The blog.

20
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 20, 2017

Shamrock

Shamrock is a young female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Okefenokee Humane Society Inc. in Waycross, GA.

Ireland

Ireland is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Okefenokee Humane Society Inc. in Waycross, GA.

Leprechaun

Leprechaun is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Okefenokee Humane Society Inc. in Waycross, GA.

March

March is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Okefenokee Humane Society Inc. in Waycross, GA.

20
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 20, 2017

On February 20, 1792, President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act, creating the United States Postal Service.

The act allowed for newspapers to be included in mail deliveries and made it illegal for postal officials to open anyone’s mail.

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. The order authorized the Secretary of War to designate military areas from which all persons could be excluded. On March 9, 1942, Roosevelt signed Public Law 503, which authorized the evacuation from the West Coast and internment in prison camps of Japanese and Americans born of Japanese ancestry.

On February 20, 1970, Georgia ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote.The Amendment states:

Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Seriously. 1970. Luckily ratification occurred when Tennessee approved adoption of the Amendment on April 18, 1920.

Interestingly, the only case in which the United States Supreme Court has addressed the Nineteenth Amendment arose in Georgia. Breedlove v. Suttles was a suit brought in Fulton County Superior Court concerning the poll tax. Here’s an excerpt:

The tax being upon persons, women may be exempted on the basis of special considerations to which they are naturally entitled. In view of burdens necessarily borne by them for the preservation of the race, the state reasonably may exempt them from poll taxes.

The laws of Georgia declare the husband to be the head of the family and the wife to be subject to him. To subject her to the levy would be to add to his burden. Moreover, Georgia poll taxes are laid to raise money for educational purposes, and it is the father’s duty to provide for education of the children. Discrimination in favor of all women being permissible, appellant may not complain because the tax is laid only upon some or object to registration of women without payment of taxes for previous years.

Privilege of voting is not derived from the United States, but is conferred by the state and, save as restrained by the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and other provisions of the Federal Constitution, the state may condition suffrage as it deems appropriate.

It is fanciful to suggest that the Georgia law is a mere disguise under which to deny or abridge the right of men to vote on account of their sex. The challenged enactment is not repugnant to the Nineteenth Amendment.

Bless their hearts.

On February 20, 1974, Reg Murphy, an editor for The Atlanta Constitution was kidnapped and held until managing editor G. James Minter delivered $700,000 in ransom. I’m not sure if they’d pay 700 cents to get any employee back nowadays.

In Augusta today, the boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson will be open for tours today in honor of President’s Day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today, the Georgia General Assembly is in recess, though several House Committees will meet at the Capitol.

10:00 AM Kelley Sub of House Jud’y (Civil) Committee 132 CAP

11:00 AM Sub 2A of Public Safety & Homeland Sec’y 406 CLOB

1:00 PM PUBLIC SAFETY 606 CLOB

Governor Deal had some things to say about Richmond County Public Schools.

 As Gov. Deal signed off on a $50 million Cyber Innovation and Trainng Center in Augusta, he spoke of his enthusiasm for the area’s institutions of higher learning. He was less kind to the Richmond County School System.

“They have too many chronically failing schools,” Deal said. “In order to have the pipeline for workers and students who will be able to take advantage of this…if you want those to be local students, they have to have an underlying good education.”

“People do notice,” he said. “The military takes note of that.  And I would point out to you that as we had our meeting with them several weeks ago, they pointed out that they have more of the children of those who are working in their facility that go to Columbia County to go to school than go to Richmond.”

Deal is now supporting a new House bill that would also allow the state to take over schools.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer compared House Bill 338 to last year’s Opportunity School District legislation.

▪ The OSD superintendent, appointed by the governor, could have been somebody without any work experience in education. HB 338 calls for the Georgia Board of Education, whose members are appointed by the governor, to appoint a Chief Turnaround Officer. The CTO would need at least 15 years of work experience in K-12 education and an advanced degree in K-12 education, and to have been a principal or higher in a public school system for at least three years with “extensive experience” in turning around failing schools.

▪ The CTO would recommend Turnaround Coaches, approved by the state school board, to “assist schools that are identified as in the greatest need of assistance.”

▪ The OSD proposal specifically defined which schools would qualify for state takeover. But the draft of HB 338 is vague. It says the schools in greatest need would be “based on the number of years such schools have received an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer.”

▪ After implementing the turnaround plan for two years, a school that hasn’t improved enough, as determined by the CTO, could be subject to the following actions from the CTO: appoint a school master or management team to direct the principal; remove any school personnel; convert the school to a charter; completely reconstitute the school and hire all new staff; allow parents to move their children to another public school in the system; completely restructure the school’s governance; turn the school over to a “successful” system; turn the school over to a private nonprofit entity; or establish “any other interventions or requirements deemed appropriate” by the CTO and the state school board.

