On March 15, 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated at a meeting of the Senate.
On March 15, 40 BC, Octavian executed 300 Senators and knights in vengeance for Caesar’s death.
On March 15, 1758, Georgia’s Royal Governor Henry Ellis signed legislation dividing the colony into eight parishes, primarily for religious administration, but with some parishes having secondary government functions.
On March 15, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge negotiated bank loans totalling $2 million dollars to keep the state’s public schools open.
On March 15, 1943, Sea Island was officially named as Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation designating the island that had informally been given several different names.
On March 15, 1980, USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. Vinson was the first Navy ship named after a living American.
Howard “Bo’ Callaway, the father of the modern Georgia Republican Party, died on March 15, 2014.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB
8:00 AM House Small Bus Dev Clark Sub 515 CLOB
9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP
10:00 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 34) CHAMBER
12:00 PM House Setzler Sub Jud’y Non-Civ-CANCELLED 415 CLOB
12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP
1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE – CANCELED 307 CLOB
1:00 PM SENATE NAT’L RES & ENV’T 450 CAP
1:00 PM House Reeves Sub Jud’y Non- Civ 132 CAP
1:00 PM HOUSE GOV’TAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB
2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 125 CAP
2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB
2:00 PM HOUSE STATE PROPERTIES 403 CAP
2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS 606 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE AGRICULTURE 450 CAP
3:00 PM SENATE BANKING & FIN INST 310 CLOB
3:00 PM SENATE STATE & LOCAL GOV’T OPS MEZZ 1
3:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB
4:00 PM SENATE JUDICIARY 307 CLOB
4:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION 403 CAP
SENATE RULES CALENDAR
HB 39 – Real estate professionals; disciplinary actions and sanctions; change certain provisions (RI&U-49th) Powell-32nd
HB 44 – General appropriations; State Fiscal Year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 (Substitute) (APPROP-4th) Ralston-7th
HB 83 – Firefighters’ Pension Fund; invest up to 10 percent in real estate; provide (Substitute) (RET-6th) Maxwell-17th
HB 213 – Crimes and offenses; sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession of fentanyl within the prohibition of trafficking certain drugs; include (JUDY-6th) Golick-40th
HB 359 – Supporting and Strengthening Families Act; enact (H&HS-45th) Fleming-121st
HOUSE RULES CALENDAR
Modified Open Rule
SB 47 – Physicians; visiting sports teams’ physicians; provide for licensure exemption; requirements; limitations; agreements with other states (Substitute)(H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Hufstetler-52nd
Governor Nathan Deal told Andy Milller of GeorgiaHealthNews.com that he supports Congressional healthcare legislation, but that Georgia must be treated fairly.
“We’re still looking at the implications’’ of the American Health Care Act, the proposal that’s moving through the U.S. House, Deal told GHN in an interview.
Deal, a Republican, summed up Georgia’s perspective on the proposed new health plan in a few words. “Our message to Congress is: We want to be treated fairly.”
“We just don’t want to be punished’’ as a state under the proposed Medicaid changes, Deal told GHN.
The replacement part is “very difficult to do,” Deal said. He added, “There are going to be parts of it that some people don’t like.”
Senate Bill 211 by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) could reduce the number of standardized tests for Georgia students.
Senate Bill 211 would look at ways for students to take fewer tests while still providing the school districts, teachers and state education department the information they need to determine student growth and achievement, said Tippins, who chairs the Senate Education Committee.
Tippins’ bill would allow local school districts to decide if they wanted to use the state Milestones tests or other nationally-recognized tests students are already taking such as the ACT and SAT to determine student growth and achievement, said Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis, the Cobb School District’s chief academic officer.
Marietta Superintendent Grant Rivera said a reduction in state requirements would increase the time students spend in the classroom with their teacher. He said he appreciates lawmakers recognizing that local school districts and educators know what’s best for students.
Legislation that mandates recess in Georgia elementary schools could instead become just a recommendation.
At a hearing in the Senate Education and Youth Committee on Monday, though, Sen. Lindsey Tippins, R-Marietta, the committee chairman, asked that the mandate be replaced with a recommendation: instead of saying schools “shall” give recess, he asked that the bill say schools should “strive” to do it.
Tippins said most schools already provide recess, but one mother and former teacher who testified said she preferred a mandate.
Rep. Vernon Jones (D-Lithonia) has inquired about filing an ethics complaint against DeKalb County Ethics Officer Stacey Kalberman.
Kalberman in the meantime, criticized Jones’ opposition to legislation addressing DeKalb County’s ethics code and board appointments.
DeKalb Ethics Officer Stacey Kalberman said Jones was leading the charge in preventing the legislation from making it through committee, keeping the board from getting back to doing its job.
She said Jones’ personal relationship with Barnes-Sutton, who has an ethics complaint filed against her, may be motivating his actions.
