Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 3, 2017

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May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 3, 2017

Roswell King was born on May 3, 1765 in Windsor, Connecticut. King was a caretaker at Pierce Butler’s Hampton Point Plantation on St. Simons, where he may have played a role in Aaron Burr’s travels after Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. King and his son built a mill in north Georgia and founded there the town of Roswell.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest led troops who captured raiders near Rome, Georgia who were intent on disrupting the Western & Atlantic Railroad on May 3, 1863.

General William Tecumseh Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign on May 3, 1864 with troops marching from Tennessee toward Catoosa Springs, Georgia.

Jefferson Davis arrived in Savannah for a six-day visit beginning on May 3, 1886.

Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind on May 3, 1937.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal signed 35 bills and resolutions into law yesterday.

Gov. Deal held a bill-signing for Senate Bill 102 by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) in Gainesville at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Gov. Nathan Deal traveled to Gainesville Tuesday to sign a bill designating three levels of cardiac care, which officials said will help patients and emergency responders better understand where to transport those who have had a heart attack.

“Even without this legislation, this has been the No. 1 heart center in the state of Georgia,” Deal told the crowd before signing Senate Bill 102 into law at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville’s Walters Auditorium. “We believe this is an appropriate piece of legislation, one that hopefully will give the public a better understanding of where the really top quality hospitals are located.”

The bill is similar to designations created previously for strokes and trauma centers. It gives each hospital that provides cardiac care one of three levels, identifying the type of care provided. The Gainesville hospital is a Level 1 center under the law, meaning it can provide all levels of care, including open-heart surgery. Level 2 hospitals can do cardiac catheterizations, and Level 3 facilities are designated to stabilize patients who are having or have had a heart attack. The bill also creates the Office of Cardiac Care in the state Department of Public Health.

State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, credited Gainesville hospital employees with making him aware of the need for the legislation.

“The very best ideas that we get come from people who are closest to the problems,” Miller said. “That is exactly what happened here. Northeast Georgia Health System was instrumental in making this a reality.”

State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said the important part of legislation is that it will save time for patients who need critical care.

“Time is our enemy and, with these leveling systems, we can get the patient to the right hospital in the amount of time that makes a big difference,” he said.

State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said her experience a cardiac care nurse made her a supporter of the bill.

“I have been in medicine my whole life. And I understand the importance of cardiac care, and I understand that minutes matter,” she said.

Earlier this week, the Governor signed legislation reconstituting the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

The Judicial Qualifications Commission was created by a constitutional amendment in 1972 as an independent agency to investigate ethics complaints against judges and recommend disciplinary action if needed. But Georgia voters in November voted overwhelmingly to approve a constitutional amendment that abolished the agency and instructed state lawmakers to recreate it.

In addition to expanding the number of commission members from seven to 10, the legislation sponsored by Rep. Wendell Willard, a Republican from Sandy Springs, also creates separate investigative and hearing panels. It gives legislative leaders power they didn’t previously have to appoint members of the commission and strips appointments from the Georgia State Bar.

Former Governor Sonny Perdue, now serving in the Trump Admininstration as Secretary of Agriculture, announced the Department will relax rules on school lunches. The press release announcing the changes is titled “Ag Secretary Perdue Moves to Make School Meals Great Again”.

“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” Perdue said.  “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition – thus undermining the intent of the program.”

“I was talking to some folks in Washington about this, and they said that the current program is working.  ‘How do you know?’ I asked.  They said it’s because 99 percent of schools are at least partially compliant.  Well, only in Washington can that be considered proof that the system is working as it was intended,” Perdue said.  “A perfect example is in the south, where the schools want to serve grits.  But the whole grain variety has little black flakes in it, and the kids won’t eat it.  The school is compliant with the whole grain requirements, but no one is eating the grits.  That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I’ve got 14 grandchildren, and there is no way that I would propose something if I didn’t think it was good, healthful, and the right thing to do,” Perdue said.  “And here’s the thing about local control: it means that this new flexibility will give schools and states the option of doing what we’re laying out here today.  These are not mandates on schools.”

“The hard work and dedication of the people who prepare nutritious meals for our children should serve as an example to all, and we will continue to support them,” Perdue said.  “We also have a responsibility to our shareholders and our customers – the American taxpayers – to provide our school children with healthful and nutritious meals in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.”

I support legislation outlawing instant grits.

 

 

Clarkston City Council voted unanimously to limit the municipality’s cooperation with federal immigration officials.

