“Community TEA” for June 27, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will form a select committee to pursue an investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection after a proposal for an independent bipartisan commission failed to win enough Republican support in the U.S. Senate.
Senate Republicans took advantage of filibuster rules this week to block sweeping federal election and voting legislation backed by Democrats. The procedural vote that would have allowed the measure, known as the For the People Act, to move forward with debate failed 50-50 because it did not reach the 60-vote threshold. All 50 members of the Democratic caucus were in favor, all 50 Republicans were opposed. The outcome was expected.
In a speech on the Senate Floor, Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said the bill was necessary and worth discussing. The Atlanta Democrat said inaction “would have long-lasting and far-reaching implications for the health, viability and vitality of the world’s greatest democracy.” Immediately after the vote, the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm announced it would begin airing attack ads against Warnock for his support of the bill and urging conservatives to donate money to defeat him in 2022. After the failed vote, Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff said he will continue fighting to get a federal election bill passed. “Congress must pass voting rights legislation to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act and to protect American voters from partisan voter suppression,” he said, adding that he will continue to work closely with colleagues “to advance legislation that will safeguard the sacred franchise.” Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the vote Tuesday. Afterward, she said they will continue to push for passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that would reinstate federal review of changes to state voting laws. “The fight is not over,” she said.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump who were part of the so-called “Trump Train” that surrounded a Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway the weekend before the election last fall have been sued in federal court. Civil rights organizations and others — including the bus driver, a current White House staffer, a former Texas lawmaker and a campaign volunteer — claim the hostile episode left them traumatized and violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which bars violent election intimidation.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an ex-federal prosecutor who was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was suspended Thursday from practicing law in New York after a court ruled he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about 2020 election results in Georgia and other battleground states. The 33-page decision found that Giuliani’s attempts to overturn Trump’s election defeat by promoting lies about widespread fraud and rigged voting machines had also “directly inflamed” the violent movement that led to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “The seriousness of respondent’s uncontroverted misconduct cannot be overstated,” read the decision by the New York State appellate court. “This country is being torn apart by continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election.”
Giuliani’s first visit to Georgia did not go as planned following the 2020 general election, but that is not stopping him from returning to the Peach State. Giuliani is set to be in Georgia next week to headline a fundraiser for former Democrat Vernon Jones. Jones is attempting to rebrand himself as a Republican as he challenges Brian Kemp in the primary for Governor.
Gov. Brian Kemp is set to lift the public health state of emergency roughly 15 months after lawmakers granted him broad new authorities to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Kemp signed an executive order last week that ends his emergency powers on July 1, saying they are no longer needed as “more Georgians are getting vaccinated, our economic momentum is strong, and people are getting back to normal.”
According to a letter the Georgia Department of Community Health sent to Washington, the state will delay the rollout of its limited Medicaid expansion, originally planned for July 1 until at least August 1. The delay comes after Georgia’s plan came under scrutiny by the Biden Administration because of the state’s requirements that beneficiaries either work or attend school or engage in other qualifying activities. In several other states, the Biden administration has already revoked Medicaid work requirements, citing the pandemic and economic environment and saying such rules present barriers to those lacking access to transportation or child care, among other issues. The Biden Administration has moved Georgia’s status from approved to “pending” on the federal website.
The state ethics commission decided Thursday to move ahead with a case against a former Georgia Senate majority leader Chip Rogers who is accused of illegally using campaign money to repay himself more than he loaned his campaign. Commission staff said Rogers used leftover campaign money once he was out of the General Assembly for thousands of dollars in personal expenses, spending money at Six Flags, Dillard’s Department Store, the PGA Super Store, a luxury car dealership in Florida and the Shaky Boots Music Festival. Under state law, politicians can only use campaign money to win and maintain their office. Once they leave office, they can dispose of that money by donating it to charity, returning it to donors or repaying campaign debt and expenses.
The chair of the Georgia Ethics Commission, Attorney Jake Evans is stepping down and some say he is paving the way for a House bid. Republican Evans is rumored to be entering the race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath.
Cobb is one of two metro Atlanta counties that have won legal fees in an election lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump. Election officials in Cobb and DeKalb counties sought the fees in a Trump lawsuit that sought to overturn the presidential election in Georgia. A hearing on those requests was set for this Friday, but the Cobb County Board of Elections received $15,554 last week to cover its legal costs through June 1.
The state’s Board of Regents named this week a veteran finance official as the acting chancellor of Georgia’s public university system, delaying former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s immediate hopes of landing the coveted job. The Regents voted in a brief meeting to appoint Teresa MacCartney to lead the system while members of the powerful group try to overcome the commotion that has erupted in selecting the University System of Georgia’s next permanent chancellor. MacCartney will be in charge until the board finds a replacement for Steve Wrigley, who is retiring, effective July 1. MacCartney is a former budget director for Gov. Nathan Deal who has been executive vice chancellor of administration for the university system since 2019. She will be paid $438,000 annually in the new position. Her appointment was immediately praised by some political leaders, who pointed out she is well respected among lawmakers of both major parties.