▪ If one-half or more of the schools in a local school system receive an “unacceptable” rating for five or more consecutive years, the governor could suspend the local school board members.

The Ledger-Enquirer also spoke to local school superintendents for their reactions to the House Bill.

Al Hackle of The Statesboro Herald looks at Senate Bill 85, which would ease restrictions on direct sales by brewpubs and distillers.

Senate Bill 85, which passed the Senate on a 49-to-2 vote Feb. 2 and has now been given a substitute version by a House committee, would allow a brewery to sell up to 3,000 barrels a year of malt beverages directly from its taproom. A beer barrel is defined as 31 gallons, so that’s 93,000 gallons a year, enough to quench many a thirst. The beer and ale would be sold by the glass, bottle, can or other container, not literally in barrels.

After that, craft brewers might seek further changes in the law in response to market changes that will inevitably occur, said Nancy Palmer, executive director of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.

“But in the broad stroke, we are over the moon about this compromise and this legislation, and I anticipate that … assuming that it passes, this will be a huge step for Georgia breweries and we’ll be able to sit back and watch this industry grow in an exciting and healthy way for several years,” Palmer said Friday.

[Eagle Creek Brewing Co. owner Franklin] Dismuke has been following the bill’s progress and has contacted area legislators about it.

“This will be a major, major win for the brewing industry in Georgia,” he said, adding that there will probably be “a lot more breweries opening up in the state.”

Augusta could hit the jackpot with changes to casino legislation that would allow a potential non-Atlanta location.

Rep. Brian Prince, D-Augusta, said a bill being sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, would license two areas of the state for casino gambling – Atlanta and either Augusta, Savannah, Macon or Columbus.

“Augusta is in the mix,” and ideally suited for casino gambling, Prince said.

“What’s great about Augusta is we’re not just drawing from the state of Georgia. We have South Carolina right across the bridge and North Carolina less than two hours away,” he said.

Sen. Harold Jones, D-Augusta, said casino gaming packs “tremendous economic potential for Augusta” and expected the legislation to leave open the possibility of casinos obtaining more than two licenses in Georgia. Jones said in order to be successful, the casino “has to be something that attracts persons from at least the southeast.”

The AJC looks at other changes in the Senate’s version of the casino bill.

Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said Friday that his Senate Bill 79 will see its first vote in committee on Thursday. Also, Beach on Friday introduced Senate Resolution 249, the proposed amendment to the state Constitution legalizing casinos. This latest version of SB 79:

• Would license up to two “destination resort” casinos in Georgia. One in either Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett or Clayton counties and one outside that region. The second casino, however, would have to be located within 30 miles of a major convention center.

• Would levy a tax of 20 percent on casino proceeds.

• Would send 30 percent of those tax revenues to the HOPE scholarship program, 30 percent to a needs-based college scholarship, 15 percent to help provide rural healthcare, and 15 percent to help provide rural trauma care. The remaining 10 percent is still being negotiated, [Senator Brandon “Dice”] Beach said.

State Rep. Dewey McClain (D–Lawrenceville) introduced House Bill 315 to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

“This is good news for all working Georgians,” McClain wrote in the letter. “Georgia’s minimum wage is $5.15 an hour but many of the state employers pay the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. In many instances workers earning these wages cannot afford the basic necessities of life and end up receiving food stamps so they can eat.

“This amounts to an indirect government subsidy of the firms which employ these people, is a burden on the workers and is not fair to the tax paying public.”

Georgia Sheriffs are seeking state help to provide raises for their officers, according to The Macon Telegraph.

The sheriffs have been telling lawmakers that counties will lose good officers if pay doesn’t rise.

A jailer starts work, on average, at about $25,300 per year, according to the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. Average deputy sheriff pay starts at $29,900.

But sheriffs have another number on their minds: since a 20 percent raise for officers at state agencies went into effect this year, state troopers’ base pay now tops $46,000.

The state has long paid better than local agencies, said Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese. But the troopers’ raise is high enough that he said he and other sheriffs are worrying more about recruiting and retaining staff.

“We’re going to be losing the best of our best. That’s a concern of ours,” said Deese, who’s also president of the board of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said his department pays more than some others but that “all of us are having issues finding good people.”

But state legislators don’t set pay for deputies. That’s been up to counties.

“If we were to do something different, then this would be a substantial change from how things have always been regarding how we compensate our county-level employees,” said state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, who is a retired state trooper and a former county commissioner. He said he’s heard some ideas from sheriffs, but not any that he thinks would have broad support under the Gold Dome.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation may receive $35 milion dollars for construction of a new regional crime lab in South Georgia.

