Category: Georgia Politics

21
Apr

Tybee officials look to put an end to Orange Crush | savannahnow.com

Following more than two dozen arrests and a shooting on the beach that left one man injured on Saturday afternoon, Tybee Island officials want to put a stop to Orange Crush, the annual beach party that draws thousands of college-aged students to the island.

Mayor Jason Buelterman, with the Tybee Island City Council, released a statement Monday saying that after the rash of weekend violence the city had reached a tipping point in dealing with the event, which has no official sponsor but is spread through social media.

Buelterman and council members said that while the majority of the party goers behaved responsibly the risks to public safety posed by such large groups of young people without supervision has become unacceptable.

“After approximately twenty-five years, we have reached a tipping point and going forward will be doing everything in our power to put an end to this event while, of course, maintaining a public beach for everyone,” the statement read.

via Tybee officials look to put an end to Orange Crush | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

Ga. Supreme Court considering whether prosecutors must prove lack of consent in child sexual-battery cases | savannahnow.com

ATLANTA — The justices of the state’s highest court are mulling whether Georgia law considers all touching of a child’s sexual areas illegal or when consent is a factor, after hearing oral arguments Monday in a man’s appeal of a sexual-battery conviction.

A law updated in 2003 defines sexual battery as touching without consent, and a separate law says no one under the age of 16 has the legal capacity to give consent.

Putting the two together can create a problem for people in innocent, daily activities, noted Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias.

“If you don’t have a ‘lack of consent’ (as part of the law), then I’ve committed the offense of sexual on my own children thousands of times, probably, as has every person in this courtroom who has a child,” he said. “Because if a child under the age of 16 can’t consent, then every time you’ve changed a diaper, every time you’ve patted your child on the butt when they do a good play at a sporting event….”

The issue arises because in the appeal for Patrick Watson of St. Marys, his attorney, Noah Pines, argues that prosecutors never proved the family member Watson is charged with touching didn’t approve.

via Ga. Supreme Court considering whether prosecutors must prove lack of consent in child sexual-battery cases | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

CAT expects more funds for maintenance, tax revenues in FY16 | savannahnow.com

Chatham Area Transit officials said Tuesday the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, in addition to maintaining and operating the organization, is designed to cut back on the system’s debt and achieve new priorities.

During the CAT board of directors’ first reading of the fiscal year 2016 budget this week, Chief Financial Officer Terri Harrison reported the next budget, which begins July 1, will grow 8 percent over last year’s budget to $21.5 million. Harrison said the growth will reflect CAT’s financial position at the end of the current fiscal year.

CAT CEO Chad Reese said based on current projections, the transit system will end the current fiscal year with surplus funds — money that will be used to pad a reserve.

via CAT expects more funds for maintenance, tax revenues in FY16 | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

Pooler Council delays vote on hookah lounge | savannahnow.com

A representative for the owner of a Pooler restaurant and hookah lounge argued Monday that a public smoking ban that went into effect in the city this year doesn’t apply to the business.

Mike Vaquer, speaking on behalf of Harry Kyriakides, the owner of the Mediterranean Tavern at 125 Foxfield Way, told the Pooler City Council this week the smoke-free air ordinance passed by the city council at the end of last year applies only to tobacco products. Hookahs don’t fit this description, he said, because the substance smoked in these pipes is shisha.

A publication put out by the University of Maryland identifies shisha as a tobacco that is soaked in molasses or honey and mixed with fruit.

via Pooler Council delays vote on hookah lounge | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

Effingham school board postpones governing decision | savannahnow.com

Members of the Effingham County Board of Education voted 3-2 to delay a decision about how the school district governs itself.

Vickie Decker, Robert Grant and Beth Helmly voted for the delay Thursday night and Troy Alford and Lamar Allen voted against it.

Helmly said she would like to know which waivers the district would be likely to request and how much it will cost to develop a plan before she votes.

“You might be thinking of some waivers that I’d be totally against,” she said.

