Category: Georgia Politics


Deal on Senate passage of Opportunity School District legislation

Governor’s proposal to create Opportunity School District for failing schools moves to House

Gov. Nathan Deal today praised the Senate for passing legislation that would allow for an Opportunity School District (OSD) to aid chronically failing schools throughout the state. The constitutional amendment resolution and the implementing legislation will now move to the House for consideration.

“Today, we are one step closer to creation of an Opportunity School District, and one step closer to restoring children’s and parents’ hopes for a brighter future,” Deal said. “We’ve seen the successes that Louisiana, Tennessee and Michigan attained with similar, bipartisan measures. Working together, I believe Georgians can achieve the same for our students and families. I congratulate Sen. Butch Miller on his diligence and hard work in advancing these education reforms, and I commend the courage of the 37 other senators who supported this legislation. As the House considers this bill, I am confident that its members will also put the needs of Georgia’s most vulnerable students first. Through the efforts of our legislators, we will put this referendum on the ballot so that Georgians can assure that a child’s chance of success isn’t dependent on his or her ZIP code.”

The OSD legislation requires a constitutional amendment, for which there must be a two-thirds majority in both houses and majority approval by Georgia voters at the next general election. The OSD would allow the state to intervene in schools that have received failing grades for three consecutive years. The district could add no more than 20 schools per year, for a total of 100 at any given time. The schools would remain in the OSD for no less than five years and no more than 10 years.

“The Opportunity School District will allow us to bring new focus by education experts, better governance and best practices to schools that have underachieved for too long. The children trapped in these schools can’t wait. I believe all children can learn, but we have an obligation to provide access for high-quality education to those students and parents who are anxious for a better future. It’s my vision – and that of many legislators here – that every high school graduate in Georgia should have the skills needed to enter the workforce or further their educations in college.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 5, 2015

On March 5, 1735, James Oglethorpe presented a budget to the trustees of Georgia and proposed seeking an appropriation from Parliament, thus beginning the addiction of the Georgia government to Other People’s Money.

On March 5, 1869, the United States Congress refused to seat Georgia’s elected members of the House and Senate.

On March 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter held the first “Dial-A-President” radio broadcast in which he fielded questions from radio listeners.

Ron Daniel brings you more on the Presidential Q&A from 1977.

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.”

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Lawmaker proposes “adoptable dogs” as official state dog |

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill to make the official dog of Georgia the “adoptable dog”.

Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs) built up suspense this week at the State Capitol as people tried to guess which breed he would propose to represent the state.

On Monday, he held a press conference with members of the Atlanta Human Society and other animal groups to bring attention to the plight of homeless dogs. Several furry friends were also in tow.

“Our goal is to bring attention to the fact that these animals are available for adoption; they should be adopted and if you can’t adopt, you can contribute,” says Wilkinson.

via Lawmaker proposes “adoptable dogs” as official state dog |


Georgia lawmaker: Make all homeless dogs state’s official pooch |

With so many good ones to choose from, why name just one as Georgia’s official state dog?

All “adoptable dogs,” or those held in animal shelters, would get that title if state Rep. Joe Wilkinson of Atlanta has his way. He plans to introduce legislation Thursday to make that so, hoping to encourage more people to adopt homeless dogs.

Wilkinson said he isn’t predicting “ruff” sledding for his measure, even though fellow University of Georgia alums in the Legislature may prefer making the bulldog the official state pooch. Wilkinson may have insulated himself from such dog fights by bringing English bulldogs Zeus and Meaty to his news conference Wednesday at the state Capitol. Slobbering and grunting, the two flanked Wilkinson as he outlined how every type of homeless dog would have his day in Georgia.

via Georgia lawmaker: Make all homeless dogs state’s official pooch |


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 4, 2015

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

On March 3, 1779, British troops met Continental militia from North Carolina and a combination of Georgia militia and Continentals under Samuel Elbert in Screven County, Georgia at the Battle of Brier Creek. In 2013, key geographic features were identified to better determine the exact location of the battle and some period military artifacts were found. Currently, a group of descendants of Brier Creek soldiers is actively trying to persuade the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board to conserve the area in which the Battle of Brier Creek took place. If you’re interested in Georgia’s revolutionary history, the Descendants of Brier Creek page on Facebook is a treasure trove.