Currently, the Coastal [Regional crime] lab reviews evidence from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in 23 southeast Georgia counties and provides forensic biology services for another seven counties.

And while it’s the largest — and oldest — regional crime lab in the state, Ross Butler, director of the Coastal lab, said it’s no longer adequate to keep up with the workload of the facility’s three main services: firearms, forensic biology and drug testing.

Meanwhile, a growth study conducted recently by the Georgia Institute of Technology indicated that Coastal Georgia’s population will increase by anywhere from 1 million to 1.5 million people by 2030, and with the added population the agency expects added crime.

Dr. George Herrin, director of the GBI Crime Lab, said plans for the new facility will carry the regional lab through the next few decades.

Herrin said the new lab is being designed to handle cases from the 23-county region for the next 20-30 years. And if the spike in cases the area has seen in recent years is any indication, he said, it’s going to be needed sooner, rather than later.

“(The case load) is increasing a little bit each year,” he said. “For instance, in the last year or so, we’ve seen anywhere from a 10 to 50 percent increase in our service requests. We’ve seen a lot more officer-involved shootings in the last year. There’s a lot more emphasis on DNA — and not just from violent crimes, but crimes like burglaries and carjackings.”

Columbus State University will receive $2.5 million in construction funding under the FY2018 budget.

Guyton Mayor Jeff Lariscy is seeking the ouster of Police Chief Kelphie Lundy at a City Council meeting on March 9, 2017.

Hall County could get a new vineyard and winery if the Hall County Planning Commission approves plans.

Gainesville protesters are holding a vigil to support immigrants.

Ellen Gerstein of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services will join a 12-member national advisory committee for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The City of Sugar Hill is seeking to create a building authority for its downtown.

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan will deliver the State of the City address tomorrow at 5:30 PM at the Justice Center on Queen City Parkway.

Rooster down, hens up, in Marietta, as a new ordinance will allow up to four chickens but no roosters.

Trump Country

Homer in Banks County, Georgia is still Trump Country, according to the AJC.

Virtually no other place in Georgia was as supportive of Trump as Banks County, a sparsely populated area where nearly 9 out of every 10 residents voted for the Republican.

It’s hard to find a Democrat here. It’s even harder to find a Trump supporter who regrets his or her vote. And interviews with two dozen Banks County residents as the president approaches his one-month anniversary in the White House on Monday quickly revealed a few constants.

Most residents here brush off reports of chaos in the White House and reject the narrative that his administration is sinking into scandal and ineptitude. They feel his attacks on the media are justified. And they are somewhat concerned — if bemused — that he remains the same say-anything Trump he was on the campaign trail.

Trump notched a 5-point victory in Georgia in November despite losing most of metro Atlanta in part because of counties such as Banks, an overwhelmingly white, working-class and rural area where he ran up the score.

Support for GOP candidates here has crept from the high 70s in 2004 to nearly 90 percent in 2016, and no Democrats even bothered running in countywide elections last year.

Dalton State students spoke to NPR’s Marketplace about immigration issues.

Also still Trump County is South Georgia, though I hope the Administration has no plans to drain the Okefenokee Swamp.
Trump Rally

17
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 17, 2017

Cassie Meeker

Cassie Meeker is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Douglas County Animal Shelter in Douglasville, GA.

Pleakley

Pleakley is a male Chihuahua & Yorkshire Terrier Yorkie mix who is available for adoption from Douglas County Animal Shelter in Douglasville, GA.

Adopt this dog should you.

Honey

Honey is a brindle-coated young female Boxer and Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Douglas County Animal Shelter in Douglasville, GA.

17
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 17, 2017

On February 17, 1739, Thomas Jones wrote to the Georgia Trustees in London of the appalling conditions in Savannah.

“The profanation of the Lord’s Day. When at church in the time of divine service, can hear continual firing of guns by people that are shooting at some game, others carrying burdens on wheelbarrows by the church door.

“The uncommon lewdness practiced by many and gloried in.

“The negligence of officers in permitting several in this town to retail rum and strong liquors, unlicensed, who have no other visible way of livelihood, where servants resort and are encouraged to rob their masters… .

“I need not mention profane swearing and drunkenness, which are not so common here as in some other places, and few are notorious therein, besides Mr. Baliff Parker, who I have seen wallow in the mire….

The Georgia legislature, on February 17, 1783, passed legislation granting land to veterans of Georgia militia who served during the Revolutionary War.

On February 17, 1784, the Georgia legislature passed a bill to increase an earlier formula for settling the state, allotting 200 acres to each head of a family, plus 50 acres for each family member (including up to 10 slaves) up to a maximum of 1000 acres.

