D.C. Takes Aim at Sex Trafficking

D.C. Takes Aim at Sex Trafficking

Last week, President Trump signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson had been a co-sponsor of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which was incorporated into the final legislation. It passed by a vote of 97-2 – Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) being the only Nays. “The legislation signed into law by the president today is an important step toward holding perpetrators of the vile crime of online sex trafficking accountable and allowing victims to seek recourse,” said Isakson. “This legislation updates and strengthens our laws while keeping the internet open, and I’m glad that it is now law.” The Act amends the Communications Act of 1934 to create an exception for sex trafficking, making it easier to target websites that knowingly or unknowingly facilitate human trafficking. Backpage was one prominent website that did so – and seven of its executives were just indicted in federal court in Arizona and state courts in California and Texas. It is now shut down. Free speech advocates have expressed concerns about the unintended impact of the bill – likely prompting the nay vote from the libertarian Paul. And despite the shutdown of Backpage, there are numerous other websites that still perform the same services. The legislation is perhaps particularly in Georgia, where the human trafficking problem is particularly bad largely thanks to the ease of logistics with Hartsfield-Jackson airport and the interstate system. One of the features that is so beneficial for the economy also ends up facilitating some of the worst crimes possible. Georgia’s Attorney General...
No Rest for the Weary – Let the Campaigns Begin

No Rest for the Weary – Let the Campaigns Begin

“Begin” may not be the right word for it but now that the legislature is over, for the next frantic month and a half, all eyes turn to the primaries ahead of general elections this fall. A couple of the gubernatorial candidates were active participants in that legislature, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Senator Michael Williams (R-27 Cumming), and another, Hunter Hill, resigned his seat to focus on the campaign. One of them, Brian Kemp, holds the office of Secretary of State which will certainly remain busy the rest of the year. On Saturday, these candidates – and several others – met for a debate in Flowery Branch sponsored by the 9th District GOP. Buckhead businessman Clay Tippins – who has already earned the support of state Representative Allen Peake (R-141 Macon) – was on the stage. Also joining them were less well-known candidates Eddie Hayes and Marc Urbach. There were few surprises policy-wise. Many of the candidates discussed GOP staples of-late – illegal immigration, taxes and religious liberty. Plenty of barbs were directed at Cagle – particularly from Williams who derided the Lieutenant Governor and other Republicans as “mealy-mouthed” and soft on a number of issues. Kemp pledged again to impose a spending cap if elected and Cagle proposed a zero-based budgeting system that would require agencies to come back to the table every year to justify their spending. Hill again discussed his plan to eliminate the state income tax – which he said he would pay for by cutting spending on “welfare, food stamps, the higher education bureaucracy, Medicaid reform.” Straw polls are often derided for their...
Georgia DC Delegation Unanimous in Push for New Army Initiative

Georgia DC Delegation Unanimous in Push for New Army Initiative

It’s not exactly Amazon HQ2, but there is a little sweepstakes developing for cities in winning the location for a new initiative from the U.S. Army. On Wednesday, the entire Georgia Congressional delegation – Democrats and Republican, House and Senate – signed a letter to the Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, urging him to consider making metro Atlanta the home for the Army’s new Futures Command. The Futures Command is a strategic piece of a broader effort to modernize Army practices – particularly the research, development and procurement of new equipment – and bring an innovation mindset to the Army. “The Georgia delegation applauds your efforts in modernizing the U.S. Army and improving the acquisition process to give our soldiers the needed equipment to fight, and overwhelmingly win, in combat,” the letter reads. In announcing the new initiative, the Army also noted the winning city must have access to both academia and business expertise. The letter from the Georgia delegation notes Atlanta’s position as the largest hub for the private sector and innovation in the Southeast. “Members of Congress from Georgia are dedicated to supporting our servicemen and women, and in doing so, we urge you to fully consider the numerous resources available to Futures Command in Atlanta,” the letter continues. Georgia and metro Atlanta in particular have a long history with the Army in this area. Prominent Army tech leaders like Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications and Honeywell all have prominent operations in metro Atlanta. It is the 5th-largest employment center for IT in the U.S. and also happens to be home to the CDC – which...
Isakson introduces school safety bill

Isakson introduces school safety bill

  U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia is focused on improving school safety, and this week, he joined 12 other Senators in introducing legislation that would expand the way federal dollars can be used in the schools. The School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act, S.2513, would allow public schools in Georgia and all states to improve school safety by expanding the ways federal dollars may be used for school counselors, alarm systems, security cameras and crisis intervention training. “Keeping our schools safe requires a multi-pronged approach and all of us working together at the local, state and federal levels,” said Isakson, who is a member of the education committee and a co-sponsor of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016. “The School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act would provide schools with the necessary flexibility to offer stronger security measures and better address mental health issues,” he added, State and local governments provide approximately 90 percent of public schools’ funding to the 100,000 public schools in the United States. However, Isakson believes the federal government can, and should, help create an environment for communities, school boards and states to create safer schools. According the Isakson, the School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act, would help to: · Encourage the hiring of more school counselors and other mental health professionals; · Encourage school safety infrastructure upgrades; · Encourage the development of mental health programs for crisis intervention training and mental health assessments; and · Create a presidential task force to better coordinate resources among federal agencies that can...
SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta In The Holiday Spirit

SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta In The Holiday Spirit

The Braves likely wouldn’t want to dwell on it (looking to the future and what not) but it is generally unquestionable that what is happening now at their new home wouldn’t have been happening at their old home at Turner Field. With the rare exception, once the baseball season was over at Turner Field, that was it. The stadium and those endless parking lots would sit barren for about six months (five if they were able to make a postseason run). SunTrust Park and The Battery are…different. It’s a week to go before Christmas and two before New Year’s and The Battery is hopping. The North Pole’s favorite resident, one Kris Kringle, is hanging around at The Battery for one more week. He’ll actually be there right up through Christmas Eve. He will end a bit early on Christmas Eve at 4:00, he has some other business to attend to that night. Seeing Kringle, known by some as Santa Claus or Papa Noel, is free for all visitors and includes a free print of your photo. Besides the St. Nick experience, there is much to see and do at The Battery. It’s the home of Atlanta’s newest ice skating rink, open every day and running until January 14. Hope and Will’s Sandlot, located inside SunTrust Park, is open for carnival games, a batting cage, zip lines, a climbing wall and more. It is open only on weekends but will be open all week between Christmas and New Year’s. The Winter Wonderland Party Zone is free for all ages and is specially designed for “the little snowboys and snowgirls.” There is...