Category: Georgia Politics


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 31, 2017

On January 31, 1733, six boats carried Georgia’s first colonists to Trench’s Island, now called Hilton Head Island, where they spent the night before continuing on to land in Georgia at Yamacraw Bluff on February 1, 1733.

On January 31, 1865, Robert E. Lee began service as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate armies.

On January 31, 1865, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery.

General William Tecumseh Sherman visited Kimball Opera House in Atlanta on January 31, 1879, which was then serving as State Capitol, fifteen years after burning the city.

On January 31, 1893, the trademark for “Coca-Cola” was filed.

Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was suspended on January 31, 2000 for remarks made to ESPN.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Sen. Josh McKoon announced yesterday he will not run for reelection. More below.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced a Catastrophe Claims Village in South Georgia for tornado victims.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens will host a Catastrophe Claims Village in Albany, on Tuesday, Jan. 31, and Wednesday, Feb. 1, according to a statement from the Georgia Department of Insurance. The purpose of the event will be to assist area residents with their insurance questions and claims resulting from severe weather and tornadoes.

“Thousands of South Georgia residents have suffered tremendous losses from the violent weather this month, and my office is here to help them on the road to recovery,” Hudgens said. “I encourage all residents who have insurance questions or need help filing a claim to visit our Claims Village.”

The Catastrophe Claims Village will operate in the parking lot of the Albany Civic Center, located at 100 W. Oglethorpe Blvd. Hudgens’ Consumer Services staff along with representatives from many of the major insurance companies are scheduled to be in attendance. Insurers interested in participating can contact Glenn Allen at [email protected]

Residents who cannot attend the Catastrophe Claims Village can call the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Hotline at 1-800-656-2298.

President Donald Trump told former Georgia United States Attorney Sally Yates, “You’re fired,” as acting Attorney General.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 30, 2017

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

Today’s historical moments below combine to show some of the major influences on Georgia politics and governance since her founding, and how the same conflicts have played out across the world, from Northern Ireland to India, to stages of rock and roll shows.

On January 30, 1788, the Georgia legislature passed a resolution calling for a state Constitutional Convention in Augusta to adopt a state Constitution that conformed to the new Constitution of the United States.

On January 30, 1862, the United States launced its first ironclad warship, USS Monitor.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on January 30, 1882 in Hyde Park, New York. In 1942, Roosevelt ordered Japanese-Americans on the west coast of the United States into concentration camps, leaving German and Italian Americans free.

On January 30, 1935, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. protested segregated elevators at the Fulton County Courthouse.

On January 30, 1948, Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated.

1920 Georgia Flag

On January 30, 1956, six members of the Georgia State House of Representatives introduced House Bill 98 to replace the red and white stripes on Georgia’s flag (above) with a Confederate battle flag (below). That same day, a bomb was thrown at the Birmingham, AL home of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1956 Georgia Flag

January 30, 1972 is remembered as Bloody Sunday in commemoration of the shooting of 26 civilians by British troops in Northern Ireland.

On January 30, 2001, the Georgia State Senate passed a house bill changing the state flag from the 1956 version to one that aggregated the State Seal and five former state flags, pictured below.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Committee Meeting Schedule

8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Public Policy &Fin. Sub 122 CAP



1:00 PM Judiciary (Civil) Fleming Subcommittee 132 CAP




2:00 PM SEN APPROP – Higher Ed Sub 341 CAP

2:00 PM SEN APPROP – Econ Dev’t Sub 310 CLOB

2:00 PM House Regs Sub on Regulated Ind 403 CAP




3:00 PM SEN APPROP – Judy Sub 341 CAP

3:00 PM SEN APPROP – Transportation Sub 307 CLOB


3:00 PM House Judy (Civil) Kelley Sub 132 CAP





4:00 PM SEN APPROP – Human Dev, Behavioral Health & Dev’tal Disabilities, Public Health Sub 341 CAP

4:00 PM SEN APPROP – Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee 307 CLOB

Senate Bill 70 by Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) appears poised for quick action today. Senate Bill 70 renews the Hospital Provider Fee that receives a roughly 2:1 match of federal dollars.

The Senate Finance Committee’s Public Policy & Finance Subcommittee had SB 70 on it’s agenda for 8 AM today. Then at 2 PM, the full Senate Finance Committee meets and the agenda lists SB 70.

Governor Deal, in his State of the State address, urged the legislature to reauthorize the provider fee “expeditiously.”

Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington, DC-based lobbying group, opposes reauthorization of the provider fee.

Hunting and fishing license fees may be going up if legislators consider a departmental recommendation.

“Georgia’s resident licenses are some of the cheapest in the nation, and certainly in the Southeast, and we have not increased those in 24 years,” said Wes Robinson, director of public and government affairs for the Department of Natural Resources, at a budget hearing earlier this month.

He did not give details about where the department wants to see prices set, but he said the they will propose bringing licenses “in line” with the regional average.

Raising more state money in license fees would draw more federal matching dollars. With the money, Robinson said the department would like to increase the number of game wardens, among other things.

Senator Renee Unterman has introduced legislation to address the issue of “surprise emergency room bills.”

A surprise bill can be the result of “balance billing.” This occurs when the patient is pursued for the balance after his or her health insurer pays its share to the medical provider. The problem is that the balance often turns out to be much more than the patient anticipated.

Two state lawmakers have introduced separate bills in the General Assembly to prevent these surprise bills. Other states, including Florida, recently have passed legislation to address the problem.

Physician groups, insurers and consumer advocates in Georgia all say they want to solve the problem – taking the patient out of the middle of the current tug-of-war. These situations currently confound and upset many consumers receiving medical care, leading to unpaid bills and harsh collection practices.

Physician groups and insurance groups are at the opposite ends of the billing equation, says state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who introduced legislation on surprise billing last year and is updating it this year. “It’s a very, very complicated issue.”

“The main goal is to take the patient out of the conflict between providers and insurance companies,” says Unterman, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Both her proposal and a House bill on the issue call for greater transparency about which doctors are in an insurer’s network, and an estimated cost of the procedure.

Democratic state legislators are proposing an expansion of voter registration and removal of the ID requirement for voting.

Democratic State Sen. Vincent Fort introduced a bill to allow voters to both register and cast a ballot on Election Day. Last year, the deadline to register to vote was more than a month before the presidential election. The bill would increase voter turnout and widen democracy, Fort said.

Fort also introduced legislation essentially repealing the requirement for voters to show photo ID at a polling place. Georgia was one of the first states to implement a voter ID law in 2008. Proponents of the law say it helps to eliminate widespread fraud, but multiple studies have shown that there is no evidence of such fraud in the U.S. Those groups also contend that the ID requirement disproportionately targets people of color and the elderly.

A proposal from Rep. Roger Bruce would allow voters to cast a ballot at any precinct in their home county. Additionally, a bill sponsored by Rep. David Dreyer would require polling places to be located within 25 miles of every voter in a county.

Sen. Lester Jackson introduced a bill to expand the window for early voting. The bill adds an additional Saturday to the current schedule, which Democrats say would make it easier to vote for people who work or can’t otherwise get to a polling place during weekdays.

DeKalb County Commissioners voted to support development by Integral Group at the old GM plant site in Doraville.

DeKalb County is putting $180 million into public infrastructure at the old General Motors plant site in Doraville.

The county’s seven commissioners unanimously approved the investment and created a Tax Allocation District (TAD) that will freeze taxes on the project for 30 years.

The BOC vote means that the $60 million mixed-use development proposed that had been stalled can finally proceed. The project near Spaghetti Junction at the intersection of I-285 and I-85 in Doraville, now called Assembly, is expected to generate 500 jobs in the near future, and possibly 8,000 eventually.

It is also expected to attract $1.5 billion in private investment and increase daily MARTA ridership by 30,000.

Marie Willsey joined the field of candidates in a March 21 special election for Roswell City Council.

Polk County Board of Education members voted against paying for an election to pass another Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST).

Rural Georgia Rises Up

Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about the focus on rural Georgia in this year’s legislative session.

Lawmakers are talking about the problems that plague some of Georgia’s smaller communities. Main Street businesses that have closed. Financially struggling hospitals. Poor internet connections. Schools that don’t offer all the classes that will help students get into the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech. Young people moving to cities and never coming back.

Now there’s a move afoot in the state House to try and look at all these things comprehensively.

So far it doesn’t have a formal name, but House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, is calling it the rural development initiative. He mentioned it in a speech in front of Georgia mayors on Monday.

The needs of rural Georgia are starting to get more attention. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce recently announced its own rural development plans and said it would open an office in Tifton.

Powell foresees the need for some kind of investment to jump-start a turnaround in rural Georgia. But he does not want a scattershot approach that just works on one problem.