Thomas Jefferson was elected Third President of the United States on February 17, 1801. The election was deadlocked for three months between Jefferson and his running-mate Aaron Burr.

On November 4 [1800], the national election was held. When the electoral votes were counted, the Democratic-Federalists emerged with a decisive victory, with Jefferson and Burr each earning 73 votes to Adams’ 65 votes and Pinckney’s 64 votes. John Jay, the governor of New York, received 1 vote.

Because Jefferson and Burr had tied, the election went to the House of Representatives, which began voting on the issue on February 11, 1801. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality–handing Jefferson victory over his running mate–developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. Jefferson needed a majority of nine states to win, but in the first ballot had only eight states, with Burr winning six states and Maryland and Virginia. Finally, on February 17, a small group of Federalists reasoned that the peaceful transfer of power required that the majority party have its choice as president and voted in Jefferson’s favor. The 35th ballot gave Jefferson victory with 10 votes. Burr received four votes and two states voted blank.

On February 17, 1820, the United States Senate passed the Missouri Compromise to govern the admission of new states as either slave-holding or not.

On February 17, 1854, Georgia Governor Herschel Johnson signed legislation by the Georgia General Assembly placing on the ballot for the next generation the question of whether to move the state capital from Milledgeville to Atlanta.

Alexander Stephens, who was born in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia, was inaugurated as Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861. Stephens graduated from Franklin College, later known as the University of Georgia, and served in the Georgia legislature. Stephens opposed Georgia’s secession. One year later, Georgia’s delegation to the Confederate Congress, numbering ten members, was sworn in.

Ina Dillard was born on February 18, 1868 in Oglethorpe County Georgia. She married Richard Russell, who served on the Georgia Court of Appeals and as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. Their son, Richard B. Russell, Jr., would be elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker and became the youngest Governor of Georgia in the 20th Century. In 1932 he ran for United States Senate and was elected.

In 1936, Russell was elected to his first full term in the Senate over former Governor Eugene Talmadge. In 1952, Russell ran for the Democratic nomination for President and he was an early mentor for Lyndon B. Johnson, who later served as President. Russell served on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy.

Russell served as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee for many years. Russell was an acknowledged leader within the Senate, and especially among Southern members, and he led much of the opposition to civil rights legislation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On February 19, 1953, Governor Herman Talmadge signed legislation creating the Georgia State Literature Commission to investigate and refer for prosecution anyone selling obscene materials. In 2014, the Washington Post wrote about the State Literature Commission.

Georgia created the nation’s first censorship board.

The vote was unanimous. The Georgia State Assembly approved House Bill 247 on Feb. 19, 1953, with no dissent, establishing the Georgia Literature Commission. Despite being born into controversy, it lived on for 20 years surviving legal and legislative challenges until the administration of then-Gov. Jimmy Carter defanged it, setting off its slow death.

After years of support, then-Gov. Jimmy Carter cut the commission’s annual appropriation by about 20 percent in 1971, while simultaneously fighting a public battle against pornography. His administration then implemented zero-based budgeting, in which each governmental organization had to justify itself, which had become increasingly hard to do for the commission.

The first portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to hang in the state capitol was unveiled on March 17, 1974 and was replaced in 2006 by the current portrait.

On February 19, 2014, Elana Meyers (now Elana Meyers Taylor) from Douglasville, Georgia, won the Silver Medal in bobsled in the Sochi Olympics. Her father Eddie Meyers was a standout running back at the Naval Academy who served six years in the Navy and signed with the Atlanta Falcons after his service.

The Newnan Times-Herald writes about the real “Sister” Schubert, whose rolls are at most holiday dinners in our home.

Patricia “Sister” Schubert Barnes says women should find their passion and follow it with enthusiasm.

“I do believe I was put on this world to bake bread,” she told a mostly female crowd of about 130 on Feb. 5 at the Carnegie Library’s upstairs meeting room. Barnes’ talk was part of the 2017 Edgar B. Hollis Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by the Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation.

Barnes opened her talk with a short prayer. She reflected on the story of how her grandmother’s Everlasting Bread recipe grew from a family favorite into a national staple.

“I did take a recipe, a family recipe that I made those for years for my family and turned that into a business,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been successful because I found my purpose.”

She said her bread brings families together in the kitchen and around the table. “I believe our world needs a lot more of that, don’t you?,” she asked.

Amen, Sister.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed David L. Mincey III to the Superior Court for the Macon Judicial Circuit, filling the vacancy created when the Governor appointed Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self, III to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Under the Gold Dome

Committee Meetings – Legislative Day 20Continue Reading..

16
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 16, 2017

Hainey

Hainey is a young male Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Second Chance Animal Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Haizel

Haizel is an adult female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Second Chance Animal Rescue in Cairo, GA.

