdict in Ferguson. The grand jury's findings are expected to be announced Monday evening.

The full statement is below.

As the world awaits the grand jury decision regarding Officer Darren Wilson, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with Michael Brown’s parents, Michael Brown, Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, his family, and the entire Ferguson community. 

Read more
Politics
5:02 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Head Of Georgia's Emergency Management Agency To Step Down

Georgia Emergency Management Director Charley English speaks during a news conference in the Governor's office last February.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

Charley English, the Director of Georgia's Emergency Management Agency is set to step down.

English, who has led GEMA since 2006, was in charge of the emergency response during the snowstorm in January 2014. He was strongly criticized for not acting fast enough during the early hours of the storm and not opening the state emergency operations center until hours after roads were already gridlocked. In emails released after the storm, English seemed hesitant to react during the emergency - a decision that he later would say was a "terrible error in judgment."

Read more
Politics
5:47 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Isakson, Now In Majority, Expects More Productive Congress

Sen. Johnny Isakson, left, and Sen. Patty Murray confer before walking into the Senate chamber.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson expects to have a more productive next year in Washington.

He says the new Republican-controlled Senate plans to force the President’s hand on a number of hot-button issues, including authorizing the Keystone pipeline and eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax.

Read more
Politics
4:25 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Isakson: Obama Immigration Plan An Effort To "Buy Friends"

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakon
Credit facebook.com/isakson

Georgia U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson said Friday President Obama’s recent moves on immigration overstep executive authority and should be challenged in court.    

“What he was trying to do was buy friends last night. That’s all he was trying… I mean, that was a political speech. This whole thing is a political exercise," said Isakson at a GOP luncheon in Marietta. "We’ve got to make sure we don’t get trapped into playing the political game. The president was constitutionally and legally wrong and that’s the issue.”

Read more
Politics
6:00 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Ethics Complaint Against Cobb County Chairman Lee Dropped

Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee sits as The Cobb Ethics Commission considered an ethics complaint against him. County resident Tom Cheek later dropped the complaint.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

An ethics complaint filed against Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee has been dropped. Lee was accused of acting improperly as he worked to bring the Atlanta Braves stadium to Cobb County.

Read more
Politics
5:52 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Atlanta’s Latino Community Weighs In On Obama’s Expected Immigration Actions

Immigration reform advocates rallied last year outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Downtown Atlanta.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

President Obama is expected to announce Thursday night he’ll expand his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. The policy provides temporary deportation relief for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. WABE’s Martha Dalton asked some in Atlanta’s Latino community to weigh in on the issue.

At Plaza Fiesta, a shopping mall on Buford Highway, Roberto Jimenez stands at a counter selling items like t-shirts. He says expanding the DACA program is a good idea.

Read more
A Talk With Emory Law Prof. Polly Price
5:46 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

A Question of Authority: President Obama and Immigration

With President Barack Obama poised to unveil a series of executive actions on immigration, Speaker of the House John Boehner has told reporters, "We're going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues down this path. This is the wrong way to govern."
Credit Evan Vucci / Associated Press

On Nov. 20, 2014, President Barack Obama will announce the executive actions he will take on the nation's troubled immigration system.  

The President is expected to expand the policy that grants temporary deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

But, whatever one thinks of the policy change, does the Constitution give the President the power to do that on his own?  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Emory Law professor Polly J. Price.

Politics
9:20 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Senator Proposes Banning Driver's Licenses For Immigrants Granted Deferred Action

Sen. McKoon's bill would make getting a driver’s license illegal for those who qualify for deferred action status.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

President Obama will unveil his executive action plan for immigration today. The president is expected to expand deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), a program that has allowed many who arrived illegally in this country as children to temporarily stay in the U.S. and apply for work visas.

One Georgia Republican lawmaker is already trying to combat the efforts.

A bill pre-filed by Republican state Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) would make getting a driver’s license illegal for those who qualify for deferred action status.

Read more
Politics
8:11 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Kennesaw City Council Tables Vote on Islamic Center

Kennesaw Commons is the proposed site of the Islamic prayer center.
Credit Google

The Kennesaw City Council Monday tabled a vote on a proposed Islamic prayer center. This isn’t the first time such a plan has hit a roadblock.

City of Kennesaw spokesperson Pam Davis declined to give details, but said the public had its say during a two-hour hearing.

