Around the South for January 17th: FL, SC, & AL

Florida: Hastings reveals he has cancer.  U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) announced this week that he has pancreatic cancer, but that he plans to remain in office during his treatment.  The 82 year old congressman, who has been in office in Florida’s 20th Congressional District since 1990, says he feels “hopeful” about his treatment as well as in his ability to continue to serve his constituents.  South Carolina: Officials ponder paper ballots.  State elections officials are pushing to replace voting machines with paper ballots ahead of the 2020 elections, requesting $60 million from the state legislature to implement a new system that would leave a paper trail.  One problem – the new budget proposal from Gov. Henry McMaster includes just $5 million for voting machines.  Alabama: Ivey starts on a high note.  She hasn’t been in office for a week, but already Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is among the most popular governors in the nation.  A quarterly approval poll from The Morning Consult marks her approval rating at 63%, behind only Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry...
Perdue continues to push for term limits

Perdue continues to push for term limits

  If you haven’t noticed, there’s kind of a lot going on in Washington D.C. right now.  The ongoing government shutdown certainly hasn’t stopped any politicking from carrying on, and though you might not know it from watching the news, legislators are still pursuing goals unrelated to border walls, Russia, or bipartisan bickering. One of those goals is the idea of constitutional term limits, which U.S. Sen. David Perdue has championed since heading to Washington in 2014.  Georgia’s junior senator joined up with some very high profile Republicans – Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT), to introduce a Constitutional Amendment that would impose term limits on members of Congress – three terms in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. Perdue has pushed the idea of ‘citizen legislators’ since early in his time in office in 2015.  Indeed, he is the prime example of one, not having held any elected position before running for Senate and pledging to serve no more than two terms in office, (his first expires in 2020).  Term limits are always a popular idea among the general public.  A poll last year from McLaughlin & Associates showed that some 80% of Americans supported the idea of mandated term limits, including 89% of Republicans.  President Donald Trump rose to popularity raging against “career politicians,” and pledging to “drain the swamp,” a mission he has found more difficult than anticipated. “We need more citizen legislators, not career politicians. The rise of career politicians has created the constant gridlock crippling Washington,” said Senator Perdue Tuesday. “Term limits for Members of Congress are...

Around the South for January 10th: FL, TX, & VA

Florida: DeSantis makes first state Supreme Court pick.  New Governor Ron DeSantis has selected Miami Judge Barbara Lagoa as his first of three state Supreme Court appointees.  The “rule of law” conservative is the first Hispanic woman in history to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.  She takes over for retiring Justice Fred Lewis.  Texas: GOP moves past ‘bathroom bill.’  State Republican leaders are looking past the bathroom bill issue that has grabbed headlines across the country in recent years, promising instead to focus on “real issues” such as school finance and property taxes.  In 2017 a GOP backed bathroom bill was defeated following staunch opposition from the state’s business community.  Virginia: Supreme Court denies request.  The U.S. Supreme Court this week denied a request from a state Republican to delay the implementation of a new House of Delegates map for the 2019 elections.  The ruling means that state maps will be redrawn, a result of a suit filed that alleged state lawmakers used improper racial targets during the 2011 redistricting process to draw African-American voters into majority-minority districts.  The new maps are expected to lead to a more Democrat-friendly landscape in 2019 and...
Sen. David Perdue talks funding, trade

Sen. David Perdue talks funding, trade

U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box last week to discuss his dissatisfaction with the ongoing funding problems that are threatening to shut down the government, as well as the proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and the upcoming Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Perdue has long been critical of Washington gridlock, notably the sluggish budgeting process that at times seems held together with duct tape and glue.  He certainly isn’t a fan of the stopgap spending bill approved by the Senate Wednesday. “This is the 186th continuing resolution since 1974 when the Budget Act was put in place. We can do better than this,” he told host Joe Kernin.  “This is another example of the total irresponsibility and dysfunction in Washington. This is the end of the first quarter. We’re still talking about the funding for the last fiscal year. This should have been done on September 30th. We have 75% of the federal government’s discretionary budget funded so far this year, and the politicians here think that’s good enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t nearly good enough.” The senator, as he has in the past, told Kernin he would like to see more of a sense of urgency in the Senate.  “I believe that we’ve got to come back right after Christmas to finish funding the government. We’re talking about potentially coming back in the latter part of next week to get this done in the Senate.” Perdue also stuck up for President Donald Trump’s border wall plan, calling it a  “national security issue” and slamming the Democrats for turning it into a political issue that would further delay...

Around the South for December 27th: LA, NC, & GA

Louisiana: Kennedy upset, Edwards pleased with justice reform.  Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) was among the small group of vocal opposition to President Donald Trump’s First Step Act, the criminal justice reform bill that passed earlier this month.  Democratic Governor Bill Edwards, who helped pass similar legislation in Louisiana, told reporters “I think Sen. Kennedy got it wrong” on the issue.  North Carolina: GOP stands by Harris.  The local arm of the Republican Party is standing behind Mark Harris, the congressman-elect whose legitimacy has come under fire after it was found one of his campaign workers is under criminal investigation for past election fraud.  The GOP argues that Harris’ November win should be certified on account of there not being any evidence that the 2018 election was interfered with.  That may not be true though, as the state elections board does not have to release the findings of its investigation into the race until later in January.  Former gubernatorial candidate indicted.  State Sen. and former gubernatorial candidate Michael Williams (R-Cumming) has been indicted for making a false report that computer servers were stolen from his campaign office earlier this year.  The candidate, whose aggressive and controversial campaign tactics drew national attention, is alleged to have committed insurance fraud, making a false statement and false report of a...