Kona Guiness

Kona (left, female) and Guiness (right, male) are 7-week old Shepherd mix puppies who are available for adoption from Best Friends Dog Rescue in Cairo, GA.

16
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 16, 2017

On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his archaeology party entered the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.

The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.

Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.”

On February 16, 1948, the United States Air Force renamed Robins Air Field to Robins Air Force Base. Robins AFB and the City of Warner Robins are named for Air Force General Augustine Warner Robins.

Fidel Castro was sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959.

On February 16, 1968, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representative Rankin Fite placed the first 911 call from Haleyville City Hall to Congressman Tom Bevill at the Haleyville police station.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 19

7:30 AM HOUSE APPROP FULL COMMITTEE 341 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE NATURAL RES & ENV’T 606 CLOB

8:30 AM SENATE FINANCE – Ad Valorem Sub 122 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION (LD 19) HOUSE

12:00 PM SENATE RULES- Upon Adjourment 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE HIGHER ED 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED IND & UTIL 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE AND TECH 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HS 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE JUD’Y (CIVIL) 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE Life & Health Sub Insurance 403 CAP

2:30 PM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 515 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE STATE INST & PROP – CANCELED

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

3:30 PM SENATE ETHICS 125 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE Telecommunications Sub Energy, Util & Telecom 605 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE Industry and Labor Sub 506 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE INTRAGOV’TAL COORD 415 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE WAYS & MEANS 406 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Income Tax Sub 125 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB

 

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 15 – Crimes and Offenses; weapons carry license; add to the category of former law enforcement officers (Substitute) (JUDY-33rd)

SB 16 – Low THC Oil; definition; provisions relating to conditions eligible for use; change (Substitute) (H&HS-1st)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Structured Rule

HB 1 – Georgia Space Flight Act; enact (Substitute)(Judy-Spencer-180th)

HB 160 – Mass transportation; create Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, provisions (Substitute)(Trans-Tanner-9th)

HB 198 – Elementary and secondary education; influenza vaccine; provide information (Ed-Dempsey-13th)

HB 214 – Crimes and offenses; consistent punishment for the unlawful manufacture, sale or distribution of a proof of insurance document; provide (Substitute)(JudyNC-Golick-40th)

HB 231 – Controlled substances; Schedules I, II, IV and V; change certain provisions (Substitute)(JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)

Structured Rule

HB 73 – Income tax credit; incentives to promote the revitalization of rural Georgia downtowns; provide (Substitute)(W&M-Houston-170th)

HB 125 – Sales and use tax; certain tangible personal property sold or used to maintain a boat; create exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Stephens-164th)

LEGISLATION

Governor Nathan Deal signed a $24.3 billion dollar FY 2017 Amended Budget.Continue Reading..

15
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 15, 2017

Shiloh

Shiloh is a male Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

Lobo

Lobo is a male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

Heidi

Heidi is a female Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Camden County in Kingsland, GA.

15
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 15, 2017

On February 15, 1796, Georgia Governor Jared Irwin and legislators gathered with a crowd for the burning of the “Yazoo Act.”

On February 15, 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor, Cuba.

On February 15, 1952 Gov. Herman Talmadge signed a joint resolution directing the purchase of Stone Mountain for development as a Confederate Memorial.

On February 15, 2011, Georgia Congressman John Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the civil rights movement.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY

7:00 AM HOUSE ALL HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBS 341 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE Reeves Sub Jud’y Non-Civil 415 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE AG & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 18) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:00 PM SENATE RULES -Upon Adjournment 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE AND LABOR MEZZ

1:00 PM SENATE NATURAL RES & ENV’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Income Tax Sub 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION AND YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Env’tal Quality Sub Nat’ Res & Env’t 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Sub Public Finance & Policy 133 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS DEV 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Regulations Sub Regulated Industries 514 CLOB

2:30 PM HOUSE Tags & Titles Sub Motor Vehicles 505 CLOB

2:30 PM HOUSE Education Sub Innovation & Workforce Dev 415 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE AG AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS 450 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE BANKING AND FINANCIAL INST 310 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE STATE AND LOCAL GOV’T OPS – CANCELED MEZZ

3:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER ED 403 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE INDUSTRY AND LABOR 506 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE Special Sub on Transportation 515 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY – Sub B 307 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 45 – Invasions of Privacy; to film under or through a person’s clothing; prohibit the use of a device (Substitute) (JUDY-20th)

SB 46 – Torts; space flight activities; provide facilitation; definitions; exceptions (Substitute) (S&T-3rd)

