Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 24, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 24, 2014

On February 23, 1945, United States Marines raised the American Flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Last week we told you about the Georgia Fraternal Order of Police honoring their member, Jim Chavers, the last surviving member of the 4th Infantry that landed at Iwo Jima. A GaPundit reader wrote to tell us of Mr. John E. Hinrichs, who lives in Thomasville, Ga, and also served in the United States Marines during the operation on Iwo Jima and published a book about his life.

On February 24, 1803, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Marbury v. Madison, establishing the principle that the Supreme Court could review the constitutionality of actions by other branches of government.

In writing the decision, [Chief Justice] John Marshall argued that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are not law and therefore are non-binding to the courts, and that the judiciary’s first responsibility is always to uphold the Constitution. If two laws conflict, Marshall wrote, the court bears responsibility for deciding which law applies in any given case.

On February 24, 1864, federal troops attacked Confederate forces near Dalton, Georgia.

On February 24, 1883, the Atlanta Journal began publication under former Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives

On February 24, 1988, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, holding unanimously that a public figure could not recover damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress as the magazine’s parody of plaintiff Jerry Falwell was within the protection of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

On February 24, 1991, coalition forces led by the United States began the ground invasion of Iraq and Kuwait.

Happy 82d birthday to former Governor and United States Senator Zell Miller.

Under the Gold Dome Today

SENATE MEETING CALENDAR

TBD RULES UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP
12:45 PM STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS 310 CLOB
1:00 PM HIGHER EDUCATION 125 CAP
1:00 PM JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL MEZZ
2:00 PM JUDICIARY 307 CLOB
2:00 PM REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES 310 CLOB
3:00 PM HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 450 CAP
3:00 PM TRANSPORTATION MEZZ
4:00 PM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 307 CLOB

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

SB 255:  “Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Act”; enact (Substitute) (TRANS-6th)

SB 320:  Veterans Court Divisions; create (Substitute) (JUDYNC-15th)

SB 324:  Peace Officers; harmonize definitions; employed or appointed by the Department of Juvenile Justice regarding their duties (JUDYNC-23rd)

SB 339:  Retirement and Pension; revise, modernize, correct errors/omissions in said title; Code Revision Commission (RET-23rd)

SB 352:  Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness; create (H&HS-45th)

SB 356:  Georgians of Great Character Month; declare September (ED&Y-37th)

SB 367:  Metropolitan Area Planning and Development Commissions; change the eligibility to be a member of a commission (SLGO(G)-6th)

SR 415:  Taxes; increase in state income tax rate prohibited -CA (FIN-48th)

Senate Resolution 415 by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth and Johns Creek) is of particular note, as it would place a referendum on the November ballot to cap the income tax rate at current levels. According to Kyle Wingfield at the AJC:

“Two of our neighboring states, Florida and Tennessee, have no income tax,” Shafer explained. “And every other neighboring state has an income tax lower than ours. North Carolina just lowered its maximum [income] tax rate to 5.75 percent so that it can say its income tax rate is lower than ours. I believe it puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”

Georgia Republicans have long discussed lowering the income-tax rate. Shafer, who represents parts of Gwinnett and Fulton counties, said this amendment can be an important step toward doing that.

“I would like to see the income tax reduced,” he said, “not just because I believe in limited government but because I believe it makes it more difficult for us to attract business investment and jobs. But I think capping it sends a clear signal that Georgia is a low-tax state. And the neighboring states — even though their tax rate may not be as high as ours, there’s nothing that would prevent them from raising it tomorrow.”

As for Georgia, he noted, “No one has even proposed raising the income tax. But it’s the last tax I would increase. There are excise taxes, a small [state] property tax that’s being phased out, sales taxes, lottery ticket sales — there are other sources of revenue besides taxing productivity. Taxes tend to discourage the activity being taxed. And the last thing we should discourage is productivity.”

