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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 28, 2017

On April 28, 1776, Colonel Lachlan McIntosh wrote from Savannah to General George Washington.

he concluded his letter with the report that because the South had limited manufacturing capability, the price of needed goods was two or three times higher than in the North, making procurement of clothing and arms for the new recruits difficult.

This last tidbit would prove prescient as lack of manufacturing proved an insuperable problem for the Confederacy. On May 16, 1777, McIntosh dueled against Button Gwinnett, scoring a fatal wound against one of Georgia’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. McIntosh was acquitted at trial but forced to leave Georgia and eventually served under Washington at Valley Forge.

In 1787, McIntosh was a Commissioner representing Georgia in a series of three boundary disputes with South Carolina, two which were resolved on April 28, 1787 with the Convention of Beaufort.

George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America in New York City on April 30, 1789. From Washington’s inaugural address:

it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.

In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either.

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States.

On April 30, 1803, negotiators from France and the United States finished discussions of the Louisiana Purchase, which would double the size of the country.

By the middle of the 18th century, France controlled more of the modern United States than any other European power: from New Orleans northeast to the Great Lakes and northwest to modern-day Montana. In 1762, during the French and Indian War, France ceded its America territory west of the Mississippi River to Spain and in 1763 transferred nearly all of its remaining North American holdings to Great Britain. Spain, no longer a dominant European power, did little to develop Louisiana Territory during the next three decades. In 1796, Spain allied itself with France, leading Britain to use its powerful navy to cut off Spain from America.In 1801, Spain signed a secret treaty with France to return Louisiana Territory to France.

Reports of the retrocession caused considerable uneasiness in the United States. Since the late 1780s, Americans had been moving westward into the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, and these settlers were highly dependent on free access to the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans. U.S. officials feared that France, resurgent under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, would soon seek to dominate the Mississippi River and access to the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. envoys agreed to pay $11,250,000 and assumed claims of its citizens against France in the amount of $3,750,000. In exchange, the United States acquired the vast domain of Louisiana Territory, some 828,000 square miles of land. In October, Congress ratified the purchase, and in December 1803 France formally transferred authority over the region to the United States. The acquisition of the Louisiana Territory for the bargain price of less than three cents an acre was Thomas Jefferson’s most notable achievement as president.

In 1874, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation designating April 26th of each year as “Confederate Memorial Day,” choosing the day of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender to Union General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina. There is no longer a statutorily-recognized Confederate Memorial Day, but it has become custom for Governors to issue a proclamation yearly designating April 26th as Confederate Memorial Day or to make it the Monday or Friday closest to the 26th.

On April 30, 1886, former Confederate President Jefferson Davis stopped in LaGrange, Georgia en route to Atlanta for the unveiling of a monument to Benjamin Hill. On May 1, 1886, Jefferson Davis visited the Benjamin Hill monument at Peachtree and West Peachtree Streets in Atlanta, having arrived the previous day.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt made his fourth trip to Georgia on April 29, 1926, closing on the purchase of property at Warm Springs, Ga.

Dachau concentration camp was liberated by American troops on April 29, 1945. At least 31,951 inmates died there, more than 30,000 survivors were found on liberation day, and more than 250,000 passed through the camp and its subcamps.

Dobbins Air Force Base was dedicated on April 29, 1950, named for in honor of the late Capt. Charles M. Dobbins and in memory of the other servicemen from Cobb County. Dobbins was shot down over Sicily in 1943 and his family attended the opening of the base.

Hank Aaron hit his first home run in Atlanta against the Houston Astros on April 29, 1966, providing the winning margin as the Braves won 4-3.

Kennesaw, Georgia City Council adopted an ordinance on May 1, 1982 requiring each household to own a gun and ammunition.

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

Atlanta was selected as the host city for the 1996 Summer Olympics on April 29, 1988.

On April 29, 1993, Barry White guest-starred on The Simpsons. I guess that makes today “Whacking Day.”

On April 28, 2014, the earliest ever Primary Elections in Georgia began, as in-person early voting started across the state.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump speaks today at the NRA Convention at the World Congress Center at 12:30 PM. At 1 PM, a fundraiser featuring the President and benefiting Karen Handel’s congressional campaign begins, with the program at 2:30. Expect traffic delays in downtown all afternoon. Bigly.

Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott told the MDJ he’ll be attending the event.

“It’s exciting because any time you have the opportunity to meet the president of the United States, it’s a big deal,” Ott said. “The fact that the president is taking time out of his busy schedule to be involved in the 6th District race shows the national significance of the race.”

Governor Deal was in a bill-signing mode, yesterday, inking ten pieces of legislation from this year’s General Assembly.

HB 139 – Education; provide transparency of financial information of local school systems and schools; provisions; signed April 27, 2017
HB 198 – Elementary and secondary education; influenza vaccine; provide information; signed April 27, 2017
HB 224 – Quality Basic Education Act; military student may attend any school in local system; provide; signed April 27, 2017
HB 237 – Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation; receive private donations for grants to public schools; provisions; signed April 27, 2017
HB 338 – Education; system of supports and assistance for low-performing schools in the greatest need; provisions; signed April 27, 2017
HB 37 – Education; private postsecondary institutions in Georgia shall not adopt sanctuary policies; provide; signed April 27, 2017
HB 430 – Governor’s Education Reform Commission; charter schools; implement recommendations; signed April 27, 2017
HB 437 – Agricultural Education Advisory Commission; recreate; signed April 27, 2017
SB 186 – Education; HOPE; students who earned high school diploma through dual coursework are eligible; associate degree; clarify; signed April 27, 2017
SB 211 – Student Assessments;consideration of local reading programs; research based formative assessments; summative component; provide; signed April 27, 2017

From the Governor’s press release:

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed HB 338, legislation sponsored by Rep. Kevin Tanner, which aims to improve education outcomes for Georgia’s students. This critical and bipartisan bill provides a method for identifying low-performing schools and establishes a multiyear, multifaceted turnaround plan to assist them. Deal also signed legislation addressing sanctuary policies, increased school choice opportunities for military children, testing standards, and governance and funding of charter schools.

