A farewell – for now – from the SPR team

A farewell – for now – from the SPR team

The Southern Political Report has been put on hold for the rest of 2019. We also extend best wishes to our legendary publisher emeritus Hastings Wyman on his well-deserved retirement after his decades of hard-hitting, in-depth reporting and analysis. Check out our parent company www.insideradvantage.com for timely Georgia political & business information as well as political columns from Democrats, Republicans and others. –Phil Kent Editor &...
Trump needs Florida in 2020. He obviously knows that.

Trump needs Florida in 2020. He obviously knows that.

By David Smiley (Tampa Bay Times) – Donald Trump must win Florida in 2020 if he wants to remain president. And he knows it. The part-time Florida resident has spent more time here than any location outside of Washington since becoming president, and not just because he likes golf. His campaign is dedicating resources to the state and its 29 electoral college votes as if it were an entire region. And this month alone, the president has made repeated overtures to different segments of Florida’s complex electorate through the power of the purse and international policy. So as Democrats divide their attention among the largest field of candidates in modern history, the president’s reelection campaign is already kicking into gear around a massive voter-data operation and a high-profile stable of surrogates. In a complete reversal from 2016, Trump’s team is in sync from the White House down to the local parties, giving him a vast arsenal with which to target a specific number of voters that strategists believe will send him to four more years in office. Read...
Proposed legislation designed to help Americans prepare for retirement

Proposed legislation designed to help Americans prepare for retirement

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) joined Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut Tuesday and re-introduced bipartisan legislation that he says will help Americans ensure they do not outlive their retirement savings. The Lifetime Income Disclosure Act, would require 401(k) plan sponsors to inform participating workers of the projected monthly income they could expect at retirement based on their current account balance. Isakson believes that with the shift to 401(k) plans, American workers have become increasingly responsible for putting savings into and managing their retirement investments. However, he points out that studies have found that many Americans are not saving enough, and they are unsure how quickly or slowly to draw down their savings in their retirement years. “We’re working to ensure Americans have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their retirement investments early on, because the last thing they should have to worry about is running out of savings during their retirement years,” said Isakson. “This information not only helps today’s workers to plan ahead, but promotes increased savings while they are still in the work force.” Under Isakson’s plan, statements would be mailed out each year and include estimated monthly benefits based on current earnings — much like the Social Security Administration’s annual statements. According to Isakson, Congress mandated annual Social Security statements in 1989. Isakson believes that by providing similar information for 401(k) plans, the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act would give American workers a more complete snapshot of their projected income in retirement. To ensure there is no material burden or potential liability on employers who voluntarily sponsor 401(k) plans, the legislation directs the...
McConnell and Kaine unveil bill to raise tobacco age to 21

McConnell and Kaine unveil bill to raise tobacco age to 21

By Sarah Owermohle (Politico) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday introduced legislation to raise the age for buying tobacco to 21 — now a bipartisan effort that addresses some of the criticism public health groups had of an earlier proposal they saw as too industry-friendly. McConnell‘s bill is now joined by Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, who has backedlegislation to ban indoor smoking and some flavored products in the past. The version released would raise the age to 21 for everyone, backtracking on McConnell’s April promise to exempt “men and women who served in uniform.” Nor does his Tobacco-Free Youth Act block states from taking more stringent steps on tobacco, including moves to address the growing teen vaping epidemic. Read...
Trump on Beto: ‘What the hell happened?’

Trump on Beto: ‘What the hell happened?’

By Katie Galioto (Politico) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday weighed in on Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign with a question: “What the hell happened?” “Beto’s falling fast,” the president told a crowd at a liquified natural gas export facility in Louisiana, spending a few minutes of his speech on taking shots at the pool of Democrats hoping to challenge his claim on the White House in 2020. “I think we’re gonna win it big,” Trump said of the coming general election. “I’m looking at the competition. You sort of dream about competition like that. Read...
Georgia Insurance Commissioner indicted on felony fraud charges

Georgia Insurance Commissioner indicted on felony fraud charges

In the wake of Tuesday’s indictment by a federal grand jury on charges that he stole money from his former employer, State Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck says he will fight to clear “his good name.” Beck faces 38 charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. The indictment alleges Beck conducted a wide-ranging scheme through several companies and the Georgia Christian Coalition, including fraudulent billing and the sale of false sponsorships to the GA Christian Coalition. According to the indictment, the money — said to be in excess of $2 million — was used to pay for personal credit card bills, income tax bills, retirement funds and to fund Beck’s statewide election campaign for Insurance Commissioner. Beck largely self-funded his primary campaign. Beck, who is from Carrollton, was elected insurance commissioner in 2018 and began serving his first term in January of this year. He issued his statement through his attorneys William (“Bill”) Thomas of W.H. Thomas Firm, LLC and Douglas Chalmers, Jr., in a prepared press release. Under Georgia law, Beck now has an option — he can remain in office, voluntarily resign or ask to be suspended while under indictment. If he remains in office, after a 14-day period, which may be extended by the governor, the governor must appoint a review commission, which then has 14 days to determine if “the indictment relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office of the indicted public official and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby,” according to the Official Code of Georgia. At that point, the commission can recommend that...