Around the South for April 4th: FL, GA, & SC

Florida: Gaetz for Senate in… Alabama?  U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) hasn’t been shy about eyeing higher office, but with a Republican governor and senator elected last year and the other senate seat held by popular Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), his options appear limited.  But could there be another option?  Rumors are circulating that the fiery young congressman could be considering a run in neighboring Alabama.  With only a one-day residency requirement a switch isn’t hard, and he is a favorite of President Donald Trump, whose endorsement could outweigh the fact that Gaetz hasn’t actually lived in the state.  Georgia: Abortion debate heats up.  The Georgia legislature passed a bill during its legislative session banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.  The move infuriated Democrats and made national headlines, with protesters holding multiple events at the Capitol.  Gov. Brian Kemp has pledged to sign the bill, but it will surely be challenged in the courts as has similar legislation in other states.  South Carolina: Former DOJ attorney to challenge Wilson.  Democrat Adair Ford Boroughs has announced her intent to challenge 19-year incumbent Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).  The former Department of Justice attorney faces long odds – Wilson won re-election in his dark-red district last year by nearly 14...
Timeshare Companies Overplay Their Hand in Florida

Timeshare Companies Overplay Their Hand in Florida

  Florida HB 435, a sweeping bill which would have made it virtually impossible for citizens to use timeshare exit companies to end their contracts blew up during a recent legislative workshop held on the bill. It wasn’t crafty lobbyists who brought the bill down but instead statements by legislators who were present. Several House members told their own stories of trying to deal with timeshares, including one state Representative who had to turn to bankruptcy to escape. “The irony is thick” says Gordon Newton who founded one of the first and most successful timeshare exit companies in the nation. “At the same time this legislation is being considered, states like Arizona have introduced additional laws to protect consumers from the tactics that plague the timeshare industry.” The legislation appears to be dying on the vine, but Newton and other industry leaders see the Florida bill as “just the first salvo” by large timeshare resort companies trying to hamstring exit companies. His Newton Group plans to use their company’s consumer protection guide to help craft future, more pro-consumer legislation in southern states. “We’ve been the leader in ethically getting folks out of these absurd timeshare agreements where fees run rampant and the children of those who pass away are forced to inherit those costs” Newton declares. “We plan on seeing to it that our own industry is run right and that the big timeshare companies aren’t allowed to put consumers, even legislators into financial ruin, with their deceptive practices.” As of now “crickets” from the advocates of HB...

Around the South for March 28th: TX, KY, & NC

Texas: Harris stumps.  There may already be two Texans running in the Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped one top candidate from courting voters in the Lone Star State.  Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) swung through Texas on a campaign trip this week, drawing a crowd of nearly 2,500 at a stop at Texas Southern University.  The senator is looking to position herself as a frontrunner amidst a very crowded field.  Kentucky: Barr invites AOC “underground.”  U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) this week, when commenting on the controversial “Green New Deal” plan pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) threw out an invitation to the freshman lawmaker to come tour parts of Kentucky struggling alongside the coal industry.  Perhaps to his surprise, Ocasio-Cortez quickly accepted, saying that part of  her plan was to fully fund the pensions of coal miners.  Barr’s staff said they are working out an official trip some time this spring.  North Carolina: Abortion law struck down.  A state law passed in 2015 that banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy has been ruled as unconstitutional by a federal court.  State lawmakers now have 60 days to either write a new abortion law or appeal the...

Around the South for March 21st: TN, FL, & AR

Tennessee: Conservative group takes aim at Haslam.  As former Governor Bill Haslam continues to ponder a 2020 run for U.S. Senate to replace the retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander, some conservative groups aren’t too keen on his potential candidacy.  One such group, the The Club for Growth, has launched an ad campaign highlighting a federal investigation into a diesel rebate scam at Haslam’s family’s truck stop chain, Pilot Flying J.  The group has urged Republican Congressman Mark Green to join the primary.  Florida: Legislature disagrees on education budget.  The Florida state House and Senate each released their own version of a proposed state budget this week, and there seems to be a disagreement over education.  The House’s version contains more than $600 million less for k-12 education than does the Senate’s, a total of nearly $200 per student.  The two chambers will be forced to come together and try to meet in the middle as they move towards passing a budget this spring.  Arkansas: State rejects flag proposal.  A proposal to change the meaning of Arkansas’ state flag was rejected this week by the state House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.  Currently the blue star above the word ‘Arkansas’ on the flag represents the Confederacy, but this proposal would have changed that meaning to the U.S. (currently represented by a different star) and then attached to that star the Native American...

Around the South for March 14th: KY, TX, & VA

Kentucky: Teachers revolt against school-choice bill.  In response to Kentucky House Bill 205, teachers in several prominent public school districts including in Louisville and Lexington have held “sick-outs,” effectively cancelling school for the day.  The bill would allow parents to receive tax credits for their donations to  scholarship-granting organizations, which would then provide private school scholarships.  Advocates for public schools say the legislation is taking money out of local schools.  Gov. Matt Bevin has pledged to sign the bill into law.  Texas: Green calls for Trump impeachment.  U.S. Rep. Al Green (D-Houston) is going against his party’s wishes – and after Donald Trump.  Despite House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi telling her caucus not to, Green has said he will move forward with bringing an impeachment vote against the president to the House floor.  Green first brought impeachment to the House floor in 2017, where it was defeated by a 364-58 margin.  Virginia: Northam vetoes handgun bill.  Embattled Governor Ralph Northam issued his first veto of 2019 this week, rejecting a Republican proposal to expedite concealed handgun permits for out-of-state residents.  The bill narrowly passed both the House and Senate, so it is not expected to muster the 2/3 majority it would need to bypass the governor’s...