“Georgia remains committed to improving our state’s education system by increasing student access to high-performing schools and learning environments conducive to today’s academic standards,” said Deal. “To that end, Rep. Tanner has worked tirelessly with my office, members of the General Assembly and other stakeholders on HB 338. By focusing improvement efforts and education resources on our lowest-performing schools, our most vulnerable students will have greater opportunities for success. The educational investments in this legislation will produce long-term benefits for students, families and communities by ensuring education outcome is not hindered by zip code, but rather enhanced by state support and local accountability. I want to thank Rep. Tanner, members of the General Assembly and many others who worked together for the benefit of Georgia’s current and future students.”

“It has been a true honor to work closely with Gov. Deal and his incredible team on HB 338,” said Tanner. “I believe that working to improve our state’s low-performing schools can have a greater impact on the future of our state than any other issue we could address as a General Assembly. I appreciate Gov. Deal’s leadership in this area, and I look forward to continuing to work with his staff and the State Board of Education to put this plan into real action.”

In addition to HB 338, signed legislation includes:
• HB 37, sponsored by Rep. Earl Ehrhart
• HB 139, sponsored by Rep. Dave Belton
• HB 198, sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey
• HB 224, sponsored by Rep. Dave Belton
• HB 237, sponsored by Rep. Brooks Coleman
• HB 430, sponsored by Rep. Buzz Brockway
• HB 437, sponsored by Rep. Robert Dickey
• SB 186, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins
• SB 211, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins

State Senator Michael Williams, determined not to be left out of any news cycle discussing possible 2018 candidates for Governor, has launched a new splash page suggesting a statewide run is imminent.

The Cumming Republican has unveiled a new website (“Williams for Georgia 2018”) that includes an attack on “career politicians pushing us further down the road to less freedom and more government!” Not that he has Cagle in mind.

Williams, a businessman who once owned a chain of Sport Clips barber shops, has hinted repeatedly he would run for governor in 2018 after Donald Trump’s victory.

His strategist, Seth Weathers, said Williams has been encouraged by people “looking for a viable candidate for governor other than the same career politicians.”

“As the first Republican elected official in Georgia to endorse Trump, a lot of that core Trump base is looking to Williams as someone who can carry that mantle at the state level,” said Weathers. “He’s leaving all options open.”

Kennesaw City Council member Andy Morris called his colleague Philip Goldstein “lazy.”

The sparring match took place during the council’s Judicial and Legislative Committee.

It’s actually an interesting debate on the role of elected city council members versus appointed board members.



Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 28, 2017

Frances Greensboro

Frances is a female Basset Hound & Brittany Spaniel mix who is available for adoption from the Circle of Friends Animal Society Inc. in Greensboro, GA.

Looking for an absolute love bug to snuggle with every day? If so, Frances may be your gal! This gorgeous little lady loves nothing more than to cuddle up with someone and watch a movie or just nap. She has such a gentle, oh so sweet demeanor with people. She does have a playful streak from time to time and will engage in silly time with her canine companions. Overall, she is a laid back, quiet girl who just wants to be loved.

Devito Morgan

Devito is a male Terrier and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Morgan County in Madison, GA.

Hey there, name’s DeVito. What do you get when you cross a low riding bassett hound with a scruffy terrier? Well, I’m guessing it’s something like me! I’m smart and chill and have perfect scruff. I really like kids and toys and belly rubs.

Flower Milner

Flower is an adult (maybe senior) female Pibble and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from Southern Crescent Canine Rescue in Milner, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 27, 2017

German scientist Johannes Kepler dated the creation of the universe to April 27, 4977 BC(E).

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament enacted the Tea Act, granting a monopoly on selling tea to the American colonies.

Richard B. Russell, Sr. was born on April 27, 1861 near Marietta, Georgia. Russell served in the Georgia House of Representatives, on the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and ran for Governor, Congress, and United States Senate. His son, Richard B. Russell, Jr. served in the Georgia State House, including a stint as Speaker, as Governor of Georgia, and in the United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Ron “Big D” Daniels, the official Court Jester Legal Counsel and Poet Laureate for is running for Secretary of the Georgia Bar Young Lawyers Division. Click here to vote for him today if you’re a YLD member.

House Bill 196, signed this week by Governor Deal, was titled as a bill dealing with tax exemptions for the music industry, and that’s how it started its legislative life.

The version that passed and was signed into law was gutted and became a “Christmas tree” bill carrying a number of other non-controversial tax measures, including “to revise the criteria used by tax assessors to determine the fair market value of real property; to allow certain business corporations to participate in the indirect ownership of a home for the mentally disabled for financing purposes;…. to provide that certain disabled veterans shall be issued refunds of certain ad valorem taxes paid during certain periods of time when such disabled veterans receive final determinations of disability containing retroactiveperiods of eligibility.”

Consider this both a clarification without an admission of fault, and a cautionary tale about the nature of the legislative process.