“Many people spoke both for and against the request,” she said. “There were strong emotions on both sides.”

Read more
Politics
7:47 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

A New Effort to Legalize Betting on Horse Racing: A Talk with Rep. Harry Geisinger

Jockeys race down the stretch at last year's Kentucky Derby horse race.
Credit Churchill Downs / Associated Press

Despite several failed attempts in recent years, supporters of legalizing horse race betting in Georgia have already filed legislation for the upcoming 2015-16 session of the General Assembly.  

A proposed constitutional amendment would make parimutuel wagering legal, while a companion bill would set up the structure to administer and supervise the industry.  

Read more
Politics
5:24 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

State Lawmaker Continues Push For Medical Marijuana Law In Georgia

State Rep. Allen Peake speaks on behalf of his bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Georgia for patients with certain illnesses earlier this year.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Efforts to legalize medical marijuana are back again this legislative session. A state lawmaker has pre-filed a bill that would allow for the limited use of cannabis oil.

The actual details of the bill are still being worked out. But State Rep. Allen Peake said it would legalize cannabis oil for those who suffer from conditions like seizure disorders, cancer and glaucoma.

Read more
Politics
3:31 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Sen. Isakson Announces Re-Election Bid

Sen. Johnny Isakson
Credit Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

It’s official, Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) announced he will seek a third term in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Isakson stood near his wife, Gov. Nathan Deal and a large number of state lawmakers as he pledged to run again for the U.S. Senate.

“I want to try and continue to do what I’ve done for 16 years in Washington, and that’s bring Georgia values and Georgia conservatism to the Capitol of United States of America in Washington,” said Isakson.

Read more
Politics
5:04 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Isakson To Announce 2016 Re-Election Bid

Sen. Johnny Isakson, left, and Sen. Patty Murray confer before walking into the Senate chamber.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Just a week after the midterm elections, Georgia’s soon-to-be Senior Senator Johnny Isakson announced his re-election bid for 2016.

Isakson said in a statement he’ll make his formal announcement next week at the state Capitol, but analysts are already speculating on what this means for Republicans and Democrats.

The 69-year-old Republican senator is now in his second term, and there was some speculation that maybe he wouldn’t run for a third.

Read more
Politics
5:15 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Are More Georgia Latinos Looking To The GOP?

Credit Chris Ferguson / WABE

Exit polls from Tuesday’s midterm election show while nationally Latinos are still voting mostly Democrat, Republicans are cutting into the party’s stronghold. And while Georgia was no exception, some groups dispute the results.

National exit polls show Republican Governor Nathan Deal took 47 percent of Latino votes, while Republican Senator-elect David Perdue got 42 percent.

Read more
Politics
7:17 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Georgia Prepares for New Water Wars Battle: A Talk with the ARC's Katherine Zitsch

Katherine Zitsch, manager of the Natural Resources Division of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Credit Atlanta Regional Commission

On Monday, Nov. 3, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear Florida's appeal in the long-running water war with Georgia.  

In agreeing to hear Florida's case, the Court injected a new note of uncertainty into Georgia's position that it can use Lake Lanier as metro Atlanta's primary source of drinking water.  A good chunk of the state's legal bills so far have been paid by the Atlanta Regional Commission.  

WABE's Denis O'Hayer got reaction to the latest round in the water wars from Katherine Zitsch, the ARC's Natural Resources Division manager.

Read more
Politics
4:20 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Saxby Chambliss: 'I'm Happy With My Decision' To Leave The Senate

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss greets supporters at an election night party for David Perdue on election night.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

  Georgia’s retiring Republican U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss says he’s ready to leave Washington.

Speaking on Election Night Tuesday, the state’s senior senator said he feels good about the decision.

“The best decision I made was to look at life after the Senate two years ago and say now’s the time for me to go,” he told reporters.

Read more
Election 2014
1:13 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Voters' Voices: "What Would You Like To See Done In Georgia?"

Clayton voters Rhonda Shelton, Lewis Corbitt & Michael Ozment
Credit Myke Johns / WABE

Election results have dominated the news as people learn who will lead their state as well as their country.

WABE producers spoke to voters who made it to the polls here in Metro Atlanta yesterday and asked them what they hope their newly elected officials will do.

WABE producers Stephannie Stokes and Myke Johns spoke with voters in Southwest Atlanta and in Clayton County.

