Gov. Nathan Deal | WABE 90.1 FM

Gov. Nathan Deal

Georgia State Capitol gold dome.
Al Such / WABE

State lawmakers worked late into the evening Tuesday, rushing to pass legislation affecting Georgians' income taxes, treatment for opioid addiction and a strategy to turn around the state's lowest performing schools.

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Tuesday marked the 39th day of the 40-day legislative session. Lawmakers plan to adjourn Thursday. The rush to pass bills before the end of the 40th day can lead to dramatic last-minute changes to legislation — either accidental or intentional amid the chaos.

Casey Cagle at the Georgia Senate.
Al Such / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal may be looking forward to signing one of the bills that will soon make its way to his desk. The state Senate approved his plan to turn around low-performing schools Friday in a vote of 37-18.

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House Bill 338, also called the ‘First Priority Act,’ would create turnaround specialists to work with struggling schools. They would evaluate students and provide resources to help them improve.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

As U.S. House Republican leaders scrambled to win enough votes to pass their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), Georgia's Republican officeholders were still trying to find out how the plan would affect the state – especially its Medicaid program.  

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The House Republican healthcare plan has been met with derision and skepticism from politicians and the public alike.
J. Scott Applewhite, File / Associated Press

Top Georgia Republicans so far have been fairly quiet about the plan from U.S. House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).

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Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods in his office at the state Capitol, Feb. 13, 2015.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal has said his top priority this year is to address struggling schools. That's what House Bill 338 aims to do. The plan creates a "Chief Turnaround Officer" to oversee low-performing schools. But there's disagreement on who that person should report to.

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The bill calls for the person in that new position to report to the state board of education.

For years, Ga. House Speaker David Ralston has led a push in the Georgia Legislature to expand where licensed gun owners can legally carry their weapons.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Next year will be Gov. Nathan Deal's last legislative session as voters head to the polls in November to elect a new governor.

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Georgia's House Speaker David Ralston is one person at the top of the list who is expected to run.

But for now, at least, he's not talking about considering a run.

"I don't think it's appropriate to think or talk about that particularly during a legislative session," Ralston said. "I mean, we have enough distractions as it is."

Lisa Hagen / WABE

 

If you were near downtown Atlanta at the crack of dawn Sunday, you might have heard what sounded like about 500 pounds of explosives being set off. You were right. That was the sound of the old Georgia Archives building being imploded.

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An estimated crowd of 1,400 people looked on as Gov. Nathan Deal shouted “Fire in the hole!,” capping off the countdown to demolish the building sometimes called “the white ice cube.”

Georgia Capitol Building
Al Such / WABE

A bill aimed at turning around struggling schools easily passed the Georgia House Wednesday.

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The measure is Gov. Nathan Deal’s second attempt to address the state’s lowest-performing schools. Georgians voted down a proposal that would have let the state take over struggling schools. Opponents of that plan said it would override the authority of local school boards.

Elly Yu / WABE

A Georgia House committee approved a bill Monday that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses.

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"This is changing the dynamic, and it's allowing people and affording the opportunity to defend themselves," said Rep. Mandi Ballinger, R-Canton, sponsor of the bill. 

Jeff Roberson / Associated Press

This week, an internal fight among Democrats about the future of their party culminated in Atlanta, with the election of a new party chair.  Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress were trying to decide whether to hold town hall meetings in their districts -- meetings that might be filled with voters who are angry about the policies of the new Trump administration.

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In this June 2, 2015 file photo, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks to reporters following a ceremony announcing a $300 million expansion of Google's data center operations in Lithia Springs, Ga.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal scored a Legislative win Thursday when the House Education Committee approved his new plan to turn around low-performing schools.

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David Goldman / Associated Press

A group of state Senate Republicans has proposed legislation that they say protects the people's religious rights. 

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The measure says the state government should follow the pattern set out in the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

That law says the Federal government must show a "compelling government interest" before it can restrict someone's exercise of religion.

The new bill is not as broad as the one vetoed by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal last year. 

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

When schools struggle academically, is the state obligated to intervene? If so, to what degree? Georgia's House Education Committee wrestled with those questions Thursday during a hearing for a bill that targets low-performing schools.