Governor Deal will sign House Bill 338 today, creating a system to help “turnaround” failing school systems.

The bill is an alternative to Deal’s preferred strategy for low-performing schools: A constitutional amendment seeking to let the state take over some schools. Voters rejected that in November.

Lawmakers instead proposed a “chief turnaround officer” to work with struggling schools. Schools selected by the new official will sign contracts with the state, creating a plan to improve student performance. Deal’s signature will begin work to implement the plan, including a national search for the new position.

Deal’s office says he plans to sign nine other education bills on Thursday.

The AJC’s Get Schooled blog has information on some of the other bills the Governor will sign today.

The Special Election for the Sixth Congressional District will likely end up the most-expensive house race ever.

Right now the record is held by the 2012 election in the 18th congressional district of Florida, pitting wild-man incumbent Republican Allen West against Democrat Patrick Murphy. West, being a wild man, had a national fundraising base, and he and his allies spent close to $20 million. Murphy and his allies spent enough to push the total to a reported $29,279,964. Murphy narrowly won.

Runoff candidates Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff aren’t there yet, but are off to a blazing start in fundraising and spending after a combined $14 million was deployed for the first round.

Ossoff and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserved three-quarters of a million dollars in ads almost instantly after the April 18 returns. With the Democratic candidate coming so close to a knockout, there is no reason to think his amazing fundraising will slack off significantly. And whether or not he remains highly competitive in the ad wars, his investment in field operations (costing $2 million before the first round) is impressive….

On the GOP side, it’s not Handel (who will supposedly benefit from a fundraiser headlined by Donald Trump himself) who’s burning money, but the outside GOP groups that may have actually outspent Ossoff in the first round. Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC spent a reported $3 million in the first round, and has already committed $2.5 million for ads and another cool million for field operations. You can expect the National Republican Congressional Committee (the DCCC’s counterpart), which spent $2 million the first time around, to stay engaged, along with the Ricketts family’s Ending Spending PAC, which was unique in backing Handel from the get-go. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also expected to spend some dough backing Handel.

The West-Murphy spending record might have been safe if the runoff campaign in sixth congressional district wasn’t a nine-week marathon. As it is, the money will keep rolling in like the ocean tides.

A fundraiser featuring President Donald Trump in support of Republican Karen Handel will certainly add to the spending total.

[T]he June 20 must-win runoff for Republicans has fast become a circle-the-wagons moment. Bitter rivals from Handel’s past races — including a 2010 bid for governor and a 2014 run for the U.S. Senate — have quickly endorsed her. And a raft of Washington-based super PACs have pledged their support.

That could help neutralize one of her most glaring weaknesses. She’s long struggled to keep pace with rivals in the race for campaign cash, and her last fundraising haul was about 20 times smaller than Ossoff’s unprecedented $8.3 million take.

New donors have buoyed her campaign with more than $1 million since last week’s vote, and Trump’s Atlanta fundraiser will add another tide of cash. Tickets start at $2,700 a person or $5,400 a couple. A hosting sponsorship will cost $25,000.

She’ll have reinforcements from outside groups ready to pour money and resources into what could wind up being the most expensive House race ever. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Handel on Tuesday, and the Congressional Leadership Fund — a super PAC with ties to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan — said Wednesday that it will pump an additional $3.5 million into the contest.

The Congressional Leadership Fund’s $3.5 million spend will include $2.5 million in TV ads beginning May 10 along with a door-to-door canvassing program, direct mail, and digital ads.

Democrats, meanwhile, are using the Trump-Handel fundraiser as fodder for more fundraising of their own.

“Trump’s SO scared of losing that he’s leaving work early to crush our historic momentum,” said an email solicitation sent out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The organization said it had created an “Emergency Response Fund to match the piles of cash Trump will rake in” for Republican Karen Handel.

Floyd County Commissioners named six members to the committee planning a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum.

The Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Aging held a listening session in Hall County for input into a comprehensive plan on addressing senior hunger.

Uptown Macon will loan $800k to a private business in downtown Macon.

When a Macon-Bibb County Commission committee agreed Tuesday to help NewTown Macon with revenue bond funding for a downtown business, a TV media report caused some confusion.

[NewTown President/CEO Josh] Rogers wrote in a statement posted on his group’s website that “13WMAZ inaccurately said that the County approved use of its money to provide the loan to the Downtown business, and we want to be very clear that at no time was taxpayer money allocated to this project nor to this Fund.” The station has since posted a correction on its website.

A commission committee approved an $800,000 loan to NewTown Macon for City Ventures LLC, which is the company that owns Crazy Bull, a nightclub at 473 Second St.

NewTown created its Real Estate Development Loan Fund in 2012, which consists of bond funds issued by the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and backed by the “full faith and credit of the Macon-Bibb government,” Rogers said. The fund provides loans to help develop the downtown area and businesses downtown. If a loan is more than 40 percent of the total project cost, NewTown must notify the commission, which is what happened Tuesday.

“Even if all we ended up with is the real estate, it will be more than sufficient to cover the outstanding debt,” Rogers said.

Roswell City Admininstrator Kay Love submitted her resignation and will start a new job with the Georgia Municipal Association.

2018 Campaigns

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will conduct a tour of Georgia next week, including a stop at Nonami Plantation in Albany on Nonami Plantation in Albany on Wednesday, May 3rd.

Cagle will also speak at the Georgia Southern graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 6th.

The Lieutenant Governor is holding a free event in Gwinnett County on Sunday.

Casey Cagle Event


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 27, 2017


Joker is a young male Dutch Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from All About Animals Rescue in Macon, GA.


