Political Insider

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Race for Amazon HQ could slap a lid on Confederate, ‘religious liberty’ fights

Believe it or not, chances of a General Assembly implosion next January over Confederate symbolism and “religious liberty” legislation may have just gotten much smaller. From the AJC’s Scott Trubey:

E-commerce giant Amazon said Thursday it’s in the market to build a second North American headquarters, a massive complex the company says one day could hold 50,000 jobs.

Amazon, in a request for proposals on its website, said it wants its “HQ2” to be the “equal” of its Seattle base of operations, which currently consists of 33 buildings covering more than 8 million square feet of office space.

Trubey reports that Atlanta and Georgia are sure to compete for what could be the Holy Grail of economic development, touting the region’s talent base, research universities such as Georgia Tech – never mind that new cybersecurity hub that’s springing up around Augusta.

Like Trubey, Bloomberg names Atlanta as a likely competitor. But it also asks this:

Will flirtations with anti-gay laws under a guise of "religious liberty" (and anti-trans "bathroom bills") hurt the causes of the large metro areas in North Carolina, Georgia and Texas?

But consider that an LGBT alliance with business interests – in particular, the new movie and TV industry in Georgia – is largely responsible for killing past attempts within the state Capitol to give legal cover to conservatives uncomfortable with gay marriage.

If Georgia makes a serious bid for a second Amazon headquarters, and is still in the running come January and February, look for Gov. Nathan Deal and Republican leadership in the General Assembly to shut down any attempt at “religious liberty” legislation.

That goes double for arguments over Confederate symbolism. With one suggestion: The city of Atlanta may want to tinker with that street named Confederate Avenue. Amazon Avenue, perhaps?


To read the rest of the Morning Jolt, click here.

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.