Category: Georgia Politics


Electric car owners take hit with new tax |

BUFORD — A new state tax structure that takes effect today has stirred ire among some electric car owners.

The measure is projected to generate an additional $830 million to $850 million every year to be used for road and bridge repairs.

Approved this year by the Georgia General Assembly, the changes primarily eliminate the state fuel sales tax and increase the excise tax.

But the law also calls for electric car owners to pay an annual $200 fee and removes a $5,000 tax credit serving as a purchase incentive for what many say are more environmentally friendly cars.

“This is completely ridiculous,” said Jamie Lanier Loudermilk, a Buford resident who leases a Nissan Leaf with her husband, Ron.

“We’re more than willing to pay our fair share when it comes to helping maintain this state’s roads, but this isn’t a fair tax,” Loudermilk said.

via Electric car owners take hit with new tax.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for July 2, 2015

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution by Richard Henry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) calling for independence from Britain. The delegations of twelve colonies voted in favor, while New York’s abstained, not knowing how their constituents would wish them to vote.

On July 2, 1826, representatives from Georgia and Alabama met to begin surveying the border between the two.

On July 2, 1861, Georgia voters approved a new state Constitution, which had been adopted by the state’s Secession Convention.

July 2, 1863 saw day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg, with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacking Meade’s Army of the Potomac.

On July 2, 1898, the first pot of delicious Brunswick Stew was made in Brunswick, Georgia. I think I’ll celebrate with a bowl for lunch today.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1864. Major provisions included outlawing discriminatory application of voting laws, prohibiting racial discrimination in public accomodations, allowing the Attorney General to join lawsuits against states operating segregated public schools, and prohibiting discrimination by state and local governments or agencies receiving federal funds.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a witness to Johnson’s signature, standing behind the President in the Oval Office. Johnson presented King with one of the 72 pens used in signing the legislation.

Occasionally, pens from the Civil Rights Act signing come onto the collectors’ market. A collection of 50 pens used to sign legislation by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson went across the block in November 2013. This pen went unsold.

As a student of Dr. Merle Black in the political science department at Emory, we began our study of Southern politics from the premise that race relations and the legacy of racial discrimination shaped Southern politics. One book we read every year was The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which belongs on the bookshelf of any serious student of American politics, political history, and legislative process.

Georgia Politics

Paul Maner announced that he will run against incumbent State Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) in the 2016 Republican Primary election for State Senate District 40. From the Press Release:

Long-time Atlanta resident Paul Maner has announced he will be seeking the Republican nomination in the upcoming 2016 state election cycle. Running as a conservative Republican, Paul Maner promises to bring honesty, leadership, & accountability to Georgia State Senate District 40 because It’s Our Time Now!

About Paul

Paul Maner, an experienced Financial Advisor at National Financial Services Group (ATL), has spent 22+ years helping others become debt-free, financially independent, & personally protected. He is the author of “Bible Centered Principles for Personal Finance” and a dedicated volunteer at the Atlanta Bible Camp. Most recently, Paul was awarded the “5 Star Wealth Management Award” by a group of industry peers. Paul and his wife Paula,  married since 1983, have a son and daughter-in-law (married by Paul) – both  currently serving in the U.S. Army as Combat Medics. Paul describes his  priorities are “God, family, work, & Falcons”.

About Paul’s Campaign  

Why is he running? Well, simple – Paul believes that It’s Our Time Now. It is time to take  control of our state’s future with solid financial planning and conservative Republican leadership  and secure Georgia’s place as a national leader in education, jobs, & economic growth. We’d like to invite you to learn more about Paul and his campaign by visiting

In Augusta, Wright McLeod, who ran for Congress in the 12th District in 2012, send out a press release announcing his campaign for State House District 123 in 2016 when incumbent Barbara Sims will not run for reelection.

Augusta native Wright McLeod officially announces his run for Georgia House of Representatives District 123.

District 123 is currently held by Barbara Sims. She has announced that she will not seek re-election after completing her fifth term.  “Barbara has selflessly served this District with grace and effectiveness. Thank you Barbara for a job well done.”