“That’s why it has to be a coordinated plan, because if all you do is attract doctors, then you are going to have to subsidize them from now until kingdom come,” [State Rep. Jay] Powell said. “But if you’re doing jobs and doctors and education and transportation, then at some point in time you develop a self-sustaining community.”

Charlie Hayslett writes about one of the issues that defines rural Georgia – lack of population density and lower incomes – by comparing most of South Georgia to Gwinnett County.

Compare all 56 counties of interior South Georgia to Gwinnett County alone.

Gwinnett County’s 2013 population was estimated at 859,304 – just under three-fourths of the 1.16 million people living in our 56-county South Georgia region.

But despite that population disadvantage, Gwinnett County:

  • Generates more income and contributes more in taxes than all 56 counties of South Georgia combined. According to IRS data, Gwinnett County’s total income for 2013 was $21.2 billion versus $17.4 billion for South Georgia.  Similarly, Gwinnett County taxpayers paid $2.5 billion in federal taxes while South Georgia taxpayers contributed $1.7 billion.
  • Is substantially healthier than South Georgia. Using premature death rates as a proxy for health status, Gwinnett County is about twice as healthy as South Georgia.  The 2015 YPLL 75 rate for the 56-county South Georgia region was 9,823.3; for Gwinnett County, it was 5,163.2 (with YPLL 75 rates, the lower the number, the better).   In this category, South Georgia has actually gained a little ground over the past 20 years.  It’s improved about 5.4 percent over that period while Gwinnett County has been essentially flat.  But South Georgia’s numbers in this category are abysmal while Gwinnett County’s are pretty close to optimal, especially for a county as large and diverse as it is.  For 2015, Gwinnett County’s YPLL 75 rate was the fifth best in the state, and it has consistently been in the top tier of counties in this category.

State Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming) has an radically ambitious proposal to reshape health care delivery and assist rural Georgia communities.

The first part of Duncan’s plan would move Georgia’s State Health Benefit Plan, which manages about $8 billion in state insurance policies, from the Department of Community Health the the Department of Administrative Services – and require the agency to hire a chief data officer skilled in predictive modeling and other tools of the trade to run the program.

The second part seems likely to grab more attention.  That department would be authorized to create as many as 100 federally qualified health centers – nonprofit centers that provide healthcare to low-income patients regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay – and then give families covered by the state health insurance plan incentives to use the centers.

Each new center – there are already about 200 in Georgia – would be required to handle mental illnesses and opioid addictions, and the department would be encouraged to create a co-op for all the centers to buy their medical equipment and other supplies in bulk.

Duncan doesn’t have the backing of the governor or other top GOP leaders yet, nor does he have a fiscal note. But he estimates the measure could cost as much as $25 million if all 100 centers are opened. He said cost-savings in the long run from consolidating  expenses, cheaper pharmaceutical costs and leveraging federal aid would be worth the short-term funding.

Monroe County voters will cast ballots on March 21, 2017 in a non-binding referendum on whether to increase property taxes to keep their local hospital open.

The hospital is six million dollars in debt. Administration has tried everything to keep the facility open. Last summer, Navicent Health partnered with the hospital to help.

The hospital doesn’t have the funds to keeping serving the area. So administration and commissioners came up with options.

The first option, “Basically, closing the hospital systematically within three to six months,” said Evans. Option two would, “keep the hospital open, and it would require ten million dollars.”

These options are being left to residents to vote on March 21st. Option two would require an increase in resident’s taxes.

“It will only increase average tax payer’s house, $100,000 dollar house,” explained Evans. “Their taxes will go up approximately thirty dollars a year.”

Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) and other doctors spoke about rural health care access.

“When it comes to the state of Georgia, there are two states, the urban part of the state and the rural part of the state,” said Charles Ruis, health director in the Southwest Health District. “What we want to do is have equity. To have the kind of healthcare that we all need and all desire. We live differently currently in the rural part of the state than the folks in the urban part of the state. Life is different.”

Ruis displayed a map that illustrated the poverty rate in Georgia, with an almost clear line being drawn from Columbus to Augusta. Almost every county below that line, with the exception of coastal counties, were considered in poverty. Counties around Atlanta had very little poverty.

The causes of death between Decatur County residents and Georgia residents at large are fairly similar. Both have their leading cause of death listed as heart disease and cancer, which are also the second (and third) biggest cause of death in the U.S. Ruis, however, said that doesn’t reveal the whole picture.