Brianna is a young female Beagle mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.


Geo is a young male Corgi and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from Friends of Perry Animal Shelter in Perry, GA.


Blade is a male Labrador Retriever and Basset Hound mix who is available for adoption from Friends of Perry Animal Shelter in Perry, GA. I would guess he wears the cone of shame because he had a recent injury or was just neutered.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 26, 2017

The Byron, Georgia Animal Shelter has filled up and will begin putting dogs down to free up space.

As the city of Byron has grown, so have the number of calls to animal control. Now the city’s animal shelter is at capacity and shelter personnel are working to find a solution.

“Once we have the dogs here we’ll house and feed them. We’re supposed to give it seven days,” said Byron Animal Control’s Clay Fauquier.

But for the dogs sitting in Byron’s animal shelter, their days are numbered.

“Right now people are not adopting because they’re going on vacation and they’re kids are getting out of school,” said volunteer Regina Brahvam.

So they’ve got seven days to find a new home and Fauquier–who runs the shelter–says there’s a catch to that if they don’t.

“It’s at the point now, if I get another dog in here today, which word on the street is I’m about to, I’m full and I have to find somewhere to put them.”

If you’re considering a new family dog, please think about saving one of these sweet souls. If you’re interested in fostering one of the dogs, please contact Regenia at 478-293-2066. If you’d like to adopt, please contact the shelter via Facebook, call (478) 662-4161 or visit the shelter.

Little Tan and White Byron Girl

This little tan and white female mixed breed is available for adoption from Byron Animal Shelter in Byron, GA.

Without a care in the world this girl is always happy.  Not to mention how smart she is. Within seconds of meeting her she was doing commands, sit, down and stay. She also waits tell she is let out of her kennel to go potty!

When she was taken to the vet to get her stitches, she climbed in all the laps available in the waiting room.

Black Pit Girl Byron

This two-year old female mixed breed dog is available for adoption from Byron Animal Shelter in Byron, GA.

The second she is brought out of the kennel she wonders over to you as if to say, “Whats the point, no one will love me” She sits with her head tucked into your lap hoping you will stay and pet her. Please call 478-293-2066 if you’re interested in helping save her.

Yellow Lab Girl Byron

This beautiful female Labrador Retriever mix is available for adoption from Byron Animal Shelter in Byron, GA.

With eyes like hers, how could you not want to scoop her up and take her home. This sweet girl goes right to the gate as soon as she is let out of the kennel. She knows the shelter is not the place for any dog to be.

She takes a few minutes to warm up, but it is worth sitting with her to see glimpses of her personality shine through the fear and worry of the unknown. Please help us help her.

Contact 478-293-2066 if you are interested in taking the worry off this sweet girls face and giving her a loving home.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 26, 2017

On August 26, 1864, having withdrawn from trenches and fortifications outside Atlanta the previous day, U.S. General Sherman sent most of his forces westward around Atlanta and toward the south of the city.

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted. Ratification took place on August 18, 1920, as the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted it, but adoption became official on August 26, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the Amendment. It reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

On August 26, 1939, the first televised major league baseball game aired, as the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds split a doubleheader in Ebbets Field.

On August 26, 1961, the 718th Engineer Light Equipment Company of Fort Valley and the 210th Signal Base Depot Company of Augusta were called up to take part in the American response to the crisis in Berlin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was nominated for President by the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey on August 26, 1964.

On August 26, 1965, Sonny & Cher were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I Got You Babe’, the duo’s only UK No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term “babe,” as heard in Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’. Bono would later be elected to Congress as a Republican in 1994 and served from 1995 until his death in 1998.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump will headline a fundraiser on Friday, April 28th for Karen Handel’s congressional campaign.

The fundraiser is scheduled for an Atlanta site after Trump’s keynote speech at a National Rifle Association convention at the Georgia World Congress Center, and it’s likely to bring a tide of cash for Handel’s campaign. A ticket starts at $2,700 and a host sponsorship will cost $25,000.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also supporting Handel in the Special Runoff Election.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce confirmed Tuesday it will put its muscle behind Handel ahead of a June 20 runoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District that covers northern suburbs of Atlanta.

Chamber officials didn’t say how much they’ll spend on Handel’s behalf, but the organization’s endorsement usually precedes a heavy media blitz. The race is widely viewed as a potential preview of the 2018 midterm elections.

Governor Nathan Deal signed five bills yesterday.

HB 196 – Income tax; exemption for royalties paid to musical artists; provide, signed April 25, 2017
HB 199 – Income tax credit; interactive entertainment companies; change certain provisions, signed April 25, 2017
HB 208 – Game and fish; boat registration fees and additional methods for reporting the sale of boats; revise, signed April 25, 2017
HB 265 – Income tax; credit for establishing or relocating quality jobs; revise provisions, signed April 25, 2017
HB 342 – Enterprise zones; certain urban redevelopment zones; provide designation, signed April 25, 2017

The Atlanta Business Chronicle discusses two of the bills Gov. Deal signed.

House Bill 199 will provide a 20 percent tax credit for post-production companies with at least a $250,000 payroll in Georgia. The companies must also spend at least $500,000 per tax year to qualify.

While the state has offered generous tax credits to the film industry since 2008, the post-production portion of the business has been left out until now.

The new credit for post-production work will be capped at $5 million next year, $10 million in 2019 and $15 million from 2020 through 2022. No single company can get more than 20 percent of the total statewide credit available in a given year.

