You Can’t Have a Hospital Because We Don’t Get to Build It

In the continuing saga that is the building of a hospital in Columbia County, The Augusta Chronicle reports today that the Georgia Court of Appeals has voted to send the case Doctors Hospital filed against the Georgia Department of Community Health back to Fulton County Superior Court. Doctors Hospital had asked for a judicial review of the GDCH’s decision to award Augusta University Medical Center a Certificate of Need (CON) through an exemption in 2014, and somehow, all the documentation for the review did not make its way to the Appeals Court. Specifically, Doctors Hospital had asked that some documents be added to the file, and they weren’t for whatever reason. Fulton County was supposed to send those documents within 10 days of the request back on November 8, 2016.

They missed the deadline by 154 days as of this morning.

Now, they have been ordered via ruling to submit the complete review to the Appeals Court, where it will be re-docketed for the next term. Yes, it’s a paperwork error, probably just an oversight from someone who earnestly made a mistake and had no ulterior motives, but Columbia County residents have been held hostage by this drama for almost four years already. Continue reading “You Can’t Have a Hospital Because We Don’t Get to Build It”

Carr announces firearms license reciprocity agreement with Virginia

Another state has been added to the list for firearms license reciprocity in Georgia.

Attorney General Chris Carr announced Wednesday that Virginia firearms licenses will be recognized in Georgia.

Reciprocity stems from a 1996 law which allows Georgia to grant the privilege to citizens from other states that also recognize Georgia’s firearms licenses.

Virginia recently decided to permit Georgia firearms license holders 21 years of age and older to be protected under their carry laws. This means, effective immediately, Georgia now offers reciprocity and honors Virginia firearms licenses.

Continue reading “Carr announces firearms license reciprocity agreement with Virginia”

Former Clayton County Commissioner Pleads Guilty To Ethics Charges

From a press release:

Attorney General Chris Carr today announced that Wole Ralph, former Clayton County Commissioner, entered a guilty plea to filing false campaign disclosure reports in violation of the Ethics in Government Act and received 24 months of probation. The court sentenced Ralph under the First Offender Act.

“As elected officials, we have a duty to be stewards of the Rule of Law and ensure our offices operate with the utmost transparency,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Mr. Ralph knowingly violated the Ethics in Government Act, and for that, he must face the consequences.”

Ralph was required to file campaign contribution disclosure reports with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission listing the amounts of campaign contributions received and expended. Continue reading “Former Clayton County Commissioner Pleads Guilty To Ethics Charges”

AG Carr Urges Withdrawl of EPA’s Waters Of The US Rule

From a press release:

ATLANTA, GA –Attorney General Chris Carr has joined a bipartisan group of twenty-five state attorneys general urging President-elect Donald Trump to rescind the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States” (WOTUS Rule)—which was promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June 2015.

“The Georgia Department of Law agrees with our partners that the WOTUS Rule is unconstitutional and will have significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by subjecting them to costly permits and complex federal mandates to perform everyday tasks,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “We believe in fiercely protecting our citizens against unlawful federal overreach, and we will continue working with those who share this mutual concern to bring these matters to President-elect Donald Trump’s attention for quick resolution.”

The letter urges the incoming administration to withdraw the WOTUS Rule and instead work with Congress to address any issues of concern through the legislative process. In addition, the attorneys general ask the new administration to consider strategies for addressing the states’ pending litigation immediately upon taking office to avoid the expending of state resources to continue to litigate a rule that violates federal law.

The WOTUS Rule is currently blocked by a federal court order while states, including Georgia, challenge its legality. In blocking the rule, the federal court found the states are likely to prevail in their legal challenge.

Read the full letter by clicking here.

Georgia Accounted For Nearly Half Of All Executions In 2016

Georgia has dethroned Texas. First when Georgia created a more business friendly environment and now in the number of executions.

America saw 20 executions in 2016, nine of which came from Georgia. That’s nearly half of the executions nationwide. It’s the most inmates Georgia has put to death in the 40 years since the Supreme Court allowed executions. Prior to this year, Georgia’s record was five executions in 1987.

There are a plethora of reasons for Georgia’s high number of executions, notably the backlog that exists in death row. An execution can be halted for months at time while courts answer legal questions. The backlog is also attributed to various pauses in executions. They were halted from July 2012 to February 2013 while Georgia changed its execution drug from three drugs to one drug. It again paused from July 2013 to May 2014 while legal questions swirled around the new execution drugs.

According to Attorney General Chris Carr, there are no inmates eligible for execution in Georgia at the moment.

While other states are decreasing their use of execution, Georgia is in a position to continue its use of the death penalty. If anything, leaders have made it easier to find an inmate on death row.

Correction: It had previously said there are no inmates on death row in Georgia. There are currently 68 death row cases; however, there are no inmates eligible for execution at the moment.

Attorney General Carr Announces New Leadership Team

Newly minted Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr rolled out his picks for senior leadership today. Replacing Solicitor General Britt Grant, who was appointed by Governor Deal to the Georgia Supreme Court, Carr is promoting Deputy Solicitor General, Sarah Hawkins Warren. Warren also served as the Special Counsel for Water Litigation and was heavily involved in the Supreme Court case between the Peach State and our southern neighbor.

As Chief Deputy Attorney General, Carr is tapping Department of Law veteran Dennis Dunn, who previously served as the director of the Government Operation Division at the department.

