On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.
Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”
The stakes were enormous.
Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.
The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.
The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.
The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.
On March 9, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed two pieces of legislation dealing with African-Americans, one recognized their marriages, the other legitimized children born to African-American couples prior to the act and required parents to maintain their children in the same way white were required.
Governor Ellis Arnall signed two important pieces of legislation on March 9, 1945. The first created the Georgia Ports Authority, with its first project being the expansion of the Port of Savannah. The second authorized the placement of a referendum to adopt a new state Constitution (in the form of a single Amendment to the Constitution of 1877) on the ballot in a Special Election to be held August 7, 1945.
Thomas B. Murphy was born on March 10, 1924 in Bremen, Georgia and would first be elected to office in the 1950s, winning a seat on the Bremen Board of Education. In 1960, Murphy ran for the State House facing no opposition and was sworn in in 1961. In 1973, he became Speaker Murphy and would hold the post until Bill Heath, a Republican, beat him in the November 2002 General Election.
Murphy held the top House seat for longer than anyone in any American state legislature. He died on December 17, 2007.
HB 740 Game and fish; full-time military personnel on active duty and dependents be considered residents of state for procuring certain hunting and fishing licenses; provide (As Passed House) (NR&E-30th) Tanner-9th
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from TWO U.S. Senate Candidates: Congressman Jack Kingston and Congressman Phil Gingrey And as always, enjoy a great breakfast and meet various other candidates and elected officials PLEASE Register online at: http://www.fultongop.org/view/northfultonbreakfast.aspx
Sen. Steve Gooch to Host Ellijay Town Hall Meeting on Saturday ATLANTA (March 6, 2014) – Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) will hold a town hall meeting to answer questions about legislative efforts at the Georgia State Capitol in 2014. During the 2014 legislative session, Sen. Gooch will travel through District 51 to meet with constituents and discuss common questions and concerns, both locally and at the state level. Additional meeting times and dates will be set in the weeks…
Training Day! This Saturday is an opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate our message of freedom and opportunity. And why do we want to effectively communicate? So, we can win 51 seats in the US Senate, win state races, and make a difference!
David Perdue – U.S. Senate Join #TeamPerdue on Saturday in Middle Georgia! Grand Opening of our Middle Georgia Campaign Office If you have any questions or want to join us please call our office at (678) 248-6444.
GEORGIA REPUBLICANS TO HOST US SENATE DEBATE IN MACON WHAT: The Georgia Republican Party, in conjunction with local GOP organizations, will host their fourth U.S. Senate candidate debate in Macon at the Anderson Conference Center. WHO: Candidates vying to fill the seat of retiring United States Senator Saxby Chambliss will participate in a structured debate.
CONTACT: Adam Pipkin, Executive Director of the Georgia Republican Party, 404.257.5559cor [email protected]
The Senior Network and Central DeKalb GOP Women will host candidates: Nancy Jester for State School Superintendent Brian Kemp for Secretary of State David Pennington for Governor Refreshments are provided and all are invited.
the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief JusticeRoger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.
The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.
HB 824 Banking and finance; term “interest” does not include certain fees agreed upon by financial institution and depositor in written agreement between parties; clarify (As Passed House) (Substitute) (B&FI-23rd) Smith-134th
Modified Open Rule HR 1280 United States Congress; support successful negotiation of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between United States and European Union; encourage (ED&T-Caldwell-20th)
SB 209 Electronic Transactions; provide that no entity shall be prohibited from making self-help documents; not a substitute for advice of a professional (Substitute)(A&CA-Quick-117th) Wilkinson-50th
SB 301 Public School Facilities; disallow prohibitions on wood construction in public schools if in compliance with state minimum standard codes (SProp-Cheokas-138th) Millar-40th
• Senate Bill 141 – It became clear during the first two weeks of the session that the Senate Health and Human Services Committee was not going to vote on legislation scrapping the jury-based system for awarding compensation to victims of medical malpractice and replacing it with a new model based on workers’ compensation.
• House Bill 874 – Legislation allowing residential or commercial property owners in Georgia to contract directly with solar energy installers to finance the installation of solar panels failed to get out of the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.
• House Bill 907 – A bill requiring technology-enabled ride-sharing services in Georgia to comply with the same licensing and insurance mandates that apply to taxicabs and limousines cleared the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee but failed to reach the floor for a vote.
Read the first sentence of that quote again, “Barring an 11th-hour resurrection.” Some bills can be zombies brought back to life by transplanting their guts into a living bill, regardless of whether the author of the living bill is willing.
Proposals making solar panels more affordable, raw milk available for human consumption, English the official language and hedgehogs legal pets are among the hundreds of bills that failed to make Monday’s Crossover Day deadline, effectively killing them.
By the midnight deadline, legislators had introduced 1,528 bills since the two-year term of the General Assembly began in January, 2013. Last year, just 353 became law, meaning the vast majority of bills never do.
Only two bills have been defeated in the full House or Senate this year. The rest stalled somewhere along the process of committee consideration.
House Bill 1: would have added procedures to protect property owners when law enforcement seeks to seize vehicles, cash and other items as tools in the illegal sale of drugs
HB 390: voted down twice in the House, it would have allowed cities to increase their sales tax for transit systems
HB 1023 and Senate Bill 377: sought to preserve companies’ religious preferences by allowing them to deny service to potential customers with different beliefs or lifestyles
SR 1031: would have let voters decide to amend the state constitution to make English the state’s official language
On Wednesday, I drove 750 miles from Atlanta to Miami. I paid zero dollars in gas.
Electric cars offer twin benefits of being easy on the environment and the pocket book. Yet, they come with a massive trade off — driving range.
Most electric vehicles putter out of juice in under 100 miles. Charging empty automobile batteries can take forever. That means you’re limited to grocery store runs and daily commutes.
Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors realized it cannot solve just the range problem. Its Model S luxury sedan, equipped with the largest battery configuration, delivers an EPA-rated 265 miles.
Tesla is working on battery technology to extend driving range and recently announced plans for a $5 billion, 10 million square foot battery “gigafactory.” But, that is a hard problem to crack and certainly not a short-term fix.
So, Tesla is tackling the range problem another way. It’s building a network of high-speed chargers around the country for its customers. Imagine, General Motors combined with Shell.
