Legislative Boundaries To Be Redrawn; Becomes Issue #1 at the Capitol

Court Hands Down Decision

On Tuesday, February 10, 2004, a three judge federal court panel rejected legislative boundaries drawn up by the Democratically controlled legislature, in 2001.  These boundaries were intended to strengthen the Democrats control of the General Assembly.  The panel?s decision came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Fall that the constitutionality of the legislative lines be revisited.  

The Republicans viewed the ruling as a victory and hailed the position that the Democratically drawn boundaries violated the federal Voting Rights Act.   The panel?s ruling cited districts that violated the ?one person one vote? principal because the disproportionate districts varied by as much as 10%. The panel?s decision will have far reaching implications if upheld.  If upheld, twenty-seven states would join Georgia in violation of this court?s ?new law?.  With the stakes so high, The United States Supreme Court will likely have to resolve the issue.  

The Court gave the legislature until March 1, 2004 to draw new boundaries that limit the population deviation.  If the legislature cannot agree on a plan, the court will draw its own map.  It will be important for the legislature to act quickly, as the filing deadline is approaching for the primary elections scheduled for June 20, 2004.  

Secretary of State Cathy Cox Defers to Baker and Chooses to Appeal

As the sole defendant on the lawsuit, Georgia?s chief of elections, Secretary of State Cathy Cox was left to make a decision about an appeal.  Instead of deciding herself, she turned the responsibility over to Attorney General Thurbert Baker.  Baker, a fellow Democrat, decided to appeal the federal court ruling that threw out Georgia?s legislative redistricting plans.  Baker will also ask the court for a stay to delay the enforcement of the ruling.  For his part, Governor Sonny Perdue tried to twist the arms of Baker and Cox by sending them each letters imploring them to drop the appeal.  Baker wrote back saying, ?While I understand your desire that this case not be appealed, I must also consider the wishes of the defendant whom I represent in this case, Secretary of State Cathy Cox, as well as the importance of the legal issues presented."

Legislators See Their Own Jobs at Stake

Every legislator running for reelection has taken a strong interest in the redistricting controversy.  The decisions first casualty may be multi-member districts.  Multi-member districts helped Democrats concentrate their control in the legislature.  While the federal court decision specifically allows multi-member districts, Governor Perdue has vowed to veto any plan that involves them.  
Reece & Associates Insights?Weekly Observations from Behind the Scenes

Politics Heat Up Under Gold Dome

The Federal Court?s decision to throw out the Democrats redistricting plan has turned up the heat on partisan politics in this year?s legislative session.  The tone in Atlanta has changed from the amicable first half of the Session, which saw very few deeply dividing partisan issues.  Up until this point, both Democrats and Republicans had rolled up their sleeves in order to get their work finished in an effort to return home to campaign for November?s election.  

On Thursday the Senate held a contentious floor debate on parental notification for minors seeking an abortion.  The issue split Democrats and Republicans and resulted in the passing of S.B. 240 that makes it harder for a minor to get an abortion.  Also on Thursday, Attorney General Thurbert Baker ruled that Governor Perdue could not use state helicopters for personal or campaign business, a complaint filed against the Governor by Democrats.  

Both Sides of the Aisle a See Leadership Gap in Perdue, But Does the Public?

As the Perdue Administration entered its second year, Republicans and Democrats alike had hoped that the Governor had gotten over his freshmen mistakes and would come to Atlanta prepared to lead.  Political insiders are beginning to recognize that both sides are again disappointed.  The Governor has been criticized for his hands off approach and his failure to give the state any direction, especially in these difficult budgetary times.  Many thought that the Governor?s replacement of his chief of staff, Eric Tanenblatt, with John Watson in November would have a positive impact.   Longtime Capitol watchers have commented that they have never seen a Governor so distant from the legislative process.  

The question on everyone?s mind around the Capitol is, ?will Perdue?s aloofness hurt him with Georgia voters??  For now it seems that carefully crafted appearances have kept his public image relatively high.            
Progressive Executive to serve as Chairman-elect for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

David Skove, General Manager for Agency Sales with Progressive Insurance, has been selected as the new chairman-elect for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  David succeeds Harvey R. Pierce, chairman and chief executive officer of American Family Mutual Insurance, who has been elected to serve as chairman for the IIHS Board of Directors.  The Institute is a non-profit research-based organization, supported by auto insurers, which focuses on countermeasures to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.  For over 30 years the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has been a leader in finding out what works and doesn’t work to prevent motor vehicle crashes in the first place and reduce injuries in the crashes that still occur.

David J. Skove has been with Progressive since 1990, and his prior positions were General Manager for the Virginia Business Unit, Virginia Product Manager, Mid-Atlantic Operations Manager, and Division Controller.   He was a consultant for Mercer Management Consulting in Washington, D.C. prior to joining Progressive.   He received his MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and other degrees from Duke University and the College of William and Mary.  He and his wife Judy reside in Richmond, Virginia with their two children.
Porsche Top Contributor at Annual Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Dinner

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) helped make the celebration of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus 2004 Black History Month and Soul Food dinner possible with their generous sponsorship.  PCNA and other Georgia based company?s are proud to support the largest Black Caucus in the country.

Porsche participated with an Onyx Level Sponsorship.  The dinner was held at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot on February 12, 2004.  The agenda for the evening was ?Bridging the Gap: Preparing our Youth for Leadership.?   Justice Robert Benham, former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, was the honorary speaker.  Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor attended and spoke briefly to address the tribulations of the HOPE scholarship.  Also in attendance were several Porsche executives, numerous state constitutional officers, many state legislators and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

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