Around the South for Mar. 28: TN, NC & FL

  Tennessee: Trump sending Hagerty to Japan. Continuing his pattern of dancing with the ones what brung him, especially Southerners, President Trump has nominated Nashvilleprivate equity investor Bill Hagerty to be his ambassador to Japan. Hagerty, who spent three years in Japan working with a business consulting firm, served as finance chairman for Trump in Tennessee as well as a member of Trump’s transition team, reports The Tennessean ……. North Carolina: Wind farms come under scrutiny. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R), whose district includes military bases, is urging a three-year moratorium on wind energy installations. Brown and others contend that wind energy farms could “interfere with radar reception and military flight paths,” reports the News & Observer ……. Florida: Democrats target Ros-Lehtinen. After several decades of winning reelection by 60% or more, US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), the dean of the state’s delegation, in 2016 won by a smaller 55% to 45%. At the same time, Hillary Clinton carried her South Florida district with 59%. Thus, AmericanBridge, a pro-Democratic PAC, is running digital ads attacking Ros-Lehtinen for not calling for a “full investigation” of Russian interference in the presidential election, reports Sunshine State News...
Atlanta ponders marijuana decriminalization; Victory for Georgia brewers as SB 85 passes House

Atlanta ponders marijuana decriminalization; Victory for Georgia brewers as SB 85 passes House

As the state legislature fights its own battles over the use of medical marijuana by Georgians, the Atlanta City Council is preparing for its own vote on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana within city limits. City Councilwoman Kwanza Hall on Tuesday proposed an ordinance that would drastically reduce the penalty for individuals caught with under an ounce of marijuana.  Currently that crime is a misdemeanor carrying up to a $1000 fine and 6 month confinement.  Under Hall’s proposal, being caught with under an ounce would be a mere $75 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. Possessing any amount of marijuana would remain illegal under state as well as federal law. Earlier this year Democrat state Senator Harold Jones introduced SB 105 which would have similarly reduced punishments for possessing small amounts of marijuana.  That bill failed to make it out of the Senate Rules Committee. The City Council will vote on the proposal at their meeting next week. See the full text of the proposal...

Around the South for Mar. 24: US, TN & VA

  Nationwide: Friends & foes of Trump almost evenly split. The results of a Harvard-Harris Poll show that 51% of registered voters disapprove of President Trump’s performance in office, to 49% who approve. This is a small uptick for Trump since January, when the same pollsters gave the President a 52% disapproval rating to 48% disapproval, reports The Hill ……. Tennessee: Trump pays homage to Jackson. After speaking to a campaign-style rally of “thousands,” says The Tennessean, President Trump went to The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, a populist that Trump often praises, and laid a wreath at Jackson’s tomb. The gathering of some 400 invited guests included some 100 state legislators ……. Virginia: McAuliffe to set veto record. With the veto of 89 bills under his belt, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is ready to set a record for the most vetoes of any governor in the state’s history, reports the Washington Post. The previous record was set by Gov. Jim Gilmore (R). The vetoes reflect the partisan difference between McAuliffe, a Democrat, and the Republican majorities in both legislative chambers...

Around the South for Mar. 23: CA, FL & AL

  California: Nunes says Trump transition team under surveillance. US Rep. Davin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced yesterday that “the intelligence community” collected information about members of the Trump transition team, and possibly Donald Trump himself. Nunes said none of the surveillance was related to Russia, but said he was “very concerned” about the surveillance activities ……. Florida: Jolly says Trump “not intellectually qualified.” Former US Rep. David Jolly (R), who is expected to run for office again as a Republican in the Sunshine State, questioned on CNN “whether this president is intellectually qualified to be President of the United States.” Jolly added, “He does not practice in details, nor understands the finer points of domestic or foreign policy.” Former US Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) called Jolly’s claim “absurd.” ……. Alabama: Jones says Bentley to resign in April. State Rep. Mike Jones (R), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he expects Gov. Robert Bentley to resign in mid-April, reports AL.com. A Bentley spokesperson, however, said Bentley plans “to finish the race,” as he said in his State of the State Address...

Around the South for Mar. 22: GA, FL & OK

    Georgia: Ossoff aims for early victory. “The only way to approach any election,” Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “is to try to win it outright. That’s what my team and I are trying to do every day.” If he achieves his goal, the election will be decided April 18, without a runoff. However, polls so far haven’t shown him obtaining the majority necessary to avoid a runoff ……. Florida: Nelson leading Scott, but not by much. It’s 38.7% for US Sen. Bill Nelson (D) to 34.4% for potential challenger Governor Rick Scott (R). The poll was taken in early March by St. Leo University ……. Oklahoma: Lawmaker to resign today. State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R), who represents Oklahoma City, is expected to resign today. Shortey, found with a 17-year-old boy in a motel room that “reeked of marijuana,” reported The Oklahoman, has been charged with engaging in child prostitution, prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for...