“I cannot imagine why else he would,” she said.
Everyone else in DeKalb County is criticizing five County Commissioners who are seeking a pay raise from the General Assembly.
Five county commissioners signed a letter to state senators asking for their pay to jump to at least half of what Superior Court judges make. That would put their pay between $66,000 and $95,000, depending on whether judges’ local supplemental pay is included in the calculation.
Commissioners say they deserve a pay boost because they’re working long hours to manage a large county trying to fix frequent water billing mistakes, stabilize services and advocate for residents. Some of the commissioners work other jobs; some don’t.
“It is fairly obvious and clear that this is not a part-time job,” said Commissioner Jeff Rader, who wrote the letter. “I don’t think it’s in the public interest to have elected officials that are key to this process to be grasping for income.”
“There was no support whatsoever in our delegation,” said [Senator Emanuel] Jones, D-Decatur. “It certainly doesn’t sell up at the Legislature.”
Commissioner Nancy Jester said she didn’t sign the letter to the Senate because DeKalb is struggling with strained budgets and underpaid public safety employees. The county’s other six commissioners support the pay increase, according to Rader’s letter. Commissioner Larry Johnson didn’t sign the letter because he was unavailable after his mother died.
“As long as we have a deficit in the budget, and we’re spending more than we’re taking in, while public safety employees haven’t had enough raises, I just think it’s bad policy,” Jester said. “The optics are certainly terrible.”
A natural gas pipeline in Northwest Georgia faces growing local resistance.
Gwinnett County officials and municipal leaders visited with the Gwinnett County legislative delegation at the State Capitol yesterday.
The Houston County Board of Education voted to issue $30 million in bonds.
A teenager who allegedly stole cars owned by two different judges has been indicted in Bibb County Superior Court.
Bibb County grand jurors voted to indict 18-year-old Maury Makel Frye on allegations he received and retained a stolen Springfield handgun Oct. 22 and that he’s associated with the Crips gang.
He also was charged in a separate indictment that alleged he took a 2002 Ford Expedition belonging to the wife of Houston County State Court Judge Jason Ashford Nov. 28. The vehicle was stolen while the judge’s wife was teaching at Middle Georgia State University.
Frye additionally is accused of taking a 2013 Ford F150 truck, a 2015 Toyota Sequoia, a rented 2016 Dodge Journey and a gun from former Macon Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Tripp Self’s property Nov. 28. Self was sworn in Dec. 19 as a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Columbus City Council voted for an ordinance that prohibits tethering dogs outside for more than 12 hours per day.
Winter weather could damage southeast Georgia blueberry crops.
Bacon County, Georgia’s self-proclaimed blueberry capital, is forecast to have a low of 28 degrees Wednesday night and that would be enough to damage existing fruit and blooms, said Renee Allen, the area blueberry agent for the Georgia Extension Service.
If the damage is widespread, it could be a blow to a crop that was worth $335 million in 2015. That’s more than peaches and pecans, Allen said.
Henry County announced the top two candidates for County Manager.
Campaigns & Elections
Katie Foody of the Associated Press writes about technology experts who say Georgia should use paper ballots instead of voting machines.
A group of technology experts said Tuesday that Georgia’s top elections officials should stop using electronic voting machines as the FBI reviews a suspected data breach.
In a letter to Kemp on Tuesday, 20 technology experts and computer science professors affiliated with the national Verified Voting organization said paper ballots will preserve voters’ confidence in the results of an upcoming special election to fill Georgia’s 6th District congressional seat. The letter said using equipment maintained by the center while it is the focus of a criminal investigation “can raise deep concerns.”
The Club for Growth PAC has endorsed Republican Bob Gray in the 6th Congressional District Special Election.
“Bob Gray is the proven economic conservative in this race,” said Club for Growth PAC President David McIntosh. “He’s been a consistent fighter for lower taxes and less spending, and he’s campaigned on pro-growth policies, and has called for a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare. The Club for Growth PAC is proud to endorse a candidate who has successfully put free-market principles into practice and will fight hard for them in the U.S. House.”
State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) spoke to the Gwinnett Daily Post about his potential 2018 campaign for Secretary of State.
“It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Brockway said. “It’s the things that it’s involved in, especially professional licensing and the elections law, (which are) things that I’ve always been interested in. I’m kind of a policy geek in that stuff appeals to me.”
Brockway said he will only go through with his plans to run for secretary of state if Kemp does indeed opt to run for governor instead of seeking re-election to his current post. If Kemp decides instead to run for his current office again, however, Brockway said he will abandon his own pursuit of the seat.
“I would not run against him, so if he changes his mind, I’m out,” Brockway said.
“Cyber security is a huge issue for a number of fields and it certainly is in elections,” he said. “I think there are some things we can do to make the data less appealing to hackers and I’ll be talking about that as the race moves on.”