SR 828:  Joint Study Committee on Emergency Relocation of Abused Adults; create (H&HS-45th)

 

HOUSE MEETING CALENDAR

10:00 AM FLOOR SESSION (LD 27) HOUSE
7:30 AM Fleming Subcommitte of Judiciary Civil 132 CAP
8:00 AM GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 506 CLOB
9:00 AM INTRAGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION 406 CLOB
9:00 AM RULES 341 CAP
12:00 PM NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT 341 CAP (at Lunch Break)
1:00 PM INDUSTRY & LABOR 506 CLOB
1:00 PM JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL 132 CAP
2:00 PM MOTOR VEHICLES 606 CLOB
2:00 PM RETIREMENT 415 CLOB
2:00 PM JUDICIARY CIVIL 506 CLOB
2:30 PM STATE PLANNING 403 CAP
3:00 PM Academic Achievement Subcommittee of Education 515 CLOB
3:00 PM Fleming Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 216 CAP
3:00 PM JUVENILE JUSTICE 406 CLOB
3:00 PM HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES 606 CLOB
3:00 PM REGULATED INDUSTRIES 415 CLOB
4:00 PM STATE PROPERTIES 403 CAP
4:00 PM Jacobs Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 132 CAP

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Open Rule

HB 763 Georgia Military College; legislative intent language regarding certain postsecondary study beyond second year level; revise (Substitute)(HEd-Epps-144th)

HR 1186 State Board of Education and State Department of Education; successful completion of SKILLS FOR SUCCESS financial literacy class; impose requirement for high school graduation (Ed-Geisinger-48th)

Modified Open Rule

HB 292 Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia; maximum average final monthly compensation calculated in determining benefits; establish (Substitute) (Ret-Battles-15th)

HB 490 Teacher health insurance plans; contract with local employers to librarians and other personnel employed by regional and county libraries; expand board authorization (Substitute)(HEd-Barr-103rd)

HB 764 Georgia State Employees’ Pension and Savings Plan; certain employees make contributions at rate of 5 percent unless otherwise specified; provide (Ret-Maxwell-17th)

HB 778 Food service establishments; certain nonprofit charitable entities from regulation; exempt (Substitute)(A&CA-Pezold-133rd)

HB 904 Natural Resources, Department of; persons are not aggrieved by listings on hazardous site inventory that occur after a certain date; establish (NR&E-McCall-33rd)

HB 920 Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act; enact (Substitute)(Ins-Teasley-37th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 251 Tobacco; sale of alternative nicotine products or components to minors; prohibit (Substitute)(JuvJ-Powell-32nd)

HB 495 State Properties Code; conveyance of state property and consideration of conveyances by General Assembly; modify provisions (Substitute)(SProp-Hill-22nd)

HB 753 Motor vehicles and traffic; federal regulatory requirements; provide (Substitute)(MotV-Powell-32nd)

HB 843 Retirement and pensions; ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations; change certain provisions (Ret-Riley-50th)

HB 863 Crimes and offenses; cruelty to animals and aggravated cruelty to animals; change provisions (Substitute)(JudyNC-Golick-40th)

HB 898 Interstate Compact for Juveniles; enact (JuvJ-Pak-108th)

HB 910 Community Health, Department of; authorize medical-legal partnerships; provisions (H&HS-Kelley-16th)

HB 973 Medicaid; changes to civil penalties for false or fraudulent claims; provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Lindsey-54th)

Structured Rule

HB 816 Sales and use tax; change a certain definition (W&M-Williamson-115th)

Last week under the Dome

The biggest thing to happen last week was the introduction of House Bill 1033 by newly-minted State Representative Sam Moore (R-Macedonia), who will go down in Georgia History as having the shortest political career in state history due to his winning a special election in February 2014 and subsequently losing his reelection bid on May 20, 2014.

From Walter Jones, reporting for Morris News, has a great analysis of the politics that led most of the senior Republican leadership in the State House to denounce the legislation, and some to denounce Moore himself:

A strident libertarian in office less than two weeks who has introduced a handful of non-conventional bills in the Georgia General Assembly received a serial lecture Friday morning from a parade of Republican leaders intent on distancing the party from his proposals before they go viral on the Internet.

Perhaps it’s the nature of modern communication that spooked the leaders into condemning Rep. Sam Moore’s legislation — specifically, House Bill 1033, which sought to ensure people’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by repealing anti-loitering laws.

