GaPundit Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:43:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 28, 2016 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:42:36 +0000 GaPundit:

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England on September 28, 1066. General George Washington led continental troops into the siege of British forces under General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia on September 28, 1781. On September 28, 1863, two Union generals lost their commands after the Confederates routed federal forces at the Battle of Chickamauga.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invaded England on September 28, 1066.

Washington Yorktown

General George Washington led continental troops into the siege of British forces under General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia on September 28, 1781.

On September 28, 1863, two Union generals lost their commands after the Confederates routed federal forces at the Battle of Chickamauga.

On September 28, 1889, Georgia Governor John B. Gordon signed legislation designating January 19th a state holiday in honor of Robert E. Lee’s birthday. Lee’s birthday is still a state holiday, though it has become “a moveable feast.”

On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President.

Atlanta-born Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones won his first Grand Slam on September 27, 1930.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle spoke yesterday at a legislative meeting to kick ff the Rural Healthcare 180 task force.

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News wrote about the kickoff.

The chief executive of two financially stressed hospitals in southwest Georgia looks forward to the promise of donations under a new state tax credit program.

“The tax credit legislation is a lifeline for us, helping us keep essential services in our rural communities,’’ said Kim Gilman, who runs Phoebe Worth Hospital in Sylvester and Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert.

Since the beginning of 2013, five rural hospitals in the state have closed, and many others are struggling financially, such as Phoebe Worth and Southwest Georgia Regional.

Gilman’s remarks illustrated how small hospitals often feel caught between forces they can’t control. Each of her hospitals, she said, has had to sink more than $1 million into an electronic medical records system to comply with federal regulations. Meanwhile, “we are unable to improve our facility infrastructure.”

The tax credit program can help sustain the state’s rural health care network, said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is honorary co-chairman of the new task force. “We have way too many of our rural hospitals closing.”

The big news yesterday was supposed confirmation that Attorney General Sam Olens will be appointed President of Kennesaw State University, leaving a vacancy to which Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr is expected to be appointed.

No source is named nor timing. Make of it what you will.

I texted the AG at about 10 PM last night asking for comment, to which he replied, “no comment.” So, I’d say the party balloons are premature at this time. If this were to happen, I would expect no announcement until at the earliest November 1, 2016.

Georgia Constitution Article V, Section II,Paragraph VIII reads:

Filling vacancies.

(a) When any public office shall become vacant by death, resignation, or otherwise, the Governor shall promptly fill such vacancy unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law; and persons so appointed shall serve for the unexpired term unless otherwise provided by this Constitution or by law.

Georgia Code §45-5-3 says,

(a) In those instances where the law applicable to an elective public office does not provide for filling a vacancy in such office and the Governor fills such vacancy pursuant to the authority of Article V, Section II, Paragraph VIII, subparagraph (a) of the Constitution and in those instances where the Governor fills a vacancy in the office of district attorney pursuant to Article VI, Section VIII, Paragraph I, subparagraph (a) of the Constitution, the vacancy shall be filled as follows:

(1) If the vacancy occurs during the final 27 months of a term of office, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term of office;

So for a vacancy in the office of Attorney General to be filled by gubernatorial appointment, it must occur in the final 27 months of the AG’s term in office. The term of the current Attorney General ends on the second Monday in January, 2018. The way I count the months, the 27-month period in which the Governor appoints a new Attorney General starts October 1, 2016.

While we’ve cracked open the Constitution, I’ll also note the following qualification for Attorney General:

Article V. Section III. Paragraph II(b) :

No person shall be Attorney General unless such person shall have been an active-status member of the State Bar of Georgia for seven years.

The person rumored to be in line for AG if an appointment should occur is currently an inactive-status member in good standing of the State Bar, having been a member since 1999. I don’t see a requirement in the Constitution that the seven years on active status be consecutive. Lawyers sometimes change their bar status to inactive so they don’t have the fulfill the continuing legal education requirements of active status or to avoid having to carry malpractice insurance. Changing from inactive status to active status for a member in good standing is pretty simple.

Georgia Trump campaign State Director Brandon Philips has resigned and Billy Kirkland will lead the team.

Other political jobs to be filled include Communications Director and Political Director at the flailing Jim Barksdale Senate campaign.

We’ve gotten word that two more senior staffers are no longer with the campaign: Communications Director Emily Oh and Political Director Lacey Morrison.

