ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
74°
Mostly Clear
H 85° L 63°
  • cloudy-day
    74°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H 85° L 63°
  • clear-day
    85°
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H 85° L 63°
  • clear-day
    86°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 86° L 68°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
House passes ethics bill
Close

House passes ethics bill

House passes ethics bill
Photo Credit: Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com
House Speaker David Ralston, left, is congratulated by House Majority Leader Larry O'Neal, R-Bonaire, following the passage of House Bill 142 and 143 in the House Chambers Monday.

House passes ethics bill

The Georgia House of Representatives on Monday passed historic legislation that would bar lobbyist gifts to individual lawmakers and enact new rules on lobbyist registration.

The bill, House Bill 142, passed overwhelmingly, 164-4, and now goes to the Senate.

The bill would still allow lobbyists to pick up the tab for dinners or gifts for entire committees, caucuses or other recognized groups and includes exemptions for lobbyist-funded travel, minus airfare.

But it, for the first time, would bar lobbyists from paying for golf outings, tickets to professional sporting events and private, high-dollar steak dinners that had become the norm.

Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, sponsored the bill and rallied support from the House floor on Monday. He said he knows the bill won’t please everyone.

“But in conjunction with that realization, knowing you can’t please everybody is, in a way, kind of liberating,” Ralston said. “It allows this body to do what it truly believes is the right thing.

