Dacula councilman charged with theft
Channel 2 Action News has confirmed a Dacula city councilman has been charged with theft by taking.
Channel 2 Gwinnett bureau chief Tony Thomas has learned the investigation surrounding Greg Reeves centers around the use of a city issued credit card.
Investigators believe Reeves used $3,600 in city funds for personal use.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told Thomas records show Reeves spent the money on personal items, including a rental a car that he used for his private job as a pizza deliveryman.
Reeves has served on the city council since 2006.
Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbank said he couldn't comment on the investigation but he did call the case "sad."
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation.
Jury selection continues in deputy murder trial
After almost seven days of jury selection, attorneys are still questioning potential jurors in the Brandon Bradley murder trial.
Bradley is accused of killing Brevard County Deputy Barbara Pill in February 2012.
By Friday afternoon, attorneys had 30 potential jurors for the case. But they're hoping to have closer to 50 before they begin the process of narrowing down the jury pool to 12 people plus three alternates.
Bradley has been charged first-degree murder and the state is seeking the death penalty. Judge Morgan Reinman admitted Friday that the jury selection process has been going slow.
"We were anticipating that we would be through this case by March 28. I don't think that's going to happen, this process has taken longer than we anticipated," Reinman said.
Attorneys plan to dismiss Monday's jury pool so they can continue to question the jurors already called.
Senate President: ‘We will scorch the earth against sexually violent predators’
Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam at opening of Senate this morning.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, highlighted legislation aimed at sexual predators and other measures to protect children in his remarks at the opening of the 2014 legislatve session this morning.
An hour after the House convened on the other side of the Capitol, the Senate opened for business at 10 a.m. with flowers decorating Senators’ desks and Gov. Rick Scott putting in a brief appearance. Also in the Senate chamber were four Florida Supreme Court justices and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
“We can’t legislate the evil out of evildoers,” Gaetz said, but “We will protect our children and we will scorch the earth against sexually violent predators.”
He also pledged to make Florida “the most unwelcome place in America for those who would harm our children.”
Other issues Gaetz mentioned included a “Florida GI Bill,” which includes tuition and job-training help for veterans, tuition help for college students, a $500 billion reduction in taxes and fees pitched by Scott.
“Isn’t it great that in Florida the debate is about which taxes to cut” instead of tax increases, Gaetz said.
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A Glimmer Of Realism?
After slamming defense financial planning for "chaos and uncertainty" in October, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments fiscal expert Todd Harrison is willing to give the new budget some credit for greater realism. In a Monday preview briefing - conducted by phone in a snow-paralyzed city - Harrison noted a "slow convergence" between successive post-sequester budgets submitted by the Pentagon and the limits imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) that defined the sequester. The planned budget now exceeds BCA limits by $115 billion over the next five years, most of that being in the FY16-19 period, which is better than previous years. "The convergence is hard to see because it is so slow", Harrison says, but it is there. So far, too, Congress has shown willingness to relax BCA limits, promising to close the gap further. However, some risk areas remain. The Pentagon is counting on an extra $26 billion from a new government-wide "opportunity, growth and security initiative", but that is "unlikely to stay together", Harrison says, because it is a package that includes new revenues. A bigger problem, however, is the continued transfer of budget expenses into the sequester-proof overseas contingency operations (OCO) "war budget", a trend that CSBA identified in last October's report. The Pentagon and Congress have been "complicit" in this process, Harrison says: "It's logical, when your base budget is capped and you don't want to make hard decisions." But the more that expenses are moved into OCO, the more the risk of pain if the OCO budget goes away abruptly, which is very possible if the U.S. and Afghan governments do not reach a bilateral agreement on security. Harrison slams the popular line that the budget will reduce the Army to "pre-WW2 levels" as "irrelevant". More to the point, he says, the planned cuts will leave the Army with up to 450,000 troops versus its pre-2001 strength of 481,000, and leave the Marine Corps above its pre-2001 end-strength. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's pre-budget-day release left two main programs in question, Harrison says: Hagel did not specifically mention any reductions or delays in F-35 Joint Strike Fighter procurement, but did not say that there would not be any, and did not directly say whether the Navy would be able to fund the refueling and complex overhaul for the aircraft carrier George Washington. "We'll have to look at the out-year budgets and see if the funding is there." CSBA presentation details are here.