Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia judicial investigations become prosecutions |

More than five dozen Georgia judges have stepped down from the bench in disgrace since the state’s judicial watchdog agency began aggressively policing ethical conduct eight years ago.

More lately, however, the jurists aren’t just leaving the court in disgrace. Some are leaving in handcuffs.

via Georgia judicial investigations become prosecutions |


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 30, 2015

July 30th could be celebrated as the birthday of democracy in America, as the Virginia House of Burgesses became the first legislative body in the New World on July 30, 1619.

 Its first law, which, like all of its laws, would have to be approved by the London Company, required tobacco to be sold for at least three shillings per pound. Other laws passed during its first six-day session included prohibitions against gambling, drunkenness, and idleness, and a measure that made Sabbath observance mandatory.

On July 30, 1931, Georgia Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. signed legislation merging Milton and Fulton Counties if voters in each county approved a referendum. Fulton had earlier merged with Campbell County, to the south.

Actor Laurence Fishburn was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare, for seniors, and Medicaid for some low-income people on July 30, 1965.

Georgia Politics

Ammon Williams, the 17-year old son of Republican State Senator Michael Williams (R-Cumming) is hospitalized in an induced coma after a skateboarding accident. We’re praying for the Williams family.

As you’ll no doubt be reminded dozens of times over the next couple days, Georgia’s Sales Tax Holiday runs July 31 through August 1. Click here for a flyer from the Georgia Department of Revenue on which items are not subject to sales tax this weekend.

Yesterday, Gov. Deal announced the formation of the State Steering Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), including juvenile court judges and individuals from relevant state organizations, who will work to expand this juvenile reform to counties.

“Georgia leads the nation in meaningful justice reforms,” said Deal. “We rely on evidence while embracing innovations, and this latest move continues that pattern.”

A national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, JDAI works on a county-by-county basis to encourage appropriate community support for low-risk juvenile offenders to enhance public safety, help misguided youth and conserve taxpayer dollars. According to the foundation, communities participating in JDAI have lowered the number of youth in detention by 44 percent.

Clayton County adopted the initiative in 2003, ultimately resulting in an 80 percent decrease in its average daily detention population: less than 1 percent of the county’s youth felony offenders that benefit from detention alternatives are re-arrested for a felony charge. The initial Georgia expansion will take place in multiple counties, which will be determined through a collaboration with the Casey Foundation.

“As Clayton County proves, Georgia communities can use JDAI to keep our youth out of detention and in the running for a better life,” said Deal.

Governor Deal’s press spokesman Brian Robinson will be leaving his office on the first floor of the Georgia State Capitol to seek treasure in the private sector. Greg Bluestein of the AJC has a compendium of quotes, which leads us to wonder what the auditions will be like for a successor.

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Deal launches juvenile justice committee | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council today announced the formation of the State Steering Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). The committee, which will consist of juvenile court judges and individuals from relevant state organizations, will work to expand this reform effort to counties throughout Georgia.

“Georgia leads the nation in meaningful justice reforms,” said Deal. “We rely on evidence while embracing innovations, and this latest move continues that pattern.”Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 29, 2015

President Franklin D. Roosevelt made his eighth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on July 29, 1927.

Congress passed legislation establishing the National Aeronautic and Space Admininistration (NASA) on July 29, 1958.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire” became their first #1 hit on July 29, 1967.

Carl Lewis won his fourth consecutive gold medal in the long jump at the Atlanta Olympics on July 29, 1996.

Yesterday, the last active M35 “Deuce and a Half” truck in service at Robins Air Force Base was moved to the Museum of Aviation and into the history books.

Georgia Politics

Republican J. Max Davis and Democrat Taylor Bennett will meet August 6th for a candidate forum at Oglethorpe University.

The Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce announced July 27 that it would host the forum on Aug. 6 at Lupton Hall on the Oglethorpe University campus. The forum is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Democrat Taylor Bennett, a lawyer and former Georgia Tech football player, and J.Max Davis, a lawyer and the former mayor of Brookhaven, collected the most votes in the four-candidate field seeking the post in the July 14 runoff. Under Georgia law, when no candidate collects more than half the votes cast in an election, the top two finishers face one another in a runoff.

Davis and Bennett meet in the runoff election Aug. 11. During the forum, the candidates will answer only questions submitted in advance and presented through a moderator. To submit a question, go here.

In the runoff election for House District 155, Clay Pirkle has taken to Facebook to remind voters that early voting has begun.

Clay Pirkle Early Voting

Meanwhile, his opponent, Horace Hudgins is holding meet-and-greets for voters.

Horace Hudgins

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State lawmakers expecting contentious 2016 session |

It’s still the dog days of summer, but state lawmakers are already anticipating a heated session of the Georgia General Assembly beginning in January 2016.

A few national debates have stirred the pot of controversy in recent weeks — for example, the Confederate battle flag’s place in the public arena — and representatives from Hall County said they expect these issues to flare up next year.