The willingness to develop a network of charging stations, which helps prospective buyers see the potential of electric vehicles is one reason why Tesla might not be suited to Georgia’s current system of retail auto sales that generally prohibits manufacturer-owned dealers. This is not an issue with gas/diesel or hybrid cars, but I can’t imagine any local dealerships being willing to support the build-out of recharging stations outside their specific geographic areas.
Tesla is building a cross-country network of the chargers — an ingenious way of extending the Model S’ 265-mile driving range. Last week, I made a 750-mile road trip from Atlanta-to-Miami with the help of three Superchargers along I-95.
Tesla is expected to put six Superchargers at Atlantic Station, a source familiar with the project said Tuesday afternoon. Tesla did not return calls.
The Superchargers would turn Atlantic Station into a destination for Tesla owners, who are typically wealthy and tech savvy.
Metro Atlanta is a growth market for Palo Alto,-based Tesla. The automaker is said to have sold nearly 500 of its sedans (that, fully loaded, top $120,000) from its Atlanta service center.
Right now, Arizona consumers cannot directly buy a Tesla car here in the state. They can go and test drive one of CEO Elon Musk’s high-priced, high-powered cars at a showroom at Scottsdale Fashion Square. But they have to order it online and have it delivered from California because of existing Arizona laws prohibiting manufacturer-owned dealerships. Personnel at the Tesla showroom in Scottsdale also cannot discuss pricing with potential customers under Arizona law.
Tesla wants to change that law in Arizona, Texas and other states with pro-dealership statutes.
A bill was introduced this year by Rep. John Kavanaugh, R-Fountain Hills, to allow manufacturer-owned dealerships but it has stalled in the Legislature after opposition from traditional car dealers.
“The auto dealers came out in force,” said Jimmy Hamilton, a lobbyist for Tesla at the Arizona Capitol.
Tesla could also benefit from proposed and existing state breaks offered to Apple Inc.’s new plant in Mesa.
Gov. Jan Brewer and business groups support a new bill that would eliminate taxes on energy used by manufacturers. There also is a measure to allow companies located in Foreign Trade Zones to write-off their equipment faster. FTZ companies such as Intel already pay a lower 5 percent property tax rate. Most businesses pay a 19.5 percent. Apple’s plant at Mesa’s Eastmark development is slated to be in a FTZ and will pay the 5 percent rate.
Arizona’s bid for Tesla will likely include a 5 percent property tax rate.
State lawmakers are also considering another new bill that would give income tax breaks for companies whose manufacturing facilities are powered by solar and renewable sources. Both the Apple and Tesla plants are to be powered by adjacent renewable sources.
The availability of renewable electricity sources is also an issue in this plant location, as is rail access. While Tesla is looking for western locations for this plant, Georgia and Tennessee are both home to large automotive manufacturing facilities, with suppliers, rail access, and infrastructure to support them.
The proposal would limit political activities to 5 to 15 percent of groups’ overall efforts. It’s been criticized by the left and right. The proposal was first floated in November. “This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur.
But in a Feb. 27 letter to the Internal Revenue Service, Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber, says the chamber’s policy advocacy could be affected by the proposed cap.
“Incredibly, the proposed regulation could even threaten our ability to publicly encourage incumbents to take action on things such as pending legislation if an election were near,” Clark wrote in his letter. “This is a critically important function of chambers of commerce that is undoubtedly consistent with our tax-exempt purpose. The proposed regulation’s attempt to say otherwise is inconsistent with statute and longstanding practice and a violation of the Constitution under established judicial precedents.”
The news that the White House wouldn’t fund the dredging of the Savannah port — the state’s biggest economic development priority — complicated Carter’s official debut. Flanked by former Ambassador Andrew Young and businessman Michael Coles, the Atlanta Democrat said he was “disappointed” the port project won’t move forward. Said Carter:
“But the way I look at it is you have a governor who has played Washington politics at every opportunity, and tried to put a stick in the eye of the administration. And that type of attitude doesn’t help us move forward as a state.”
Carter said a more straightforward bipartisan approach help save the project, though he said he’s confident that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson and other GOP leaders are giving White House officials the hard press. When asked specifically whether the “stick in the eye” approach may have turned off White House officials, Carter had this to say:
“We have seen consistently over the last three years the governor putting Washington politics first and solving problems in Georgia second. And that clearly contributed to what happened. Absolutely.”
“During my visit with the Vice President, I talked to him about the importance of the Port of Savannah expansion project and shared my disappointment that the administration was not allowing the project to move forward. It’s the latest example of how Washington isn’t working. Everyone across the political spectrum agrees this is critical for job creation and our long-term economic growth.
“But at the last hour, government bureaucracy in Washington and red tape have stalled the project from getting off the ground. That’s the kind of inefficiency and obstructionism that we need to get rid of in Washington. The President should immediately allow the Corps of Engineers to move forward with the deepening of the port, and if not, Congress should pass a law to start the project.”
I wonder if that isn’t exactly what Nunn and Carter want: another way to distance themselves from an administration that is increasingly unpopular with Georgians.
GEORGIA REPUBLICANS TO HOST US SENATE DEBATE IN MACON WHAT: The Georgia Republican Party, in conjunction with local GOP organizations, will host their fourth U.S. Senate candidate debate in Macon at the Anderson Conference Center. WHO: Candidates vying to fill the seat of retiring United States Senator Saxby Chambliss will participate in a structured debate moderated by radio talk show host Martha Zoller. CONTACT: Adam Pipkin, Executive Director of the Georgia Republican Party, 404.257.5559or [email protected]
Regardless of Carter’s policy positions and his answers to questions, “Ask President Carter” was a truly historic broadcast. Never before had the President been accessible via telephone on a live radio broadcast. And the questions presented to the President weren’t confined to one or two issues that he had been prepared to handle. One can argue that the American people were also fascinated with the concept of calling and speaking directly to Carter; nine million people called into the broadcast trying to reach him.
The President seemed to enjoy the broadcast as well, remarking: “[t]he questions that come in from people all over the country are the kind that you would never get in a press conference. The news people would never raise them, like the Ottawa Indian question. And I think it’s very good for me to understand directly from the American people what they are concerned about and questions that have never been asked of me and reported through the news media.”
