Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Sam Olens: Washington action on immigration would be 'smarter' than his lawsuit

 Yes, he joined the lawsuit challenging the White House’s go-it-alone effort on immigration reform. But one senses a slight change in tone in this lede from the AJC’s Jeremy Redmon:

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens on Monday predicted the legal case against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration could drag on for another two years and reach all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Olens — a Republican who has joined officials from 25 other states in suing to block the president’s plans — spoke Monday in advance of a key court hearing on the matter. The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear two hours of oral arguments in the case Friday.

“I would firmly expect that one to two years from now this case will be in the U.S. Supreme Court,” Olens said, adding: “This could easily take two years. Wouldn’t it be smarter for Congress and the president to pass [an immigration] bill in that time frame?”


Maria Saporta of Saporta Report, on how to make amends for the Legislature’s recent decision to deprive Delta Air Lines of a multi-million dollar tax break on aviation fuel: “Why don’t we start with defeating Rep. Earl Ehrhart in the next election?”

Today’s Marietta Daily Journal: How dare she!

Reality check: Ehrhart represents a very Republican district in west Cobb County. The former House Rules Committee chairman has served 13 terms in the House. Only four times has he had any opposition. Ehrhart’s not going anywhere, and at least one CEO, who heads up an airline near you, recognizes that.

From Hilary Butschek’s MDJ piece on the flap, quoting Ehrhart:

“With respect to being disrespectful, Richard Anderson reached out to me a couple weeks ago, and we had dinner. We’re friends,” Ehrhart said. “He and I had a cordial dinner. There’s no animosity between Richard Anderson and I.”


U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, caused a stir Monday by dropping a bill to block the Obama administration's pending rules on "net neutrality," requiring Internet service providers to treat all content and applications equally.

Collins' bill would block the regulations under the Congressional Review Act, meaning it would only require 51 votes to get through the log-jammed Senate. In a press release, the second-term congressman said the regulations will stick government's nose where it shouldn't be:

“Resources that could go to broadband deployment will go to federal taxes and fees. We’ll all be paying more for less. ...

“The [Federal Communications Commission] is stretching old definitions to fit its regulatory agenda. Only businesses with the greatest resources will survive Washington, D.C.’s latest bureaucratic expansion into a growing and dynamic industry, particularly mobile broadband.”  

But National Journal notes the controversy around the resolution:

The push for a clean repeal of the agency's Internet regulations comes as other Republicans focus instead on trying to craft a bipartisan compromise on the issue. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, and House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden are working on a bill that would enact net-neutrality protections, while also curbing the FCC's powers. None of those lawmakers are backing the Collins measure.

The new resolution seems to risk pushing Democrats away from the negotiating table. "In January, Republicans said they're for net neutrality. Now they've flip flopped with a resolution challenging the FCC's net neutrality rules," Rep. Anna Eshoo, the top Democrat on the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said in an emailed statement. "What is apparent is they're on the wrong side of history."

Collins denied that he is trying to undercut the compromise efforts or that the move is likely to alienate Democrats. Congress could repeal the FCC's rules and then turn to work on a replacement, he said.

The 43-year-old U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., presented a generational contrast as he announced his bid for the presidency in Miami on Monday. Via Politico:

“We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future,” he said. “We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton drove from New York to Iowa and the big news was that she was craving a burrito bowl somewhere in Ohio. It's going to be a long 18 months, people.


The author of this year’s stalled religious liberty bill is predicting that this Saturday will bring a first push-back from grassroots Republicans.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, was on WABE (90.1FM)’s “A Closer Look” on Monday afternoon, talking with Denis O’Hayer and Rose Scott about his legislation, which ended the session locked in the House Judiciary Committee. This exchange occurred at the tail-end of the interview:

O’Hayer: Have you spoken with the three [Republican] members of the judiciary committee in the House who wanted to insert the non-discrimination language? And is there something that you think could be put together in the wording of it that would satisfy both them and you?

McKoon: I’ve been spending most of my time talking to congressional district Republican party chairmen around this state. We’ll be having conventions this Saturday. And I expect you’re going to hear a very strong message sent from all over this state and all 14 congressional districts on this issue.

O’Hayer: Does that mean that those three members, all of whom are Republicans, can expect primary challenges if they stick to that.

McKoon: I’m not in the business of getting into threatening people. If they feel strongly about their position, that’s something we’re going to continue to debate and discuss. But I think if the state Republican party meets in Athens in May, and takes a very strong position on this issue, I think that’ll certainly impact the debate.


Speaking of pushbacks on religious liberty legislation, the Associated Press reports the following:

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's economic and tourism development agencies hired a public relations firm Monday to repair the damage to the state's reputation from a religious objections law that raised the specter of discrimination against gays and others....

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced Monday it was collaborating with the Indiana Office of Tourism Development in hiring the Porter Novelli firm to strengthen Indiana's reputation "as a welcoming place to live, visit and do business."

Amid the uproar over the Republican-backed law that many feared would allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, two groups canceled Indianapolis conventions and two others considered doing so. Fort Wayne, the state's second-largest city, had six national conventions express concerns about continuing business in Indiana, local officials said.

The IEDC news release did not mention the law known formally as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but the reason for hiring the firm was made clear in an email sent by the tourism office's communications director, Jake Oakman, to local tourism officials. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the email.

"The Indiana Office of Tourism Development is partnering with the IEDC on this initiative to restore Indiana's image after the recent political controversy surrounding RFRA," Oakman wrote.

Indiana Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said his committee last week added $1 million to tourism funding in the pending two-year state budget specifically for that purpose.

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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.