Georgia Capitol Notes Days 1-4

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013
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— House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, criticized the gift cap rule set the by Senate, accusing the chamber of playing "around with gimmicks." A longtime proponent of restricting gifts, he has promised to introduce a ban on those gifts as soon as Jan. 28. Ralston has said his bill would require more people to officially register as lobbyists.

— Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Republican, recovered some of the powers he lost to dissident Republicans. The chamber elected GOP Sen. David Shafer as president pro tempore, a victory for a faction of GOP lawmakers who sought to end a leadership feud that had politically sidelined Cagle. The Republican caucus earlier elected Sen. Ronnie Chance as its majority leader.

— Former State Sen. Chip Rogers raised eyebrows late last year when he abruptly resigned from his post after winning re-election. The Woodstock Republican announced that he would be taking an on-air job with Georgia Public Broadcasting. Turns out, the job change comes with a big raise. Rogers will make $150,000 at GPB. His Senate salary was about $17,000, not including per diem, travel and other expense reimbursement.

QUOTES:

"A lobbyist could give a 99-dollar gift five times or however many times in the same day. Now that's a loophole of enormous proportion," said Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, who voted against the Senate rule banning lawmakers from accepting gifts worth more than $100.

LOOK AHEAD:

The House Appropriations Committee starts its review Tuesday of the $40.8 billion budget that Gov. Nathan Deal submitted Thursday. Deal will address the committee Tuesday before the state's economist gives his annual outlook for Georgia's economy.