McLeod, a Republican and decorated Navy Commander and Naval Flight Officer, flew the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet for 20 years, including 38 combat missions in Operation DESERT STORM. McLeod earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy, a masters in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law.

After his retirement from the Navy, McLeod brought his family back to Augusta and started a successful real estate law firm. He and his wife, Sheri, have been married for 28 years and are the proud parents to three daughters, Collier (23), Maggie (21) and Grace (15). The McLeod’s attend the Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta where McLeod serves on the Vestry.  McLeod also serves on the Board of Directors of the Augusta Warrior Project and the Hephzibah Charter School Commission.

Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young will join McLeod in the race for HD 123.

Bob Young is back.  The former Augusta Mayor announced Monday that he was entering the race for House District 123, a seat currently held by Barbara Sims.  Sims announced on Monday, via email, that she would not be seeking re-election.  On his Facebook page, Young announced he would run in the Republican primary for the Georgia State House seat.

In his Facebook post, Young wrote “I look forward to carrying my message as the conservative choice to the voters in Richmond and Columbia Counties in the coming months.”

Lawrenceville City Council Member Marie Bieser will not run for reelection this year.

Bieser said she decided that, at 75, she was too old to pursue another four-year term on the council after her current one expires at the end of the year. She has decided to retire instead and endorse Lawrenceville Downtown Development Authority Chairman David Still to replace her. Bieser was first elected to the council in 2008.

“If it were a two-year term, I might have considered running again, but four years is just too much,” Bieser told the Daily Post on Wednesday. “I think it’s time for the younger people to step up to the plate and get involved in the running of the city.”

Bieser’s seat is one of three spots that are up for election in the city this year. Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson and Council member Tony Powell are also up for re-election this year.

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis Convicted

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was found guilty on 4 of 9 charges related to political corruption in the second trial.

Ellis was acquitted of four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and one count of bribery. He will be sentenced Wednesday, July 8 at 9 a.m.

Ellis was on trial for the second time after a first jury failed to reach a verdict.

The criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion charge carries a possible sentence of one to five years in prison. A charge of perjury has a sentence of one to 10 years. It is expected that the three perjury charges will be rolled into one charge during sentencing.

The perjury counts related to testimony Ellis gave to a special grand jury in 2013. The jury also found that Ellis ordered the county to stop doing business with Power and Energy Services after they refused to donate to Ellis’ campaign.

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May released a statement hours after Ellis’ conviction:

I encourage everyone to join me in keeping the Ellis family in our thoughts and prayers. I wish them strength in the days and months ahead.

Mr. Ellis remains under suspension during any appeal until the final disposition of his case or the expiration of his term of office, whichever comes first. While the suspension is in effect, I remain as Interim Chief Executive Officer. As Interim CEO, I will continue to stay focused on moving the county forward.

DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester (R-Dunwoody) also released a statement.

Today the taxpayers, businesses, and residents of DeKalb County received a portion of justice long due to them. I congratulate District Attorney Robert James on his success in Court today. I thank Judge Courtney Johnson and the jury of DeKalb County citizens that heard this case, thoughtfully deliberated on the facts, and delivered their verdict.

Today’s verdict, while important and necessary, does not close the book on corruption in DeKalb. To the contrary, these verdicts, along with guilty pleas of a former Commissioner, are but a fraction of the justice that must be tendered to the citizens of this county.

The fact remains that the trust and goodwill between the citizens in DeKalb and county government has been completely eroded. This one case, albeit a significant one, represents one facet of the problems that plague DeKalb. Corruption, waste, incompetence, bias, and an abusive bureaucracy have all found homes in various crevices of DeKalb County. I remain optimistic that investigators, law enforcement officials, and prosecutors will continue to mete out more justice for the people. Perhaps the harder task before us is to eradicate the quieter, but equally as harmful, scourge of incompetence, waste, bias, and abusive bureaucracy. Only when we completely address all of these negative attributes of DeKalb County government, will we be able to regain public trust and goodwill.