Their departure comes shortly after Barksdale cut ties with Campaign Manager Dave Hoffman, replacing him with Bernie Sanders alumna René Spellman. All of this comes on the heels of a tough couple of weeks that showed the investment manager with dipping poll numbers and middling support from top Georgia Democrats.

Johnny Isakson appears to face no fall out from the Trump campaign, according to Bloomberg News.

Republican Donald Trump holds a narrow 3 percentage-point lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race among Georgia voters, according to a Sept. 19 Monmouth University poll.

That’s a surprise for a state that hasn’t sided with a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992, but it hasn’t yet translated into a tight Senate contest for Isakson: The same poll shows the second-term lawmaker enjoys a 16-point lead over challenger Jim Barksdale.

Isakson’s lead may have as much to do with his record as it does Barksdale’s relatively low profile statewide. Democrats could already be looking at Georgia as a missed opportunity in an election season in which control of the Senate is likely to come down to a handful of races.

“The biggest problem going into this race for Barksdale was that nobody knew who he was,” Andra Gillespie, a political science professor at Emory University, told Bloomberg BNA. “Barksdale is going to have to become a household name—which from my vantage point he hasn’t done yet—and he’s going to have to convince voters who know and are comfortable with a candidate who hasn’t made any serious blunders that what he’s offering is better than what Isakson can deliver.”

With all due respect, the biggest problem for Barksdale is that everyone knows who Johnny Isakson is, and he is so widely liked and respected that top tier Democrats are supporting him.

State Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Buckhead) is in a partial rematch of her 2014 race to keep her job in the State House.

Republican incumbent Beth Beskin and Democrat Bob Gibeling are battling for the District 54 state House seat in the Nov. 8 general election.

Beskin bested Gibeling and independent Bill Bozarth with 59.1 percent of the vote in the 2014 campaign. Gibeling and Bozarth had 29.8 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. This year neither candidate had opposition in the May 24 primary. Beskin defeated three opponents in the 2014 Republican primary, while Gibeling was unopposed on the Democratic side. District 54 includes historic Brookhaven and most of Buckhead.

Beskin said she is running for re-election “because I want to continue my work representing House District 54 under the Gold Dome.”

“I’ve worked hard to represent everyone in our district and feel my important committee assignments, including the [House] judiciary committee, the education committee and MARTOC (the MARTA overview/budget committee), including chairing the governance subcommittee, can greatly benefit my district and our state,” she said.

Beskin said she has been endorsed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“I tried to be responsive and accessible to our district, even those who may not have voted for me,” she said. “I think my qualifications, including as a lawyer, and my experience, including the last two years, make me the best representative at the Capitol. The fact that I’m a chair of a subcommittee shows that I have the respect of my colleagues. I’m furthering our interests down at the statehouse.”

Yvonne Williams has resigned as Executive Director of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, according to the Reporter newspapers.

In a PCIDs press release, Williams cited “life balance and family considerations,” including her daughter’s upcoming entry into college, as reasons for her resignation. Her resignation was effective Sept. 2 and there is no successor in place, according to PCIDs spokesperson Bill Crane.

Crane said the PCIDs board canceled its September meeting for lack of a quorum. “It is expected that selecting an interim director for the PCIDs will top their agenda when that meeting is re-scheduled,” he said.

“Yvonne Williams led and helped build out our Perimeter Community Improvement Districts into one of the ‘best practices’ model CIDs in Georgia,” Crane said. “We wish Yvonne Williams luck in all her future endeavors as well as her intended focus on her family at this time.”

The PCIDs are two jointly operated, self-taxing business districts in Perimeter Center, one on the DeKalb County side and one on the Fulton County side.

A lawsuit has been filed over the wording of the Opportunity School District, Constitutional Amendment #1.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by opponents of Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to put “chronically failing” schools under state control contends that the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment is misleading.

The suit in Fulton County Superior Court asks a judge to prevent enforcement of the amendment if voters approve it in November.On voters’ ballots, a preamble appearing before the question will say: “Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.” Such descriptions are written by Deal and legislative leaders, who make up Georgia’s Constitutional Amendments Publication Board under the state Constitution.

The Committee to Keep Georgia Schools Local, a campaign group including teacher advocacy groups, called the preamble “intentionally deceptive” in a statement announcing the lawsuit Tuesday. The suit was filed on behalf of three Georgia residents against Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp because of his office’s role in elections.

