Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2017

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May

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for May 17, 2017

Georgia and American History

Georgia’s trustees asked Britain to repeal the law against importing slaves to the colonies on May 17, 1749.

On May 17, 1769, George Washington introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, drafted by George Mason, criticizing Britain’s “taxation without representation” policies toward the colonies.

George Washington continued his tour of Georgia on May 17, 1791, staying overnight in Waynesboro; on May 18 he arrived in Augusta.

General Winfield Scott issued an order on the removal of Cherokee people from Georgia on May 17, 1838.

On May 17, 1864, Sherman and Johnston engaged in the Battle of Adairsville, Georgia.

The United States Supreme Court released its unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education on May 17, 1954, overturning Plessy v. Ferguson.

The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Dr. Kay Kirkpatrick (R) was elected to the Georgia State Senate from the 32d District with 56.98% of votes cast; Democrat Christine Triebsch took 43.02%.

Speaking to the MDJ before the final results were tallied, Kirkpatrick said her campaign’s biggest strength has been its organization.

“I think that I’ve run a very organized and positive campaign, and we’ve done all of the things that we’ve needed to do as far as grassroots efforts and getting name recognition and getting the word out,” she said. “I also think I’ve had a pretty positive message, and I’ve tried to stay on that positive message throughout.”

Also speaking before the final results, Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint said a Kirkpatrick win would not be unexpected because of District 32’s history of going red.

“That’s the kind of situation sort of like the 6th (Congressional District) where Democrats normally can’t compete in an election,” Swint said. “Also similar to the 6th, you have a special election where you have all the candidates on the same ballot, so I think that the nature of special election offered an opportunity for Democrats to be more competitive than normal.”

From Kristina Torres at the AJC:

Turnout hovered above 20 percent among eligible voters. The outcome appeared to confirm Kirkpatrick’s belief that dedicated GOP supporters would show up at the polls and Republicans will see it as an encouraging sign for the 6th District race.

“This is a fairly good indicator for Karen Handel that Cobb County’s Republican base is still energized to vote for Republicans,” said Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist and former aide to Gov. Nathan Deal, referring to his party’s congressional candidate who has been locked in a battle with Democrat Jon Ossoff. “As I said to Republican leaders in this state, I wasn’t concerned that Dr. Kirkpatrick wouldn’t win. I was concerned that an overly close showing would really throw gas on the fire for Ossoff. But this wasn’t competitive.”

Gov. Nathan Deal issued a new Executive Order updating the earlier order naming a committee to investigate allegations against DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann. From the AJC:

Deal’s new order addresses concerns raised by Mann’s attorney, who said last week the alleged city ordinance violations by Mann don’t amount to criminal charges. Deal had cited criminal charges as the justification for appointing an investigative committee.

The updated executive order broadens the investigative committee’s scope to include other purposes allowed by state law. Besides criminal charges, the committee will also look into alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity to perform the functions of office.

The committee must report its findings within 30 days and, based on its findings, Mann could be suspended for up to 90 days.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says the state’s first death from “Grey Death” overdose occurred in Brookhaven.

Gray death is a deadly combination of heroin and fentanyl, but it’s much more potent than either drug on its own.

The GBI crime lab tested the drugs found at the scene. They contained heroin, furanyl fentanyl and cocaine, which is one of the many formulations of gray death. GBI crime lab supervisor Deneen Kilcrease labeled the drug “gray death” earlier this year, and the name is now used worldwide.

“It’s the only gray drug that I’ve ever seen and when I heard what components were it it, I didn’t see how anyone can survive it,” she said.

GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said that although Camp’s death is the first confirmed from gray death, she believes there could be more.

“You believe there are many more where the lab work is not complete?”Winne asked.

“Absolutely. At the rate we’re going with these samples that come in, absolutely,” Miles said.

The United States Supreme Court released a schedule in the lawsuit between Georgia and Florida over waterflows.

The court agreed to Florida’s request to extend deadlines for responses to a report by the special master. The last deadline is Aug. 30, which is well after the court typically concludes its session in late June or early July. The court convenes, by statute, on Oct. 1.

The Georgia Public Service Commission approved a $200 million dollar solar project covering hundreds of acres near Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins.

The array would go online in 2019 and would generate 139 megawatts of electricity. Georgia Power will spend $200 million to build the facility.

He said the project will help Robins meet its goal for alternative energy. It is the company’s sixth solar facility connected to a military base, and McKenzie said it will be “by far” the largest. While it will provide power to the overall power grid, during times of grid outage it will be able to directly power the base, McKenzie said.

The project will be built on about 870 acres purchased to reduce housing in a zone north of the base considered at risk for aircraft crashes and excessive noise, referred to as the encroachment zone.

The Houston County school system says that students who take CBD oil for medical reasons cannot do so on school property due to a conflict between state and federal laws.

The oil, derived from the cannabis plant, wasn’t a problem for administrators at First Presbyterian Day School, a private school in Macon. But the rules are different at public schools, the Harrises learned during a recent transfer process to Houston County.

