Political news

Charlie Neibergall/AP

Donald Trump has had it, and he's making sure everyone knows it.

Slipping in the polls and facing an increasing threat from neurosurgeon Ben Carson and other rivals, the real estate magnate delivered a raucous speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Thursday night that took plenty of pot shots but had little policy substance.

Johns Creek Kids Fishing Event on the Chattahoochee River
Steve Harwood / flickr.com/captkodak

Georgia's Environmental Protection Division Director Judson Turner says a group of environmental organizations ought to be "cheering the state on" for its work on the quality of the water in the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta.  

In an interview with Denis O'Hayer,  Turner responded to the recent "Dirty Dozen" report from the Georgia Water Coalition.  The report listed the Chattahoochee as one of the waterways in peril.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

 The Veterans Administration continues its struggle with long wait times at its medical facilities, patient deaths, and allegations of mismanagement from government and congressional investigators.  

Morry Gash / Associated Press

Tuesday night's Republican debate focused on economic issues. NPR reporters look at candidate claims about business creation, the minimum wage, trade and the length of the tax code.

NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley on the health of the economy:

Republican candidates painted a fairly bleak picture of the U.S. economy during the debate, offering a litany of discouraged workers, sluggish economic growth and children living on food stamps.

Ric Feld / Associated Press

A federal judge Monday sentenced former state Rep. Tyrone Brooks to one year and a day in federal prison.

In April, Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax document and no contest to five counts of mail and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors said Brooks used money donated to his nonprofit literacy organization for his own personal expenses. Brooks’ attorneys said the 70 year old devoted his life to civil rights work and only had bad bookkeeping.

Johnny Kauffman / WABE

As Ben Carson tries to move past questions about the accuracy of the stories he's told about his life, he's getting no help from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told MSNBC this morning, "We're responsible for the personal stories we tell about our lives and we need to be asked about them."

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s Secretary of State has now called the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in to help probe all of Tuesday's election results in DeKalb County.

Even before the polls closed Tuesday, there were complaints about some people not getting the proper ballots for the LaVista Hills cityhood referendum. Thursday, the Secretary of State’s Office said it was investigating that vote.

But today, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said there are more complaints, and they do not all involve the LaVista Hills vote.

President Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Plan

Nov 6, 2015
Sue Ogrocki, File / Associated Press

Ending a process that has lingered for much of his time in the Oval Office, President Obama has announced that the U.S. has rejected TransCanada's application for a permit to complete the Keystone XL pipeline.

The president said that "after extensive public outreach" and consultations, the State Department determined that the proposal "would not serve the national interests of the United States." He added, "I agree with that decision."

Dan Raby / WABE

The DeKalb County community of Tucker won the right to incorporate as a city in Tuesday’s elections. But an effort to create the City of LaVista Hills on Tucker's western border failed by a narrow margin: less than 1 percent of the vote.

That could mean a recount.

"We realize that people have a right ask for it, and we don’t mind doing it,” says DeKalb County Elections Director Maxine Daniels. “We just have to have a legal basis to do it. It’s close, and so if I were involved with that, I would want a recount.”

Brett Levin / flickr.com/scubabrett22

Kentucky voters have elected just the second Republican in four decades to hold the governor's office.

Republican businessman Matt Bevin waged a campaign to scale back the state's Medicaid expansion that was made possible under the federal health care overhaul. Some 400,000 lower-income people who gained health coverage under the expansion could be affected.

Bevin ran as an outsider, emphasizing his Christian faith along with his support for Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Georgia state capitol
Nick Nesmith / WABE

A Georgia Senate task force is recommending that potential cities should go through a more rigorous vetting process before they can incorporate.

The panel on Tuesday recommended potential cities should go through a two-year review process before being approved by the Georgia Legislature, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The senators also suggested requiring an evaluation of the financial impact on the surrounding school systems and governments.

The ideas will be included in a bill for next year's legislative session.

The DeKalb County Election Commission says it has gotten dozens of calls Tuesday from voters concerned about getting the correct ballot to vote on cityhood.

Elections Director Maxine Daniels says her office did turn up a problem for voters who live on Briarcliff Road.

"We had one voter that was incorrect, and I 'fess up to that,” says Daniels. “We did have one voter. And as a result of that voter calling in, we found a range of about 40 voters that were incorrectly processed."

Ken Lund / www.flickr.com/Ken Lund

The White House is threatening to veto a Senate bill that would block new federal rules to protect smaller streams, tributaries and wetlands from pollution and development.

Senators are voting Tuesday on whether to consider the bill. Most Democrats are opposed to the legislation, saying that the Obama administration rules will safeguard drinking water for 117 million Americans and should remain in place.

Republicans and some Democrats from rural states say they fear a steady uptick in federal regulation of every stream and ditch.

Ric Feld / Associated Press

The sentencing hearing for former state Rep. Tyrone Brooks got underway Monday in federal court in Atlanta. 

In April, Brooks pleaded guilty to filing false tax documents and no contest to fraud.

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg for a two-year prison sentence for Brooks, an Atlanta Democrat, because they said he hasn't accepted responsibility for his actions.

Words As Evidence

Can Democrats Find Their Southern Charm?

Nov 2, 2015
Timothy D. Easley/AP

After a rough few decades for Democrats in the South, there's a recent bright spot: They could win governor's races in both Louisiana and Kentucky this year.