The death rate from behavioral health and other mental health problems in Decatur County is almost twice the rate in the state of Georgia. The death rate of diabetes in Decatur County is also twice the rate as that in Georgia.

Sen. Dean Burke, Chief of Staff at Memorial Hospital, argued that the community would need to work together to improve healthcare in the Decatur County.

“Our community needs the hospital. Our region needs our hospital,” Burke said. “We don’t communicate, and certainly not well. For us to improve the healthcare outcomes of our individual citizens, we are going to have to work together. Quit having duplication of services, missing services and gaps because somebody thought somebody else was doing it. This to me is the kickoff of the ability for our county and city to take responsibility.”



Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 27, 2017

On January 28, 1733, Georgia’s first colonists celebrated a day of thanksgiving for their safe arrival in Savannah and Chief Tomochichi’s granting them permission to settle on the Yamacraw Bluff.

On January 27, 1785, a charter was approved by the Georgia legislature for the first publicly-supported state university in America.

On January 29, 1779, British forces captured Augusta, Georgia.

On January 29, 1892, the Coca Cola Company was incorporated in Georgia in Fulton County Superior Court.

On January 27, 1941, Delta Air Lines announced it would move its headquarters from Monroe, Louisiana to Atlanta, Georgia. It was an interesting case of public-money-fueled economic development.

In 1940, the city of Atlanta and Delta had signed an agreement whereby the city agreed to contribute $50,000 for construction of a new hanger and office building for Delta if it would move its headquarters to Atlanta. In turn, Delta agreed to pay the remaining construction costs and then assume a 20-year lease for the new facilities. On Jan. 16, 1941, Delta had secured a $500,000 loan from Atlanta’s Trust Company of Georgia, thus allowing it to make a public announcement of the move.

On January 28, 1943, Governor Ellis Arnall signed a joint resolution of the Georgia House and Senate amending the Georgia Constitution to make the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia a constitutional board and reduce the power of the Governor over the Regents.

The movement to a constitutional board came after the loss of accreditation of all Georgia state higher education institutions for white people. The previous Governor, Eugene Talmadge, had engineered the firing of UGA’s Dean of the College of Education; after the Board of Regents initially refused to fire the Dean, Talmadge dismissed three members, and replaced them with new appointees who voted for the firing. Talmadge lost the 1942 election to Arnall.

On January 29, 1955, Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin signed legislation granting the power to take land needed for the Stone Mountain Park through condemnation if negotiations to buy it fell through.

On January 27, 1965, the Shelby GT 350 was unveiled.

Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay” was released on January 27, 1965, seven weeks after his death.

On January 29, 1977, Congressman Andrew Young resigned his seat to accept the nomination by President Carter as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff as many Americans watched on live television. President Ronald Reagan addressed the loss of seven astronauts.

Reagan had originally been scheduled to give his State of the Union that evening, but cancelled the speech. His address on the Challenger disaster was written by Peggy Noonan. The speech written by Noonan and delivered by Reagan is ranked as one of the top ten political speeches of the 20th Century.

On January 29, 1998, a bomb exploded in a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic, killing a police officer. Eric Rudolph would later admit to setting that bomb, along with the Centennial Park bombing in 1996, and the bombing of a Sandy Springs abortion clinic and an Atlanta bar in 1997.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal announced that FEMA will assist individuals in six counties hit by tornadoes.

Gov. Deal Nathan Deal today received notice from the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that six counties impacted by the severe weather on January 21 and 22 have been approved for individual assistance. Deal has also requested individual assistance for the remaining 10 counties under the state of emergency.

The six counties include:

  • Berrien
  • Cook
  • Crisp
  • Dougherty
  • Turner
  • Wilcox

“I’m tremendously grateful for the immediate assistance and attention President Trump has given Georgia’s requests for federal aid, as well as his concern for our citizens,” said Deal.

“I’d also like to thank President Trump for sending the acting director of FEMA to view firsthand the horrific effects of this natural disaster. FEMA, along with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, is working to expedite financial assessments in the remaining counties impacted by the storms.”

“Following my conversations with President Trump and FEMA, I’m confident that public assistance for all 16 counties will be approved expeditiously. This approval is critical to the state as well as local communities.”

For more information on damage assessments, contact Catherine Howden at [email protected].

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 26, 2017

The Supreme Court of Georgia held its first meeting on January 26, 1846 at Talbotton, Georgia.

John Sammons Bell was born on January 26, 1914 in Macon, Georgia. He would go on to serve as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, as a Judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and as chief judge of the appellate court. He is today best known as the designer of the state flag featuring the Confederate battle flag, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 1956.

On January 26, 2001 a new state flag, first designed by Atlanta architect Cecil Alexander, passed out of committee in the General Assembly by a 4-3 vote and would be voted on later that week. Click here to view the floor debate from 2001.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Legislative Committee Meetings





1:00 PM House Judy (Civ) Fleming Sub 132 CAP





3:00 PM SEN FINANCE – Pub Policy & Fin Sub 123 CAP



Governor Nathan Deal and local legislators surveyed tornado damage in South Georgia yesterday.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 25, 2017

Emory Window 628

On January 25, 1915, a charter was issued in DeKalb County Superior Court to Emory University.

On January 25, 1943, Georgia Gov. Ellis Arnall signed legislation eliminating the governor as an ex officio member of the State Board of Education, State Board of Regents, Department of Public Safety, and State Housing Authority, as part of a proposal to reduce the Governor’s power over education.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal will visit parts of South Georgia that were recently hit by tornados. Joining him will be local legislators and state emergency response leaders. The trip will include an aerial tour of Albany and driving tour of Cook County.

Albany-area first responders have been working constantly in the aftermath of two different tornado-strikes within weeks.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 24, 2017

Georgia History

Jekyll Island

On January 24, 1915, the first transcontinental telephone call was placed from Jekyll Island, Georgia

January 24, 1933 saw the first sales tax in Georgia proposed to fund schools and aid for farmers.

On January 24, 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. became co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, sharing the pulpit with his father.

On January 24, 1987, some 12,000 to 20,000 civil rights protesters marched in Forsyth County, a week after a smaller protest. From the New York Times reporting:

CUMMING, Ga., Jan. 24— This small town in Forsyth County was overwhelmed today by civil rights marchers, members of the Ku Klux Klan and their sympathizers and an army of National Guardsmen and law-enforcement officers who kept the opposing groups separated.

Guarded by what a spokesman for the Governor’s office called ”the greatest show of force the state has ever marshalled,” a crowd of marchers estimated at 12,000 to 20,000 funneled slowly into Cumming, where a week earlier counterdemonstrators, throwing stones and bottles, disrupted an interracial ”walk for brotherhood” prompted by the all-white county’s racist legacy.

As the marchers headed into Cumming, which has a little more than 2,000 people, they found waiting for them, behind a stern-faced force of 2,300 guardsmen and police officers, a group of hundreds if not thousands of white, mainly young, rural men and women, repeatedly shouting, “N***er, go home!”

Whatever the final figure, the march was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations since a 1965 rally that followed a march from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery. The rally, led by Dr. King, drew 25,000 people.

Seriously, read the Times report.

On January 24, 2001, the Georgia House of Representatives approved legislation changing the state flag to the Barnes design with the state seal on a blue background and a banner depicting five previous flags that flew over Georgia.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Yesterday, Governor Nathan Deal extended the state of emergency in South Georgia to nine additional counties.

He is also extending the executive order to run through midnight on January 30.

The state of emergency now exists in the following 16 counties: Atkinson, Baker, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Lowndes, Mitchell, Thomas, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. Mitchell and Dougherty Counties, previously impacted by similar severe weather, are now covered under this emergency declaration.

Gov. Deal plans to visit the affected areas on Wednesday, January 25.

Local leaders in South Georgia are asking the Trump Administration for federal assistance.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 23, 2017

Georgia History

On January 22, 1733, James Oglethorpe arrived at Yamacraw Bluff, where the colony of Georgia would be founded. Yamacraw Bluff is now known as River Street in Savannah.

On January 23, 1775, the Georgia Commons House elected three delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

Lieutenant William T. Sherman was ordered to Georgia for the first time in his military career on January 21, 1844.

On, January 22, 1861, following the passage of Georgia’s Secession Resolution, six delegates, including both from Gwinnett County, signed a statement protesting the decision to secede.

On January 23, 1861, Georgia’s members of the United States House of Representatives resigned following passage of the Secession Ordinance; her Senators had resigned earlier. The next day, the secession convention in Milledgeville elected ten delegates to a conference of Southern states in Montgomery, Alabama

On January 22, 1866, Georgia Governor Charles Jenkins signed a resolution by the legislature asking for federal troops to be removed from Georgia.

On January 23, 1923, Georgia ratified the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, which ended Presidential terms on January 20th following an election and those of Congress to January 3d.

On January 22, 1959, Atlanta buses were integrated after a federal court decision.

United States Senator and former Georgia House Speaker and Governor Richard B. Russell, Jr. died on January 21, 1971.

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its 7-2 decision in the case known as Roe v. Wade.

On January 23, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon announced that terms had been reached to settle the Vietnam War, a document known as the “Paris Peace Accords.”

On January 21, 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned draft resistors from the Vietnam War era and urged Americans to conserve energy.

On January 21, 1978, the Bee Gees Saturday Night Live album hit #1 on the sales charts, where it would stay for 24 weeks.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections


Severe weather impacts Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Lowndes and Thomas

Following the recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) officials and local Emergency Management Agencies (EMA), Gov. Nathan Deal is declaring a state of emergency for seven South Central Georgia counties impacted by severe weather and tornado touchdowns on January 21 and 22. The state of emergency is currently in effect and will remain so for the next seven days.

“These storms have devastated communities and homes in South Central Georgia, and the state is making all resources available to the impacted areas,” Deal said. These storms have resulted in loss of life, numerous injuries and extensive property damage, and our thoughts and prayers are with Georgians suffering from the storm’s impact. As we continue to assess the damage, I’m prepared to expand or extend this emergency declaration as needed. In addition to the state’s response, all indications suggest we will also be submitting a request for federal assistance as well.

“The National Weather Service predicts a third wave of severe weather today, which may reach as far north as metro Atlanta. I urge all Georgians to exercise caution and vigilance in order to remain safe and prevent further loss of life or injuries.”

Gov. Deal plans to visit the affected areas in the coming days.

State agencies assisting in the seven counties include:

  • GEMHSA, which is coordinating all disaster response
  • Department of Public Heath, which has deployed trauma trailers
  • Georgia Search and Rescue Task Force 2 (Valdosta)
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of Public Safety

President Donald J. Trump spoke to Gov. Deal and sent his condolences to Georgia’s tornado victims.

From the Los Angeles Times:

A spate of violent, fast-moving tornadoes continued to wreak havoc across the Deep South on Sunday, killing at least 14 people in south Georgia and raising the weekend’s severe-weather death toll to 18.

Some of the most extensive damage came Sunday afternoon, when a large twister with winds of 60 mph tore across Albany, Ga., killing at least three people and mangling homes across suburban neighborhoods.

“There are no words to tell you how bad this is,” Ron Rowe, Dougherty County Emergency Management Agency director, said at a news conference in Albany, a city of just more than 75,000 people about 170 miles south of Atlanta. “It’s just tornadoes and pure destruction.”

“It ripped through here bad,” Chris Cohilas, chairman of the Dougherty County Commission, said on a Facebook live feed Sunday afternoon as he walked along a two-lane road past fallen trees and upturned cars. “We’ve got people that are hurt …. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off.”

Earlier Sunday, just before 3 a.m., a single long-track tornado, or a couple of smaller tornadoes, struck the Georgia-Florida line, hurtling northeast for about 80 miles, said Mark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee, Fla., office.

Seven were killed in Cook County, Ga., where a tornado ripped through the Sunshine Acres mobile home park, destroying many of its structures and leaving a muddy grass field strewn with metal siding and smashed cars. Pink fiberglass insulation clung to downed power lines. Blankets dangled high in pine trees.

Two more fatalities were confirmed in Berrien County, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. And in Brooks County, a husband and wife were killed after a tornado picked up their mobile home.

Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 20, 2017

On January 20, 1788, the First African Baptist Church was established in Savannah, Georgia, one of the first black churches in the United States.

John Marshall was nominated as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States by President John Adams on January 20, 1801.

On January 20, 1920, DeForest Kelley was born in Atlanta and he grew up in Conyers. Kelley sang in the choir of his father’s church and appeared on WSB radio; he graduated from Decatur Boys High School and served in the United States Navy. Kelley became famous as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the original Star Trek series.

On January 20, 1928, Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited Warm Springs, Georgia for the tenth time, staying through February 11th. During the visit, he spoke to the Chamber of Commerce of Americus and Sumter County, telling them

“In Georgia the movement towards the cities is growing by leaps and bounds and this means the abandonment of the farms or those farms that are not suited to the uses of agriculture. It means that we will have vacant lands but these can and should be used in growing timber.”

January 20th became Inaugural Day in 1937; when the date falls on a Sunday, a private inauguration of the President is held, with a public ceremony the following day. The Twentieth Amendment moved inauguration day from March 4 to January 20. Imagine six additional weeks of a lame duck President.

