Georgia Lawmakers

Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Tuesday on Political Rewind, there are many uncertainties as the pandemic continues. One eventuality is certain, however; the state budget will be hit hard.

The cost of the response, in addition to decreased tax revenue from the lockdown, could sprain an already strained bottom line for the state government. What is the plan for officials? 

We discussed the budget today with Terry England (R-Auburn), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Shyann Swanson

Friday on Political Rewind, a brief look at the two-month timeline that led up to murder charges this week in the case of Ahmaud Arbery. New developments draw into question decision-making at the local level.

John Bazemore / AP

Wednesday on Political Rewind, the coronavirus pandemic is complicating an already arduous budget in Georgia.

The continuing cost of the state response, in addition to a loss of revenue and economic activity, has led Gov. Brian Kemp to last week call for significant cuts to all state agencies. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Monday on Political Rewind, the challenges of holding elections amidst a public health crisis. We spoke to the current and former secretaries of state who joined us to talk about managing this year's elections amid the dangers of coronavirus.


Brad Raffensperger - Georgia Secretary of State

Cathy Cox - Former Georgia Secretary of State, former candidate for governor, current Dean of the Walter F. Georgia School of Law at Mercer University

Sam Bermas-Dawes / AP

Friday on Political Rewind, Gov. Brian Kemp lifts a shelter-in-place order for many Georgians across the state. His press secretary joins us to discuss the decision.

What will the political fallout look like for officials across the country as multiple states begin easing restrictions?

Sam Bermas-Dawes

Wednesday on Political Rewind, our guest discusses the mental toll of COVID-19.

We're joined by Dr. Raymond Kotwicki, the chief medical officer at Skyland Trail, one of the premiere nonprofit mental health treatment centers in the Southeast.

Sam Bermas-Dawes

Monday on Political Rewind, we discussed the upcoming 2020 elections, and how campaigns are handling the shelter-in-place conditions found across the state and the country.

Nearly 830,000 people have applied for absentee ballots for the 2020 combined primary so far. That represents a huge increase in applications over 2016’s primary, and reflects efforts by officials and the public to avoid the spread of coronavirus from in-person voting.

Sam Bermas-Dawes

Wednesday on Political Rewind, the political consequences of the pandemic. The governor’s recent decision to slowly re-open businesses in Georgia has drawn criticism and national attention.

How will voters respond to the public health efforts of elected officials at all levels of governments in this crucial election year?

David Goldman / AP

Today on Political Rewind, Georgia agriculture takes a hit from the coronavirus. Farmers face concerns over exposure to the virus and uncertain retailers cutting demand.

We heard from Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black on how the ongoing public health crisis is affecting the state’s farming businesses.

Political Rewind: Medical Workers On The Front Lines

Apr 14, 2020
Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Today on Political Rewind, president of the American Medical Association Dr. Patrice Harris joined us to discuss her observations on how medical professionals are faring as they fight the virus.

Morry Gash / AP

Wednesday on Political Rewind, statewide elections in Wisconsin last night provide an interesting case study of elections under lockdown. How did the public health crisis surrounding COVID-19 impact elections there, and what can that tell us about Georgia’s upcoming elections just a month away? 

Our panel of political analysts looked at turnout numbers and the record number of issued absentee ballots in that state.

Bernat Armangue / AP

Tuesday on Political Rewind, we sat down with religious leaders to discuss tradition and community in a time of social distancing. How will services for upcoming religious holidays operate, and what kind of themes from the holy days are relevant to our current moment?

And, what are the challenges of organizing a faith community in a time of social distancing?

Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Elected officials at the county and municipal levels are struggling to find ways to respond to an unfolding public health crisis. Where many other states have issued statewide lockdowns, Gov. Brian Kemp has made it clear he wants to allow local leaders to make decisions on this kind of policy for themselves.

Monday on Political Rewind, we’re joined by Mayor Bo Dorough of Albany, to discuss the ongoing public health crisis from the perspective of his town in Dougherty county.

Over the weekend, reports showed Albany had the fourth-highest rate of infection per capita among cities in the world. Hospital officials there said Sunday they received 125 positive coronavirus test results in just 24 hours.

DXR / Wikimedia

Tuesday on Political Rewind, Gov. Brian Kemp ordered bars and nightclubs to close and restricted gatherings of more than 10 people in his latest effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Georgia. However, he rejected calls to shutter restaurants or to issue a shelter in place order for the state.

And, our panel discussed how the state’s budget and economy being shaped by this public health emergency. 

Donna Lowry / GPB News

Monday on Political Rewind, it is the beginning of a weird week for Georgia, the rest of the country and the rest of the world. People everywhere are trying to adapt to this new public health crisis caused by the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.

Our show this week will be a bit different than usual. In order to best protect our guests and our staff, host Bill Nigut and our guests will be calling into the show.

DXR / Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday on Political Rewind, legislators in the Georgia House are set to vote on a mid-year budget rejecting many previously proposed cuts to health services, accountability courts and more.

What could this mean for the relationship between the governor and legislative leaders? 

John Amis / AP

Thursday on Political Rewind, Gov. Brian Kemp has offered a sharp rebuke to lawmakers who have called a halt to the legislative session to try and resolve an escalating budget fight. Without using his name, Kemp attacked Speaker David Ralston, who called for the seven-day suspension of the session.

In the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” the focus on language in politics is high. What a bill is or campaign is called can be just as important as the actual contents. With the recent string of “heartbeat” and related bills in several states, we took a look at the role language plays into how we debate issues in public. 

Dr Fern Johnson, professor emerita in English at Clark University, joined us to talk about the power of connotation and the tools legislators use. Her research centers on the discourse surrounding ethnicity, race and gender.

Bob Andres / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state of Georgia — and the country — is divided over so-called "heartbeat" bills and other new state laws restricting abortion. Many are confused about who could be prosecuted and what, exactly, constitutes a violation of the law.

On Second Thought leaves the flashpoints of politics behind and attempts to get some clarity on the legal questions raised by HB 481.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

SINE DIE. 12:00 a.m. April 3. Sine Die! The House and the Senate are done with the 2019 legislative session, using the final minutes to pass a medical marijuana cultivation bill years in the making. 

All bills not passed by both chambers today will be on hold until next session begins January of 2020.

One notable set of measures that did not pass? A jet fuel tax break for Delta and other airlines, a rural transportation plan and a proposal for the state to take over Atlanta's airport. 

Medical Marijuana Clears Senate

Andre M / Wikimedia Commons

Georgia has been a major player in the music industry. Atlanta especially is a mecca for rap, hip-hop and R&B. Notable artists come here to record, and Georgia has been home to a number of famous names, including Ray Charles, Arrested Development, T.I., Ludacris and heavy metal band Mastodon.


Now, state legislators are working to make Georgia an even bigger hub for music and entertainment. Recently, Georgia Rep. Erica Thomas announced plans to co-chair a newly created Georgia Entertainment Caucus. She joined "On Second Thought," along with Grammy Award-winning music producer and engineer Matt Still, to discuss the caucus' potential impact.


Wikimedia Commons / Ken Lund.

Georgia lawmakers convene the second week of January. The Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press recently analyzed financial disclosure reports from state legislators nationwide. They found many examples of legislators using their power to benefit personal interests.  We talk with Liz Whyte, reporter with the Center for Public Integrity. And James Salzer, who covers state politics for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.