Political news

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will court voters on opposite sides of the gun debate over the next two days in events that will highlight the United States' deep divide on the topic.

Trump and other top Republicans will speak at the National Rifle Association convention Friday in Louisville, where organizers are trying to unite gun-rights voters by painting Clinton as a foe of their causes who must be stopped.

Michael Snyder / Associated Press

Many very smart political people said it would never happen. But Donald Trump is now the apparent Republican nominee for president.  

His campaign could upset the traditional electoral map strategies in both political parties. But will it put Georgia in play?  

In a conversation on "Morning Edition,"  host Denis O'Hayer got some thoughts from Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist who was national Southern regional director for the 2012 Obama campaign, and Brian Robinson, former deputy chief of staff for Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

Alison Guillory / WABE

An unexpected proposal from Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to transform MARTA is drawing criticism.

Speaking with Denis O'Hayer on Wednesday, Cagle said that MARTA “doesn't add value” to the region.

“There are practices where individuals get on there, and they can ride all day, and many people don’t feel as if it is safe; they don’t see predictability and there are other factors that play into this,” said Cagle.

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

A group of Georgia Republican lawmakers are calling for the state to take legal action against the Obama administration over its directive on bathrooms for transgender students.

More than 20 state senators signed onto a letter sent to the governor and state attorney general this week about the White House’s guidance, which tells schools to allow students to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R-Georgia), speaking with Denis O'Hayer in the WABE studios on May 17, 2016.
Alison Guillory / WABE



Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is proposing a major overhaul of the board that governs MARTA, in exchange for something MARTA has long wanted:  state funding. The proposed change would be a step in developing a larger, regional transit system for the Atlanta area.  

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday went public with his opposition to the White House directive to schools on bathrooms for transgender students.

Deal issued a statement saying the Obama administration's new policy has "generated confusion and controversy among parents, students and school officials," and went on to say he "does not believe the directive carries the force of law."

The White House has advised schools to let students use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify.

This election season has brought a groundswell of support for political outsiders, and candidates in several of Georgia's congressional districts are hoping to ride that to victory in the May 24 primary.

Several incumbent Republican congressmen are fielding challengers from their own party, all making similar promises to stop "career politicians."

Courtesy of KIA

The friendship between the Republican Party and businesses is complicated.

The party's apparent presidential nominee, Donald Trump berates the influence of corporations in politics, but he himself is a real estate mogul.

In Georgia's 3rd Congressional District, which runs from the south of Atlanta to the outskirts of Columbus, seven Republican candidates are vying for the congressional seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland's retirement.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The Republican Party’s apparent presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Thursday with leaders on Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, leading Georgia Republicans say they'll make the choice to support Trump, despite the potential consequences.

Georgia Republicans mostly agree that Trump will change and he needs to if he’s going to unite the party.

 An election for county district attorney usually gets little attention — even in the county involved. But this year, one county’s May 24 contest for the top prosecutor’s job has drawn interest from around the Atlanta area.

That’s because the county is DeKalb, which has seen a series of corruption scandals that included prison time for former county commissioner Elaine Boyer and suspended CEO Burrell Ellis.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal Monday countered critics of his veto of the controversial bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses with the exceptions of dorms, fraternities and sororities, and sporting events.

After state lawmakers passed the "campus carry" bill earlier this year, Deal asked them to amend it to address his concerns about weapons in campus day cares, administrative buildings and into disciplinary hearings.

They declined.

Monday, the governor indicated he is opposed to students taking guns on campus.

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials has been hosting voter registration drives across the state. Some Mexican-Americans in the Atlanta-area say they're working to stop apparent GOP nominee Donald Trump from becoming president.
Courtesy of GALEO

Working with other Atlanta-area Hispanics, some Mexican-Americans are now joining forces to stop the apparent Republican nominee Donald Trump from becoming president.

Trump has said within the first 100 days of office, he would plan for a "permanent border wall" between the United States and Mexico to keep Mexicans from entering illegally.

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, is of Mexican-American descent and said he's never met a Hispanic person who supports Trump. 

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Updated at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday

The last man standing in Donald Trump's path to the Republican nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich will end his campaign Wednesday, making Trump the party's presumptive nominee.

Three campaign officials told The Associated Press that the Ohio governor plans to announce his decision in a statement from his home state later Wednesday.

The officials spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to disclose Kasich's decision.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal waits to deliver his State of the State address on the House floor at the Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal's veto Tuesday of the "campus carry" bill that would have allowed guns on the state’s college campuses was the second controversial decision he made this year.

The veto came just weeks after he blocked a controversial religious exemptions bill. 

“They both represent very divided opinions on a subject matter. So this has not been an easy year to be governor of this state,” Deal said Monday.

Rejecting Party Politics 

AJ Mast / Associated Press

This story has been updated at 8:52 p.m.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz ended his presidential campaign Tuesday, eliminating the biggest impediment to Donald Trump's march to the Republican nomination.

The conservative tea party firebrand who tried to cast himself as the only viable alternative to Trump ended his campaign after a stinging defeat in Indiana's Republican primary.

State Farm Insurance will continue hundreds of drone test flights  in its Atlanta test market to inspect roofs through the end of May.
Justin Tomczak / State Farm

Last year, State Farm became the first insurance company to gain Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly commercial drones.

