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

15
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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.

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