“This frivolous lawsuit demonstrates the depths to which some outside groups will go to defend the status quo,” [pro-Amendment #1 campaign manager Tom] Willis said. “They are playing political games with the futures of 68,000 students trapped in failing schools. It’s unconscionable to hold these students hostage simply to generate news headlines.”

The Newton and Rockdale County Boards of Educations scheduled a joint meeting to discuss the Opportunity School District Amendment #1 on Thursday from 7 to 8:30 PM at Discover Point Church, 1605 Ga. Highway 138 SE in Conyers from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Governor Deal spoke about the OSD Amendment #1 in Gwinnett County.

“If we are as concerned about the minds of our children as we should be, then you will not let 68,000 students be trapped in chronically failing schools,” Deal said.

“Don’t be fooled by the ads,” the governor said. “This is not just the standardized test scores of these students. That is only one factor that determines whether a school is failing or not.”

“As I point out to folks around the state, if a child goes to a chronically failing school, the statistics are that their graduation rate is only about 55.7 percent,” Deal said. “That is 23 percentage points less than our average graduation rate in Georgia, which is not particularly anything to be bragging about.”

A liberal group called Allied Progress is complaining about Georgia’s voter registration procedures.

In a report out Tuesday, the group took aim at Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Gov. Nathan Deal and other state and local leaders over accusations of voter suppression, saying Georgia does a poor job of protecting citizens’ rights and hurts minority communities by making registration and voting more difficult.

Kemp hit back, however, saying “this is just another liberal group making blind accusations to drive voter turnout in an election year. Our office is committed to making it easy to vote but hard to cheat.”

“Because of my efforts as Secretary of State, voters can now register to vote 24 hours a day, seven days a week using the online voter registration system, the free ‘GA SOS’ smartphone app, or by texting ‘GA’ to ‘2vote,’” Kemp said. “I have implemented many technological improvements since taking office like creating the MVP webpage where a voter can view their sample ballot, find their polling place, link to their elected officials and request an absentee ballot to participate in the electoral process.”

Kemp is scheduled Wednesday to testify before a congressional panel in Washington, D.C, about cyber-security and elections.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia is making digital billboards great again, running a message of support for law enforcement personnel.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia, or O.A.A.G, is using available space and lighting up digital billboards with “thank you” messages for police officers, sheriff’s deputies and emergency first responders.

“We wanted to direct this message towards anyone that wears a badge: firefighters, emergency responders, folks with the Department of Natural Resources, search and rescue, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation and of course, local law enforcement officers,” said Connor Poe, president/CEO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia.

The message reads, “Home of the free because of Georgia’s brave” and is featured several times with a variety of colors and silhouettes of first responders. The bulletin runs between advertisements for local businesses.

Poe added the O.A.A.G. partners with law enforcement agencies such as the GBI and the FBI on a regular basis.

“Usually for the GBI or FBI, if there is a dangerous fugitive on the loose, we’ll post rewards with pictures on our digital billboards. … We also do a lot of missing persons reports too when there are Amber Alerts issued around the state,” he explained.

Despite the Name, It’s Not a Heavy Metal-Palooza

Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols [disclaimer: he's a client] rolled through Savannah with his Unholy Tour to spotlight the blight of human trafficking.

Over 75 people, including state and local officials, were driven to over 18 different locations around Savannah known for sex trade hot spots.

Last year, Echols hosted a tour in Atlanta that was successful in rescuing two teenage girls from a known trafficker with the help of the charitable organization, 4 Sarah, and the Dekalb County Special Victims Unit. Echols hopes this tour will shine a light on the serious issue of sex trafficking.

“This is really a rolling educational seminar about the harms of trafficking. Particularly on the health and life of women. We want the community, we got city council people here, folks from other surrounding counties. We want them to see this is a big issue,” said Echols.

State Representative Jesse Petrea from District 166 said you can make a difference in those victims still trapped in the sex trade by voting in November.

“We have a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot on November 8 that everyone needs to be aware of. It is Amendment Two and that was put on the ballot by senate resolution seven, something we passed in that same session. It allows us to create a safe harbor fund which we estimate will create about two million dollars a year for us to dedicate to helping young women primarily who have been unfortunately victimized by sex trafficking,” said Petrea.