The way the bill was reported in the Cherokee Tribune focused on the example of police ferreting out people on the sex-offender registry by questioning them while hanging out at a school yard. The comments of the local sheriff — and Moore’s own feeble rebuttals — painted the Macedonia Republican as advocating unchecked child molestation.

In years past, a bill by a twentysomething who won a special election in the middle of the legislative session and news about it in his hometown paper wouldn’t have stirred much reaction beyond gossip around the Gold Dome.

But in an era of social media and blistering satire on late-night television, Republican leaders wanted to take no chances of having Moore become the face of the party shackled like a millstone around the neck of every GOP candidate.

But the attack by association had already begun. The Democratic Party of Georgia issued tweets, Facebook posts and a press release tarring the GOP. “The Modern Georgia Republican Party,” the headline screamed.

“This is what the Georgia Republican Party has come to,” said Democratic Chairman DuBose Porter. “And this is why they’re in trouble.”

One Democratic operative joked on Twitter that as of Friday, her party had garnered all of the attack footage it would need for all of the fall campaigns.

So, while most Georgians would have little other reason to ever hear of Sam Moore — who was already facing a tough primary challenge in May — it’s likely that his bearded mug will become the face of Republican candidates across the state by November, despite the best efforts of the leadership to prove he’s a pariah.

It is the specter of Moore’s House Bill 1033, not any personal animosity toward the Representative that was most responsible for leadership and many of his colleagues distending themselves from the author.

But what could damage Republicans even more broadly is Moore’s House Bill 1046, the title of which reads, “[a] person has right to use deadly force against law enforcement officers who attempt violent entry into home without first knocking and announcing identity and purpose.”

That bill, taken together with House Bill 875, the “Safe Carry Act,” which already has passed the House and been sent to the Senate will allow Democrats and out-of-state liberals interests to point to Georgia Republicans as so radically pro-gun they want to allow open season on law enforcement officers. Nothing could be further from the truth, but in politics, the ability to create a perception is measured in dollars, not “truthiness points.”

Some have suggested that House leadership’s “shock and awe” reaction was caused by Moore beating a candidate whom some Republican legislators had backed. More likely as a culprit, in addition to the very real political need to distance themselves from legislation so toxic among voters, was the vote Moore cast, along with State Rep. Charles Gregory, on a motion to challenge a procedural ruling by the Speaker. That vote signaled Moore had no intention of cooperating with the House Republican Caucus and may have sealed his political fate.

Georgia Republican Senate Debate

GAGOP Senate Debate Gainesville

 

Before Saturday’s debate among the candidates for United States Senate at Brenau University in Gainesville, Eugene Yu made news by announcing he was dropping out of the Senate race and into the campaign for Twelfth Congressional District, seeking the chance to run against Democrat John Barrow. +1 for his press release calling it a “Yu turn.”

The Gainesville Times has a good factual review of the debate.

during a debate Saturday night at Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium attended by a few hundred residents and political observers, each candidate took pains to highlight the nuances that separate them from the others on the bread-and-butter issues that energize GOP voters.

Hosted by the Georgia Republican Party, the third debate in a series of seven set the stage for the May 20 primary that pits several Washington and state political veterans against a few upstarts looking to upend the dynamic that has seen Congress’ approval ratings plummet.

I suggest reading the Gainesville Times’ account in its entirety if you’re following the Senate race like a pennant race.

Jim Galloway had more analysis of the differences that emerged among the candidates, and the flavor of the campaigns.

The Chinese have a saying that underlines the value of conformity: “It is the raised nail that gets hammered.”

For the most part, this was the theme of Saturday night’s third U.S. Senate debate sponsored by the Georgia GOP. All seven candidates attended and expressed near-identical positions on the minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act, and illegal immigration.

The best measure when it came to the pressure to conform: When asked whether Congress should intervene to kill Common Core, the new, multi-state set of education standards for public schools, businessman David Perdue noted that his parents were both school teachers.

“If my dad were alive, he’d say kill it tonight,” the former CEO of Dollar General said. Never mind that his cousin, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, helped start the Common Core movement and defends it even today.