SB 89 – Transportation Department Officers; railways and railroad facilities and equipment; provide for state investment (Substitute) (TRANS-48th)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HB 139 – Education; provide transparency of financial information of local school systems and schools; provisions (Substitute)(Ed-Belton-112th)
HB 185 – Probate court; associate judges; change provisions (Judy-Coomer-14th)

Structured Rule
HB 61 – Sales and use tax; certain retailers to either collect and remit or notify purchaser and state; require (Substitute)(W&M-Powell-171st)
HB 117 – Sales and use tax; certain voluntary contributions; exclude from definition of retail sales (Substitute)(W&M-Watson-172nd)
HB 195 – Taxation; certain for profit corporations to participate in the indirect ownership of a home for the mentally disabled for primarily financing purposes; allow (Substitute)(W&M-Harrell-106th)

 

Medical cannabis backers oppose a Senate bill to reduce the allowable percentage of THC in cannabis oil.

Senators wanting to reduce the maximum THC level in the cannabis oil now allowed here from 5 percent to 3 percent say the move would bring the state more in line with others that also allow limited forms of the oil. Federal officials continue to classify the oil as an illegal drug.

Under the 2015 law, patients and, in the case of children, families who register with the state are allowed to possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil to treat severe forms of eight specific illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

The Senate’s proposal would add one more condition, autism, to that list. But only if the allowable THC is reduced.

Many of the more than a dozen states that have low-THC programs only allow percentages of 1 or lower.

[Dr. Ben Thrower] does not want to see the permissible percentage of THC lowered because it could have a direct effect on patients. Some may be fine with an oil at 3 percent THC, he said, but others respond better to cannabidiol with a higher percentage THC. He sees having a greater range of options as a plus, not a minus.

House Bill 271 by Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah) would update the Shore Protection Act.

That law protects Georgia’s network of dunes, beaches, shoals and sandbars — what’s known collectively as the sand sharing system — from adverse impacts from human activity. A healthy sand sharing system protects barrier island property from erosion and hurricane damage.

The current method of defining the landward boundary of where the Shore Protection Act applies is a line based on the presence of either a live native tree at least 20 feet tall, or a structure existing on or before July 1, 1979. That definition creates a zig-zag line that leaves out areas that should be in the state’s jurisdiction and pulls in areas that shouldn’t be there, Petrea said. Instead, he’s proposing that the landward boundary be defined as a line that runs 25 feet inland of the most landward of the following as determined by the Ga. Department of Natural Resources:

• the ordinary high water mark;

• the landward toe of the most landward sand dunes; or

• the crest of a visible and functional structure associated with a shoreline stabilization activity.

“It’s going to create a jurisdictional line that’s reasonable, that property owners and regulators can predict and stand on,” Petrea said.

State Senator John F. Kennedy (R-Macon) proposed Senate Resolution 146, enacting protections for crime victims as a Constitutional Amendment.

“Georgia’s crime victims’ bill of rights constitutional amendment would ensure that victims have same coequal rights as the accused and convicted, nothing more, nothing less,” said state Sen. John F. Kennedy, R-Macon, to a panel of fellow state senators at the state Capitol on Tuesday.

His legislation would add seven new rights to the Georgia Constitution, guaranteeing crime victims things such as the right to be heard at proceedings involving the person accused or convicted of wrongdoing.

Georgia law already contains a victims’ bill of rights. Kennedy’s Senate Resolution 146 asks Georgia voters to put those rights in the state’s highest law. Separately, his Senate Bill 127 outlines how a victim could go to court and ask for redress if those rights were not honored.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter held a tense meeting with NAACP members.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter walked out of a Gwinnett NAACP meeting Tuesday night after audience members began arguing with each other and the group’s president over his presence.

The meeting with the NAACP had been billed as an opportunity for the group’s members to ask him questions. Some attendees said the chapter’s membership was never asked if it wanted to hear from Hunter and ended up calling for local NAACP President Marlyn Tillman’s resignation as well as Hunter’s.

“You were not invited (and) you are not welcome,” Penny Poole told Hunter during the meeting. “The only thing we will take is your resignation and, now, the resignation of President Tillman.”

Special Master Ralph Lancaster, overseeing the Georgia-Florida water lawsuit, recommended the United States Supreme Court decline to hear the suit.

The recommendation from Special Master Ralph Lancaster, who was appointed by the court to oversee Florida’s suit against Georgia, isn’t a final decision. The court’s review of Lancaster’s report and responses from each state could take months. The states’ battle over water use dates back to 1990, and includes drawn-out negotiations and several lawsuits.

Lancaster [wrote] that Florida provided “no evidence” that a cap would help the state outside of drought periods and that any benefits “are likely rare and unpredictable.” He also questioned Florida’s decision not to include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages dams that affect the river basin, in its lawsuit.