For his incoming Chief of Staff, Carr has selected Travis Johnson who previously worked for the Technical College System of Georgia and also served as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the state.

Below is the Attorney General’s statement accompanied by the full press release.

“When I was sworn into office, I promised to work with the outstanding staff at the Department to provide legal representation of the highest quality to the agencies, officers and employees of state government and make certain our Department continues to have a reputation of dependability, honesty and integrity with the citizens of the great state of Georgia,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “As I’ve said before, the seriousness of this work requires focus and a readiness to tackle our state’s challenges and opportunities—and that’s what Georgians can expect from Dennis Dunn, Sarah Hawkins Warren and Travis Johnson.”

Full press release.

Attorney General Chris Carr Praises Injunction for Updated Overtime Rule

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr issued a statement today in support of a decision by the US District Court to issue an injunction against enforcement of an updated rule from the Department of Labor that changed the way overtime pay would be applied to certain workers.

I commend the court’s preliminary injunction. The overtime rule is the latest example of the States stepping in to stop the Obama administration from defying Congress and implementing its own agenda rather than following the law. This unlawful overreach has undoubtedly put a strain on businesses and state government entities to prepare for its implementation, so our office will continue to provide guidance and support to our clients in accordance with the federal court order.

The updated ruling, which was supposed to have gone into effect December 1st, would have changed the requirement for certain white collar workers to be exempt from paying overtime wages. Previously, such employees would be exempt from being paid overtime if they made more than $23,660 annually. The new threshold is $47,476 annually.

The rule change came about after President Obama ordered the department of Labor to update its overtime requirements such that salary level, rather than duties. Believing such a change could only be made by Congress, the attorneys general of 21 states, including Georgia, filed a lawsuit challenging the rule. That lawsuit led to the injunction. With Donald Trump becoming president in January, it’s possible the new administration will withdraw the rule, making a continuation of the suit meaningless.

Sen. Perdue Supports Sen. Sessions for Attorney General

Today, President-Elect Donald Trump nominated Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General. Sessions has been a supporter of Trump from the start of his campaign, and has been credited by many as a major influence on Trump’s positions on immigration. While the reaction on social media to the nomination has been mixed, Georgia’s junior Senator David Perdue, who is a member of the Senate Juciciary Committee praised Sessions in a statement:

Jeff’s extensive legal career and experience make him a natural fit to lead our nation’s Justice Department. His knowledge and dedication to our judicial system have been evident during my work with him on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I look forward to continue working with Jeff to make our country safer for all Americans.

Perdue, of course, was also an early and energetic supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

Attorney General Chris Carr

Attorney General Chris Carr was sworn in today at the Capitol to become Georgia’s 54th Attorney General. Governor Nathan Deal appointed Carr after former Attorney General Sam Olens stepped down to serve as President of Kennesaw State University. Carr will fulfill the remainder of the approximate 26 months left on Olens’ term. Carr previously served as the head of the Georgia Department of Economic Development since 2013.

From a press release, Governor Deal shared:

“Chris’ experience as an attorney, job creator and public servant make him the ideal candidate to fill the role of Georgia’s Attorney General. He is a leader with common sense, brilliant intellect and a wide range of experiences at the global, federal and state levels. That perspective will allow Chris to support and defend the laws of Georgia and the interests of our people. This role is a hybrid one of attorney, manager and public servant, and Chris is well qualified for it.”

Attorney General Carr shared some thoughts in the same press release:

“I have spent the majority of my life dutifully and honorably serving to progress and protect public interest, and I am humbled that Gov. Deal has placed his confidence in me to do this job. As the leader of the Department of Law, I will work with the entrusted staff at the Department to provide legal representation of the highest quality to the agencies, officers and employees of state government and make certain our Department continues to have a reputation of dependability, honesty and integrity with the citizens of the great state of Georgia. The seriousness of this work requires focus on a smooth transition and a readiness to tackle our state’s challenges and opportunities—and that’s what Georgians should expect to see from me.”

GeorgiaPol publisher Charlie Harper shared some pictures on Twitter from the swearing-in ceremony, which can be seen after the break.

Continue reading “Attorney General Chris Carr”

A “Pat” On The Back

Now that it’s all over but the shouting, (from some dopey college kids who ought to be locked up for disrupting a public meeting) and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens been appointed President of Kennesaw State University and Chris Carr, the former Commissioner of the State Department of Economic Development, has been announced as Olens’ replacement, we should tip our hats to Irish Pat, who posted not only the widespread speculation about Olens, but also first put Chris Carr’s name forward as a replacement -and generated some highly skeptical comments back in August.

Carr’s appointment is a good thing to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and former Governor Roy Barnes, who have both expressed support for him.

I’ve known Chris for a long time. I think it’s a good appointment. I think he’ll do a great job,” said Barnes, who added that he might also back Carr in 2018. “If folks do a good job, whether they be a Democrat or Republican, then I’ll endorse them then. I have nothing but confidence that he’ll do a good job.”

In baseball, that’s called a “brushback” -a pitch thrown so close to the batter as to make him think twice about crowding the plate. It’s the same thing in politics, and any potential Democratic challengers have just been put on notice that they should hold their horses a bit, and wait to see how Carr performs before making any decisions to challenge him. (And they should certainly wait until after the ashes from the current election have cooled.) State Rep. Scott Holcomb was quick to disclaim any interest in the office, but some fellow Democrats say State Rep. Stacey Evans would be a “phenomenal” candidate. Continue reading “A “Pat” On The Back”