If you know of anyone you may suspect is caught in the sex trade or if you notice suspicious activity, you are urged to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at: 1-888-373-7888.

A letter to the editor in the Savannah Morning News followed-up.

On Tuesday evening, Memorial Heath pediatrician and long-time child advocate, Donna Evans, M.D., and I joined two packed buses for the UnHoly Tour, scheduled to bring attention to human trafficking in our area. On the bus, courageous women shared their stories of escape and redemption.

Local advocates pleaded for more local resources. Faith-based leaders emphasized the role of patience and love when helping victims. And, a call to action was made: Vote Yes on Amendment 2 this fall.

Your vote will allow the state of Georgia to assess an annual fee on the adult entertainment industry. This fee, which could reach $2 million in the first year, will be set aside in the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund to support services that restore young victims — education, psychological intervention, medical care, housing, and workplace training.

All are key to transitioning into a safe, secure environment.

We learned that the average age of a child trafficking victim is 13 and that parents are sometimes complicit; that cities with large convention industries have large human trafficking industries; that more than 200 high-risk Savannahians are daily offered as “escorts” on a well-known internet site; and that victims are sometimes prosecuted as “prostitutes” while their “johns” are issued only a citation.

When you vote in the Presidential election this fall, please vote Yes on Amendment 2. Visit for more information.

My employer, Memorial Health, serves as the region’s sole safety net hospital. What a wide “net” our community can provide by simply voting Yes on Amendment 2 and working together to “catch and save” some of our most vulnerable children and young adults.

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 28, 2016 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 10:42:27 +0000 GaPundit:

These seven sweet little Lab mix puppies will be available for adoption in early to mid October from Butts Mutts in Jackson, Butts County, GA. Finchie is a sweet and friendly young Bull Terrier mix male who is available for adoption from Butts Mutts in Jackson, Butts County, GA. Finchie is heartworm positive and being

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



These seven sweet little Lab mix puppies will be available for adoption in early to mid October from Butts Mutts in Jackson, Butts County, GA.


Finchie is a sweet and friendly young Bull Terrier mix male who is available for adoption from Butts Mutts in Jackson, Butts County, GA.

Finchie is heartworm positive and being treated. Sweet young male who is neutered and loves to cuddle and play. Great with other dogs and is currently in foster care with other dogs. Great manners.

My experience with owning a brindle Dachshund mix is that you’ll be stopped frequently when walking Finchie for people to tell you how beautiful his coat is.


Tom (above) and Jerry (below) are Coonhound brothers who are available for adoption separately or as a pair from Butts Mutts in Jackson, Butts County, GA.

Tom is just a happy go lucky type of guy! Loves to play – chase and loves to be loved on! He’s a hugger so we’re working on his manners! He came in with his brother jerry and they are fun to play with!

Jerry was picked up as a stray running with his brother Tom! He is a coonhound blend with a neat pattern to his fur that looks like angel wings! HE loves people – other dogs – loves to play! Very laid back with a great temperament! Vetted, neutered and heartworm negative.


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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 27, 2016 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:39:31 +0000 GaPundit:

Magnolia is a purebred 3-year old female American Bulldog who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA. Magnolia was sadly dumped after a life of abuse and neglect. The vet thinks she possibly may have had her jaw broken at one point. Although she may have had a rough

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Magnolia is a purebred 3-year old female American Bulldog who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Magnolia was sadly dumped after a life of abuse and neglect. The vet thinks she possibly may have had her jaw broken at one point. Although she may have had a rough start at life, she surely holds no grudges. She is a very sweet and gentle girl. She would make a great companion to any family.


Gracie is a young female purebred Chihuahua who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Gracie was saved from Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare. She’s a young (1-2 years old, August, 2016), purebred, smooth coat Chihuahua. She is very sweet and gets along well with other dogs and children (cats unknown, but can tested). She is a tiny baby…she only weighs 6.6lbs! If you are interested in meeting and adopting Gracie please request an adoption application at:


Jade is a beautiful 11-month old German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Jade is really smart and friendly. She learns fast and is easy to correct. She can be quite the goofball. She loves water.