“Without the ability to bind the Corps, I am not persuaded that the court can assure Florida the relief it seeks,” Lancaster wrote.

Governor Nathan Deal said he was “encouraged” by the news.

“We are incredibly pleased with the special master’s recommendation to the Supreme Court of the U.S.” said Deal. “Georgia remains committed to the conservation efforts that make us amicable stewards of our water. We are encouraged by this outcome which puts us closer to finding a resolution to a decades-long dispute over the use and management of the waters of the basin.”

“The special master’s decision is a major step toward securing a victory for Georgia citizens,” said [Georgia Attorney General Chris] Carr. “The State of Georgia put forth a remarkable and unified effort in this case, and bringing closure to this long-running dispute will ensure that our state has adequate resources to grow and flourish, ensuring economic prosperity for years to come.”

The Official Trout Festival and Outdoor Adventures will be held in Blue Ridge, Georgia on April 28 and 29, 2017.

“The Festival is built around the fact that Fannin County has become a trout-fishing destination for fishermen from all over the nation,” says House Speaker David Ralston.

Cobb County Commissioners approved a pay schedule that includes raises for 2000 employees.

DeKalb County Commissioners voted to hire an outside firm to audit water billing.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt may not seek reelection this year, according to Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills.

Mills confirmed after the meeting that she was told by Gravitt that he would not be seeking reelection due to personal reasons.

When asked, Gravitt’s office said he would be making an official statement on the topic at the city’s next council meeting Feb. 21.

Stockbridge City Council Member Elton Alexander has been the target of several citizen complaints.

BBQ Masters owner Arick Whitson filed a complaint on Jan. 31 alleging that Alexander used his power as a council member to attempt to bribe Whitson for free food, though he did not give a date of the alleged incident.

According to Whitson, Alexander asked him if he wanted to do business with the city, to which Whitson responded he “would love to.”

Alexander then proceeded to order food and was asked to pay. Whitson alleged that Alexander stated, “I thought you understood…I thought you wanted to do business with the city.”

Whitson said he responded that he does, but that Alexander must still pay for his food like other customers. Alexander then left the building without his meal, according to Whitson. Whitson alleges that Alexander later retaliated by calling code enforcement to report a violation of a grill outside his building.

That must be some tasty barbecue of somone is (allegedly) willing to shake down the owner for a rib plate.

Columbus Recorder’s Court Judge Mike Cielinski will retire, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

Sixth Congressional District Update

Check the Secretary of State’s Qualifying Database here. Candidate in bold have qualified.

Republican
David Abroms | website | Facebook | Twitter
Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan | website | Facebook | Twitter
Keith Grawert | website | Facebook | Twitter
Bob Gray | website | Facebook | Twitter
Judson Hill | website | Facebook | Twitter
Bruce LeVell | website | Facebook | Twitter
William Llop| website | Facebook | Twitter
Dan Moody | website | Facebook | Twitter
Kurt Wilson | website | Facebook | Twitter

Democratic
Ragin Edwards | website | Facebook | Twitter
Richard Keatley | website | Facebook | Twitter
Jon Ossoff | website | Facebook | Twitter
Rebecca Quigg | website | Facebook | Twitter
Former state Sen. Ron Slotin | website | Facebook | Twitter

Independent

Alexander Hernandez | website | Facebook | Twitter

Republican Bruce LeVell told the AJC Political Insider, “I am running for Congress to be President Trump’s strongest ally on Capitol Hill in making his America First agenda a reality.”

Although Trump won Georgia by a 5-point margin, the president’s embrace could prove riskier in Price’s establishment-friendly district.

Trump lost the district in Georgia’s March primary and eked out a 1-point victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November. Price, who was confirmed last week as Trump’s health secretary, won re-election by a more convincing 62 percent of the vote.

He seems more than willing to take that risk. In his campaign announcement, LeVell said he would fight to break the “establishment’s stranglehold of power and end the progressives’ assault on our Constitution.”

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel will qualify for Congress today.

Bill Barrow of the Associated Press takes a crack at explaining the dynamics in April’s Special Election.

Democrats are looking for an upset in the GOP-leaning district where Trump underperformed among the affluent, well-educated residents of the northern Atlanta suburbs. Trump narrowly topped Democrat Hillary Clinton, but fell shy of a majority even as Price cruised to re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote.

It’s a dynamic Democrats must capitalize on around the country if they hope to reclaim a House majority next year, and it leaves a wide-open Republican field in Georgia to decide whether to run alongside the president or establish some independence from a White House off to a rocky start.

Adding to the mix is a quirk of Georgia election law that makes special congressional elections a “jungle primary” with all candidates on the same ballot, regardless of party. If no candidate wins a majority on April 18, the top two finishers — again regardless of party — would advance to a second ballot set for June 20.