Roosevelt was sworn-in to a fourth term as President on Jauary 20, 1945 and died in Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.

On January 20, 1939, Paul D. Coverdell was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Coverdell was one of the key figures in the development of the Georgia Republican Party.

On January 20, 1977, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as the 39th President of the United States.

On January 20, 1981, Ronald Wilson Reagan was inaugurated 40th President of the United States.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia State Patrol troopers were sworn in temporarily as Deputy United States Marshals to help with security at today’s inauguration.

Georgia Troopers Inaugural 628

Former Georgia Governor and President Jimmy Carter flew commercial and shook hands on the plane.

Carter Inaugural Twitter

Kirkland Perdue Twitter

Seventy of Georgia’s deplorables rode buses wrapped in “Make America Great Again” to Washington for the inauguration.

[M]ore than 70 Trump enthusiasts left Atlanta, arriving early Thursday morning at an RV campsite in College Park, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.

“We got a bunch of folks that’s really enjoying what we’re doing and it ain’t breaking the bank and we’re just having a good time,” said Wallace Mathis of Cordele, Ga.

“I think it’s going to be one of the greatest moments in history for the United States,” said Kim McCarthy of Alpharetta, Georgia. “I think he’s going to be one of the best presidents we’ve ever had.”

Sonny Perdue was introduced as the next Secretary of Agriculture by President-elect Donald Trump.

“Today, as you know, we appointed a secretary of agriculture. He happens to be a farmer. He happens to be… Oh, there his is. Look at that man. Sonny Perdue,” Trump said.

“He came into my office two months ago. Since then, I saw 10 people that everybody liked. Politically correct. And I kept thinking back to Sonny Perdue, a great, great farmer.”

Trump said he questioned the other candidates about their farming knowledge.

“Do you have any experience with farms or agriculture?” he asked one unnamed gentleman.

“No sir, I don’t.”

“Have you ever seen a farm?” the future president followed up.

Trump praised the applicant as a “great guy” but said “I can’t make him secretary of agriculture.”

It was the literal dirt on Perdue that set him apart.

“He loves the farms. Knows everything about farming. Knows everything about farming. He’s been successful in farming,” Trump said. “He knows the good stuff and the bad stuff.”

AJC Columnist Kyle Wingfield writes that he is optimistic for the Trump Presidency.

Education: As a candidate, Donald Trump promised a large federal school-choice program.

Tax reform: Trump talked a lot about fixing the U.S. tax code, and the area most in need of reform is the corporate income tax….Lowering that rate while reducing the number of exemptions would make the tax code, and companies’ tax-conscious decisions, more efficient.

Infrastructure and debt reduction: Yes, you read that correctly. One of Trump’s big talking points was the need to update our infrastructure, from roads and rails to airports….Use the money to reward states and cities that are also putting their own money into such projects, and it’d go even farther.

Ronna McDaniel was elected Chair of the Republican National Committee and Bob Paduchik was elected Co-Chair.

McDaniel is the second woman ever elected Chair of the RNC. Outgoing Chairman Reince Priebus gave his final remarks to the RNC capping the most successful run as Chairman in RNC history.

The votes electing McDaniel and Paduchik to their respective positions were both unanimous.

About Ronna McDaniel

This November, Ronna McDaniel helped deliver Michigan for Donald Trump and the GOP for the first time in decades. She was elected as the State Chairman from Michigan in February of 2015.

Ronna served as a Trump delegate and chaired the Michigan Delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention. She has served as a Precinct Delegate, as a District Committee Executive Member and State Committeewoman in Michigan and served as National Delegate to the Tampa Convention representing Michigan’s 11th District.

In 2013, she served as Co-Chair for the Mackinac Leadership Conference and was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Board of Marriage and Family Therapists.

In her local community of Northville, Ronna has served on land planning and public safety committees and is actively involved in her local PTA. She received her B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. Ronna is married to Patrick McDaniel and has two children, Abigail and Nash.

About Bob Paduchik

Bob Paduchik most recently served as the Ohio State Director for the Trump-Pence presidential campaign. He was the Campaign Manager for Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s successful campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010, and was the Ohio State Director for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in both 2000 and 2004, helping President Bush carry the state both times. From 2011 through 2015, Bob worked in a variety of roles at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade association representing the coal-fueled electricity industry. From October 2001 to January 2003, Bob served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols hosted another “Unholy Tour” to help Georgia leaders understand the extent of the sex trafficking problem in Metro Atlanta.