Modified Structured Rule SB 207 Probation of first offenders; person disqualified from employment when discharged as felony offender; add private home care providers to list (Substitute)(JudyNC-Clark-98th) Albers-56th
SB 273 Public Health, Dept. of; required to establish the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to review maternal deaths (H&HS-Hatchett-150th) Burke-11th
Tenth Congressional District race shaping up
I’m trying a few new things in our polling system that should not change the results but make the workflow smoother. In order to test everthing, I ran a survey in the Tenth Congressional District last night, using the announced candidate. As of the time I write this, all but one of the announced candidates have qualified for the election, and no new candidates have appeared. We surveyed likely Republican Primary voters, sample size is 824 respondents. We weighted for age range and gender.
First, I asked a question about the ballot for Governor
If the Republican Primary for Governor of Georgia were held today and the candidates were John Barge, Nathan Deal, the incumbent, and David Pennington, for whom would you vote?
Second question was the Congressional Ballot:
If the Republican Primary for Congress were held today and the candidate were Mike Collins, Gary Gerrard, Jody Hice, Donna Sheldon, Stephen Simpson, Brian Slowinski, and Mitchell Swann, for whom would you vote?
There was nothing particularly revealing about the crosstabs, but if you’d like to see some, email me and I’ll send them. I’m not surprised to see Mike Collins and Jody Hice leading, as Collins appears to have been campaigning more aggressively, and Hice has high name ID.
I was somewhat surprised to see former State Rep. Donna Sheldon in a distant third, but if her strategy has been to raise money and hold it all to spend once we get closer to the election, I think she probably can become competitive.
Colin is also making improvement of the Columbus Animal Control agency part of his campaign. I believe that most jurisdictions in Georgia can do a better job of saving animals instead of killing them, and this policy position is one of the reasons I am supporting Colin Martin for Mayor.
If you’re in the Columbus area, you’ll see Colin’s signs and you may notice what appears to be a “Paid for by” disclaimer at the bottom. But it’s different.
That’s a great idea and shows that in his campaign he’s supporting his local businesses, not simply buying for the lowest cost from an out-of-state vendor. Does it matter in the election? I don’t know, but when we’ve seen a recent election in which a candidate got into the runoff by two votes over the third-place finisher, it’s worth doing this, as there’s no additional cost and it might be worth a couple votes in any case. Just make sure you’re honest about this – faking it could backfire.
Overheard at the Capitol
Senator Cecil Staton’s Senate in a Minute for March 4, 2014
Following are links to audio interviews recorded yesterday at the Capitol:
Yesterday, I was talking to a State Representative as he prepared to qualify for reelection. Early in the session, after Speaker David Ralston indicated he was open to a discussion of whether marijuana could be legalized for medicinal purposes, the Representative was opposed to anything that sounded like legalization of marijuana. On Monday he voted for HB 885, which moves toward allowing medicinal use of an oil derived from Cannabis under strict regulation.
I asked him what the difference was and he told me about a constituent of his whose child suffered from seizures and how the constituent was upside-down on his home mortgage, and so couldn’t sell it and move to Colorado to help his child. “He told me he had never voted before….he seemed like he was reticent to talk to ‘a politician,’ but he spoke from his heart about what this would mean to his family and his child….that’s something we need to get better at doing if we want to win elections,” he said.
Recently, we have seen a tour de force of political communication by the families who support legalizing medicinal CBD oil derived from cannabis and members of the General Assembly who join them. This is a case study for how to communicate with voters and politicians. It starts with two simple truths: first, speaking from the heart is often more powerful than speaking from the brain when engaging others; and second, people understand stories differently than they understand facts and figures.
I’m not suggesting that facts and figures aren’t important – any effective politics begins with understanding the facts about the situation in which you find yourself. But if all you’re doing is communicating the facts, without connecting them to the outcomes that Georgians seek from their state, you’re losing points.
Sincerity should not be faked, but it can be practiced. We can become better at communicating the full range of meaning to our viewers and become better communicators. I’ll be discussing this at greater length in the coming days.
The Senate 7: The Races That Will Determine 2014 Control
It’s the debut of U.S. News & World Report’s monthly rankings of the hottest Senate races in the country.
If Republicans wake up Nov. 5 just short of a majority, the primary race that’s percolating in the Peach State now could be the reason.
The Republican establishment nightmare? If Rep. Paul Broun – the most unapologetically ideological and sharp-tongued of the lot – is one of the last two standing. “I think the one who has the clearest path, the best chance of making a runoff is Paul Broun,” says Todd Rehm, an unaffiliated Georgia-based GOP consultant who runs the Georgia Pundit website.
I’m neither endorsing nor supporting anyone in the Senate race, so please don’t take my statement about Rep. Broun as such. But the clarity of his vision and statements gives him strong support among two different, and often opposing, constituencies — strong Christian Conservatives, and “Constitutional Conservatives.” The high intensity of support he receives gives him a base of followers that would crawl over broken glass to vote for him.
While I think Broun has the clearest path to a runoff berth, I think he may be weaker than whomever joins him in the second round of voting. Karen Handel might have broader support and a top-notch grassroots organization. Jack Kingston, David Perdue, and Phil Gingrey are all likely to vastly outspend Broun, both to make a runoff, and in the runoff itself. But I haven’t seen intensity of support for any of the other leading candidates to rival that which Broun enjoys.
In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:
“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
HB 375 Insurance; cancellations under certain circumstances relating to policy terms that permit an audit or rate investigation and noncompliance by insured; provide (As Passed House) (Substitute) (I&L-25th) Williamson-115th
In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.
Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.
The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.
The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.
“We believe that private probation services provide an effective solution to deal with individuals who willfully violate the laws of the State of Georgia at no cost to the law abiding residents of Georgia,” Danna Philmon, president of the industry-group the Private Probation Association of Georgia, said in an email to NBC News. She said she has not seen the report and could not comment directly on its findings.
Eighty-six private probation companies monitor between 250,000 and 300,000 probationers each year, according to Georgia’s County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council, or CMPAC, which regulates the industry in the state. Companies are not required to report how much they collect in supervision fees. Human Rights Watch estimated the industry took in about $40 million a year in Georgia alone.
Despite the legal challenges, companies are looking to broaden their authority in Georgia. An industry-backed bill pending before the state Legislature would give judges the authority to extend, or “toll,” probation sentences for those who do not comply with the terms. This would allow companies to request that a judge reinstate supervision, along with fees, even if the original term of probation had run out. Sentinel and the courts in Augusta had routinely done that before the court there ruled it illegal. Sentinel has lobbied extensively for the bill.