With major transportation funding in the bag, and medical cannabis now legal for eligible patients, it’s time to start thinking about what comes next.

Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said he has been keeping busy speaking to professional dental, psychologist and medical groups lately.

Health care has long been a passion for Hawkins.

And it’s an issue Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, is taking up as a current member of a House study committee on life insurance consumer disclosures.

Meanwhile, Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, is part of a group of lawmakers reviewing how cannabis oil might be manufactured, sold and purchased in the state.

While it is legal to possess the oil to treat eight medical conditions, including seizure disorders and cancer, access to medical cannabis remains an obstacle for most patients.

Made up of physicians, attorneys, state legislators and law enforcement representatives, the Commission on Medical Cannabis will help set Georgia’s policies on medical marijuana and will make recommendations regarding access and availability to cannabis oil to the governor and General Assembly later this year.

Previous commission meetings have addressed how Georgia’s policies and enforcement measures regarding cannabis oil compare with other states that have legalized some form of medical marijuana.

The commission will meet next in late August or early September, according to Miller.

via State lawmakers expecting contentious 2016 session.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 28, 2015

On July 28, 1868, United States Secretary of State William Seward proclaimed that the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution had been ratified and was now part of the Constitution. The first section of the 14th Amendment often forms the basis for litigation and reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Georgia at first rejected the 14th Amendment in 1866, later ratifying it on July 21, 1868 as a condition for readmission.

On July 28, 1978, Animal House was released, instantly becoming one of the greatest films of all time. In case you’ve never seen the film, there is some adult language in the following clip. +1 for Otter’s plaid pants.

On July 28, 1994, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating “The General” locomotive, which was stolen in 1862 during the Great Locomotive Chase. Today, The General may be viewed at The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Georgia Politics

Longtime Republican activist Betty Voyles died on Friday at the age of 84. From the obituary,

Betty was deeply committed and involved with the Republican Party, locally and nationally. She was proud to promote conservative causes long before Georgia became a Red State.

Betty was a Goldwater Girl. She volunteered countless hours over the years for prominent politicians including managing Senator Johnny Isakson’s very first state office campaign and staying on his campaign for every election thereafter. One of her most favorite memories was flying up with Johnny Isakson for his federal Congressional Inauguration. She had a double thrill when she was able to witness his Senatorial Inauguration in 2005.

Other friends for whom she worked hard were Newt Gingrich, Congressman Tom Price, and a slew of others who are indebted to her victorious efforts.

Her smiling face could always be seen at County and State Conventions, usually registering countless numbers of delegates and alternates. She was also a willing volunteer at fundraising dinners for the GAGOP and serving on the State Committee since 2000.

She earned the GAGOP State Volunteer Award in 1998. Her energy was only surpassed by her humility. Betty was totally surprised to be awarded the 2005 Connie Russell Midura Volunteer Legacy Award from the Fulton County Republican Party. She was a longtime member of the Fulton County GOP Circle R Club and was an active member and volunteer with the North Fulton Republican Women’s Club.

Governor Nathan Deal said that concern over the carving on Stone Mountain is misplaced,

I would ask those who think this is such a big issue, if they would exert the same amount of influence and time and effort to try to make sure that the children in our school systems in this state who are in failing schools get a good education, it will erase any of the things that they think the memorials symbolize. I would hope they see that in the same light in which I do.

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How the 2016 race is playing out en espanol |

[M]any of [Hillary] Clinton’s potential Republican competitors have at least a grasp of the language 13 percent of the country speaks at home.

Marco Rubio regularly gives interviews in Spanish, although his campaign website and social media don’t feature his language skills prominently. He learned Spanish from his parents, who immigrated from Cuba.

And Jeb Bush speaks Spanish almost exclusively at home with his Mexican-born wife and their children. He’s fluent enough to do interviews like this one on Univision.

“En 2016 Jeb Bush va a estar trabajando por la reelección de Mitt Romney,” said Jeb Bush in 2012.

Bush’s campaign website is in Spanish and English, and he regularly features videos of himself speaking Spanish on social media.

Plus, another two Republican contenders speak what they describe as Spanglish.

“Como crecí in Houston es un poco espanglish,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

“I’m going to stick to English, senor,” said Ted Cruz.

via How the 2016 race is playing out en espanol |


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 27, 2015

On July 27, 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved the first impeachment article against President Richard M. Nixon.

The first such impeachment recommendation in more than a century, it charge[d] President Nixon with unlawful activities that formed a “course of conduct or plan” to obstruct the investigation of the Watergate break-in and to cover up other unlawful activities.

The vote was 27 to 11, with 6 of the committee’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats in voting to send the article to the House.

The majority included three conservative Southern Democrats and three conservative Republicans.

A bomb exploded at a free concert in Centennial Park in Atlanta on July 27, 1996.

Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted.

Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was dubious at best, and in October he was fully cleared of all responsibility in the bombing.