“These are big bills that do big things.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • A grand jury indicted former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson with theft Tuesday after he receiving about $3,000 in advances for government trips that he never took. Watson, 63, faces a single count of theft by conversion in DeKalb Superior Court, according to DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston’s office. Watson withdrew advance checks in January 2016 for conferences in Chicago and Savannah, but then he resigned from office in March 2016 to run for DeKalb Tax Commissioner. “The state alleges the expense money w as then converted to personal use and not repaid until approximately one year later, well after Watson’s resignation,” according to a press release from Boston’s office. “County policy requires any funds advanced for travel but not actually used for said travel be returned to the county immediately.” A warrant was issued for Watson’s arrest, and he’s expected to surrender to authorities, the release said. Watson didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment. Exclusive to subscribers: Read the full story on myAJC.com. MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT. The AJC's Mark Niesse keeps you updated on the latest happenings in DeKalb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories: Accused politicians try to undermine ethics oversight in Georgia DeKalb Sheriff Mann could retain office even if found guilty DeKalb police, firefighter pay raise plan revealed Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com. In other DeKalb news:
  • A man convicted of robbing Waffle House restaurants in Cobb and Gwinnett counties will spend the rest of his life in prison. >> Read more trending news Cobb County Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell handed down the sentence Friday after a jury convicted Robbin Haynes, 23, of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony for the 2014 crime. Haynes and another man, Otis Lee Barnes, used a gun and large, orange bolt cutters to rob restaurant workers off Highway 92 near Sandy Plains Road on March 13, 2014. They got away with $400. That restaurant wasn’t the only one they hit. Investigators say the pair robbed two other Waffle House restaurants the same way. >> Related: Waffle House co-founder dies a month after business partner In a release sent to WSB-TV, Assistant District Attorney Lauryn Perry, who prosecuted the case, said, “Mr. Haynes committed three armed robberies in about 24 hours. The first occurred in Gwinnett County, the second one in Cobb County and the last one in Gwinnett County. He showed a lack of compassion for his victims and a streak of violence that the state believes is reflected in his sentence.” Haynes was previously convicted in Gwinnett County for the two related armed robberies there and was sentenced to life in prison. In addition to the life in prison sentence, the Cobb County judge also added a mandatory five years to serve in prison on the firearms charge. Haynes’ sentence will run concurrently with the sentence imposed in Gwinnett. Barnes, 25, pleaded guilty to charges in both counties. He was sentenced in Cobb County to 20 years, with 10 years to be served in prison.
  • Residents at a DeKalb County apartment complex finally have temporary stairs to reach their second-story units. Channel 2 Action News first reported how firefighters had to rescue people stuck on the second floor of the Maple Walk Apartments in Decatur earlier this month. Channel 2's Sophia Choi learned residents were using ladders to reach their second-floor homes. Even though it was unsafe, residents said they had to get into their homes after waiting weeks. 'I got a ladder and came home. I had no choice. I didn't have the funds to stay out anymore,' resident Shawta Tiller said. As of Tuesday, they have temporary wooden steps to use. The DeKalb County fire marshal toured the construction site weeks after the complex removed their stairs. Residents said despite promises of payments for hotel rooms, they have received nothing. So after a week or so, they decided to use ladders to get in. TRENDING STORIES: Body found in locked Walmart bathroom that employees thought was out of order for days Woman could face jail time over garden Man who robbed 3 Waffle Houses in 24 hours sentenced to life in prison 'It was very dangerous, because trying to take groceries, just trying to get your things up it was just very scary and dangerous,' resident Tyler Reese said. The fire marshal said the county evacuated residents on three separate occasions for using those unsafe ladders. Channel 2 Action News was with the code enforcement officer who checked out a host of other problems at the complex, including mold and holes inside units, and major structural problems like a sagging balcony. 'It's not just the building with no stairs, most of the buildings around here look like this, with debris all over the hallway and the ceiling gone,' one resident said. The county said the owners of the complex were late in following their orders, and they will be cited for the delay. 'The building department is waiting for that structural analysis pending to be submitted by the ownership. That's where the permanent fixes will take place,' DeKalb fire marshal Joe Cox said. Choi contacted the apartment manager, who declined to comment.
  • Three Chicago police officers have been indicted on charges that they conspired to cover up and lie about what happened when a white police officer shot a black teenager 16 times. The indictment alleges that one current and two former officers falsely reported the events of Oct. 20, 2014, when Officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald. The officers' version of events differs with police dashcam video. The indictment further alleges one of the officers signed off on a false report that claimed the other two officers were victims of an attack by McDonald. The charges mark the latest chapter in what has been one of the most troubling stories in the history of the Chicago police force.
  • Sean Newcomb struck out eight over six innings for his first major league victory, lifting the Atlanta Braves over the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Tuesday night. Atlanta has won eight of 10. Johan Camargo had a two-run double off the left field wall in the fourth to begin the scoring, and Atlanta added an unearned run in the eighth. Newcomb (1-2) made his major league debut June 10 and has a 1.48 ERA through four starts. He issued one walk Tuesday and allowed six hits. The 24-year-old left-hander was a touted minor leaguer when Atlanta acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels in 2015 for Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin (6-7) retired his final 10 batters, working seven innings for the third time in the past four starts. Newcomb overmatched the Padres with a 94-mph fastball and effective sliders and curves, cruising into the sixth having thrown only 72 pitches. When Jose Pirela blooped a leadoff double, the rookie pitcher responded by striking out the lineup's Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe, after falling behind each 3-1. Newcomb completed the escape by striking out Erick Aybar following an eight-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. Jason Motte maintained the 2-0 lead after Newcomb issued a leadoff walk in the seventh. Jose Ramirez threw a scoreless eighth. Jim Johnson struck out three in the ninth for his 16th save. Ender Inciarte scored Atlanta's third run on a sacrifice fly, by Nick Markakis. HOMER DENIED Myers eased into his home run trot between first and second base in the first inning, only to end up with a double when his 400-foot drive to right-center bounced back on the field. It went for a double, confirmed by a review. TRAINER'S ROOM Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon is expected to return from a back injury and start Wednesday's game in San Diego. Padres: RHP Trevor Cahill, sidelined since mid-May by a shoulder injury, is to start Wednesday for Triple-A El Paso. ... CF Manuel Margot returned to the lineup after a calf injury sidelined him for over a month. UP NEXT Braves: Colon (2-7, 7.78 ERA) has allowed 11 home runs and a .332 batting average over 59 innings, but against the Padres on April 16, the 44-year-old allowed one run in seven innings. Padres: RHP Luis Perdomo (2-4, 4.56) has held opponents to a .197 batting average with runners in scoring position this year. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • A stolen police helicopter fired on Venezuela's Supreme Court and Interior Ministry in what President Nicolas Maduro said was a thwarted 'terrorist attack' aimed at ousting him from power. The confusing exchange, which is bound to ratchet up tensions in a country already paralyzed by months of deadly anti-government protests, took place as Maduro was speaking live on state television Tuesday. He later said the helicopter had fired on the pro-government court with grenades, one of which didn't go off, helping avoid any loss of life. Adding to the intrigue, pictures of a blue police helicopter carrying an anti-government banner appeared on social media around the same time as a video in which an alleged police pilot, identified as Oscar Perez, called for a rebellion against Maduro's 'tyranny' as part of a coalition of members of the country's security forces. Authorities said they were still searching for the man. 'We have two choices: be judged tomorrow by our conscience and the people or begin today to free ourselves from this corrupt government,' the man said while reading from a statement with four people dressed in military fatigues, ski masks and carrying what looked like assault rifles standing behind him. Maduro sounded alternately calm and angry as he told the audience about what had happened in the airspace just beyond the presidential palace where they were gathered. 'It could've caused a tragedy with several dozen dead and injured,' he said. Later, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas read a statement from the government accusing the helicopter of firing 15 shots against the Interior Ministry as a reception was taking place for 80 people celebrating national journalist's day. It then flew a short distance to the court, which was in session, and launched what he said were four Israeli-made grenades of 'Colombian origin,' two of them against national guardsmen protecting the building. The pro-government president of the high court said there were no injuries from the attack and that the area was still being surveyed for damages. Villegas said security forces were being deployed to apprehend Perez as well as recover the heisted German-built Bolkow helicopter. Photos of the pilot standing in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter were displayed on state television to further bolster the government's case that he was taking instructions from the CIA and the U.S. Embassy. Meanwhile, many of Maduro's opponents took to social media to accuse the president of orchestrating an elaborate ruse to justify a crackdown against Venezuelans seeking to block his plans to rewrite the constitution. Venezuela has been roiled by anti-government protests the past three months that have left at least 75 people dead and hundreds injured. Maduro said one of the pilots involved in the alleged attack used to fly for his former Interior Minister, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who he accused of working for the CIA. Rodriguez Torres, who has been leading a campaign against Maduro made up of leftist supporters of the late Hugo Chavez, immediately dismissed the accusation as baseless. The helicopter incident capped a volatile 24 hours that began with widespread looting in the coastal city of Maracay on Monday night and continued Tuesday when opposition lawmakers got into a heated scuffle with security forces assigned to protect the National Assembly. At least 68 supermarkets, pharmacies and liquor stores were looted and several government offices burned following anti-government protests in Maracay, which is about a 90 minute drive from Caracas. Maduro condemned the violence but with a stern warning to his opponents that's likely to only further inflame an already tense situation. 'We will never surrender. And what we couldn't accomplish through votes we will with weapons,' he said. On Tuesday, opposition lawmakers got into fisticuffs with national guardsmen as they tried to enter the National Assembly. In a video circulating on social media, the commander of a national guard unit protecting the legislature aggressively shoved National Assembly President Julio Borges as he's walking away from a heated discussion. At nightfall, a few dozen people were still gathered inside the neoclassical building as pro-government supporters stood outside threatening violence. -- Follow Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman