Further investigation into Matt Gaetz is needed for tweet at Michael Cohen, Florida Bar determines

Further investigation into Matt Gaetz is needed for tweet at Michael Cohen, Florida Bar determines

By Steve Contorno (Tampa Bay Times) – An investigation into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz will proceed, the Florida Bar said Wednesday, meaning the Panhandle Republican could face discipline for allegedly intimidating President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. A grand jury-like panel called the Grievance Committee will next decide whether there is probable cause that Gaetz’s tweet violated Florida rules for lawyers. Gaetz, one of Trump’s top allies in Congress, is licensed to practice law in Florida. Read...
Perdue Meets With Georgia Farm Bureau About Disaster Relief

Perdue Meets With Georgia Farm Bureau About Disaster Relief

In his continuing efforts to fight for disaster funding for Georgians impacted by Hurricane Michael, U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) joined Georgia Farm Bureau representatives to discuss ongoing efforts to advance a bipartisan disaster relief package. “It’s been nearly seven months since Hurricane Michael hit Southwest Georgia, and Congress still has not fulfilled its responsibility to provide relief for farmers who lost everything,” said Senator Perdue, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Previous disaster relief packages were not held up in partisan battles like this. Georgia Farm Bureau has been resolute in their efforts to support our farmers and encourage bipartisan consensus among Members of Congress. To our farmers in Georgia – rest assured we will continue fighting until we get disaster relief flowing to Georgia and all states that are hurting.” Georgia Farm Bureau members travelled to Washington, DC last week to urge leaders to come together to help those impacted by last year’s extreme weather events. “It has been more than six months since Hurricane Michael swept across Georgia and destroyed nearly $2.5 billion in agricultural commodities and Georgia farmers, along with countless other farmers across the nation, are still waiting for help,” said Gerald Long, President of Georgia Farm Bureau. “Without federal assistance, many in our industry may never recover. We are grateful for the leadership that Georgia Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, along with our entire congressional delegation, have shown throughout this process. It is time for Congress to act, and we stand ready to work with members of Congress and the Trump Administration to find a path forward on a disaster assistance...
Buttigieg, husband attend Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class

Buttigieg, husband attend Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class

By The Associated Press (Politico) – PLAINS, Ga. — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, joined the large crowd at former President Jimmy Carter’s Sunday school class in rural South Georgia. At Carter’s invitation Buttigieg stood and read from the Bible as part of the lesson at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. “You know him?” Carter had said earlier in reference to Buttigieg, drawing a laugh from the crowd. Read...
Abrams out; Democrats Looking for a Perdue Opponent

Abrams out; Democrats Looking for a Perdue Opponent

Tuesday’s announcement by failed 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams that she will not challenge the 2020 re-election campaign U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., sent Democrats scrambling to ascertain who could be their strongest candidate to oppose him. So what is the future for Abrams? The former House of Representatives minority leader is expected to remain highly visible on the national scene as a voice within the party. She even met in March with former Vice President Joe Biden, causing speculation she might be considered by him or others for a 2020 vice presidential slot. (Abrams says such speculation is premature.) Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist and consultant, told Fox5Atlanta that Abrams might want a rematch against Gov. Brian Kemp, who narrowly defeated her last fall to claim the governor’s mansion. But that would occur in 2022, and various pundits agree she would have to remain relevant in some political fashion until then. Johnson also hopes “the state’s demographics” may change in Abrams’ favor (meaning the share of the white vote may decline). As for Republicans, they are glad Abrams is out of the 2020 senatorial race. (GOP state chairman John Watson believes she couldn’t have beaten him anyway.) And GOP leaders think Abrams’ black voter base may not turn out as much if a white Democrat runs against Perdue. Also, with Abrams out, President Donald Trump’s chances of carrying Georgia in his 2020 re-election bid is enhanced if black turnout is somewhat down. (Trump won Georgia by 5 points in 2016.) As for other Democrats wanting the party nomination to run against Perdue next year, there’s former Columbus...
Beto O’Rourke calls for $5T to fight climate change

Beto O’Rourke calls for $5T to fight climate change

By Zack Coleman (Politico) – Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke labeled climate change “the greatest threat we face” as he called for $5 trillion to be spent over the next decade with the goal of neutralizing carbon emissions in the U.S. by mid-century. The former Texas congressman’s plan is among the most detailed of the crowded Democratic 2020 field, but it does not define how it would achieve dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Its goal for getting the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 also aligns with the ambitious aims of the Green New Deal, a lofty set of climate priorities advanced by activists and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).  Read...
Technology and Government: Tackling A More Efficient Medicaid for the States In the Trump Era

Technology and Government: Tackling A More Efficient Medicaid for the States In the Trump Era

    (Editor’s note: SPR is devoting a new segment to the ever increasingly important role of technology in helping make southern states more cost efficient and effective in delivering services. And the politics of those efforts. This week’s focus is modernizing Medicaid services in the South). With some states seeking Medicaid waivers and others searching for other ways to make programs more efficient and effective, the “rubber has hit the road” with state leaders zeroing in on technology as the primary way of achieving such goals. Numerous leaders of state departments and agencies are racing to meet new requirements set by CMS for Medicaid. The new rules seek to eliminate the old fashioned concept of taking the various services and lumping them into one large contract (known as MMIS for short). Instead the new direction is to create separate modular service contracts that encourage speedier response, efficiency, and an end to the domination by less than a handful of “megacompanies” who became notorious for endless change orders, up-sales, and bureaucratic inefficiency. Southern states are looking to their own, such as Virginia, who followed CMS requirements and have gone completely separately modular, including making the all-important “data warehouse” (the central nervous system of Medicaid technology) completely separate, which CMS considers essential to new systems.  Their moves are now a centerpiece in efforts by leading southern states as they race to transform Medicaid to a more efficient service as directed by the feds. And the political heat is on. The Trump administration expects results as we enter the 2020 election cycle. One insider tells SPR “Trump’s philosophy comes from his...