Chip Lake, who has run previous campaigns for Tom Price, said Republicans trying to succeed the new secretary must “tread very, very carefully” with Trump. “It’s risky aligning yourself with this president,” Lake said, “but it’s not easy to distance yourself from a figure like him either.”

National Democrats’ House campaign committee lists the Georgia district among its 59 targeted seats in the 2018 election cycle. Still, it’s not clear how much the party will invest; the district was not among the 20 where the party recently dispatched full-time field staff members.

Here’s my quasi-prediction. Unless someone else qualifies as an Independent today, Alexander Hernandez may have the best shot at a ticket to the runoff.

14
Feb

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for February 14, 2017

Nadia

Nadia is a young female Flat-Coated Retriever who is available for adoption from You Lucky Dog Rescue in Alpharetta, GA.

Nadia is great with kids, other dogs, sits on commands, is house trained and walks nicely on leash. Who could resist a beauty like this with such beautiful manners?

Callie

Callie is an 8-year old female Flat-Coated Retriever who is available for adoption from Canine Crusaders of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Callie is wonderful in the house, is completely housebroken and a non-chewer. She does great with kids, cats and other dogs and is very mellow. She gets most excited at feeding time and will talk to you and jump up and down to let you know! If you’re wanting to adopt a sweet soul, Callie is your girl.

Georgia Flattie

Georgia is a female Flat-Coated Retriever mix who is available for adoption from BullsEye Rescue, Inc. in Atlanta, GA.

Paul Flattie

Paul is an adult male Flat-Coated Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Pound Puppies ‘N Kittens Incorporated in Social Circle, GA.

14
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 14, 2017

On February 14, 1779, Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke led a charge against British forces at the Battle of Kettle Creek.

On February 14, 1956, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation calling for the protection, cleaning and maintenance, and display of historic Confederate flags at the State Capitol.

On February 14, 1958, the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution purporting to censure President Dwight D. Eisenhower for using National Guard troops in the integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.

On February 14, 1977, the B-52s played their first gig at a Valentine’s Day party in Athens.

Later that year, the group began making regular runs in the Wilson family station wagon up to New York City for gigs at seminal New Wave clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s. With Kate and Cindy in their mile-high beehive wigs and 60s thrift-shop best, and Fred looking like a gay, demented golf pro, the B-52s made an immediate impression on the New York scene, and their independently produced single, “Rock Lobster,” became an underground smash.

The B-52s are still in business three decades later, minus Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985. Significantly, their success is widely credited for establishing the viability of the Athens, Georgia, music scene, which would produce many minor successes and one massive one—R.E.M.—in the years immediately following the breakthrough of the B-52′s.

On February 14, 2012, we published the first edition of the GaPundit daily political news, featuring dogs. We originally thought that the dogs would be temporary until enough people complained about them that we felt the need to go to once a week. We were surprised that the adoptable dogs have become the signature of GaPundit’s otherwise-political offerings and our greatest success.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 17

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 17) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:00 PM SENATE RULES -Upon Adjournment 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INS AND LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Early Learning & K-12 606 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Ad Valorem Sub 133 CAP

1:30 PM HOUSE Ways & Means Sales Tax Sub 133 CAP

1:30 PM HOUSE Env’tal Quality Sub Nat’l Res & Env’t 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE ECON DEV AND TOURISM MEZZ

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH AND HS 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE GAME, FISH AND PARKS 403 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HS 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Fleming Sub Jud’y (Civil) Committee 132 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION – CANCELED 310 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECH 506 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y – Subcommittee A 307 CLOB

4:00 PM HOUSE Local Gov’t Sub Gov’tal Affairs 515 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 41 – Pharmacists and Pharmacies; durable medical equipment suppliers; provide for the licensure; definition; requirements; discipline and revocation (Substitute) (H&HS-45th)

SB 87 – Bankruptcy; judgments against exempt property; provide for the discharge (B&FI-23rd)

SR 95 – Sales and Use Tax; net proceeds; educational purposes; county school system; independent school systems; provide for distribution-CA (Substitute) (ED&Y-8th)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HB 143 – Financial institutions; provide for definitions; provisions
(B&B-Williamson-115th)
HB 183 – Community Affairs, Department of; Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council; recreate (SP&CA-Dickey-140th)

Modified Structured Rule
HB 42 – Elections; election superintendents to correct mistakes and omissions on ballots for a primary or election; authorize (Substitute) (GAff-Lumsden-12th)
HB 169 – Charlton County; probate judge; provide nonpartisan elections
(IGC-Corbett-174th)

Congratulations to former State Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), whom Governor Deal appointed to the Jekyll Island State Park Authority.Continue Reading..