House Bill 265 exempts from state and local sales taxes building materials used for renovating or expanding performance arts venues run by a nonprofit organization containing an art museum, symphonic hall and theater. While the Woodruff Arts Center is not mentioned in the legislation by name, that definition matches the center.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was sworn in yesterday as Secretary of Agriculture.

Perdue was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who also is a native of Georgia.

“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said.

“Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.”

As ag chief, Perdue will oversee the nation’s nutrition, farm and forestry programs and will play a major role in shaping the upcoming U.S. farm bill and in U.S. ag trade negotiations. He said he plans to be guided by four principles: maximizing the ability of farmers and agribusiness to produce, create jobs and sell their goods; prioritize customer service in the USDA; ensure a safe and secure U.S. food supply, and stewardship of the land.

“As secretary, I will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families,” Perdue said. “I am proud to have been given this opportunity and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work as we continue to move the USDA and our nation forward.”

Perdue launched his official Twitter handle Tuesday: @SecretarySonny.

Democrat Jon Ossoff is not only ineligible to vote for himself because he doesn’t live in the Sixth District, he also has never voted in a runoff election.

Voting records reveal that the 30-year-old Ossoff, who has been an eligible Georgia voter for over a decade, has never voted in one of the state’s many runoff elections, according to information obtained through the Georgia secretary of state.

Ossoff’s campaign did not return a request for comment on his decision to ignore runoff elections in the past.

Dick Williams with the Dunwoody Crier, write about Ossoff’s family wealth.

At 30, courtesy of an inheritance and a wealthy family, he shows a net worth of $1.7 million. That includes a town house on Capitol Hill in Washington purchased by his family. He is a good investor, favoring Apple and Warren Buffett.

His family has a yacht and a Cessna, the latter purchased through a limited liability company using a relative’s address in New Hampshire, one of a handful of states that don’t charge sales taxes on airplane purchases. In Georgia it would have been a taxable event.

Ossoff researchers point to a family that uses multiple LLCs in many states to avoid taxes and shield personal assets.

DeKalb County is considering opening multiple early voting locations ahead of the runoff. Jon Ossoff won’t be able to vote at any of them.

The Georgia NAACP filed suit against the state, claiming a 2015 redistricting violates the Voting Rights Act.

The Washington, D.C.-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law filed the federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia on behalf of the state chapter of the NAACP and five residents of the affected districts. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state’s top elections official, also is named in the suit.

“Lawmakers firmly placed their thumb on the scale by redrawing district boundaries in ways that would preserve their incumbency and freeze the status quo in place,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “They seek to disregard the demographic changes occurring across Georgia by putting pen to paper mid-decade.”

The changes in 2015 affected more than a dozen of the House of Representatives’ 180 districts, but the lawsuit focuses on the 105th District represented by Republican Joyce Chandler in Gwinnett County and the 111th in Henry County represented by Republican Brian Strickland.

The lawsuit says the changes increased the percentage of white voters in Chandler’s district to about 53 percent in 2016 elections, compared to 48 percent. Black voters went from 32 percent to 30 percent. The suit says the changes increased the percentage of white voters in Strickland’s district to 58 percent in 2016 elections, compared to 56 percent. Black voters went from 33 percent to 31 percent.

Both Republicans were re-elected to their seats last year over black Democrats.


This is the second federal lawsuit related to voting rights violations filed in Georgia in the past week.

On April 20, five civil rights organizations filed a complaint alleging that a Georgia law requiring voters to register three months prior to participating in federal elections violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

If left in place, the statute determines who can vote in the upcoming, high-profile runoff election for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District seat.

Augusta Commissioners are set to vote on a ban of sagging pants.

Augusta commissioners remain divided on whether to ban saggy pants and a committee referred a vote to draft an ordinance to the full commission Tuesday.

“Your belt ought to be around your waist, not around your legs,” said Commissioner Marion Williams, who has pushed to outlaw wearing pants so low they expose the skin or underwear. “The belt is around their knees in most cases, and in their hand.”

General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie said he’d explored ways of expanding Augusta’s indecent exposure law to include the practice, with “progressive discipline” for violators to start with community service, then a fine.

But Commissioner Bill Fennoy said he wished others such as the school system and businesses would deliver the message instead.

Critics have said a ban will increase encounters between law enforcement and young black men.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 25, 2017


Bill is a young male Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Skillet is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Skooter is a young male Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Skatter is a young male Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in Moultrie, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 25, 2017

James Oglethorpe won reelection to the British Parliament while in America on April 25, 1734.

The United States declared war on Spain on April 25, 1898.

On April 25, 1996, Georgia Governor Zell Miller signed Senate Bill 519 designating English the official language of Georgia.

An extremely rare 18th-century parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence has been located and authenticated in southern England.

The researchers dated the manuscript, known as “The Sussex Declaration,” to the 1780s based on handwriting, spelling errors and analysis of parchment style and preparation. The document likely once belonged to the Third Duke of Richmond, the so-called “Radical Duke” who supported the Americans during the Revolution, according to the experts.

The parchment was likely produced in New York or Philadelphia. Researchers think that it may have been commissioned by Founding Father James Wilson, or one of his political allies, as part of his advocacy efforts on behalf of the Federal Constitution.

Unlike other 18th century versions of the Declaration, the list of signatories on The Sussex Declaration is not grouped by states. Allen and Sneff think that this detail may reflect efforts by Wilson and his allies during the Constitutional Convention and ratification process, to argue that the Declaration’s authority rested on a unitary national people, not on a federation of states.