Santana is a friendly 9.5 year old female Vizsla who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Santana needs a quiet and loving home to retire in. She was sadly neglected and is a great dog looking for a family to live the rest of her life out with.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 27, 2016 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:50:11 +0000 GaPundit:

On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution. President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927. September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


On September 27, 1779, John Jay, who previously served as President of the Continental Congress, was appointed minister to Spain to seek Spanish support for the revolution.

President Franklin Roosevelt made his ninth visit to Warm Springs, Georgia on September 27, 1927.

September 27 is a red-letter day for the Atlanta Braves and pitcher John Smoltz. The team won a record 14th straight Division Championship on this day in 2005. Smoltz set a team record for regular season wins (24) on September 27, 1996 and extended his team record for strikeouts hitting 276. On September 27, 2002, Smoltz set a National League record with 54 saves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Feds approved a restart of the Colonial Pipeline scheduled for Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a written approval for restart of the line late Tuesday. Earlier in the day, Reuters reported that the approval was forthcoming, citing an official familiar with the matter.

When Line 1 restarts, it will take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal, and some markets served by the pipeline may experience “intermittent service interruptions,” Colonial said.

Retail prices may continue to climb until supply kinks are straightened out.

Dark money groups are responsible for one-third of television ad spending in United States Senate races, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics and Wesleyan University’s Media Project.

[A] type of political group that does not have to disclose its donors is responsible for $80 million in ads nationally.

That’s 35.8 percent of all advertising in Senate races, according to the study out this week.

Without knowing who is paying for the ads, voters are robbed of “an important clue” that allows them “to take a claim made in an ad with a grain of salt,” said Travis Ridout, a Washington State University political science professor who works with the Wesleyan University project that analyzes campaign donations.

Robert Maguire, a Center for Responsive Politics investigator, said voters should know the identities of those supporting their elected representatives.

“If you, as a voter, are watching an ad about a certain candidate’s stance on environmental regulations, it makes a difference if that ad is funded by a true grassroots organization or if it’s bankrolled by an energy company that has a financial incentive in certain policy outcomes,” Maguire said.

Six weeks before the November 8 General Election, Secretary of State Brian Kemp agreed to register voters whose information did not match precisely records from state driver’s license and social security databases.

In a letter to U.S. Senior Judge William O’Kelley, Secretary of State Brian Kemp agreed to suspend his practice of canceling registrations unless they were an identical match—in a character for character comparison—to information in the state drivers’ license and Social Security databases—and would-be voters had not corrected mismatches within 40 days. Kemp agreed not to reinstate the practice without specific instructions from the judge.

That concession will restore would-be voters whose registrations were canceled or have not been processed due to a data mismatch to the voter rolls and allow them cast a regular ballot in November as long as they show proper identification at the polls. Kemp also agreed to restore to the rolls every canceled registration due to a mismatch going back to Oct. 1, 2014.

Kemp also agreed that would-be voters whose registrations were suspended or canceled because his office tagged them as noncitizens will be allowed to vote a regular ballot in November as long as they can show poll workers proof of citizenship.

Kemp’s spokeswoman had labeled the suit “an effort by liberal groups to disrupt voter registration just weeks before an important election” and claimed the protocols in place were approved by the U.S. Justice Department.

Under state protocols in place until Friday, Georgia voter registrations were considered incomplete if even one digit or character in a single database field resulted in a mismatch, even when an applicant’s other vital information, including birth date, Social Security number, driver’s license number and date of birth all matched.

Kemp also recognized a massive increase in online voter registration checks due to Facebook.

As of 2:00 p.m. today, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is proud to report 12,787 hits – a 2255% increase compared to hits on this date last year – on Georgia’s Online Voter Registration System after Facebook’s launch of a voter registration reminder in user newsfeeds this morning. Kemp expects the numbers to continue to grow and thanks the social media giant for their efforts.

“I applaud Facebook for joining our efforts to increase voter registration awareness in Georgia, where it has never been easier to register to vote and engage in the electoral process,” stated Secretary Kemp. “I am encouraging all Facebook users to take action now and verify their registration status leading up to this year’s historic election in November.”

Through Monday, September 26, Facebook users who are 18 years of age and older will notice a friendly reminder at the top of their newsfeed directing them to verify their registration status across the country. By clicking the reminder, Georgia users will be directed to and, after selecting Georgia as their state of residence, will be re-directed to

In addition to initiating their own voter registration process, Facebook users can share that they are registered to vote and encourage their friends to do the same.