Once a county privatizes its collections or probation, it can be difficult for it go back.
Georgia’s animal cruelty law passed in 2010, but some prosecutors believe lawmakers added so many amendments, it actually weakened it from the original version.
State Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, is sponsoring the new version and said it not only cleans up and clarifies the existing law, it also expands it so that torturing an animal, even if that animal does not die, is considered a felony.
“The majority of animal abuse cases are neglect cases, cases where animals are being starved or ingrown collars or just basically no shelter,” said [former Cobb County prosecutor Claudine] Wilkins.
Wilkins said this law clarifies what is and is not a neglect case.
The only committee meeting currently scheduled for the Senate today is Rules, which will meet upon adjournment in room 450 of the Capitol. Given that today is Crossover Day, a supplemental Rules calendar is anticipated.
any controversial proposals — including one allowing limited access to medical marijuana and one prohibiting the governor from expanding access to Medicaid — are expected to be debated on the floor of the Ga. House of Representatives Monday.
The 30th day of the legislative session will likely go late into the night. Monday is Crossover Day. On this day, a bill has to pass the House or Senate to have a chance of becoming law during this session.
“The most controversial bills always hit on day 30,” said State Rep. David Stover, R-Palmetto.
The House Rules Committee decides which bills will be sent to the House for consideration, and the Speaker of the House then decides what bills to “call.”
The Rules Committee has set a short, basic calendar, but will meet Monday to add more bills, and will likely meet several times throughout the day.
The calendar was drafted Wednesday. The House however, wasn’t in session Thursday or Friday, but committees were meeting regarding bills not final on Wednesday.
One of the most controversial bills likely to be debated Monday is House Bill 885, known as “Haleigh’s Hope Act.”
It would allow limited use of cannabis-derived oil, which is low in THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but high in cannibidiol, which has been used to reduce seizures in children in other states, notably Colorado.
The bill passed out of the House Health and Human Services. One setback of the bill was locating a source for the cannabis oil. Bill sponsor Allen Peake, R-Macon, added a provision allowing medical schools to grow, produce, and prescribe the product.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Every elected official should ask himself or herself every day if they are doing what they know to be right, or if the fear of political consequences and their attachment to their elected position hold them back.
All I can ask of any legislator today is that they look into their heart, ask God or whatever higher power they recognize for widom, discernment, and the strength to do His will. Then press the button they are led to. I cannot judge who is right or wrong, much less who is righteous, but I believe I would be led to press the green button.
Day 30 of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session is called Crossover Day because any bill that passes one chamber by this point in the session automatically crosses over to the other chamber for consideration.
The state Senate has put 30 bills on its debate calendar for Monday and the state House has chosen 17 measures to kick off debate. The Senate will most likely not add any other bills to its roster, but the House will almost certainly have what are called supplemental calendars. That means periodically throughout the day, the committee that sets the House’s agenda will meet to add more bills to the list.
Some of the session’s most controversial measures-–including a bill that would allow guns in churches and bars–won’t show up on the floor of either chamber Monday because they’ve already passed over.
But in the case of the Senate, at least one lightning rod of a bill will likely tie up that chamber for hours. And that’s a measure that would nix coverage of abortion under any state or federal healthcare plan sold in Georgia.
“That one’s likely to take us a few hours to get through,” said Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, who sets the Senate calendar as chairman of that chamber’s Rules committee.
“It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight,” said Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat.
Mullis said another bill that could require a few hours of debate is a measure that would grant anonymity to winners of the Georgia Lottery under certain conditions.
Other hot-button bills will likely show up on the House floor last-minute. In fact, some Capitol observers say lawmakers in the House have set an easy agenda to get things started but, by mid-day or mid-evening, may roll out measures that have opposition.
“They deliberately made this [first] calendar vanilla because they’re going to put the controversial bills on the supplemental calendars,” said Neill Herring, a longtime lobbyist and Capitol observer.
Campaigns and Election; Rumors and Innuendos
Over the weekend, two other websites reported that Senator Jack Murphy (R-Forsyth) would not run for reelection. Last Tuesday, I had spoken to Sen. Murphy and asked if he was running; he told me he was. I noted that on Twitter.
McDonald most recently served as county coroner for 12 years and as a county firefighter for 25 years. He is an avid supporter of the youth sports community and spends his evenings and weekends coaching.
“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from the community over the past decade,” McDonald said. “This community has given me so much.”
McDonald will campaign against incumbent Jack Murphy and Michael Williams, who announced his candidacy earlier in the year.
The McDonald & Son Funeral Home owner employs 17 people at his business, and said he understands what it means to sign the front of paychecks, not just the back.
Bringing high-paying, quality jobs to Georgia and Forsyth County will be his top priority. Forsyth is an attracter for businesses, he said, because the community has a large tax base with a low tax burden, in addition to a quality school system.
On February 28, 1854, 30 anti-slavery opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would repeal the 1820 Missouri Compromise, met in Ripon, Wisconsin and called for the creation of the Republican Party.
The non- partisan news poll pitting Ralston against his Republican primary opponent, Sam Snider, shows David Ralston leading his opponent by a 61%-to-26% margin, with very few likely voters (13%) in the district left undecided.
InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery: “This is good news for a weary state GOP. With the U.S. Senate in play and Governor Deal holding on to a somewhat precarious lead in November, David Ralston may be the solid rock that other Republicans cling to…And this points to a general strategic theme I have mentioned in recent days. That being that this is not the year of the challenger against Republican incumbents. The individuals running against Governor Deal in a primary are only knocking down their own inevitable nominee. And in David Ralston’s case the candidate opposing him is really only diverting his (Ralston’s) attention from helping other conservative Republicans. Given that Ralston is all but assured of reelection, the primary battle only serves to potentially hurt his ability to help Republicans win in November by taking time and attention away from helping other districts. And that’s not good for the statewide GOP effort.”
Joseph brings with him over a decade of experience in Republican politics and public affairs. His diverse background, including work in New Mexico, Indiana, and Iowa will help drive results and recruit a broader base of volunteers and party members.
It makes us wonder what’s going on out there when we see news stories of two different cities having to consider legislation to maintain decorum during public meetings.