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The bill is considered a replacement for the governor's school takeover plan, which was defeated by referendum in November.

A school bus in front of the Georgia Capitol
Alison Guillory / WABE

In early February, Gov. Nathan Deal sent lawmakers his latest plan to turn around failing schools in Georgia. The governor had promised the new proposal, after his Opportunity School District (OSD, sometimes called the "school takeover" plan) was rejected by the state's voters last November.

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal delivers his budget address at the state Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Atlanta. Deal spoke Thursday afternoon to lawmakers charged with reviewing his $45 billion spending plan. Deal limited his comments Thursday to criminal
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia voters said ‘no’ in November to a constitutional amendment that would’ve let the state takeover some low-performing schools. The 'Opportunity School District' plan was championed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who promised to come up with a replacement after the vote failed.  Now, he has. 

 

Al Such / WABE

As if the dizzying rush of events in Washington were not enough, Atlanta area politics have gone through a frenzied week, too.  

Mayor Kasim Reed held a news conference and released more than a million pages of documents relating to the City Hall bribery scandal; airport officials tried to assess the possible impact of President Donald Trump's travel order (if it's upheld by the courts); and gun rights advocates brought "campus carry" legislation back to the State Capitol.

Pixabay Images

Why would President Donald Trump attack the validity of an election that he – and Republicans in Georgia and nationwide – won?  That's the question on the mind of Republican strategist Brian Robinson.  He's a former deputy chief of staff and communications director for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.

In a conversation with Denis O'Hayer on "Morning Edition," Robinson talked about the effects the President's claims might have on Georgia's top voting official, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.  

Alison Guillory / WABE

Supporters of legalizing casino gambling in Georgia are introducing legislation to do just that.  

The proposed constitutional amendment – and a companion bill to outline how and where casinos would operate – call for the state to put some of the money it would collect from casinos into the HOPE scholarship program.  Another share of the state's take would go to a plan for scholarships based on need.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, answered questions during a sometimes fiery Senate committee hearing Tuesday. DeVos has been criticized by Democrats and teachers’ unions for her support of school choice, vouchers and charter schools.

DeVos and her husband, David, are billionaires who have invested heavily in charter school advocacy in their home state of Michigan. Some critics have viewed that as an attempt to “privatize” public schools.

David Goldman / Associated Press

It was a busy first week of the Georgia Legislature's 2017-18 session.  Governor Deal delivered his State of the State message, with a focus on failing schools; supporters of a "campus carry" bill took their first steps toward reviving it; and there were quiet, high-level meetings about possible casino legislation.

David Goldman / WABE

During his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Nathan Deal said developing a new plan to help struggling schools will be a priority this Legislative session. In November, voters said "no" to Deal's original plan to turn those schools around.

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Eboni Lemon / WABE

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

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Eboni Lemon / WABE

Monday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

David Goldman / Associated Press

On Monday, the Georgia Legislature convened for its 2017-2018 session.  

From old battles like guns on college campuses and "religious freedom" bills, to responding to the new administration's decision on Obamacare, state lawmakers will face some big and complicated issues this new year.  On "Morning Edition," WABE reporters Elly Yu and Johnny Kauffman talked with Denis O'Hayer about what to expect.

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Al Such

State lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Monday, for the first day of the 2017-2018 session.

The GOP enjoys big majorities in both the House and the Senate, but they and Republican Gov. Nathan Deal will be greatly affected by what the incoming Trump administration and the new Congress do on issues like healthcare.

On Friday, in the midst of storm preparations, the Governor spoke with WABE's Denis O'Hayer about the upcoming debates under the Gold Dome.

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal delivers his budget address at the state Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Atlanta. Deal spoke Thursday afternoon to lawmakers charged with reviewing his $45 billion spending plan. Deal limited his comments Thursday to criminal
David Goldman / Associated Press

Education reform will top Gov. Nathan Deal’s Legislative agenda this year. But, the governor now says he'll delay a plan to overhaul the state’s more than 30-year old school funding formula. Instead, he says, he will focus on a new proposal to help struggling schools.