If the Friendship Force were a woman, she would be the empress dowager of Atlanta’s ambitions to become an international city. The foreign exchange network made its debut 40 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, during a White House ceremony presided over by two of Washington’s newest residents, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. The concept was novel. Rather than stay in hotels, troupes of regular Americans without rank or government status would bunk in the homes of foreign hosts. The same hospitality would be offered here in return. In its early days, when the Friendship Force became a vehicle for penetrating the IronRead More →

WASHINGTON – Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue plans to step down from his business holding company and restructure his family trusts in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest should the Senate confirm him to be secretary of agriculture, according to new federal ethics documents. As part of an agreement struck with the Office of Government Ethics, Perdue would resign from positions as manager of Perdue Management Holdings LLC and as a board member of Perdue Business Holdings Inc. Under the ethics deal, a routine part of the confirmation process for senior executive branch nominees, Perdue would put his assets into a blind trust inRead More →

Georgia Republicans are sharply divided over the GOP proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act that’s galloping through the U.S. House of Representatives, raising concerns about the lack of a cost estimate for the overhaul and its impact on the state’s budget as it moves through Capitol Hill. As House lawmakers prepare to vote on the sweeping rewrite of health care policy, at least two GOP congressmen from Georgia said they won’t support the measure in its current form. And Gov. Nathan Deal has raised concerns about how it will affect Georgia and other states that refused to expand Medicaid. The fight over the planRead More →

Days remaining in the 2017 legislative session: 9 The General Assembly has entered the final turn and is limping, ever so slowly toward the finish line. The House and Senate convene for Day 32 at 10 a.m.. Only one bill is in the House calendar, but it’s a popular one: Senate Bill 85 would allow craft beer and liquor manufacturers to sell directly to consumers. While the vote is important, it is not final passage as the House amended it to include the liquor industry. The original Senate bill was just for craft beer brewers.     Only two bills are on the Senate calendarRead More →

How much has Jon Ossoff unsettled Republicans who want to keep a grip on suburban Atlanta’s Sixth District? The 30-year-old Democrat was invoked throughout a GOP candidate forum as a sort of sword of Damocles hanging over the race for the seat held by Republicans since Jimmy Carter was president. Many of the candidates at the Fulton County GOP breakfast talked of Ossoff as if he had already locked in a spot in the June 20 runoff to succeed former Rep. Tom Price. So did several veteran activists who said in speeches and hushed asides they were worried he could win. “There are five ofRead More →

It’s a legislative tradition unlike any other.  Every year in the Georgia General Assembly, as soon as Crossover Day passes, the House and the Senate engage in a choreographed effort to define the other chamber as a bunch of layabouts. Take last week. Lawmakers met for three days and accomplished very little. Each chamber passed a handful of mostly minor bills. House leaders took notice that although the Senate insisted it needed two days last week for committees to meet and consider House bills, most either didn’t meet or were cancelled. “Is it true? I’m sure it’s not, I’m sure it’s an unfounded piece of fake newsRead More →