A boisterous, overflow crowd at [Temple] city hall weighed in on a variety of issues throughout the night, filling the room with enough ideas and public comment that two full hours passed before the council took a first vote. Members of the audience did not need to give their names or addresses or come to a podium, and had no time limit, with some speaking more often than some of the council members that night.
The meeting caused the city’s rules of decorum to come under question.
Those rules state that public comment only happens during a certain part of the meeting, after the invocation and before invited guests are recognized. They also state that when audience members make public comments, “the speaker shall come to the podium and state their name and address … the speaker will have three minutes to speak and … a citizen may speak for or against agenda items during public comment by signing in before the assigned items for the meeting to begin.”
At the most recent council meeting on Monday, Councilman Barham Lundy said there were so many police in the council chambers it was “like the gestapo.” Mayor Jim Sells told Lundy he was “a shame and a disgrace.”
“I could say the same about you,” Lundy replied.
“We all know that Grantville is often viewed as a laughing stock in Coweta County,” City Manager Johnny Williams stated in an email sent to city officials on Tuesday. “We should all be ashamed.”
Now Williams has proposed a decorum ordinance — a concept heartily endorsed by Sells. “After last evening’s session of city council, I am more convinced than ever that some measures must be implemented to maintain proper order and decorum during these important meetings,” Williams observed.
The ordinance would make it a misdemeanor for an individual to break decorum at a city council meeting or committee meeting. “This would give the police the power to arrest anyone breaking our decorum,” Williams explained.
The ordinance would apply to members of the public attending meetings, but also to the mayor, council members and committee members.
Williams said he is having a police officer placed behind the council bench next to the clerk “at all regular, special and committee meetings” of the council. “They will be instructed to remove any of our officials who do not come to order after being asked to do so by the presiding officer,” Williams stated.
“I know I’m part of the problem,” Sells said. He said he is willing to work at improving civility and sees a need for more decorum.
Yesterday, the House Health and Human Services Committee passed Rep. Allen Peake’s HB 885 (Substitute) unanimously, clearing the way for the bill to go before the Rules Committee and be voted on by the entire State House or Representatives. HB 885 is also known as “Haleigh’s Law” and would allow the medical use, by prescription, of medication derived from cannabis, and also allow strictly-regulated production of such medication, including growing of cannabis, in Georgia. From Peake’s hometown Macon Telegraph:
A bill that would legalize access to a cannabis-derived medicine in Georgia passed its first vote Wednesday, with a new provision for sourcing the illegal plant: in-state cannabis cultivation.
“We’ve tried to address the access problem that we clearly have by providing a cultivation option” at Georgia’s five medical research universities, state Rep. Allen Peake, sponsor of House Bill 885, said of his hours-old edits.
That’s meant to get around a major roadblock to his bill: how to find marijuana to synthesize the liquid that provides some children relief from severe seizure disorders. In Colorado, where cannabis is legal, several companies manufacture such medicine, but they cannot export to other states.
“I don’t want a bill that gives false hopes,” said state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, chair of the committee, pointing out that cannabis is still not legal under federal law.
Cooper said as far as her research shows, no academic research institute can take something that is not FDA-approved and use it on humans without jeopardizing federal funding.
“No matter what this bill does, I will encourage children to apply for this expanded … testing” in the U.S. of the vetted British medicine, Cooper said. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Under the bill, the only five Georgia universities that could apply to grow and synthesize high-CBD liquid medical cannabis are Georgia Regents and the University of Georgia, plus Emory, Morehouse and Mercer universities. No school would be obliged to do medical marijuana work, but they would have the option.
Peake said Morehouse and Mercer have expressed interest if it becomes legal under state law. Both are private schools.
State Rep. Mickey Channell, R-Greensboro, said the bill isn’t perfect, “but we need to act on this.” It won’t extend every child’s life, he said, but it will improve “their quality of life while they’re still with us.”
I will take the liberty of here saying that I admire Rep. Allen Peake and hope that his constituents will recognize the leadership he has provided on this issue even if they do not agree with him. It’s not the issue that makes me appreciate Rep. Peake, it is his willingness to put his own political career in jeopardy to help some constituents. He has also worked diligently to honor and address the concerns of major stakeholder groups in Georgia as well as pave the path to allow his colleagues in the State House to vote on the basis of their own judgment and conscience and not anti-marijuana hysteria. I believe that Georgia should not in coming years move toward permissive laws allowing the smoking of marijuana unless sound medical data back any such proposal, and I would oppose attempts to legalize the recreational use, as Rep. Peake has said he would.
In Matthew 16:26, we are asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” and this is a verse that all politicians should regularly revisit. An elected official who puts his or her own political interests ahead of doing what he or she believes to be the right thing for their constituents has already lost the battle and is incapable of moral leadership.
Yesterday, Williams sent out an email saying that he had received an anonymous packet of opposition research material on himself, including documents related to a past divorce and a business bankruptcy.
Republican Michael Williams of Cumming is challenging incumbent Jack Murphy for Senate District 27 which covers Forsyth County. Murphy has held the seat for 12-years and is intent on holding onto it.
Several weeks back, a package with no return address arrived on the front steps of the Williams home in Cumming. Michael’s wife, Virginia, opened the package to discover a mysterious message typed in large black type with no signature or indication of the sender. The typed letter informed the receiver that he (Williams) should reconsider his bid for State Senate or the anonymous sender would attempt to discredit him through misinformation and half-truths. The package also contained divorce records for Williams’ previous marriage as well as documents concerning a bankruptcy that he went through with a previous business. The package made it clear that these documents as well as several other veiled allegations would be made public if Williams did not withdraw from the race. What you cannot see in an old bankruptcy filing is that Michael, though not required by law, has paid back much of the money from the bankruptcy and is continuing to pay it off. Michael believes this is the right thing to do regardless of not being legally required to do so. This is what integrity looks like, doing the right thing without force. This is the same integrity that Michael intends to bring to the State Senate.
Senator Murphy responded via email:
As Ronald Reagan once said, here we go again. It seems my announced opponent has decided to take to email and the internet to spread his delusional conspiracies.
While I am unaware of the circumstances surrounding this alleged and likely mythical mail package, I have been deeply disturbed by my opponent’s recent conduct and his personal history. Allow me to share some facts.