On the Sussex Declaration, the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” is followed by a dash, not a period. However, the phrase “consent of the governed” is followed by a period.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation worked with Gwinnett County Police and other law enforcement agencies in “Operation Spring Cleaning,” resulting in 23 arrests.

They came from all over metro Atlanta and beyond to meet children they’d groomed online for sex in Gwinnett County.

They were men of all different backgrounds ranging in age from 19 to 48. They worked as electricians, construction workers and janitors. Others were unemployed. One was a member of the United States Air Force.

“I guess it’s just a cultural thing with us here in the United States. You know, spring time means cleaning,” said Detective David Smiths with the Gwinnett County Police Special Victims Unit. “We’re cleaning out the offenders in Gwinnett County.”

The Gwinnett County Police Department joined with the GBI, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office and the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to plan “Operation Spring Cleaning,” which officially began April 20.

“Gwinnett is a huge hub because (Interstate) 85 runs through here,” Smiths said. “So, we knew we’d get a lot of people traveling from all over metro Atlanta who’d be willing to drive to Gwinnett because it’s so central.”

As of Monday afternoon, all 23 of the suspects arrested during “Operation Spring Cleaning” have been charged with violating child pornography laws. But Smiths said further charges are likely, including sexual exploitation of a child and child molestation.

Governor Nathan Deal will sign House Bill 208 today, raising prices for hunting and fishing licenses to fund conservation programs.

HB 208 increases the cost of resident annual hunting licenses to $15 from $10 and annual fishing licenses to $15 from $9. The sportsman’s license, which covers most hunting and fishing privileges in the state from big game to trout, will increase to $65 a year from $55. Similar increases are scheduled for the majority of the hunting and fishing licenses in the state, including those offered to seniors and for children.

Costs won’t increase until the beginning of the next fiscal year, which means hunters and anglers can purchase annual, multiyear and lifetime licenses at the cheaper rate until the end of June.

HB 208 was sponsored by Rep. Trey Rhodes, R-Greensboro, and came after a state audit in 2016 found that Georgia’s license fees are lower than most of the southeastern United States.

Several years in the making, the increases are estimated to raise more than $11 million each year for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, according to department spokesman Wes Robinson, with the extra money to pay for more game wardens, infrastructure and maintenance.

State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dawsonville) spoke to FetchYourNews about issues in rural Georgia.

Cobb County government buildings will fly the flag at half-staff today in honor of the late firefighter and EMT Ron Herens.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is supporting Democrat Jon Ossoff in the 6th District runoff.

“Let me be very clear. It is imperative that Jon Ossoff be elected congressman from Georgia’s 6th District and that Democrats take back the U.S. House,” Sanders said in statement. “I applaud the energy and grassroots activism in Jon’s campaign. His victory would be an important step forward in fighting back against Trump’s reactionary agenda.”

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture by the United States Senate on an 87-11 vote.

A source close to the process told The Albany Herald that Perdue is to be sworn in as secretary early Tuesday at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Perdue’s appointment was announced by his cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who was presiding over the Senate for the vote. Sen. Perdue said that 87 senators had supported the secretary, 11 had opposed and one had voted present — Sen. Perdue.

As ag secretary, Gov. Perdue will oversee the nation’s farm and forestry programs, as well as the U.S. nutrition programs. He’ll also be take the lead in the upcoming U.S. farm bill and farm trade work.

“Tonight, he has been confirmed as our next secretary of agriculture and I could not be more proud for him, for our family, but most importantly for our country,” Sen. Perdue said. “I want to be the first in this august body to call my cousin, Sonny Perdue, by his new title, Mr. Secretary. I believe he is an outstanding candidate.”

“As secretary of agriculture, my cousin has a big job,” the senator said. “He’s got a big responsibility. I look forward to working with him as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to make our agriculture, farming, and ranching industries vigorous and strong now, and for future generations.”

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who spoke in favor of Gov. Perdue before the vote, said he was proud to cast his vote for Perdue, who he noted served as Georgia Senate president pro tem as a Democrat before moving to the Republican Party and winning the governorship.

“Sonny’s experience and leadership in public service, business and agriculture will benefit our nation as he takes the reins as secretary of agriculture,” Isakson said. “Agriculture remains Georgia’s number one industry, and our state is fortunate to have him in this important leadership position. I was proud to cast my vote today in support of Sonny Perdue.”

Candidates for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party met in a forum sponsored by the CSRA Republican Women’s Club.

On Monday, the four candidates – Alex Johnson, Michael McNeely, John Watson and Mike Welsh – debated numerous topics at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club monthly meeting. The event was held at Jones Creek Golf Club.

“As a local, I’d like to welcome my opponents to Columbia County,” said Welsh, the only candidate from the 12th district.

In all, more than 100 guests attended the event, while candidates were given a minute to answer pre-selected questions.

Former Attorney General Sam Olens said he’s working to make Kennesaw State University more transparent.

“My goal is for everyone to feel vested and engaged in the process, so that we can continue to move this university forward,” said Olens during his first State of the University address Monday morning at KSU’s Marietta campus. “Together, we’ve made great strides over the past six months.”

Olens said he has tasked KSU Provost Ken Harmon with overseeing the university’s academics while he focuses on the university’s operations and fundraising — the major areas of concern from the Board of Regents’ audit.

The audits were released last summer and accused a handful of KSU officials — including former President Dan Papp and former Auxiliary Services Vice President Randy Shelton — of financial improprieties, and the audit enforced new regulations, such as more legal oversight for contracts.

Monday, Olens said KSU is moving forward and reviewing its policies.

