Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 10, 2015

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for December 10, 2015

Solomon’s Masonic Lodge, the first in Georgia, was organized on December 10, 1735. Upon his return to the colony, James Oglethorpe would join the group.

John Jay was elected President of the Continental Congress on December 10, 1778.

On December 10, 1850, a special convention met in Milledgeville to determine the state’s reaction to the Compromise of 1850, a series of five bills passed in Congress attempting to deal with issues between slave states and free states.

The [Georgia] platform established Georgia’s conditional acceptance of the Compromise of 1850. Much of the document followed a draft written by Charles Jones Jenkins and represented a collaboration between Georgia Whigs and moderate Democrats dedicated to preserving the Union. In effect, the proclamation accepted the measures of the compromise so long as the North complied with the Fugitive Slave Act and would no longer attempt to ban the expansion of slavery into new territories and states. Northern contempt for these conditions, the platform warned, would make secession inevitable.
This qualified endorsement of the Compromise of 1850 essentially undermined the movement for immediate secession throughout the South. Newspapers across the nation credited Georgia with saving the Union.

Emory College was incorporated on December 10, 1836, as Governor William Schley signed legislation chartering the school.

The Atlanta City Council appointed the first Board of Education on December 10, 1869.

The Spanish-American War was ended on December 10, 1898, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Cecil Burke Day, founder of Days Inn, was born on December 10, 1934.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway, becoming the youngest recipient of the award.

Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2002.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

House Speaker David Ralston has suggested that if the Department of Revenue sticks by its interpretation of the craft beer tour rules, the legislature may have to take action to rewite the law.

Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the department exceeded the authority the General Assembly granted and that lawmakers will act if the agency doesn’t.

“I was disappointed in what the Department of Revenue did, because I think that thwarted the legislative intent of that legislation,” Ralston said. “And I would like to see them eliminate the need for legislative action, if they would go back and revisit that, because if they don’t, we may have to.”

Legislation adopted earlier this year gave craft brewers the ability to sell facility tours and give away their product afterward — a kind of backdoor way to actually sell their beer directly to customers, something brewers have long sought. After Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into the law, the state Revenue Department enacted rules governing the tours. Those regulations allowed brewers to create different tour packages at different price levels.

But months later, on Sept. 25, the department issued a “bulletin” saying while brewers can offer different levels of tours, the price differences cannot be based on the value of the beer. Many breweries, however, had already begun doing just that, based on the original rules the department issued in late June and on their understanding of lawmakers’ intentions.

Proponents of in-state growing to provide Cannabidiol Oil to eligible patients took it on the chin as the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis voted against recommending a state-based production solution. From Maggie Lee for the Macon Telegraph,

A majority of the members of the Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis say the governor and the state Legislature should continue to tell Georgians to comply with the federal ban on growing cannabis.

“It is the federal law. We can’t change that. We are bound to support the Constitution and federal law,” GBI Director Vernon Keenan said just before he and eight other commission members voted against the proposal.

Deal recently said he will not support in-state cultivation of cannabis because he is not convinced that the state can adequately control the plants and products. Deal’s executive counsel, Ryan Teague, sits on the commission and voted against growing marijuana for medical use.

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, voting with four others, said it’s worth crossing the feds in the case of licensing medical cannabis growers.

“At the end of the day, this is a states’ rights issue,” Peake said. “We, as the leaders of this state, have a responsibility to come up with a reasonable solution for this issue. We should control the destiny of our citizens.”

In Augusta, area Democratic legislators met to discuss military issues earlier this week.

Augusta area Reps. Gloria Frazier, Earnest Smith and Brian Prince held a roundtable discussion with members of the Augusta military community to learn more about what could be done to serve the area.

Georgia, home to 10 military installations and more than 750,000 veterans and 105,000 active duty personnel, lags behind its border states in creating a friendly environment for military families, Frazier said.

The state doesn’t adequately utilize data identifiers for military children in tracking education outcomes, nor does it provide employment protections during state-sponsored activations, the caucus says. Current law in South Carolina addresses both, and Frazier said Georgia should do the same.

“The school systems are different now,” Frazier said, adding that she had a frustrating personal experience with tracking credits when putting her two daughters through grade school. “Everybody has a different system, but this will truly help out our children.”

One fear, Smith said, is that Georgia could be missing out on economic growth by failing to provide military families and veterans incentives to stay in state once they arrive. He’s most excited for a piece of legislation that would make the pension checks of military retirees exempt from taxes.

Both legislative chambers have studied the process for creating new cities.

The [State House] committee’s suggestions include greater transparency about pending incorporations, a two-year cityhood review process in the Georgia Legislature and a requirement for proposed cities to define their boundaries during the first year of the process.

In addition, House leaders could require an assessment of how incorporations and annexations affect school systems, counties and other municipalities.

A Senate task force that also reviewed how the state approves cities issued its own conclusions.

Senators recommended passing a law to formalize the rules for communities seeking to become cities. Those rules could include a two-year review process in the Legislature and an evaluation of their financial impacts on surrounding school systems and local governments.

Legislators in Albany and Dougherty County met with local elected officials to hear about their legislative priorities for the 2016 Session.

As usual, most of the morning and early afternoon discussion revolved around funding requests.

The County Commission got the day started presenting the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) legislative agenda before going solely local when county Library Board Chairman Walter Kelley and Library Director Pauline Abidde brought up the county’s request for $2 million in Capital Outlay Funding to finance renovations of the Northwest Library branch.

The Albany city Commission was next, presenting a more modest list of three priorities — pavement resurfacing, a possible Downtown University Center, and setting standards for residential rental properties.

The city also requested funding to study and plan the scope and function of a possible Regional University Center to be located downtown.

The Darton State College contingent, led by former President Paul Jones, requested $2.9 million in small capital project funding for improvements to the school’s Plant Operations building. The plan also includes a partial demolition of the building to make way for new offices for the college’s public safety department.

The inland port designed to bring freight and jobs to Murray County is running into opposition from some local residents.

Qualifying for the Special Election in State House District 58 continues today and until noon tomorrow. So far, a single candidate has qualified. That candidate is Park Cannon, who lives in the Old Fourth Ward and names the local Krispy Kreme as her favorite spot for meetings. +1 for Krispy Kreme.

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