The Savannah Morning News gave the Savannah City Council an earful over the issue of tardiness to public meetings.

Despite the consistent appearance of both sessions on the city calendar, council members — with one exception — rarely bother to show up on time.

Regardless of who’s waiting.

The result?

People who take the starting times seriously end up cooling their heels until council members decide to make an appearance.

This behavior on the part of council members is unacceptable. It’s rude and arrogant.

Excuses such as “I was busy” or “I was delayed” don’t work because the dates and start times for these meetings are set well in advance. It requires only a minor effort for the aldermen to ensure they’ve made appropriate arrangements to meet that schedule.

It’s a matter of eight elected officials, in effect, telling those who sit and wait “my time is more important than yours.”

Alderman Hall is the exception, the one member who consistently is on time.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for July 1, 2015

The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776 to debate a resolution by Richard Henry Lee that the colonies declare their independence of Britain.

The first U.S. Postage stamps were issued on July 1, 1847 in New York City.

The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders charged San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War on July 1, 1898.

Coca-Cola marketed its current formula for the first time on July 1, 1916.

On July 1, 1956, a new Georgia flag bearing the state seal and a version of the Confederate Battle Flag became effective after being adopted by the Georgia General Assembly in the 1956 Session.

The current Georgia Constitution became effective on July 1, 1983 after its approval in a referendum during the November 1982 General Election.

Georgia native Clarence Thomas was nominated to the United States Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush on July 1, 1991.

Georgia Politics

We’ll get a bunch of flag stuff out of the way today.

Former Governor Roy Barnes gave an account of the 2001 state flag debate to CNN.

As governor of Georgia, I successfully pushed for the replacement of that flag during our 2001 legislative session.

Everywhere I appeared in public after the flag change, I was greeted with protesters — almost exclusively older white men — waving Georgia’s 1956 flag and the Confederate battle emblem itself. It did not come as a surprise. My predecessor as governor, Zell Miller, had a political near-death experience running for re-election in 1994 after attempting to persuade our Legislature to replace the 1956 flag in 1993.

Many believe my effort to change the flag led to my defeat for re-election in 2002. That year, the Georgia Republican Party’s candidates, including its gubernatorial nominee, promised that if elected, they would hold a referendum that would allow Georgians to vote to bring back the state flag with the Confederate battle emblem. The tactic worked. Republicans won the governor’s office for the first time since Reconstruction.

The Republican Party in the South created its modern dominance on racial division, building a supermajority of white voters to win elections. Ironically, this strategy now gives it the chance to bring change to our region in a way that would be much more difficult for Democrats such as me.

One example here in Georgia is Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s push to reform draconian sentencing laws that we have enacted over the last several decades. A Democratic governor would no doubt be attacked as “soft on crime” and be hard-pressed to garner significant GOP support for such an effort. A Republican governor, however, can make the case as an ally to his party’s legislators and supporters about the need for such reform.

Continue Reading..


Attorney General Sam Olens Files Lawsuit Asking Court to Overturn Burdensome ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule

Attorney General Sam Olens today has filed a lawsuit in federal court for the Southern District of Georgia asking the court to strike down a new rule from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that unlawfully expands the federal government’s regulatory reach over local streams, lands, and farms. He is joined by eight state attorneys general in the lawsuit. 

The rule, known generally as the “Waters of the United States” rule, would extend the EPA and Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach to an untold number of small bodies of water, including roadside ditches and short-lived streams or any other area where the agencies believe water may flow once every 100 years.


This rule could have dire consequences for homeowners, farmers, and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks like digging ditches, building fences, or spraying fertilizers. Failure to comply with this new regulatory scheme could result in fines of up to $37,500 a day. 


“Today I am joining with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to challenge an unlawful and unprecedented expansion of federal power over private property owners and state and local matters” said Olens. “The scope of the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule is breathtaking and will directly impact the everyday lives of Georgians, from farmers to homeowners. Under this excessive and expensive rule, a farm pond, or even a homeowner’s backyard could be subject to federal regulation. As the federal government continues to issue burdensome and unconstitutional executive directives at an alarming rate, I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect and defend the interests of Georgians.”