Former Georgia Governor Zell Miller took the oath of office as United States Senator on July 27, 2000. Miller would go on to win a special election for the remainder of the term in November 2000.

On July 27, 2014, former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former White Sox player Frank Thomas, who was born in Columbus, Georgia.

On July 26, 2015, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first pitcher inducted who had undergone Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow.

Smoltz won the 1996 Cy Young award and reached the playoffs 14 times with Atlanta. The Braves won five pennants and the 1995 World Series with Smoltz on the roster. He’s the first pitcher to win more than 200 games and save at least 150 games. He’s also the first player inducted with Tommy John surgery on his resume.

Smoltz understood his debt to John.

“I’m a miracle. I’m a medical miracle,” Smoltz said. “I never took one day for granted.”

Smoltz also heaped praise on former manager Bobby Cox and teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, who were inducted a year ago, and delivered a message to parents of the players of tomorrow as the number of Tommy John surgeries continues to escalate.

“Understand that this is not normal to have a surgery at 14 or 15 years old,” Smoltz said to warm applause. “Baseball is not a year-round sport. They’re competing too hard, too early. That’s why we’re having these problems.”

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Cruz Savannah Invite
I asked Congressman Kingston if this means he has chosen Cruz as his favorite among the Republican candidates and he replied,

“I’m happy to introduce Senator Cruz to my friends in South Georgia and the Coastal Counites. With the increasing importance of the SEC Primary and Georgia in the Republican nomination process, it’s a great opportunity for Georgians to meet the candidates face-to-face and I hope to do the same for any Republican candidate who asks.”

“We are excited to have Senator Cruz come to coastal Georgia, an area which is easy to overlook in presidential poltitics. We encourage people to come out and hear what he has to say.”

2016 Georgia Republican Convention in Augusta

Augusta 2016 GAGOP

Next year’s Georgia Republican State Convention will be held June 3-4, 2016 at the Augusta Convention Center. We’ll bring more details as we learn more.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 24, 2015

Georgia and American History

The United States Postal Service was established by Congress on July 26, 1775. I mailed them a birthday card on Monday; they’ll probably receive it next week.

On July 24, 1778, Georgia ratified the Articles of Confederation.

Georgia’s John Walton was present on July 9, 1778, and signed the document then. Georgia’s other two delegates – Edward Telfair and Edward Langworthy – did not sign until July 24, 1778, which is the date most often used for Georgia’s ratification of the Articles.

An interesting sidenote is that John Walton‘s brother, George Walton, signed the Declaration of Independence on Georgia’s behalf.

On July 24, 1919, the Georgia General Assembly rejected ratification of the 19th Amendment, which extends the right of voting to women.

At 12:51 EDT, we mark the safe return from the moon of Apollo 11.

On July 25, 1974, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of United States v. Nixon that executive privilege did not allow the White House to refuse to turn over audio recordings that had been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

The number one song in America on July 24, 1982 was “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor, from the Rocky III soundtrack.

On July 24, 2000, former Georgia Governor Zell Miller was appointed to the United States Senate to serve in the seat vacated on the death of Senator Paul Coverdell.

Yesterday, LCPL Skip Wells was transported to the funeral home in Kennesaw and grateful mourners flocked to the route, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Wells’ body was flown into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Thursday afternoon and made its way down I-75 toward the Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home in Kennesaw, where the family will hold public visitations Friday and Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and again from 6 to 8 p.m.

A funeral will be 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church of Woodstock.

Organizing the tribute happened in a matter of hours, according to Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, and was evidence of the city’s commitment to supporting the Wells family and the county’s military community.

“It’s like people were waiting for this (event) to happen,” he said. “You know they were looking for some small way to show support. He went to high school just two miles from here. This was the perfect location. I called the chief at 4:15 yesterday and I said ‘Will you arrest me if I stand out on the bridge?’ and in three hours they had everything put together. What they did in three hours was amazing.”

Meanwhile, in DeKalb County, they got the sentiment correct, but the implementation failed.

DeKalb Half Staff Wrong

The United States Flag Code, 4 USC §77(c) states, (c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, and (e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.”

Georgia Politics

Brace yourselves for the upcoming Sales Tax Holiday.Continue Reading..


Armed drones: Georgia’s ‘guns everywhere’ law missed a spot | Political Insider blog

We told you earlier this week of the special election for the state House District 80 – and why Democrats have a rare chance to take control of a GOP seat.

We neglected to throw in an extra reason why Republicans are taking the challenge seriously. Should Democrat Taylor Bennett, a former Georgia Tech quarterback, beat former Brookhaven mayor Max Davis, the Republican, then control of the Fulton County House delegation would revert to Democrats. Republicans currrently have a 13-12 edge.

Though mostly in DeKalb County, House District 80 was drawn into Fulton County after the last census – one of several such moves to give Republicans control of local legislation.

via Armed drones: Georgia’s ‘guns everywhere’ law missed a spot | Political Insider blog.