The 18th annual Juneteenth festival in Marietta was a huge success and brought hundreds to Marietta Square and Glover Park on Saturday to celebrate the holiday. Juneteenth, which falls on June 19 each year, commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. The annual Juneteenth celebration is organized by the Cobb County chapter of the NAACP. Deane Bonner, the group’s former president, said the event exceeded expectations, despite the bad weather. “It also not only gives these small businesspeople an opportunity to make some money, it also gives the African American community (the chance) to circulate our dollar more … it stays in our community,” Bonner said. This year’s event took on special significance after President Joe Biden signed a bill last week establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. It is the 11th federal holiday to be established and the first since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was added in 1983. Said Bonner, “Today is extra special.”
Netflix has renewed “The Upshaws,” a sitcom starring Mike Epps, Wanda Sykes and Atlanta’s Kim Fields. The streaming service has given the show 16 episodes, split into batches of eight. The first season ran 10 episodes. “Executive producers and co-showrunners Regina Hicks and Wanda Sykes have created a fresh entry in the tradition of Black sitcoms that’s real, relatable, full of heart and incredibly funny,” said Tracey Pakosta, Netflix’s Head of Comedy. “We’re thrilled to see where they, along with their talented cast, take the Upshaws in the second season.”
After a 41-31 regular season, the Atlanta Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Atlanta is facing former head coach Mike Budenholzer and the Milwaukee Bucks. The winner moves on to the NBA finals to face the winner of the Western Conference finals between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. The series is tied 1 to 1, with the Hawks hosting the Bucks tonight at 8:30 p.m. at State Farm Arena.
A business advocacy group that sued Major League Baseball for moving the All-Star Game out of Georgia dropped their casenearly two weeks after an adverse court ruling. New York-based Job Creators Network, a group backed by The Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, filed a federal lawsuit after MLB announced it was pulling next month’s game out of Georgia in protest of the General Assembly’s passage of an election law adding new restrictions critics attacked as voter suppression. The group sought a preliminary injunction ordering MLB to either bring the game back to Georgia or pay $100 million in damages, an estimate of the game’s potential economic impact.
Microsoft has unveiled the next generation of its Windows software, called Windows 11, that has sleeker visual features and is more open to third-party apps. The newest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system will be a successor to today’s Windows 10, which the company introduced in 2015. Windows 11 is expected to become available later this year on new computers and other devices and as a free update for those with Windows 10. It includes a host of cosmetic upgrades, such as a new Start button, a revamped task bar and sounds, and under-the-hood features designed to boost speed and efficiency.
Cobb-based nonprofit MUST Ministries received nearly 58,000 pounds of food from Publix’s Feeding More Together register campaign at their Donation Center loading dock last week. The food shipments arrived to MUST Ministries in two parts. Thirteen pallets of food arrived on Wednesday, while the remaining 18 arrived on Thursday. The shipments, which contained nonperishable items such as peanut butter, fruit cups and oatmeal, will be used to support MUST Ministries’ food distribution programs. These programs include client pantries, neighborhood pantries embedded in schools, food distribution initiatives for senior citizens, a mobile food pantry, a community kitchen and their summer lunch program, which aims to provide more than half a million meals to children in seven counties.
R&B singer and accused sex trafficker R. Kelly still has some very loyal fans who are not happy he is behind bars. Kelly’s supporters scrawled messages including, “FREE R. KELLY” on the blacktop outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn sometime between Thursday night and early Friday morning.” UNMUTE R. KELLY,” said one message with “HE DIDN’T DO THIS STUFF!” written underneath it.“#INNOCENTUNTILPROVENGUILTY,” read another.
In this week’s episode of a White person calling the police and making false claims against a Black person, a 35-year-old woman in California is facing hate crime charges after she allegedly hurled racial slurs at a Black Amazon delivery driver and physically tried to block him from leaving her neighborhood. Julie Warland became upset over the way the van was driving through her neighborhood, so she and her boyfriend followed the Amazon truck to “confront” the driver. Warland parked her vehicle beside the delivery van “in a manner to prevent escape.” The Black driver said he feared for his safety and attempted to drive away, “but was unable to because Warland grabbed his steering wheel and hands,” forcing him out of the truck, cursing at him, and calling him the N-word. Warland then called 911 and told authorities the driver was “trying to escape”, while the boyfriend stood behind the delivery truck. Neighbors began to emerge from their homes to film the ruckus. When police arrived, they placed Warland under arrest. She faces four misdemeanor charges including two counts of battery and disturbing the peace by offensive language, along with the hate crime charge, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and is scheduled for arraignment July 1.
Have a wonderful week….