“Through the finalization of this rule, a clear punitive overreach of the government’s power has taken place,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “I view this as a frontal assault on private property rights; federal overreach on steroids. My sincere hope is that through this joint complaint, we will thwart yet another blatant overreach of the federal government.”


In the complaint, the Attorneys General of West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin argue the final rule put forward by the EPA and Corps of Engineers violates the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the U.S. Constitution and usurps the states’ primary responsibility for the management, protection, and care of intrastate waters and lands.


While the Clean Water Act gave the EPA and Corps authority to regulate “navigable waters” – defined as “waters of the United States” – Congress made sure that states would retain their constitutional, sovereign responsibility over non-navigable, intrastate lands and waters. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice rejected the agencies’ attempts to expand their authority (in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v. United States). However, this latest rule written by the two administrative agencies gives them virtually limitless power over these waters.


The complaint asks a federal judge to declare the rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the agencies from enforcing it. It also asks the judge to order the agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law.


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

On June 30, 1665, England’s King Charles signed a royal charter for Carolina, defining its southern border and also claiming all land in what is now Georgia.

On June 30, 1775, the Continental Congress passed the Articles of War, laying out complaints against Britain’s Parliament.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Today could well be called Intermodal Transportation History Day in Georgia. The first four-lane highway in Georgia was announced on June 30, 1937 from Atlanta to Marietta. The first C5 air flight took place from Dobbins in Marietta on June 30, 1968 and MARTA rail service began on June 30, 1979.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell first went on sale on June 30, 1936; on June 30, 1986, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating Margaret Mitchell.

Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1 on June 30, 1938.

The first Corvette was built on June 30, 1953 in Flint, Michigan.

Ohio became the 39th state to ratify the 26th Amendment on June 30, 1971, lowering the voting age to 18.

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing was released on June 30, 1989. Lee was born in Atlanta and graduated from Morehouse College.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former Chair of the Georgia State House Appropriations Committee Ben Harbin (R-Evans) has told Governor Deal and Speaker David Ralston that he is retiring from the lower chamber effective July 7, 2015. Harbin’s political career, beginning after his first House election in 1994, spans the period in which the Georgia Republican Party went from a largely-suburban minority party to the dominant political force statewide. Continue Reading..


Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Elected Chair of Southern Attorneys General

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has been elected Chair of the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) for the second time in three years. The Southern Region includes the following 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Olens was elected chair by his fellow Southern attorneys general at the NAAG summer meeting in San Diego earlier this month. As chairman, he will serve on the Executive Committee of NAAG and be responsible for coordinating the agenda of the Southern Region.

“I am honored that my peers have placed their confidence in me to lead the Southern Region for NAAG for the second time” said Olens. “I look forward to working with my counterparts in the other Southern states on strategies and solutions to better our individual states and the entire Southern region.”Continue Reading..


Gov. Deal names sculptor for Capitol’s MLK statue

Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (Columbus) announced today that the state has selected Henry County-based sculptor Andy Davis to create the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. that will stand on Georgia Capitol grounds. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza. Deal tapped Smyre, Dean of the Georgia General Assembly, earlier this year to head up the effort and act as liaison between the state, the King Estate, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council and the Georgia Arts Standards Commission.

“Placing a statue of Dr. King at the Capitol of his home state is a long overdue honor, and selecting an artist is an important step forward in this process,” Deal said. “I am confident that Andy Davis’ past works, including a statue of Ray Charles in the singer’s hometown of Albany, have prepared him well for this historic project. I commend Rep. Smyre for his diligent efforts and leadership on this project and I look forward to seeing the final work of art.”Continue Reading..


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

On June 29, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed from Cadiz, Spain to invade Florida.

Johan De Kalb was born on June 29, 1721 in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb joined the Marquis de Lafayette in supporting the Americans against British forces, dying in Camden, South Carolina in 1780. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly created DeKalb County.