“Going back to 2008, we’ve been reminding people on Facebook to vote on Election Day and directing them to information on where to vote. This is the natural next step. We want people to have a voice in the process, and getting registered means that there’s one less hurdle for them,” said Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Product Manager for civic engagement.

The deadline to register to vote or update voter information is October 11, 2016. Georgia citizens can submit an electronic voter registration application using their Georgia driver’s license number or state-issued identification card number on several platforms: Online Voter Registration (OLVR), the free “GA SOS” mobile app for Apple and Android devices, and the recently announced “2VOTE” text messaging pilot project. Individuals can also mail in hard-copy voter registration applications to their county registrar to register to vote by the deadline.

“For the first time in Georgia, voters can register to vote or update their information online, via text, or by using the office’s smartphone app,” said Kemp.

Columbia County has seen 1000 new voter registration applications in August, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Columbia County has 99,214 registered voters as of Sept. 19, while Richmond County has 98,484, according to elections officials in both counties.

Jenna Reynolds, registration coordinator in Columbia County, said the voter rolls have grown by about 1,000 voters per month since July, and nearly 700 applications came in over the weekend.

[Richmond County] Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said the number of registered voters could swell by several thousand in the next two weeks.

“We are getting many, many completed applications in every day from the Secretary of State’s Office,” she said. “You can expect by November to see well over 100,000.”

Richmond County voters have school board races and a school sales tax referendum to decide, and
Columbia County voters will decide a referendum on a general obligation bond.

Coweta County is considering consolidating their Board of Elections and Board of Registrars.

[T]he county wants to institute a combined “board of elections and registration,” with a single elections superintendent.

Because the board of elections, created in 2003, was established by “local legislation” in the Georgia General Assembly, it will take local legislation to dissolve it.

Last week, the Coweta County Board of Commissioners voted to ask the local legislative delegation to create and pass local legislation dissolving the existing boards and creating the new ones, once the general assembly session begins in January.

The proposed new board will have five members – one appointed by each county commissioner. The elections superintendent will not be a member of the board.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has changed its rating of Senator Johnny Isakson’s reelection from “Likely Republican,” to “Safe Republican.”

In Georgia, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) always looked more secure than McCain, but there was at least some evidence that the incumbent could potentially find himself in a competitive race. But Isakson’s wide lead in the polls points to a comfortable win in November, so we’re shifting the Peach State’s Senate race from Likely Republican to Safe Republican.

The Sabato ratings also upgraded Sen. John McCain’s reelection from “Leans Republican” to “Likely Republican” while moving Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to “Safe Republican.”

Georgia State Board of Education member Scott Johnson write about why he supports passage of Amendment 1 for the Opportunity School District.

I am voting “yes” to Question 1 because it is imperative that we take decisive action on behalf of Georgia’s children. Right now, there are currently about 68,000 students languishing in 127 failing schools around the state. These are schools receiving an “F” on standardized tests for three consecutive years. That is roughly the same number of students currently enrolled at the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia College & State University combined.

To those who say that this is about getting state hands on local tax dollars, let me set the record straight — the Opportunity School District takes not one dollar away from students. Rather, it establishes accountability for the adults who have failed those students for years. If you’re worried about budget and taxes, consider this — 70 percent of Georgia prison inmates are high school dropouts and these failing schools are producing them at an astounding rate. Every year.

There is an avenue for addressing failing school systems available to the Governor as this newspaper has pointed out. But it is far more drastic and amounts to removing elected local board members, something the Opportunity School District does not seek to do. And I can attest from having been part of that process as a member of the State Board of Education, it is an arduous and protracted legal process that can span years. Georgia’s kids can’t wait!

Voting “yes” on Question 1 is a vote to ensure that future generations of Georgians will have the best opportunities available. No child in Georgia should be forced by law to attend a failing school. We cannot afford to wait to act, nor can we continue to spend growing sums of taxpayer dollars in schools that are failing to meet obligations to their students.

Cobb County Commissioners are revisiting a controversial proposal to regulate privately-owned parking lots near the new Braves stadium.

Columbus City Council will vote today on whether to perform an internal audit the Sheriff’s Department over the objection of Sheriff John Darr.

A resolution authorizing Internal Auditor John Redmond to perform the audit states that he should begin “at the earliest possible time.”

