Across Georgia

Oxendine's last-minute acts inspire measure


ATLANTA --- The Georgia House has unanimously approved legislation to prohibit state insurance commissioners from granting themselves insurance licenses without passing mandatory tests.

The measure came after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that former Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine awarded himself several licenses the day before he left office in January. The Republican used an insurance agency rule to exempt himself from mandatory education and testing requirements.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Bill Hembree, said that undermines public trust in elected officials.

Oxendine's successor, Ralph Hudgens, says he doesn't have the power to revoke the licenses.

House backs Savannah as cruise-ship central

ATLANTA --- The Georgia House passed a measure Friday encouraging the development of Savannah as a harbor for cruise ships.

The resolution passed 156-1. Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Marietta, cast the only "no" vote because he feels the government has no role in developing the terminal even though he thinks would be good if a private company did.

There is no cruise port between Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.

Rep. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, said that the city has paid consultants to research the feasibility of a public-private project to build a cruise ship terminal. That research suggests it could create hundreds of jobs and $100 million in economic activity.