Category Archives: Politics

Energy and Commerce Committee Approves Carter Legislation to Ban “Gag Clause” Provisions

WASHINGTON – The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter’s (R-Ga.) legislation today to prohibit “gag clause” provisions.

Currently, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are able to include requirements in contracts that prevent pharmacists from providing advice to their patients on the best and cheapest out-of-pocket alternatives to medications covered under insurance. This is commonly known as a “gag clause.” As a result, patients may be paying more for their prescriptions than is warranted.

Carter’s legislation passed by the committee today prohibits group health plans offered by employers and individual health insurance plans, as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans, from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to inform a patient about the lower cost, out-of-pocket price options for their prescription. Additionally, the measure will require notifications to Medicare beneficiaries of the potential outcomes of paying out-of-pocket rather than with insurance.

“This bill passed our committee today with strong bipartisan support and now it is heading to the House floor,” said Carter. “As the only pharmacist in Congress, I know firsthand how important it is to prohibit gag clause provisions, and I am very glad my colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand the importance as well. It is unacceptable that pharmacists are not able to tell patients what is in their best interest. Patients need and deserve the most affordable options. I look forward to bringing this bill before the entire House of Representatives as it is an important part of our work to lower prescription drug prices for Americans.”

The Know the Cost Act passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee today. It will now be considered by the full House of Representatives. Similar legislation is currently moving through the United States Senate.

Deal, Lt. Gov. Cagle and Speaker Ralston Make Appointments to the ATL

Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston today announced appointments to the Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (The ATL). Deal appointed Charlie Sutlive to serve as the board chairman, effective immediately. Cagle appointed Teddy Russell and Mark Toro, effective immediately. Ralston appointed Charlotte J. Nash, effective immediately, and Rep. Earl Ehrhart, effective upon the conclusion of his service in the Georgia General Assembly in January 2019.

“Georgia is a destination for all types of industries and people from all walks of life to come and enjoy the prosperity of our state,” said Deal. “By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities. The ATL board members will work to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and I look forward to their work to provide new options for Georgians to get to jobs, community activities and homes to spend time with family more quickly and efficiently.”

The ATL was established by HB 930 to provide structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL is responsible for developing a Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit.

“As our state continues to experience record levels of growth, the ATL will strategically expand our public transportation network to accommodate thousands of new passengers, while reducing traffic congestion, strengthening the link between our communities, and spurring future economic growth,” said Cagle. “I commend Chairmen Brandon Beach and Kevin Tanner for their dedicated commitment to advancing this historic legislation, and I’m confident the ATL’s board members will take full advantage of our state’s many strategic assets to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of future investments in building a world-class transit network.”

The ATL is governed by a 16-member board and attached to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) for shared administrative resources.

“Transit is an integral part of our efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve freight logistics and create more jobs by attracting more businesses to metropolitan Atlanta,” said Ralston. “I am confident that the members of the ATL Board will look for ways to improve our transit network through innovative partnerships and projects, and that they will work tirelessly to keep Atlanta and its surrounding communities on the move.”

Charlie Sutlive, Chairman, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Deal

Sutlive is the director of corporate communication at Georgia Power. In this role, he provides strategic support for the company’s external and internal communications. Sutlive was previously the vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia (USG) and led the development and execution of communications, public affairs and economic development plans for USG’s 26 colleges and universities. He has held multiple leadership positions for some of the largest and most recognizable companies in the world, including MCI, which is now part of Verizon Communications, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America. Sutlive sat on the boards of Leadership Georgia, the REACH Georgia Foundation, the Jekyll Island Foundation and the Smithgall Woods Foundation. He is also a graduate of Leadership Georgia. Sutlive earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Teddy Russell, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle

Russell is a co-owner and the president of Russell Landscape. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. Russell and his wife, Courtney, have three children and reside in Atlanta.

Mark Toro, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Cagle

Toro is a co-founder of North American Properties’ Atlanta office. He previously served in several leadership positions with Faison and Cousins Properties. Toro has acquired, developed or redeveloped more than 70 projects totaling almost 30 million square feet. He attended Rutgers University. Toro and his wife, Nancy, have two children and three grandchildren.

Charlotte J. Nash, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston

Nash is the chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. She was elected countywide to this position in March 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016.  Nash previously worked for the Gwinnett County government for 28 years and retired as the county manager in 2004. She sits on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board and chairs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Board. Nash is a former president of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia. She and her husband, Michael, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Dacula.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, appointed by Ralston

Ehrhart is the CEO of Taylor English Decisions. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1988 and will conclude his service as a member of the General Assembly in January 2019. As a member of the House, Ehrhart served as the Minority Whip, Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of Higher Education Appropriations Committee. A businessman and entrepreneur, he was previously the executive vice president of the Facility Group and CEO of LakePoint Sports Development Group. Ehrhart and his wife, Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, have six children between them.

Rep. Graves Supports Conservative Government Funding Package

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) today voted for and the House passed the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act (H.R. 5895). The bill provides annual funding for the Department of Energy, the Legislative Branch of the federal government, the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction projects. Following Senate passage, the bill will head to President Trump’s desk.

“This bill is packed with conservative wins,” said Rep. Graves. “From record funding for our veterans and big investments in Georgia’s military installations to new resources for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and a pay freeze for members of Congress, this bill puts the needs of Georgia and America first.”

Below is a list of the bill’s highlights:

  • Includes $49 million for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, which is Georgia’s top economic development project
  • Provides $194.5 billion in total funding for the VA, which serves more than 20 million veterans
    • Targets new funding toward rural healthcare, suicide prevention, homeless veterans services and opioid abuse treatment
  • Includes $99 million for a Cyber Instructional Facility at Fort Gordon
  • Provides $13.6 million for a Navy Reserve Training Center at Fort Benning
  • Continues pay freeze for members of Congress
  • Provides funding for paid internships in congressional offices