School Superintendent Randy Shearouse said he thinks the district mainly would be considering waivers for what the state calls the “big four” — class size, how money must be spent, certification and salary schedule.

via Effingham school board postpones governing decision | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

Judge Lewis: First learned of problems in November | savannahnow.com

Chatham County Probate Court Judge Harris Lewis testified on Tuesday that he first became aware of suspicions over missing money in his court during a Nov. 19 meeting with investigators, and conceded that a $289 check cashed by fired Chief Clerk Kim Birge was “stupid.”

Under questioning by County Attorney Jon Hart, Lewis testified he was shown documents “that there was a compromise, there was an issue, yes.”

“I’m certainly aware that lawsuits have been filed involving the loss of substantial amounts of money,” Lewis said. “I’m not a party in those lawsuits. …. I haven’t seen these, but I’m aware of them.”

Lewis also testified he relied on former clerk/court administrator Kim Birge in his office.

“I am a judge… a lawyer,” Lewis told Hart. “I am not an accountant.”

via Judge Lewis: First learned of problems in November | savannahnow.com.

21
Apr

Jeb Bush prepares to give traditional campaign a makeover | Online Athens

DES MOINES, Iowa | The traditional presidential campaign may be getting a dramatic makeover in Jeb Bush’s bid for the White House as he prepares to turn some of a campaign’s central functions over to a separate political organization that can raise unlimited amounts of money.

The concept, in development for months as the former Florida governor has raised tens of millions of dollars for his Right to Rise super PAC, would endow that organization not just with advertising on Bush’s behalf, but with many of the duties typically conducted by a campaign.

Should Bush move ahead as his team intends, it is possible that for the first time a super PAC created to support a single candidate would spend more than the candidate’s campaign itself — at least through the primaries. Some of Bush’s donors believe that to be more than likely.

The architects of the plan believe the super PAC’s ability to legally raise unlimited amounts of money outweighs its primary disadvantage, that it cannot legally coordinate its actions with Bush or his would-be campaign staff.

“Nothing like this has been done before,” said David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which opposes limits on campaign finance donations. “It will take a high level of discipline to do it.”

via Jeb Bush prepares to give traditional campaign a makeover | Online Athens.

21
Apr

Gov. Deal signs bills needed for takeover of failing schools | Online Athens

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill authorizing a state takeover of what he calls “chronically failing schools,” setting up a vote on a constitutional amendment needed to enact the new policy.

To the cheers of legislators as well as charter school students and their parents from the Utopian Academy for the Arts in Clayton County, Deal said Tuesday in the Capitol that his actions are aimed at implementing an Opportunity School District to turn around failing schools.

via Gov. Deal signs bills needed for takeover of failing schools | Online Athens.

21
Apr

Deal signs Opportunity School District, education reform into law | Governor Nathan Deal Office of the Governor

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed legislation that would implement an Opportunity School District (OSD) to turn around failing schools. This law provides the framework for how the OSD would work should voters approve a constitutional amendment in 2016.

“By signing the Opportunity School District bill, we are promising better days ahead for students trapped in failing schools,” Deal said. “The power of positive change now rests in the hands of Georgia’s voters, and I know they share my belief that every child can learn and should have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the workforce or for college.Continue Reading..

21
Apr

call for special election in state house of representatives district 55

Notice is hereby given that a special election shall be held on June 16, 2015, in a portion of Fulton County to fill the vacancy in District 55 of the State House of Representatives created by the resignation of Tyrone Brooks. A run-off election, if needed, shall be held on July 14, 2015.

Qualifying for the special election shall be held in the Elections Division of the Office of Secretary of State, 802 West Tower, 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30334.

The dates and hours of qualifying will be Tuesday, April 28, 2015 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, April 29, 2015 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.; and Thursday, April 30, 2015 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 12 o’clock noon. The qualifying fee shall be $400.00.

All persons who are not registered to vote and who desire to vote in the special election must register to vote before the close of business on May 18, 2015. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.

via call for special election in state house of representatives district 55.