“We have made many improvements in these areas, but we still have much work to do to safeguard against further ethical lapses,” he said.

The Dougherty County Commission is moving forward on eminent domain proceedings to take property owned by State Rep. Darrel Ealum (R-Albany).

The land is adjacent to county-owned property at what was once the Radium Country Club and Golf Course, and County Attorney Spencer Lee said the vote by the commission will allow him to “start negotiating” with Ealum on a purchase price before the county moves forward with eminent domain proceedings.

“The land has been appraised, and it is valued at $40,000,” Lee told commissioners. “This property has been on the county’s radar since around 2009. The structure on the property is an eyesore that has considerable damage, and it’s not damage caused by the storms (of Jan. 2 and Jan. 22).

Ealum said after the meeting that he had no idea the matter would be discussed Monday by the commission.

“I didn’t know the item was on the commission’s agenda,” he said. “I haven’t seen the entire thing, so I don’t know what was voted on. Other than that, I have no comment at this time.”

Macon-Bibb County Manager Dale Walker resigned after more than 30 years in government service.

Augusta Commissioner Sammie Sias wants to hire additional Animal Services employees and raise the pay for other department employees.

The revised city animal ordinance, which requires owners to register their pets, “has strained our animal services department to the breaking point,” Sias said in the agenda item going before the city’s Public Safety committee Tuesday.

Muscogee County parents spoke in opposition to a proposal to hired a private, for-profit company to run alternative education programs.

Elections 2018

State Senator Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) announced that he is running for Governor in the 2018 election.

Today conservative businessman, Army Ranger, and State Senator Hunter Hill announced his candidacy for Governor of Georgia.

Georgia needs bold, conservative leadership to move our state forward. Hunter Hill’s many years of diverse leadership experience in military combat, business, and politics provides a unique perspective that will guide Georgia to reach its full potential.

Senator Hill said: “I am running to cast a bold vision for Georgia that can only come about with true, conservative leadership. Republicans have an opportunity to bring about sweeping change in Georgia, and I refuse to stand by and simply mark time. Georgians expect and demand results, and I am ready to deliver.”

“In the coming months, I’m going to take my message directly to Georgians. I am dedicated to America’s founding values and principles of God-given rights, limited government, free enterprise and expanded liberty. I have fought to defend these values in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the Georgia Senate.”

“I would be honored to earn your vote and support to be the Governor of our great state.”


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 24, 2017


Rafiki is an 8-week old male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.


Sarafina is an 8-week old Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) & Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.


Kiara is an 8-week old female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 24, 2017

The Library of Congress was founded on April 24, 1800 and is the largest library in the world today.

On April 24, 1945, President Harry Truman was briefed on the Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb.

Jack Kingston was born on April 24, 1955. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1984 and served four terms and in 1992 was elected to the United States Congress.

“Georgia On My Mind” became the official state song on April 24, 1979, when Governor George Busbee signed legislation designating it.

IBM introduced the Personal Computer Model 5150 on April 24, 1981, though some authorities date the introduction to April 12. It sported an Intel 8088 processor at 4.77 Mhz, a whopping 16k of RAM, which was expandable to 256k, and a clicky keyboard. The initial price tag was $1565, equivalent to more than $4000 today.

Creepy wax figures from a Warm Springs museum will be sold at auction.

About 60 life-size wax figures, including a one-of-a-kind figure of Albert Einstein that was signed and inscribed by Einstein himself, will headline an auction of items owned by Preston Evans, the Cowetan who operated the museum for more than four years. The auction is set for May 13 at the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center in Gettysburg, Pa.

These include figures of 10 U.S. presidents and four first ladies, civil rights leaders –including Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Bunche, entertainers Rudolf Valentino and Dolly Parton, military figures such as Patton and MacArthur, cowboys and Indians including Geronimo.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Governor Sonny Perdue is expected to win confirmation as Secretary of Agriculture in a vote of the full United States Senate today.

Perdue would be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades. He’s the son of a farmer and has owned several agricultural companies. The Senate plans to vote on his nomination Monday.

At his confirmation hearing in March, Perdue assured nervous farm-state senators that he will advocate for rural America, even as President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed deep cuts to some farm programs. He promised to reach out to Democrats, and several Democratic senators have said they will vote for him.

Perdue may also find himself in the uncomfortable position of defending agriculture in an administration that has given the issue very little attention, despite Trump’s strong support in rural areas. Trump has proposed a 21 percent cut in USDA programs and has harshly criticized some international trade deals, saying they have killed American jobs. But farmers who produce more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from some of those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture.

Tamar Hallerman of the AJC writes about what Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue could mean for Georgia.

 “He knows the struggles that farmers deal with on a day-to-day basis,” [Bonaire farmer Matt] Coley said of Perdue. “Having that perspective in D.C. would certainly be a benefit when decisions are having to be made.”

“When he was governor, he spent a large amount of his time traveling the world selling Georgia and selling Georgia ag products,” said Georgia Chamber of Commerce President Chris Clark, who served as natural resources commissioner in the Perdue administration.

Perdue’s expected confirmation, he said, gives “us, our farmers, our forestry an opportunity to grow our brand.”

Perdue would be the first ever agriculture head to hail from Georgia, and the first southerner in more than two decades.

“The voices of Southeastern agriculture are going to be heard and that’s exciting,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

Democrats claim that Georgia’s requirement that special runoff election voters were registered in time to vote in the initial special election suppresses voters in violation of federal law.