Over the last few weeks, Start Farm has been using the Atlanta area as its testing site. It's conducting hundreds of test flights in metro Atlanta through the end of May, testing out the commercial drones to inspect roofs in the Atlanta area before the company considers deploying them nationwide in disaster areas.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal delivers his State of the State address on the House floor at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law on Tuesday that will bring a wide range of changes to the state's public school systems.

The new law will bring reductions to the number of standardized tests taken by students, in addition to adjustments in the way teachers are evaluated. The new law takes effect July 1.

Student growth will now count for 30 percent of a teacher's score, which is a decrease from the 50 percent mandated by past state law.

Three weeks from today, on May 24, 2016, voters across the Atlanta area will decide Democratic and Republican nominees for a wide assortment of offices – including a U.S. Senate seat, all of the U.S. House seats, posts in the state legislature and many city and county positions.

Among the most closely watched local contests will be in DeKalb County, where major issues like police-community relations, transportation and the revival of economically struggling areas have been overshadowed by the county's effort to emerge from a string of ethics scandals. 

An unwelcome reception in Appalachia underscores a striking political shift for Hillary Clinton, who along with Bill Clinton has long staked their electoral fortunes on the support of working class white voters.

Hillary Clinton is trying to replicate the electoral strategy that twice boosted President Barack Obama into the White House by concentrating on wooing young, minority and female voters.

That strategy reflects the demographic realities of an increasingly diverse country where white voters make up a shrinking part of the electorate.

Friendship William V. Guy Tower in Atlanta
Stephanie M. Lennox / Stephanie M. Lennox

Starting in July, developers building multi-family homes in the city of Atlanta who receive public funds will have to set aside up to 15 percent of their units for affordable housing. 

Atlanta City Council passed an ordinance for more affordable housing in the city Monday night. The resolution was introduced by Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Copies of Georgia's record $23.7 billion state budget were signed all around the state today by Gov. Nathan Deal.

At a Lanier High School in Buford, Deal talked about money for education and teacher raises. 

“This next year's budget which we will be signing here sets aside some $300 million in additional state funds, primarily for the enhancement of teacher salaries,” said Deal.

School systems can decide whether to increase teacher pay.

aliengearholsters.com / flickr.com/photos/131462800@N04/


As if what actually happened this week in Georgia politics were not enough, much of the time was spent wondering about what might happen.  

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal continued to deliberate whether to sign or veto the "campus carry" bill, which would allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons in many places on college campuses.

UGA Community Members Rally Against 'Campus Carry'

Apr 28, 2016
Chandler Johnston / WABE

More than 60 professors, students, staff and community member gathered at the University of Georgia Wednesday evening in protest of a bill that would allow concealed guns on their campus and public college campuses around the state.

Passing cars honked support as protesters held signs around UGA’s Arch reading “Dawgs Against Campus Carry” and “Books Not Bullets.” Representatives from national and local organizations that oppose gun violence and guns on campuses spoke out against the bill while UGA staff and students chanted.

Carly Fiorina
David Goldman / Associated Press

Ted Cruz is calling her new running mate in the race for the GOP nomination an "extraordinary leader" who has "shattered glass ceilings" in business and politics.

Cruz introduced former technology executive Carly Fiorina, his pick for vice president, at a rally in Indianapolis Wednesday.

The announcement comes the day after Cruz lost five states to GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal Wednesday signed a varied and wide-reaching criminal justice reform bill into law.

It’s the latest in a long list of reforms Deal has signed as governor.

In 2011, Georgia had the fourth-highest prison population of any state, Deal told an audience at the Capitol Wednesday.  

Now, he said, it's down by more than 2,000.

Elly Yu / WABE

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill into law Tuesday that would require quicker processing of rape kits for sexual assault cases.

The DNA evidence collected can help solve cases, but there hasn't been a deadline for processing rape kits, said Jennifer Bivins, president of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault.

“Finally victims who have waited for so long are able to receive justice,” she said.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday a bill that could funnel nearly $200 million to the state's struggling rural hospitals over the next three years.

The bill, SB 258, allows corporations and people to claim state tax credits for donating to rural health care centers that treat the uninsured or those with Medicare or Medicaid. It caps the credits at $50 million in 2017, $60 million in 2018 and $70 million in 2019.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Five more states ─ Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut ─ will hold presidential primaries on Tuesday.  Front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are expected to do well in the Democratic and Republican contests.

Office of Gov. Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a bill Tuesday that will help boost funding to the state's rural hospitals.

The bill, SB 258, allows corporations and people to claim state tax credits for donating to rural health care nonprofits that treat the uninsured or those with Medicare or Medicaid. Bill sponsor Rep. Geoff Duncan, R-Cumming, says the signing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the governor's office Tuesday. 

Churchgoers and pastors gather outside the State Capitol.
Johnny Kauffman / WABE

Nearly a thousand pastors and churchgoers rallied outside the Georgia State Capitol Friday despite rainy weather.

Just a few weeks after Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a controversial religious exemptions bill, religious leaders from around the state appeared to be digging political trenches for a drawn-out battle over whether lawmakers should pass new legal protections for people opposed to same-sex marriage.