Tuesday, April 14, 2009

John "Chris" Clark becomes GTLA's 53rd President

Media Release

Atlanta, Georgia—On Friday, April 17th, John “Chris” Clark of Macon, Georgia, will become the Georgia Trial Lawyer Association’s (GTLA) 53rd President during the Association’s Annual Convention.

“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as the President of GTLA,” said outgoing President, Fred Orr, whose one-year term expires this Friday. “I will be handing over the reins of the GTLA Presidency to one of my dear friends and one of GTLA's finest trial lawyers, Chris Clark of Macon, Georgia. He will be an outstanding President of GTLA.”

Clark, a native Georgian, has been practicing law for 20 years. As a partner in O’Neal, Brown and Clark, his practice focuses on representing severely injured individuals or the families of persons killed through negligence.

Clark graduated summa cum laude from The Citadel and was a former officer in the United States Army. He then attended Mercer Law School where he was a Mercer Law Review editor and member of the Brainerd Currie Honor Society before graduating cum laude. Now, Clark is an adjunct professor at Mercer Law School and he regularly lectures at various Continuing Legal Education seminars. Clark is married to Elizabeth Clark and together they have raised two sons, John and Robert.

“I am humbled and proud to be the next President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association because without GTLA, the Constitutional promise of justice for all would be significantly endangered,” said Clark. “Protecting and preserving the promise of justice for all Georgians, from all walks of life—remains the essential mission of GTLA. GTLA’s vision of fairness and justice for all is needed now more than ever.”

Clark will be voted in as President at the business meeting during the GTLA Annual Convention at the Four Seasons Hotel. The Annual Convention culminates Friday night with a President’s Gala featuring keynote speaker Congressman Bruce Braley from Iowa. The Gala will celebrate outgoing President Orr and welcome incoming President Clark.

“President Fred Orr did an outstanding job leading GTLA over the past year. I am honored to be following behind such a strong and charismatic leader,” said Clark.

Said Orr, “Chris brings a personal passion to all he does and has a unique understanding of the needs of our members - particularly those outside the metro-Atlanta area. Chris is a true Champion of the Civil Justice System.”

In addition to his leadership in GTLA, Clark is named in the “Best Lawyers in America,” is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a Master in the Bootle Inn of Court. He is President of the Macon Bar Association and he is a member of the President’s Club of the American Associate of Justice. Clark has been repeatedly named as a “Super Lawyer” by Atlanta Magazine.

Judge Denies Rape Victim the Right to Sue

From CNN:

Monday, April 6, 2009

A budget nobody will call perfect

From the AJC, a report on the GA budget's passage, with quotes attributed to Allie Wall, worth a read:

"When state lawmakers drove away from the Capitol early Saturday, they left many Georgians facing the possibility of higher property taxes this fall and the prospect of higher utility bills in the future.

They left students facing likely increases in tuition at universities and colleges. And they left metro Atlanta residents with the likelihood that MARTA service will be cut.

They gave Georgians with profitable investments a break on capital gains taxes.

They also may have helped create some jobs for the unemployed by giving tax breaks to businesses that hire them and by approving $1.2 billion in borrowing for construction projects."

and ...

A bill consumer groups said would help address the state’s foreclosure crisis, Senate Bill 57, passed the Senate but never made it to the House floor for a vote.

Georgia Watch, an Atlanta consumer group, said the bill would have, among other things, banned major financial incentives for mortgage brokers to guide borrowers into expensive and unsuitable loans.

Allison Wall, executive director of the group, said she was “extremely disappointed” the House didn’t take up the bill.

Source here.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Georgia Legislative Report

How certain bills fared in the final days of the Georgia Assembly:

-Lawmakers struck a deal on an $18.6 billion state budget that makes deep cuts to state spending. The plan avoids increasing health insurance costs for state workers by tapping federal stimulus dollars to pay for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

The gridlock over transportation continued as lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on funding. Lawmakers struck a deal over a transportation overhaul that would give state politicians vast control over infrastructure dollars. But plans for a new one-cent sales tax to fund hundreds of road projects died.

-Lawmakers agreed on a separate transportation overhaul that would give state politicians vast new control over infrastructure dollars. The transportation makeover, which passed the Senate 33-22, comes after heavy lobbying from Republican leaders who argued that granting the governor and lawmakers new powers over transportation funding would help transform a dysfunctional bureaucracy into one that is more accountable to voters.

-The Legislature approved a sweeping new tax break that cuts the capital gains tax in half over two years. The measure also doles out a $2,400 income tax credit to any business that hires someone who has been unemployed for at least four weeks. And it creates a one-year "new business tax holiday" that waives the $100 filing fee for new business.

-Gov. Sonny Perdue won't be able to preside over a wedding anytime soon. The Legislature on Friday stripped a provision that would give the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and constitutional officers the power to preside at weddings. House Speaker Glenn Richardson had advocated the measure. But when it passed the House by a 164-1 vote, it only included a separate proposal designed to urge couples to get tested for sickle cell disease before marrying.

-State lawmakers who fail to pay taxes could soon face sanctions from a legislative committee. The House and Senate have both passed measures that would allow the House or Senate Ethics committees to investigate and sanction legislators who fail to pay their taxes. Both chambers passed the measure, which now goes to Perdue.

- A proposal that would give lawmakers more control over the public defender system was pulled amid concerns from lawmakers. It would have given politicians more control of the cash-strapped system.

-The Senate tried again to force adults in seat belts to buckle up, but House lawmakers refused to take up the measure. Similar proposals have died in that chamber for the last three years.

-The Legislature signed off on a proposal that would provide legal protection to families who use donated embryos to have a child. The House's 108-61 vote Friday on the "Option of Adoption Act" is designed to prevent an embryo donor from later claiming the child born from that embryo to another family.

-Lawmakers agreed to reorganize two of the state's largest bureaucracies. The Senate voted unanimously to restructure the state's health and human services department, creating a new agency to lead Georgia's troubled mental health system. The measure would reshuffle social services and health programs now spread across two state agencies and distribute them among three new divisions.

-Lawmakers voted to require prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before they cast their ballots. The plan, which passed the House 104-67, would make Georgia the second in the nation with such requirements. Only Arizona requires its residents to prove they are U.S. citizens to register to vote.

Source here.