The new policy, which took effect immediately, says city authorities shall not arrest or detain anyone based on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests called “detainers” or “administrative immigration warrants.”

“It’s more of a symbolic measure,” Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry said in an interview after the vote. “Practically speaking, we are not going to hold anyone for longer than a couple of hours in a holding cell before they get transferred to the DeKalb jail. But people in the community were fearful, and there were lots of very moving stories.”

Forsyth County Clerk of Courts Greg G. Allen warns citizens of a scam in which residents are told a warrant has been issued for failure to report for jury duty.

the callers tell them that in order to avoid arrest and incarceration the fine can be paid by a “green dot card” purchased from a local drug store, typically a national chain. Green Dot cards, and other similar cards, are prepaid MasterCard and Visa cards available at stores throughout the United States.

Augusta Commission members voted to develop a dress policy for city facilities.

Augusta city leaders stopped short of a ban on saggy pants Tuesday and instead voted unanimously to establish a “comprehensive dress policy” for all city facilities.

Several Georgia cities have enacted laws against residents exposing themselves by wearing pants below the waist, and Commissioner Marion Williams was leading a charge to outlaw the practice in Augusta.

Commissioner Andrew Jefferson said he asks young men to raise their pants, but didn’t think the practice warranted commission involvement.

“We have more pertinent issues to talk about. I don’t think the taxpayers are paying us to be the fashion police,” Jefferson said. “We have an ordinance addressing decency; let’s enforce it.”

Mayor Hardie Davis said the sheriff’s and marshal’s offices had not been “engaged” and that Augusta has “no enforcement mechanism” for a saggy pants ban.

“I have also not heard this governing body… address issues of rampant and pervasive poverty,” Davis said. “We still have not said a single word about how we’re going to put a single person to work. We have not said a single one of those things.”

A record-size 440-pound Mako shark was caught and landed off the coast of Bryan County, Georgia, nearly doubling the prior state record.

2018 Elections

Georgia State House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams has filed paperwork to raise funds for a 2018 campaign for Governor.

Abrams, the top Democrat in the Georgia House, is widely expected to run and has built a profile in the national party, including an appearance at last year’s Democratic National Convention. Several other Democrats, including state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, still are considering bids.

While she often says the Democratic minority must provide alternatives to plans proposed by the GOP majority, Abrams has worked with Deal and Republican legislative leaders on contentious issues, including changes to the state’s HOPE Scholarship program when lottery funds failed to keep up with demand.

She made voting registration a signature issue, founding an effort called the New Georgia Project in 2014 that focused on registering minorities to vote. The move has earned Abrams frequent mentions in national media outlets, a speaking slot at the DNC and made her a top surrogate for Hillary Clinton in Georgia during the 2016 presidential race.

“In the Trump era, we need state leaders who understand that a governor must serve every resident and face each challenge head on,” Jennifer Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, said in a statement. “Stacey has a model and a track record that cannot be beat.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle continued his statewide tour yesterday in Macon.

Tuesday morning, about two dozen supporters joined Cagle for a tour of the new South Macon-Bibb County Recreation Center being built on Houston Road.

The Gainesville Republican pledged to create a half-million jobs in four years, focus on workforce development and enact tax reform with a $100 million tax cut in his first 100 days in office.

Luring new technology to the Peach State is part of his strategy.

“We’ve been successful being the ‘Hollywood of the South’ now it is my goal to make Georgia the ‘Silicon Valley of the South,’ ” Cagle said.

He wants to expand bandwidth in rural areas so that students have reliable internet connections.

Cagle’s campaign soldiered on to the next stop at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA.

The Republican from Gainesville told about 40 business and community leaders that he will work to make sure that military and civilian personnel at Fort Benning have what they need to get their jobs done during a 2:30 p.m. stop in Heritage Hall at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center. Cagle, 51, is expected to face a crowded field before the Nov. 6, 2018 election to fill the seat held by Gov. Nathan Deal, who is not allowed to run for a third term.

“It’s refreshing to me that this community always comes together to support military issues,” Cagle said after a briefing from Gary Jones, vice president of Governmental and Military Affairs for the chamber.

Cagle said the chamber is ready for what might come from the next Base Realignment and Closure Commission. “We’ve got to continue to be steadfast in our support,” he said.

Public school choice was an issue for soldiers during his last visit to the area. The Legislature passed a bill to give military personnel the ability to choose their school. “They have that right,” Cagle said. “ Giving them those options is the right thing to do.”

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