The rout of Americans by the British at Brier Creek was a considerable setback that changed the momentum in the Brits’ favor and gave them control over Georgia, which they would retain for three years.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

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.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

Below is the current Georgia flag.

Georgia Current State Flag

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Jester tries to fix DeKalb’s scandals – Dunwoody Crier: News

DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester of Dunwoody got her way and more Monday when the county’s interim chief executive, Lee May, announced he would remove the entire board of the DeKalb Development Authority.

Jester had called Friday for the removal of Vaughn Irons, the board chair, after it was reported that Irons had received $1.5 million in country contracts to re-hab homes. WSB-TV first reported the story and the peculiar ethics commission statement allowing it. The then-chair of the ethics commission suggested his signature had been forged.

Irons is also the developer of a proposed casino-style development in south DeKalb that first received commission approval but since has been rescinded.

After demanding that Irons resign, Jester asked for a further review by the commission of all current and outstanding financial transactions by the development authority.

“Additionally,” she said, “I call on the CEO and the Board of Commissioners to explore all legal options to invalidate any and all contracts related to the reported $1.5 million taxpayer dollars related to any and all possibly forged county documents up to and including suing any company, entity, or individual to recoup these taxpayer dollars.”

She also asked for an FBI investigation.

For his part, May announced Monday that he would replace every development authority member over the next 30 days and already has begun to interview replacements.

via Jester tries to fix DeKalb’s scandals – Dunwoody Crier: News.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 3, 2015

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Happy birthday today to my father and to Herschel Walker. Also turning over the year-o-meter today is Tone Loc. So this is happening:

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

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.

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

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.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

One year ago today, we had both Crossover Day in the Georgia General Assembly and the opening of candidate qualifying.Continue Reading..


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DeKalb Ethics Chief calls for investigation into ‘phony’ advisory opinion document | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA

DeKalb County, GA, February 28, 2015 – by Trey Benton – Brookhaven Attorney and DeKalb County Ethics Board Chair, John Ernst, has called for an official investigation into an alleged fabricated and/or forged Ethics Board Advisory Opinion – a document that apparently paved the way for DeKalb County Development Authority Chair, Vaughn Irons, to bid and win $1.5 million in County contracts.

Addressed to Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn; DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James; State Attorney General Sam Olens; GBI Director Vernon Keenan and FBI Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson, Ernst’s letter says:

“Please be advised that an article appeared online at last night and a story ran on WSB-TV as well about a potentially serious criminal violation. The news pieces allege that unknown persons fabricated and/or forged an Ethics Board advisory opinion nearly 5 years ago to sanction a potential conflict-of-interest by sitting DeKalb County Development Authority Chairman Vaughn Irons….”

via DeKalb Ethics Chief calls for investigation into ‘phony’ advisory opinion document | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA.


News Report leads to DeKalb Commissioner’s call for Development Authority Chair to resign | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA

A new AJC and Channel 2 Action News investigation has uncovered a reportedly invalid DeKalb County Ethics Board Advisory Opinion draft clearing DeKalb County Development Authority Chairman, Vaughn Irons, to bid on County contracts. That document is suspected to be a forgery.

According to the AJC and Channel 2 report, Irons bid on and was awarded $1.5 Million in contracts that went to APD Solutions, a company which Irons Founded and serves as the CEO.

DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson also has an interest in APD Solutions, says the report. In an interview, Irons told WSB that Watson received a modest retainer fee of approximately $500.00. Watson voted to approve the APD contracts.

Friday, DeKalb District 1 Commissioner Nancy Jester has called for Irons to resign his position on the DeKalb County Development Authority, for the County to open a full investigation and for the FBI to investigate the Irons’ actions.

via News Report leads to DeKalb Commissioner’s call for Development Authority Chair to resign | The Brookhaven Post | Brookhaven, GA.