As you well know, the recent economic downturn hit me pretty hard, as it did many people throughout my district and our state. I did not declare bankruptcy. I have paid all my debts and lived up to all my obligations. There have been radicals in my community and liberals in the media who have tried to turn this into something nefarious. It’s clearly not.
My opponent though has some very serious questions swirling around him that need to be answered. He has declared bankruptcy and has not been living up to his personal obligations in many ways. Yet, he miraculously has $150,000 of his own money to spend on a political campaign? That’s not just puzzling. It’s simply wrong.
He’s worked himself up into some kind of unbalanced frenzy about alleged attacks that I doubt ever happened and casting all sorts of insults around. I’m not going to sit back and take these attacks this time. In this election, we will be forcefully and aggressively speaking the truth about the choices in this election.
Georgia Right to Life issued a Pro-Life action alert asking members and Pro-Life Georgians to contact Lt. Governor Casey Cagle today:
It appears Senate Bill 98, which will ban taxpayer funding for abortion coverage through the Obamacare federal insurance exchanges and from state employee insurance plans, is STALLED in Georgia Senate Rules Committee! Georgia is the ONLY state in the southeast (SEE MAP) that has NOT taken advantage of the provisions in the Obama healthcare law that ALLOWS states to opt out of abortion coverage! Also, Georgians are not in favor of their tax dollars being used for abortion coverage under the state employee health benefit plans. Governor Deal helped prevent this coverage last summer, but more must be done to ensure future administrations do not reverse his executive measure.
YOUR IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED!
PLEASE CONTACT LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CASEY CAGLE AND ASK HIM TO ALLOW SB 98 TO MOVE OUT OF THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE ON TO THE SENATE FLOOR FOR A VOTE BEFORE THE 30TH DAY OF THE LEGISLATURE, WHICH IS MONDAY MARCH THE 3RD!
Politely and respectfully ask that the Lieutenant Governor to use his influence to move this pro-life bill!
Be sure to contact Lt. Gov. Cagle’s via email, phone (404-656-5030), Facebook, or via Twitter (@CaseyCagle). If you use social media in addition to calling and emailing, be sure to use hashtag #SB98!
Thank you in advance for your prompt action. Your action today could same precious lives for tomorrow!
HB 979: Education; provide for membership of certain boards in the event local legislation is not passed during 2014 regular session of General Assembly conforming size of boards to requirements of law; provisions (Substitute) (SLGO(G)-10th) Jacobs-80th
Modified Open Rule HB 405 Elementary and secondary education; members of governing boards of nonprofit organizations which are charter petitioners and charter schools to participate in governance training; require (Substitute)(Ed-Mayo-84th)
Taylor said he was disappointed but he was pleased the measure was approved in two committees. He said he understands that much more work needs to be done with individual legislators.
The independent school district idea is wildly popular in Dunwoody because of the dysfunctional nature of the DeKalb school system that nearly cost it accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
But across the state and on metro Atlanta school boards, the idea of fragmenting large school districts or cherry-picking to carve out areas is feared. That Taylor had limited the idea to Georgia’s new cities individually or in combination, he said, hadn’t been widely understood.
“We’ll do our homework for the next year,” he said, “and bring it around again, hopefully to a much better reception.”
The powerful House speaker pro tempore, Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta), put a positive spin on Monday’s development.
“Tom did a tremendous job in moving this Constitutional Amendment forward,” she said. “Getting HR 486 out of subcommittee and the full Education Committee with one hearing each is real progress. This is most definitely a heavy lift to accomplish. As Pro Tem, I am still fighting to get Milton County, and this is even more significant because of statewide implications. In the end, there were not enough votes to ensure passage, but I am urging Tom to bring this back next session where I look forward to working with him to get it passed.”
Three points I would make here – all my personal opinion. First, Constitutional Amendments should generally be a long-term project to ensure that the consequences, both intended and unintended, are fully understood and vetted. Second, opening the Amendment up in the future to municipalities not newly-created might allow supporters to find some support in places not currently considered likely. The high rate of support for the Charter School Amendment in some predominantly African-American areas might point to a way to find support for this bill outside the new cities. Third, the school systems of the state and their employees are arguably the largest, most geographically distributed lobbying force in favor of strengthening the existing school systems. If you want to change the status quo, you probably have to either get them on your side or somehow neutralize their power.
Republican lawmakers indulged their conservative wing Tuesday by opposing national education standards, though the watered-down legislation does nothing to change the standards at the heart of the controversy.
State Sen. William Ligon Jr. (R-Brunswick) initially proposed harsher legislation that mandated Georgia abandon a national plank of educational standards in math and English instruction. Those standards, called the Common Core, have been adopted by most states and set benchmarks for what students should learn. The state Senate voted 34-16 to adopt a scaled-back version of the law.
“It is important that we recognize Georgia’s constitutional right to determine what will be taught in our classrooms,” Ligon said.
In a political compromise, critics of the Common Core standards got legislation that takes a symbolic swipe at the system without fundamentally changing state policy. As a practical matter, Georgia adopted the standards in 2010 and local educators have spent time and money building new curriculum around them. State lawmakers heard as much when they spoke with teacher before the start of the legislative session.
“They got an earful from a lot of educators saying, ‘Listen, don’t yank the rug out from under us because there’s a political tussle going on,’” said Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, a teachers’ lobbying group.
The legislation technically bans state officials from adopting standards prescribed by the federal government or other organizations going forward. It will have no effect on the 2010 decision by Georgia’s Board of Education to make the Common Core standards as the state’s own. And the U.S. government never required that states use the standards, though it did encourage their development and adoption.
Campaigns and Elections
Congressman Paul Broun has released his first television ad in the Republican Primary for United States Senate. No word on whether, when or how much money will be used to buy airtime for the ad.
State Sen. Buddy Carter, one of more than a half-dozen Republicans running for Georgia’s open 1st District, will go up on television Tuesday with an ad touting his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
“As a pharmacist practicing for over 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in health care, and I still maintain we have the greatest health care system in the world,” Carter says in the 30-second spot. “But Obamacare’s a train wreck, and it has to go. In Congress, I’ll continue my pursuit to get rid of it.”
Carter is the first candidate on air in this district, based in Savannah, Ga.. The seat is open this cycle because Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is running for Senate.
The ad will air on cable through the district, and is backed by a small $25,000 buy, according to two sources with knowledge of media buys in Georgia.
