Georgia Political News for April 19, 2012

“23302” is a young, male Golden Retriever who is friendly and is available immediately from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Major Job Announcement Expected

Baxter International, a manufacturer of vaccines and medical devices, is expected to announce with Governor Nathan Deal this morning that it will bring 1800 jobs paying an average $60k per year to Social Circle, Georgia, according to a story by Lori Geary at Channel 2.

The AJC writes that bioscience will be key to Georgia’s future and is a key industry the state is working to develop.

The location Baxter is said to be considering is within a 90 minute drive of the University of Georgia, Mercer University in Macon, metro Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Morehouse College, and Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta.

It is also important to be near transportation hubs, as biomedical products often must be shipped quickly.

The Dog Liberator for Herding Breeds

The DogLiberator, a 501(c) rescue concentrating in herding breeds and mixes, invites you to take a look at our adoptable dogs at www.thedogliberator.com. Thanks to you, we are able to continue saving hundreds of dogs per year. Please contact Khaz Brooks at [email protected] if you are interested in fostering, or would like more information about our rescue. They have great dogs available, all of whom are fostered in homes so you can learn about their needs, behavior and temperment to make the best possible adoption.

More Details on Democratic Political Director’s Criminal Record

Georgia Unfiltered writes today that Georgia Democratic Party Political Director Rashad Richey was paid $4000 by Gail Buckner’s 2010 campaign for Secretary of State during a 28-day stay in the DeKalb County Jail, and more than $30k total that year. Between 1998 and 2010, Richey was arrested twelve times.

Georgia Open Meetings and your First Amendment Rights

The same day Gov. Deal signed legislation strengthening the state’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws, Attorney General Sam Olens, who advocated for the reform,

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt had the city police chief stop a citizen from recording a public meeting of the city council.

“We don’t allow filming inside of the city hall,” Gravitt said. “Unless there’s a specific reason.”

“I’m exercising my right as a citizen to record an open and public meeting,” [Nydia] Tisdale said.

But Gravitt stood his ground.

“It’s not up for discussion,” Gravitt said.

According Georgia House Bill 397, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal coincidentally on April 17, “The public at all times shall be afforded access to meetings declared open to the public. Visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted.”

Hollie Manheimer, executive director for the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, said the new and old version of the open meetings act permit camcorders at public meetings.

“Both the former version of the open meetings act, as well as the new law that was signed into law on April 17, permit citizens to videotape city council meetings and do any other type of taping, such as audio taping,” Manheimer said.

In recent years, citizens with cameras and camcorders have become an important source of information allowing voters to keep an eye with what’s going on, especially at the local level.

State Rep: Dr. Beverly Hall should be prosecuted

State Rep. Ralph Long (D-Atlanta) told Lori Geary that he’s hearing from citizens that Dr. Beverly Hall, former Atlanta school superintendent, should be prosecuted for her role in the test scandal.

“How many teachers have you seen crying on TV?  How many principals have you seen?  It’s time for Dr. Hall to cry,” Long said. “Everybody has done their job except for Paul Howard.”

The state investigation into cheating by teachers and administrators in Atlanta alleged that Dr. Hall knew about the cheating and tried to ignore or hide it, even retaliating at whistleblowers.

Campaigns and Elections

Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) will kick-off his reelection campaign with Herman Cain at noon today at the Columbus Government Center, 100 10th Street, Columbus, Georgia.

Democrat Irving Martinez will discuss both his campaign for Senate district 26 against incumbent Miriam Paris (D-Macon) and his recent arrest for probation violation, which stem from an earlier guilty plea to criminal trespass. No word on whether he’s receiving political advice from the Georgia Democratic Party.

Former Hampton Mayor Tommy Smith will challenge Henry County Commission Chair B.J. Mathis in the Republican Primary. Smith said, “We have to change course right now. We cannot afford any more big spenders ingovernment. I’ll bring conservative fiscal principles back to Henry County.”

Bill Toney announced that he will run as a Republican for Henry County Commission from District 3. Toney said, “The out of control spending by the County Commission, created a $10 million shortfall in the budget. So their solution is to lay off over 60 police officers while closing 3 fire stations or they threaten to raise our taxes.”

Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) will address the graduate student graduation at Georgia Southern University on May 11th, and Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, who served in the Senate before his appointment as Adjutant General of Georgia will address undergraduate graduation the next day.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will be in Rome on April 24th to support the campaign of former Georgia DOT Board Chairman David Doss for Senate District 52. The Doss campaign said, “The fact that the Lt. Gov. is coming to Rome to support David is a clear message that political structure in Atlanta understands what most community and business leaders in our area already know.”

On May 9th, join State Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough), the Speaker of the House, and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black at a cookout in Stockbridge to raise funds for the Davis reelection campaign.

The Rick Jeffares for Senate Campaign will hold a golf fundraiser on Thursday, May 12th at Eagles Brooke Country Club in Locust Grove.

Eugene Moon will run for District 2 Commissioner in Hall County. Moon has been active in the Republican Party.

Yusuf Shabazz announced his campaign for Chatham County Commission, to represent District Five.

Democrat Ken Britt will run for State House district 56 as incumbent Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) is not seeking reelection.

ALEC

Senator Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) continue to support the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has recently been under fire from liberals on the internet.

“Part of the problem with legislators is that we live in a bubble,” said Loudermilk, owner of a Cartersville information technology company who sits on both the Senate and ALEC committees on science and technology.

“When you actually have some industry people involved, they bring insight into how that industry is affected,” he said.

Loudermilk said he’s seen his task force “work both ways,” with private sector members helping to improve some proposed legislation or getting ideas shot down when they were deemed not conservative enough.

Dempsey said she’s learned about pharmaceutical industry issues through ALEC and how other states are dealing with problems such as the misuse of prescription medicine.

“I’m not on a policy committee and I’ve never carried legislation for them, but I’m a big believer in education and not reinventing the

wheel,” she said. “It helps to get a broader perspective and hear what other states are doing to face their challenges.”

Jim Galloway notes that Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) serves as Treasurer of ALEC.

 “It is, in a true sense, a public-private partnership,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, who is treasurer of ALEC – and is in line to be chairman within four years.

Other news

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin was named one of America’s Great Waters by an alliance of clean water and conservation groups.

A Gwinnett County developer will address the Georgia Lottery Board about his proposal to build a $1 billion video casino in Gwinnett County.

Georgia’s unemployment rate for March shows a decline to 9 percent against last March’s 9.8 percent, the eighth straight month of dropping unemployment, according the the Georgia Department of Labor.

Opponents of the Charter School Amendment will rally against the referendum Saturday in Augusta, but they’re not saying where. The Richmond County Board of Education, Georgia Federation of Teachers, and Richmond County Council of PTAs oppose the amendment.

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