I think all elected officials in this state should be concerned about something that is a blight on our state where kids are being sold and their lives are being ruined,” he said.

Echols is among those who see strong connections between Atlanta’s reputation as a strip club mecca and its designation as a top city for sex trafficking.

Georgia voters appear to make the same conclusion. In November, 83 percent of voters agreed to a constitutional amendment requiring strip clubs and other adult businesses to contribute $5,000 annually to a fund for exploited children.

Echols’ tour began downtown, cruising the bus stations that organizers say are commonly used to bring minors in and out of the city for illicit reasons. From there the tour went west to Fulton Industrial, then north to strip clubs in Sandy Springs recently raided by police there.

That the purveyors of sex with children are mostly local makes some common sense as well. An Urban Institute study from 2014 found Atlanta’s sex trade generated nearly $300 million annually. It’s unlikely anything other than a fraction of that trade could be coming from out-of-towners.

You can watch a video of the Unholy Tour on Commissioner Echols Facebook page.

A Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney was arrested in an anti-prostitution sting in Dunwoody.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said Wednesday he’s aware of the arrest and awaiting more information.

Quinn’s attorney, Noah Pines, has declined to comment on the facts of the case. But he described Quinn as “an outstanding lawyer who finds himself caught up in the system.”

Quinn turned himself in Tuesday and has been charged with pandering and violation of Georgia’s felony racketeering statute.

He is considered on leave from the DA’s office, where he works in the appeals section after years with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Porter said.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 19, 2017

Delegates to the Secession Convention in Milledgeville voted 208-89 in favor of seceding from the United States on January 19, 1861.

Robert E. Lee was born on January 19, 1807 at at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia the son of a former Congressman and Governor of Virginia.

On January 19, 1871, Savannah, Georgia became the first city to recognize Robert E. Lee’s Birthday as a public holiday.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Ashley Wright as a Judge for the Superior Court for the Augusta Judicial Circuit. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Wright served as District Attorney for the August Circuit.

Deal also made a wager with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on the NFC Championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers.

“Given the Atlanta Falcons’ stellar season under the leadership of Coach Dan Quinn and soon-to-be MVP and Pro Bowler Matt Ryan, I’m confident Falcons’ fans will be celebrating another win on Sunday,” said Deal. “The additional five Falcons named to the 2017 Pro Bowl roster—Vic Beasley Jr., Matt Bryant, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones and Alex Mack—will help ensure a strong victory, bringing the Packers’ winning streak and season to an end. We are excited to host the Packers at the Georgia Dome. Given Sunday’s forecast, which is 68 degrees, our guess is that many Packers fans are excited too. Falcons fans, let’s get ready to cheer our home team on to victory and show the world what it means to Rise Up.”

“The Green Bay Packers are on a roll and have what it takes to go all the way this season,” said Gov. Walker. “The Falcons are going to be a tough opponent, but with the leadership of Mike McCarthy, the dedication and teamwork of the players, and, of course, our secret weapon – Aaron Rodgers, I am confident the Packers will pull out yet another ‘W’ in Atlanta. This Sunday, all of Packer Nation will be cheering on our team to victory.”

The wager:

In the unlikely event of a loss, Deal wagered ice-cold Coca Cola (which is not “pop”), chili dogs from The Varsity, peach pies from Dickey Farms, Georgia peanuts and two six-packs of Creature Comforts’ Tropicalia.

Gov. Walker wagered two six-packs of Leinenkugel’s Wisconsin Red Pale Ale, a box of assorted chocolates from Seroogy’s Chocolates in De Pere, jars of liquid and spreadable crystal raw honey from Wisconsin Natural Acres in Chilton, assorted Wisconsin artisan cheeses, crackers, and sausage, and a pair of Travel Wisconsin Old Fashioned glasses.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue will be named Secretary of Agriculture by President-elect Donald Trump.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 18, 2017

Georgia History

On January 18, 1776, James Wright, Royal Governor of Georgia, was arrested by John Habersham, a member of the Provincial Congress.

L.Q.C. Lamar, born near Eatonton, Georgia, was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on January 18, 1888.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Committee Meetings Today

10:00 AM Joint Budget Hearings 341 CAP

1:00 PM Joint Block Grant Hearing 341 CAP

Todd Rehm Rand Paul

Dentons Atlanta office last week hosted Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who spoke about the current state of healthcare reform in Washington.Continue Reading..