Former senator and gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue says he wants to create an “Election Law Enforcement Division” within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to enforce election laws, investigate election-related crimes and arrest offenders.
Why it matters: This is the latest Republican proposal circulating in response to the 2020 election, in which the U.S. attorney general found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
This week, Gov. Brian Kemp filed an ethics complaint against primary opponent former Senator David Perdue, alleging that his campaign improperly coordinated with a political action committee, which solicited money and phone numbers on Perdue’s behalf. That’s a no-no in campaign finance law.
One of the strongest powers of Georgia’s governorship lies in its influence on the state budget, and Gov. Brian Kemp just outlined his budget plans for the year.
Another day, another political spotlight on Georgia.
Driving the news: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris chose Atlanta as the backdrop for their full-court press on the U.S. Senate to pass Democratic voting bills, even if it means changing the chamber's rules to do it.
Gov. Brian Kemp wants to give full-time state agency employees a $5,000 pay bump, plus other perks, to boost a workforce experiencing a record-high turnover rate.
Why it matters: Well before the Great Resignation, state employees have been fleeing their jobs, hamstringing the ability of Georgia government to serve the public.
When advocates of casinos, horse-racing and other forms of betting head to the Georgia Capitol next week for the Georgia General Assembly, they might discover their odds have improved from previous years.
You know those extra bitcoins you have lying around? The ones you’ve been meaning to donate to a political campaign? Well, you’re in luck!
What’s happening: At least two Georgia Republicans running statewide are soliciting cryptocurrency as campaign donations.
Atlantans and elected officials old and new gathered on a brisk and windy Monday to watch Keisha Lance Bottoms hand the keys to the mayor’s office to Andre Dickens, the city’s 61st chief executive.
The takeaway: Before Atlanta can make any traction on addressing systemic problems like inequality, poverty, homelessness and public safety — not to mention thwarting a secession movement by its wealthiest neighborhoods — the city needs unity and bold action.
- That call to action was touched upon again and again during prayers from faith leaders, speeches from former mayors and Dickens himself.
Most inspiring line: “We have survived hard times before. We’ve survived crime waves before, we survived the Missing and Murdered Children when I was growing up. We survived Lester Maddox and his axe handle. We survived the Olympic Park bombing, and we will survive the COVID-19 pandemic. And as great as our past has been, our future will be even greater.”
First up: Dickens, who called becoming a mayor a childhood dream of his, plans to start several programs, including his crime reduction plan, which includes hiring 250 police officers, investments in conflict resolution and community policing, and hiring specialists to address mental health crises to free up officers.
- Dickens will launch a citywide cleanup blitz to reduce trash and litter before the end of the month. He also wants to install 10,000 street lights that will light up Atlanta "like a Christmas tree from the airport to Phipps Plaza.”
Long-term, the mayor wants to build 20,000 affordable housing units in the next eight years, and to create a new city department of labor to work with private businesses, unions, workforce training programs, and Invest Atlanta.
- And yes, transit enthusiasts, he says Atlanta will continue pushing for rail on the Atlanta BeltLine.
Buckhead reference: Speaking on the biblical story of Nehemiah, where the people of Jerusalem came together to rebuild the walls and gates, Dickens said the residents “chose to work together to accomplish a difficult task. They chose to unify and not to divide. And we need to choose to do the same. We don’t need separate cities. We must be one city with one bright future."
Funniest line: “Which one of you city council members will introduce an ordinance today to say no one should ever call us Hotlanta again?” Dickens asked the newly sworn-in members of the Council.
Trivia: During his days at Georgia Tech, Dickens and his fellow members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. worked as ushers at Bobby Dodd Stadium to earn extra money. “Today, I stand before you to usher in a new day for the city of Atlanta,” he said from the lectern.
VIPS: Former mayors Shirley Franklin, Kasim Reed and Bottoms were in attendance along with Democratic Congress members Nikema Williams and Lucy McBath and Sen. Raphael Warnock.
What’s next: Dickens must decide which cabinet members to keep and which to let go — and prepare for next week’s legislative session at the Georgia Capitol, where he’ll work to convince state lawmakers to block Buckhead cityhood and efforts to take over Atlanta’s airport.
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