“We think we bring to this race a perspective of being a leader in our local charter schools and having run a youth leadership organization in our public schools for eight years successfully,” Bell, 33, said. “Along with having had experience as a local elected official, we think we have the right combination of experience at the right time for this office.”
The state superintendent seat is being vacated by John Barge, who is campaigning in the Republican gubernatorial primary against Gov. Nathan Deal.
“The superintendent’s office has to work in partnership with the governor and the Department of Education,” Bell said. “What I can do is help the office be more transparent with parents.”
“What I want to focus on is, yes, let’s make our classrooms stronger and better environments for education,” he said. “I think that is a three-pronged approach. You’ve got to have parental involvement. You’ve got to have quality, well-paid teachers. And then you’ve got to have student responsibility.”
In 1867, the first Reconstruction Act was passed by a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress, dividing the South into five military districts and granting suffrage to all male citizens, regardless of race. A politically mobilized African American community joined with white allies in the Southern states to elect the Republican party to power, which in turn brought about radical changes across the South. By 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and most were controlled by the Republican Party, thanks in large part to the support of African American voters.
On January 20, 1870, Hiram R. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature to fill the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy. On February 25, two days after Mississippi was granted representation in Congress for the first time since it seceded in 1861, Revels was sworn in.
SB 397 – Autism; provide for certain insurance coverage of autism spectrum disorders; definitions; limitations; premium cap (As Introduced) (Substitute) (I&L-8th)
SB 343 – Education; provide no high school which receives funding under the “Quality Basic Education Act”; shall participate in sponsor interscholastic sport events conducted by any athletic association (As Introduced) (Substitute) (ED&Y-53rd)
SB 167 – Education; declare certain actions void ab initio relating to adoption of certain curricula (As Introduced) (Substitute) (ED&Y-3rd)
Senate Bill 167 is one of the major anti “Common Core” bills.
HB 825 Alcoholic beverages; fruit growers licensed as farm wineries obtain license authorizing production of distilled spirits and fortified wines pursuant to certain conditions; permit (RegI-Houston-170th)
HB 826 Crimes and offenses; carrying weapons within certain school safety zones and at school functions; change provisions (Substitute)(JuvJ-Setzler-35th)
HB 872 Evidence; privileged communication between law enforcement and peer counselors under certain circumstances; create (PS&HS-Rogers-10th)
State Rep. Sam Moore (Macedonia), who was on the receiving end of blistering criticism over a bill he dropped in his first weeks under the Gold Dome took to the well yesterday to apologize. Sort of.
On Monday, Moore told lawmakers it was a “rookie” mistake.
“Although my intent was pure and my mistakes were honest, I am ultimately responsible for all of my actions,” he says.
Moore apologized for any embarrassment the bill caused to his district, the state, and his supporters.
He did, however, put blame on Republican leaders for not mentoring him when he only came into office days before.
“Not a single member reached out to me on HB 1033 prior to signing up to speak at ‘the well’ last Friday,” he says. “Those who spoke publicly aired what should have been a quiet, private, constructive conversation the night before.”
Moore also blamed the media.
“If I had known that the media would be looking at my legislation, I probably wouldn’t have dropped any of my bills without additional consultation,” he says.
House Speaker David Ralston told reporters afterwards, he was not impressed with Moore’s apology.
“I think that to blame a failure… on other people is sort of mind-boggling to me,” he says.
t’s interesting that the denunciations were aimed at this bill, and not another introduced by Moore which would outlaw no-knock warrants and give people the right to use deadly force against law enforcement officials who don’t knock. Lowering the threshold for when it’s okay to shoot a police officer is a pretty radical step.
But especially in a viral world, nothing could strike deeper fear in the hearts of most politicians than the idea of being identified with a bill to loosen the rules for sex offenders in an election year. Republicans from Speaker David Ralston down to freshmen denounced Moore for the offensive bill. State GOP chairman John Padget even chimed in with a press release, lest there be the suggestion that any corner of the GOP sanctioned such an idea.
In the past, many of the bomb-throwers were religious conservatives, willing to short-circuit the system to force action on abortion and other issues. Moore, who recently won a special election for the seat held by the late Calvin Hill, is from a younger, more libertarian-leaning generation, and it was clear when he took to the well Monday morning to explain himself that this was a different sort of bomb-thrower than most of his elders were used to.
…I started dropping bills as fast as Legislative Council could draft them. I was afraid that if my bills were dropped after Crossover Day, then they would not be vetted in the Committee process. I wanted my legislation vetted in Committee so I could start the conversation, learn from the process, improve my legislation with sage feedback, and push my legislation ‘for real’ the following year after I had learned the system.”
He had “no idea,” Moore said, that anyone beside the committee members assigned to the bill would be looking at it.
As I read the full three-page text of Moore’s statement, in which he frequently refers to his opponents, I was reminded of a story, usually attributed to Washington, DC about a young member of the House who refers to members of the other party as “the enemy” within earshot of a senior colleague. The older member takes the younger aside and brusquely instructs him that the members of the House who are in the other party are not the enemy. “The Senate is the enemy,” he concludes.
The first step in redemption is repentance, and my preacher frequently tells us that repentance is about turning away from temptation. Continuing to think of one’s fellow House members as “opponents” and blaming them for one’s shortcomings doesn’t seem the best way to get started on the road of political redemption.
That said, I am hopeful this is the last I will feel moved to discuss the events of last week.
The Atlanta delegation hopes to attract investment and the interest of companies including Google, Facebook and Cisco, according to a statement released by Reed’s office.
There’s no promise that, even with California start-up money, Atlanta will become home to a future version of the WhatsApp deal. But Reed certainly is promoting the city as a future tech hub.
“Atlanta has long been a city that welcomes and nurtures talent, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” Reed said in the statement. “I am confident that this trip will enable us to position our city as an ideal location for long-term tech investments and ensure that Atlanta’s technology sector continues to grow and thrive.”
“Atlanta is one of the most attractive cities in the United States for Silicon Valley investors,” [John] Yates said in the statement. “We have the ingredients venture capitalists seek – major universities, talented entrepreneurs, leading incubators and active angel investors. And two-thirds of VC investment last year was in areas where Atlanta is a leader – information technology, healthcare and financial services.”
However, just 5 percent of all venture capital investment goes to the southeast, according to the statement. That said, metro Atlanta is ranked 12th in the nation in terms of tech start-ups, according to the release.