Two candidates could count themselves as raised nails during the 90-minute program in a Brenau University theater. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston was the only one of seven candidates who supported the just-passed Farm Bill, which included its traditional mix of price supports and food stamp spending.

Then there was Art Gardner, the Atlanta attorney who argues that the GOP emphasis on social conservatism is driving away the next generation of Republican voters. Said he, in his closing statement:

“The problem is that, when we run our candidates who are only hard-right social conservatives, it tends to drive away a lot of people in the middle. It tends to drive away minorities, women, and especially young people.”

While Kingston’s support for the Farm Bill set him apart from the others and may damage him among some metro Atlanta ideologues opposed to the SNAP spending included, it should also pay dividends in rural parts of the state where Agriculture, our largest industry, dominates the economy.

Walter Jones highlights one of the most important parts of the debate, which occurred in a “Lightning Round,” overseen by moderated Tim Bryant, in which only Yes and No answers were to be given.

All seven Republican candidates said Saturday night they would reject an increase in the minimum wage and that Congress should act to stop the use of the multistate Common Core education standards.

Paul Broun would go even further and disband the U.S. Department of Education.

My thanks to the Georgia Republican Party for asking me to be a panelist Saturday night, and to my fellow panelist, Kyle Wingfield, who passed me a note saying that my tweeting of candidate responses made it look like I wasn’t paying attention to their answers, and suggesting that I might wish to clarify that.

We also have bonus content for you from the debate – audio of five candidates asking a question I didn’t have the opportunity to ask on stage. Here are the links:

Paul Broun

Phil Gingrey

Karen Handel

Jack Kingston

David Perdue

 

 

Events Calendar

Savannah Area YR: Meeting With Former Miss America, Mrs. Heather McCallum

February 25, 2014, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Tubby’s Tank House, 2909 River Dr, Savannah, 31404+ Google Map

Our Speaker will be former Miss America, Mrs. Heather McCallum, wife of John McCallum Candidate for the First Congressional District of Georgia.

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The Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce: Annual Meeting

February 27, 2014, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Traditional Passing of the Gavel Presentation of the Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence— Past recipients include Paul S. Simon (2010), Thomas H. Robertson (2009), and R. Lee Smith (2008).

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$50

Lee County GOP: Lincoln Dinner with Congressman Allen West

February 27, 2014, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The Bindery at Oakland Library, 445 Oakland Parkway , Leesburg, GA 31763+ Google Map

Lincoln Day Dinner Lee County Republican Party and Bridging the Gap (an organization dedicated to serving our Veterans) featuring Col. Allen West. Tickets: 229-883-7771 [email protected]

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Faith Freedom Coalition GA

Faith & Freedom Coalition GA Legislative lunch

February 27, 2014, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Empire Room, Sloppy Floyd Bldg, 1 MLK Jr. Dr, Atlanta, GA
+ Google Map

Join Gov. Deal, Speaker Ralston, Attorney General Olens, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Chairman Ralph Reed, and your Faith & Freedom friends to get an update on Georgia – where we are and where we’re going. Click here to register online.

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Lincoln-Douglass Day Dinner with LTC Allen West

February 28, 2014, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Green Island Hills Country Club, 6501 Standing Boy Rd., Columbus, GA 31904+ Google Map

with US Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, and K. Carl Smith. Time – 7:00 pm – Green Island Hills Country Club, 6501 Standing Boy Rd., Columbus, GA 31904. Dinner Tickets are $50.00 pp. VIP Reception Meet & Greet only (non-dinner) tickets with LTC. West are $75.00. Table purchases (tablex8) are available for $500 plus two Meet & Greet Tickets with LTC. West. Call 706-593-5845 or (706) 568-1881 – Send your check, payable to Muscogee County Republican Party, P.O. Box 8229, Columbus, GA 31908.

To pay by credit card through Eventbrite.com click here.

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! SPACE WILL BE LIMITED! No ticket sales at the door. Tickets must bought ahead of the event date.

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FREE

Senator John Albers: Alpharetta/Milton Town Hall

March 1, 2014, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Alpharetta City Hall, 2 South Main Street , Alpharetta, GA 30009

+ Google Map

Senator John Albers: Alpharetta/Milton Town Hall

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