On June 29, 1767, the British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, levying a tax on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper, and tea in order to raise funds from the colonies.

The United States Supreme Court released its 5-4 opinion in Furman v. Georgia on June 29, 1972, holding that the death penalty violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

On June 29, 1993, Governor Zell Miller bought the first ticket in the Georgia Lottery.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Before we get into the politics, a public service message:

Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services needs foster home for approximately 200 children across the state.

“Adoptive parent recruitment is an important initiative for the Division of Family and Children Services,” said DFCS Director Bobby Cagle. “We have so many deserving children that can spend years waiting for a family. We hope that by building awareness of the need for permanent families that Georgians will open their hearts and homes to these children.”

Click the link for profiles of three sisters who need a home.


Early voting is open in the Special Elections and Special Runoff Elections in House Districts 24, 55, 48, 80, 146, and 155 and DeKalb County Commission District 5. Click here for early voting information for your county.

In DeKalb, Houston, and Fulton Counties, almost certainly others, no early voting will be available on July 3, but Saturday early voting will be open on July 4th. This is kind of cool and kind of goofy. Cool because it may be the only time you’ll be able to cast your vote on July 4th, as a legislative fix is being planned by at least one legislator in an affected area. Goofy because I think we’ll likely be paying time-and-a-half for poll workers to give up their holiday while very few voters will cast ballots.

Forsyth County’s elections officials discussed their predictions for early voting turnout in the July 14 runoff.

“It’s going to be lower than the last one, because we won’t have that city election involved,” said Barbara Luth, the county’s supervisor of voter registrations and elections.

“However, we have had people stopping by [on Friday] to ask when voting is starting, and we do have some mail-out ballots that will be sent on Monday.

“Sometimes you get the same amount in the runoff, [others] it goes down a little bit. So it’s definitely going to be under 10 percent, but how much I don’t know, maybe half.”

The first week of advance voting will be cut short a day due to the July Fourth holiday Friday.

“June 29 through July 2, which is Monday through Thursday, we will be open at the Forsyth Administration Building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.

The second week times will vary depending on the day.

“The second week, from July 6 through July 10, Monday through Thursday, we’ll be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Luth said.  “We’ll be at the administration building, and also we’ll be open at Midway Park Community Building [at 5100 Post Road].

“We have no Saturday voting this time. We’re not required to have Saturday voting on a runoff.”


Continue Reading..


Confederate groups vow to fight back |

The leader of Georgia’s Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter said Friday he plans to “counter the new attacks against our heritage” with a lobbying campaign, a membership drive and the threat of legal action against the state.

The group outlined its plans as Democrats and other critics vowed to step up their plans to end state holidays honoring Confederate history and phase out license plates and other state symbols with the Confederate battle emblem.

Jack Bridwell, who heads the Confederate group’s Georgia chapter, said in a note to members he has asked Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials for a sit-down to explain the state’s decision this week to stop issuing the group’s specialty plates. Deal pledged to “redesign” the tag days after a suspected white supremacist gunned down nine black worshippers at a Charleston church.

The group’s legal counsel is reviewing the decision, Bridwell said, but “we will certainly not rule out the possibility if the problem is not remedied immediately.”

via Confederate groups vow to fight back |


Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message – Decaturish

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in greater Decatur celebrated the installation at a Monday gathering to also support Pope Francis’ recent message about climate change.

Earlier this year, Hannah Solar, LLC installed about $200,000 worth of solar panels “zero cost to the parish” through a federal program, according to a story on the Episcopal News Service.

St. Timothy’s Rev. Daniel Dice told the news service that the solar panels make financial and ecological sense. The article said, “By selling the clean energy produced at St. Timothy’s back to the grid, the photovoltaic array atop St. Timothy’s will also help financially support the church’s mission and ministry to its community.”

Dice said, as a result of the solar panel installation, St. Timothy’s was chosen to hold Monday’s gathering to show support for the pope’s encyclical calling on people to stop polluting the planet.

via Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message – Decaturish.