The moment of applying pressure on the accelerator of a Tesla sedan suggests instantly that it is not the usual luxury car, and its upstart manufacturer doesn’t sell them the usual way.
If its engineers revel in what’s been called “disruptive technology,” its marketing managers are trying just as hard to disrupt the industry’s traditional distribution system of a network of franchised dealers. To succeed, they have a team of lobbyists buttonholing Georgia legislators for test drives so they can pitch reasons to support House Bill 925.
The bill is part of a trend in this year’s General Assembly session in which young companies seek novel ways of reaching customers that conflict with decades-old laws that lock in traditional business models. The trend includes microbrewers, online limousine services and solar-power installers.
Tesla Motors prefers to sell its electric cars through its own stores than the franchised dealers other automakers use. The technology is so novel and expensive that buyers typically require six visits to learn enough to become comfortable buying a $60,000 car that only goes 300 miles at a stretch, even if it can get there very quickly. Dealers strive to ensure customers don’t leave in the car they arrived in on the first visit.
“The question, in my mind, is should government be legislating a business model,” Tesla’s Diarmuid O’Connell told the House Motor Vehicle Committee. He’s the vice president of corporate and business development.
But the Georgia Auto Dealers Association had John B. Prince III testify about his 48 years running dealerships in Tifton, Albany, Valdosta and Douglas for eight vehicle brands.
“The franchise system is a proven and cost-effective distribution system,” he said, explaining that competition keeps prices so low he takes a loss selling new cars and that bumping into customers in his hometown encourages him to give good service.
In the House Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications Committee, a similar proposal is under consideration. HB 874 would amend the 41-year-old law that assigns each of the state’s 95 electric utilities its own geographic monopoly. The bill would allow companies, like those with financial backing from Google and others, to essentially lease the rooftops of private property to install solar panels paid for by providing electricity to the property owner with the balance being sold to the utilities.
The scene shifts to other committees considering allowing microbrewers to sell packaged beer outside of the legally mandated wholesaler system and weighing legislation that determines whether the smartphone-enabled ride-matching services Uber and Lyft can compete with licensed taxicabs.
Defenders of the status quo argue that the laws that have evolved over the years not only protect companies from unlimited competition but also consumers from bad actors.
“If you are a for-hire driver, there are certain things in Georgia that’s always been expected: background checks, that you have liability insurance, and you’re paying your sales taxes,” Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, told WSB-AM about why he sponsors HB 907 to require Uber and Lyft conform to taxicab laws. “You don’t want sex offenders and pedophiles driving out there and picking up the public.”
These same battles are going on in legislatures across the country.
For many Georgia legislators these bills present a challenge. On one hand, they think of themselves as being supportive of business and the notion that competition breeds innovation which lowers price and expands consumer choice. On the other hand, the existing businesses say these new threats will hurt them and their employees.
Sen. Josh McKoon, the sponsor of the microbrewers’ legislation, Senate Bill 174, acknowledges the validity of arguments made by opponents of his bill.
Even though he is sponsoring one of the “disruptive” bills, McKoon reflects the feelings of many of his colleagues when he talks about incremental change. After all, the state motto is “Wisdom, Justice and Moderation.”
“Does that mean that we, in an overnight manner, junk an existing system? Probably not because that, in and of itself, creates a lot of market distortion,” he said. “I think we have to figure out where we ultimately want to go, and then develop a gradual path to get to that end point.”
There appears to be what I refer to as an informal “geek caucus” in the State House, led by State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville) and Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek) as two of the visible members. The two and their like-minded cohorts appear to be free market-driven and enamored of new technology. I suspect it’s no accident that Brockway and Dudgeon are both Georgia Tech grads.
Brought together by these ideologies of free markets and technological innovation, the Representatives have been at the forefront of legislation like House Bill 925, of which Brockway is a co-sponsor, that seeks to open Georgia’s automotive market to allow more car sales by Tesla Motors, and HB 176, the BILD Act, which seeks to encourage the build-out of wider broadband wireless coverage in Georgia. Both Brockway and Dudgeon have announced they are seeking reelection this year and Georgia will be well-served with their leadership on removing impediments to free markets and technological innovation in Georgia.
the Obama administration intends to unilaterally modify the tax code in further efforts to silence political speech.
In November, the IRS announced that it would completely transform the 501(c)(4) classification used by groups organized for the purposes of “social welfare.”
From veterans’ organizations to civic education programs, many important nonprofits fall under this designation.
These nonprofits are allowed to participate in the political process, within limits, and typical activities include voter education, advocacy and holding town halls. Many free market groups file under this classification.
The new rules would virtually halt such activities. Plus, the IRS would require 501 (c)(4) non-profits to pay taxes, knowing full well that these groups cannot afford to do so.
Their intent is to force groups into reclassifying under a different category of the tax code, as 527 non-profits. The 527 groups are not taxed on their donations, but they are required to disclose their donors to the Obama administration.
Conservative groups would be forced to choose: Change their classification to a 527 non-profit and open up their donors to abuse at the hands of Washington bureaucrats, or shut down all-together because they can’t afford the taxes levied against them if they remain a 501(c)(4) organization.
Unsurprisingly, such changes to the IRS code won’t affect a key Democrat political beneficiary — labor unions.
These groups, while nearly identical to 501 (c)(4) non-profits, fall under the 501 (c)(5) classification. Their regulations would remain untouched in this IRS overhaul, so they would be free to continue politicking as they have in years past.
Sadly, this is just the latest in the never-ending saga of Obama’s executive overreach and use of the federal government to punish those with whom he disagrees.
Public engagement and the Republican resolve are critical to fighting it. Together, we can stop this government abuse.
Calling himself a conservative Republican who “wants to represent Jesus in the way he goes about things,” Heath Clark said Wednesday he got into the race because he believes Georgia’s conservative Republican principles are being neglected.
That’s especially true, Clark said, when lawmakers deal with financial matters. For example, Clark said when lawmakers get more money than anticipated, they spend it instead of returning it to taxpayers.
Talton, a retired chief deputy in the Houston County Sheriff’s office, has held the seat 10 years. If both candidates qualify as expected, they’d meet in the May 20 Republican primary.
“I’ve met Willie. I like Willie as a person,” Clark said. “I think he served the community well as a law enforcement officer. But I disagree with some of the votes he’s made.”