Read more
Politics
12:03 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Deal Takes Re-election in Stride, Names Inaugural Team

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference on Nov. 5 in Atlanta.
Credit Branden Camp / AP Photo

  Despite a big day for Republicans this Election Day, there was no gloating from the governor.

“None of us need to be prideful, we need to be thankful, but we don’t need to be prideful.  Pride goes before the fall,” said Gov. Nathan Deal.

Deal called his opponent, Democratic State Senator Jason Carter, an honorable opponent, and said he believes his supporters were full of “good will.”

Read more
The Two-Way
6:53 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Fight For The Senate: Republicans Take Control, Adding 7 Seats

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell arrives at his midterm election night rally with his wife, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, in Louisville. McConnell, who won re-election, stands to become the next Senate majority leader.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 7:44 am

With a loss by Sen. Mark Pryor, the first Democratic incumbent fell in the 2014 midterms, setting off a chain of events that brought the Republicans a new Senate majority. The man who would lead them in Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell, coasted to a win in Kentucky.

McConnell was projected to defeat Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by a 15-point margin, 56 percent to 41 percent, with almost a third of the vote tallied.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor lost to Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, a first-term member of Congress. Pryor has served in the Senate since 2003.

Read more
Politics
2:52 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Despite a Competitive Race, Nunn Loses Bid for Senate

Democrat Michelle Nunn concedes the election to Republican David Perdue.
Credit Katie King / for WABE

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Michelle Nunn hoped to head to a runoff or claim victory last night. But ultimately, she didn’t get enough votes to turn the seat of retiring US Senator Saxby Chambliss blue.

Some of Nunn’s supporters cried as she gave her concession speech. But Nunn herself was composed and even managed to smile.

“At our best we not only accept the electoral results, but we the practice the art of bridge building and reconciliation, and so I offer David my strongest possible support as he works to unite Georgia.”

Read more
Politics
2:06 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Disappointed Carter Supporters Hope He'll Run Again

Bryan Arwood of College Park says despite Tuesday's defeat, he thinks Jason Carter will again run for office
Credit Katie King / for WABE

Sen. Jason Carter’s campaign hoped a surge of Democratic votes from metro Atlanta might be enough to keep him in the game.  As results continued coming in Tuesday night, it became clear that would not happen. 

In fact, Jason Carter never saw a lead.  By 11 p.m., he conceded the race and called to congratulate Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on his reelection.

Deal achieved 53% of the vote compared to Carter's 45%.

“I was going to come out and tell you not to feel bad," Jason Carter told supporters amid their applause. "But you don’t, so that’s exciting.”

Read more
Politics
1:53 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Perdue Bests Nunn, Avoids Runoff Election

Republican Businessman David Perdue greets supporters after being declared the out-right winner of a contentious race to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss Tuesday at the Intercontinental Hotel in Atlanta.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE

  Republican businessman David Perdue pulled in enough votes Tuesday night to avoid a runoff election, making him the state’s next U.S. senator.

The former Dollar General and Reebok CEO got out to a sizeable lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn early in the evening and never really lost ground, even as votes from the more traditionally left-leaning metro-area counties began rolling in.

Read more
Politics
1:29 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Gov. Nathan Deal Claims Decisive Win Over Jason Carter

Governor Nathan Deal takes the stage at his election night party.
Ryan Nabulsi twinlensatl.com

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday won re-election over Democrat Jason Carter by a larger margin than many pollsters expected, 53-45. For Deal, it's affirmation of his first four years and a vote of confidence for the next four.

Just after 11 p.m., in front of hundreds of supporters at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta, Deal took the stage.

"I just got the call from Sen. Jason Carter conceding the election."

Read more
Politics
1:00 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Wins Second Term

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens was first elected to the post in 2010. Prior to that, he served as Cobb County Commission Chair.
Credit John Amis / Associated Press

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has won election handily to a second term.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Olens has defeated Greg Hecht, a former Democratic state lawmaker, 57% to 43%.

Olens campaigned on his efforts to stop human trafficking in Georgia, and he says that work remains a top priority. He recently appointed a statewide prosecutor whose sole job will be trafficking cases.

Olens says also he plans to work to strengthen existing legislation to fight human trafficking and train law enforcement and district attorneys.

Read more

Pages