If they do, it would stand in stark contrast to the region's current politics, where Republicans have almost entirely taken over.

This isn't to say Democrats are suddenly on the verge of a resurgence in the South, but there are ways they can be successful under the right circumstances.

Beatrice Moritz for Hillary for America / flickr.com/hillaryclinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is using a Southern campaign swing to outline criminal justice proposals intended to treat black Americans more fairly.

In Atlanta, Clinton will call Friday for eliminating sentencing disparities between crack cocaine crimes and those involving powder cocaine. Clinton proposes making the change retroactive, according to her campaign.

Senate Passes Budget To Fund Government Into 2017

Oct 30, 2015
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The Senate passed a bill at 3:12 a.m. Friday that would raise the debt ceiling and fund the government into 2017. This means that there would be no fiscal standoffs and threats of government shutdown for more than a year.

The measure is now on its way to the White House for President Obama's signature, NPR's Ailsa Chang reports for the Newscast unit:

"For months, there was real concern the looming Nov. 3 deadline to lift the debt ceiling was going to send Congress into crisis mode, right when it was picking a new speaker of the House.

The first black and openly lesbian state lawmaker plans to resign from office in Georgia.

State Rep. Simone Bell submitted a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday, and her resignation is official on Nov. 13. Bell says in a statement that she has accepted a position with Lambda Legal, working for LGBT people across the South.

Bell won a special election in 2009 in Georgia's 58th District. She was honored by the White House in 2013 along with nine other LGBT officials.

She previously worked as a community health educator and health care administrator.

Tony Alter / flickr.com/78428166@N00

Paul Ryan has been elected speaker of the House of Representatives, receiving 236 votes.

Ryan faced the full House vote after getting approval Wednesday from the House Republican conference. He faced token opposition from fellow conservative Daniel Webster and Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has won enough votes to become 54th speaker of the House. Ryan has succeeded former Speaker of the House John Boehner. 

This story is developing and will be updated. 

House Speaker John Boehner Says Goodbye

Oct 29, 2015
Caleb Smith / Speaker John Boehner, flickr.com/speakerboehner

Speaker John Boehner gave farewell remarks on the House floor Thursday, picking up a box of tissues as he prepared to speak, a nod to his tendency to cry in emotional moments.

Officially announcing his intent to resign as speaker and representative from Ohio, Boehner said he leaves "with no regrets, no burdens. If anything, I leave the way I started, just a regular guy, humbled by the chance to do a big job."

He spoke for 10 minutes about his life and rise in government, accomplishments in Congress and the role of the body.

Tony Alter / flickr.com/78428166@N00

House Republicans have nominated Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan to become the chamber's next speaker.

GOP lawmakers hope Ryan will lead them out of weeks of disarray and point them toward accomplishments they can highlight in next year's elections.

The 45-year-old Ryan was his party's 2012 vice presidential nominee and is considered a telegenic spokesman for conservative priorities.

Ryan won on a secret ballot of the House's 247 Republicans.

Matt Marton / AP

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in a case involving millions of dollars in hush money to keep secret allegations of misconduct decades ago.

A judge set the sentencing for Feb. 29. Federal prosecutors have recommended up to six months in prison as part of a plea deal that allows him to avoid a trial. The judge, however, could sentence Hastert to a maximum of five years and fine him up to $250,000.

Timothy Stake / Copyright © 2010 Boeing. All Rights Reserved.

The U.S. House voted to renew the Export-Import Bank's charter on Tuesday, but the trade lender still needs Senate approval to be revived, and that has split Georgia's Senate delegation.

Republican Rep. David Perdue has maintained the position he’s held since July, according to multiple media reports, when he released a statement that said he’s “concerned about the structure of the bank,” and wants to see more debate on the issue.

Michelle Wirth / WABE

The Cobb County Commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to buy six buses for a planned transit route.

The so-called "circulator" shuttle would travel between places like Cumberland Mall, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, and the new Atlanta Braves' stadium.

Jim Wilgus, deputy director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation, says the county is moving ahead with the plan, even though commissioners haven't given final approval yet.

April Williams / WABE

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced it's holding off on 34 projects worth $123 million scheduled to go out to bid in December. 

That's because there's no guarantee the federal government will pay for them.

The latest deadline for federal lawmakers to pass an extension and fund the Highway Trust Fund is Thursday.

Courtesy of Jackson EMC

Six electric utilities in Georgia will receive close to $250 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The loans will allow utility companies to expand their electric grids in rural communities and for some to build smart grids.  

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said more connected rural areas lead to growth, especially in areas where businesses experience frequent outages.

Tony Alter / flickr.com/78428166@N00

Rep. Paul Ryan is formally declaring his candidacy for speaker of the House after getting unified support from across the Republican conference.

The Wisconsin lawmaker and one-time GOP vice presidential nominee will be all but assured of triumphing in elections next week.

He made the announcement in a letter to colleagues.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Today is one of the most important days of Hillary Clinton's political career, as the Democratic presidential candidate will face grilling for as much as eight hours potentially over the 2012 terror attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Questions about the attack and whether Clinton, as secretary of state, should have heeded warnings and provided more security for Americans there abroad have been fodder for GOP attacks for some time.

Tony Alter / flickr.com/78428166@N00

At least two Georgia Congressman say they'll support Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan in his bid for House Speaker.

Republican Georgia Congressmen Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice are members of the Freedom Caucus, which in recent weeks has played a big role in the debate over who the next speaker will be.