“I told them about it, you know, ‘He takes (the) oil for his seizures … , and that’s when they went into a panic, like, ‘We don’t know what to do about this,’” Curtis Harris said of Houston County school officials. “They called the head state nurse, and the head state nurse told him that he can’t even have it on campus.”

Beth McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Houston County school district, said the school can’t administer — or even store — CJ’s medicine.

“By law, the only person whose name is on the registration card issued by the Department of Public Health for cannabis oil may store the oil,” she said in an emailed statement to The Telegraph. “In addition, per the Safe and Drug Free Schools federal law, the oil may not be

[State Rep. Allen] Peake said the Harrises aren’t alone.

“Stories like this are happening and will be happening all over our state as the medical cannabis law continues to expand,” he said, adding that protocols have been developed for how to administer other prescription drugs.

He added, “I’m looking for education administration officials to show some courage and do what’s in the best interest of students.”

The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner opened a new facility yesterday.

The new facility has 15,000 square feet of space and brings the morgue and medical examiner’s office together under one roof.

“I’ve heard that some have questioned why such a facility as this was needed,” [Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Carol] Terry said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Anybody who would ask that question obviously never visited the old morgue. Anyone who saw the old morgue would realize it was better suited to be a staging area for some movie from the ‘Saw’ franchise.…”

The new $5.7 million facility includes three state-of-the-art autopsy stations, as well as a lab where Terry’s staff can process and store evidence. It has a family conference room and outdoor respite area and office space for Terry, her medical and administrative staff and investigators.

The facility was built with funding from the 2014 SPLOST.

Floyd County will converts its old animal shelter into the county’s first morgue.

Gwinnett County Commissioners approved the demolition of the 1996 Olympic tennis venue in Stone Mountain.

The goal is to tear down the center and then seek proposals for developers on how to redevelop the site, possibly in a mixed-use capacity. Commissioners said the center is in a severe state of disrepair, and would be far too costly to rebuild.

“It does two things,” Commissioner Lynette Howard said of the stadium. “It hinders people’s creativity, but most importantly, it’s a huge liability with people breaking in and going in and shooting videos of themselves doing all sorts of crazy things in there. Somebody is going to get hurt.”

Eventually, the stadium site — after the stadium is demolished and redevelopment proposals are received — will be turned over to private developers to build something on the land. That will put it back on the public tax rolls for the first time in decades, but it will also provide an opportunity for redevelopment in that area.

Gainesville City Board of Education approved a 2018 budget that keeps the millage rate unchanged and will raise taxes for some property owners whose valuations have increased.

The Whitfield County Board of Education proposed 2018 budget increases pay for teachers and uses money from reserves to make up the difference.

Columbia County Commissioners voted to restructure their Emergency Management Service Division.

Chatham Area Transit board members unanimously adopted a FY2018 budget and asked Chatham County Commissioners to raise property taxes by .15 mills to cover increases.

Carroll County’s Board of Education proposed a FY2018 budget that includes teacher raises and new school buses.

The Houston County Board of Education tentatively adopted a FY2018 budget with teacher pay raises.

“Each teacher will get a 2% increase on their state based portion of their salary, as well as their local salary supplement will be increased 2%,” [Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Business Operations Stephen] Thublin said.

Starting salary is just over $34,427 for a teacher, plus an additional $3,150 in local supplement that Houston provides. Those numbers increase with years of service.

“The majority of our teachers will earn a step increase because of their years of service,” Thublin said. “They will also get an increase for that step increase. For a lot of them, it will be a 3 ½% to 4 ½% increase.”

The Clarke County Board of Education will issue $60 milion dollars worth of bonds for school construction.

The school board, like many other school districts, borrows bond money in anticipation of collections of a special voter-approved 1 percent sales tax dedicated to construction and infrastructure projects. It pays the money out as sales tax collections come in from the state.

The tax is expected to yield at least $112 million over five years.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson proposed eliminating a city subsidy to Uptown Columbus, the organization redeveloping downtown Columbus.

2018 Elections

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus is supporting Senator David Shafer for Lieutenant Governor in the 2018 election.

“For more than 15 years, David Shafer has served the people of Georgia in the Georgia State Senate,” Marcus said in a statement. “I am proud to endorse him for lieutenant governor because he understands the importance of job creation and growth to the success of our great state.”

The backing of Marcus, now a billionaire philanthropist whose name is well known in Georgia, is a big eye-catching win for Shafer. Colleagues had already said as recently as early April that several state lawmakers had been encouraging Shafer to run for the seat.

“Bernie Marcus is one of Georgia’s greatest business and civic leaders and one of America’s greatest job creators,” Shafer said in a statement. “I am proud to have his support. As lieutenant governor, I will be committed to doing everything in power to create and maintain a business environment that encourages job creation.”

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia State House Democratic Leader who is considering running for Governor in 2018, will deliver the keynote address to the Georgia Gwinnett College graduation on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Abrams was quoted in The New York Times calling Republicans “Fascists.”

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