The Georgia NAACP, Lawyers Committee for Civil rights, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and other organizations said Secretary of State Brian Kemp is violating the National Voter Registration ACT by prohibiting voters from registering for the upcoming June runoff election. The lawsuit indicates federal elections, including runoff elections, allow for voter registration up until 30 days before the election.

“Georgia has a sordid history of discouraging voter participation. We ask they follow the federal guidelines, 30 days prior to the election should be when the registration period should ends,” Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose said.

But Kemp said the June runoff is a continuation of Tuesday’s election and Georgia law said if you were not registered for the initial election, then you cannot register now.

“For us to have to stop and have our local election officials and registrars stop what they are doing in this process and implement something like this, it would be a nightmare that would really effect the integrity of the election,” Kemp said.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson weighed in on the Sixth Congressional District Special Runoff Election.

Tomlinson likes Ossoff’s chances, stating that Ossoff carried 200 precincts and Handel just eight. Tomlinson said “that is a pretty heavy lift for her.”

The mayor said while Republicans did get 52 percent of the vote in the special election, she wanted to point out 81 percent of those coming to the polls voted against Handel.

Tomlinson said while it is historically true that the district is predominately Republican, there are a lot of “business Republicans” who are moderate.

“It is not a heavy ideological district,” said Tomlinson, 52, who was raised in the district and has family there.

She said there is obviously a lot of interest in the race, with about 193,000 voters coming to the polls.

“For a special election, that is extraordinary,” she said.

Washington-based Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) said it will file an ethics complaint against Congressman Hank Johnson (D-Lithonia), alleging improper use of his official website to boost the election of Jon Ossoff.

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols will serve as vice chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’  Nuclear Issues-Waste Disposal Subcommittee.

“The wise disposition of nuclear waste continues to be one of the most important issues of our day,” Echols said. “If we don’t come up with a solution soon, we’ll need nine Yucca Mountain repositories by the end of the century, and that would be impossible to bring about.”

Houston County Commissioners face a tough budget process this year.

Tax revenues are expected to have slow growth this year in Houston County, which means another tough budget year.

The county is just now starting the process for formulating its budget for the upcoming fiscal year to begin July 1. Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker, who always issues words of caution as the budget year starts, gave an especially stark assessment last week.

“I am more concerned this year than I’ve ever been before in putting this budget together,” he said at the end of Tuesday’s commission meeting. “I’ve never felt the way I do this year going to this budget cycle. It is going to be gruesome.”

Rep. Ed Rynders (R-Leesburg ) is enthusiastic about the House Rural Development Council.

“HR 389 is chiefly Speaker David Ralston’s initiative,” Rynders said. “I don’t know if any speaker has visited more communities than Speaker Ralston. In his travels he has listened to the people throughout rural Georgia who are seeking meaningful economic development.

“I appreciate the speaker’s commitment to rural Georgia and look forward to trying to improve the quality of life for all Georgians. But keep in mind that one size doesn’t fit all even in rural Georgia. This council will look for solutions for job creation while addressing the unique challenges facing our communities.”

2018 Elections

State Senator Burt Jones (R-Jackson) is considering a run for statewide office in 2018.

Even though two well-known politicians already have announced their intentions to seek the seat of governor in 2018, Jones’ name continues to surface in political circles as a possible third GOP candidate. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are already campaigning for the seat currently held by Gov. Nathan Deal, now in his second term as the state’s top political leader.

“Probably the biggest problem I have is that I actually enjoy what I’m doing right now,” Jones said with a laugh, as he talked about his political aspirations with The Union-Recorder. “I really do enjoy what I’m doing, because of the fact that I can still run my business and I’ve got a very flexible schedule with family and everything. And that’s important to me.”

“Right now, I’m weighing all of my options, and looking to see if there is an opportunity lying out there in the pits,” said Jones, an insurance executive in his family’s business in Jackson, who is in his fifth year as a state senator. “You can make up all kinds of reasons not to do something, but the biggest issue for me would be that I get a good comfort level, and that this is something my family allows me to take on, and then I’ll make a decision.”

Jones said he plans to make a decision about his political future within the next couple of months.

“I’m looking at all the parameters of what it would cost, and what kind of team I could put together, etc.,” Jones said of possibly becoming the third Republican incumbent state office holder to run for governor.

“If, and that’s the big word, if, I would announce my intentions at some sort of an event,” said Jones, noting that it could happen at a political fundraising rally at an area venue.

Liberal Daily Kos says this about the timing of the Governor’s race.

If Jones does get in, he does have one potentially strong selling point to voters. Jones was the co-captain of the University of Georgia’s football team when they won the 2003 Sugar Bowl, which came just after the Bulldogs won their first SEC championship in 20 years. However, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is already running while Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is raising money for his likely bid, and a number of other Peach State Republicans are considering. By the time Jones makes up his mind, other campaigns may have a huge organizational head start.

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle will announce today that he is running for Secretary of State in 2018.

Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said Friday he plans to enter the race for Georgia Secretary of State in 2018.

Belle Isle, 42, became mayor in 2012 and is in the last half of his second and final term.

A formal announcement will take place Monday.

“I love the city of Alpharetta and want to keep serving it,” Belle Isle said Friday. “I think this is an opportunity to do for Georgia what we’ve done for Alpharetta.”

“I want to make Georgia the best at what it does,” he said. “Technology is one of those things, but also the moving of people and goods from our ports … and the marketing of crops and livestock.”

Belle Isle will join previously announced candidates for Secretary of State Buzz Brockway, Geoff Duncan, and Brad Raffensperger, all current State House members.