The resolution would authorize Redmond to “perform a special audit of the finances and operations of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office. The Internal Auditor is further authorized to engage experts from the external auditor of the Consolidated Government or another entity as needed to complete this special audit. Reports shall be submitted to this Council upon completion of each phase of such special audit.”

At a council meeting in July, Darr agreed to an audit of his office, but he said he would prefer an outside auditor, such as Albright & Fortenberry, which regularly does work for the city.

Last month, after Darr objected publicly to Redmond performing the audit, council voted unanimously to postpone making a decision. Darr specifically mentioned Albright & Fortenberry, a local firm that does work for the city.

Darr said at the time that his objection to Redmond was based on his lack of knowledge of law enforcement.

“John Redmond knows nothing about the operation of a jail or its manpower needs,” Darr said. “What’s his background in law enforcement? He has none. So I would have a concern about that.

Columbus is also considering creating two new Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) in the Midtown Columbus area.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis and Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundree will hold a unity walk starting at the Sheriff’s headquarters at 5:30 PM on Thursday.

Wes Smith will take over as City Manager in Rincon.

The mayor of Rincon broke a tie vote and chose William Exley “Wes” Smith as Rincon’s new city manager.

Smith recently took early retirement as assistant city manager for governmental services in Albany.

The other candidate for the job was Wanda Hendrix Simmons, longtime city clerk who has been interim city manager since Wesley Corbitt resigned in February.

At a called meeting Monday night, council members Levi Scott, James Dasher and Ann Daniel voted for a motion calling for Smith to be city manager. Council members Reese Browher, Christi Ricker and Paul Wendelken voted against the motion to make Smith the city manager.

Georgia Legislature

Today at 10 AM, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will open the kickoff meeting of the Rural Healthcare 180 Taskforce chaired by Senator Dean Burke. Also speaking will be Mike Giles of the Georgia Poultry Federation.

During the 2016 Legislative Session the Georgia General Assembly passed the Rural Hospital Tax Credit, a tax incentive providing up to $180 million over three years from individual and corporate donors to a qualified list of rural hospitals in Georgia who have demonstrated a financial need. The Rural Healthcare 180 Taskforce will raise awareness of the critical financial climate these hospitals are enduring and provide resources and guidance in crafting a sustainable financial model ensuring every Georgian has access to quality healthcare. A work session will follow the opening addresses.

David Pendered of The Saporta Report writes about the tax credit program.

“The Georgia General Assembly is committed to ensuring that all citizens in this great state have access to affordable and quality healthcare,” Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) said in a statement. “The Rural Healthcare 180 Taskforce’s goal is to help address the rural hospital’s fiscal stresses that are leading to closure or severe limitation in services provided.”

The program grew out of efforts by lawmakers to bolster the state’s financially beleaguered health care system, without expanding Medicaid.

The original bill was filed in the House and carried an initial amount of $250 million in tax credits. Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming), the sponsor, agreed to reduce the amount to $100 million a year.

The House passed the measure. The Senate accepted House Bill 919 and proceeded to add its key provisions to Senate Bill 258. Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), who sponsored SB 258, said his purpose was to protect property owners from tax valuation increases during tax appeals.

“The Rural Healthcare 180 Advisory Committee with our public and private partners, will promote the tax credit throughout Georgia and work with experts and stakeholders to be sure those vital community facilities have access to best practices and support to transition into financially stable facilities,” Dean said. “The health outcome of rural citizens and the viability of many of our rural communities are dependent on our success.”

The Gainesville Times spoke to Senator Gooch about the Rural Broadband Committee.

Poor internet service presents a barrier to economic development in rural parts of Northeast Georgia, according to Gooch.

Gooch said that 20 years ago businesses looking to open would inquire with local governments about sewer and water availability.

These days the No. 1 question is related to the reliable broadband service and capacity.

“It is my hope that this survey truly demonstrates what the broadband experience is like for users in Northeast Georgia. It is one thing to hear promises from the internet service providers, but the truth will lie in the responses of real consumers,” [Congressman Doug] Collins said in a statement to The Times.

“I welcome the state to the fight for rural broadband and look forward to working with them as I continue the effort on behalf of my constituents to get the best service possible. Reliable broadband is critical to growing our economic footprint and the day-to-day functioning of our citizens.”

It’s also something Gooch has heard plenty about.

“One of the biggest problems I have gotten complaints about from my constituents is the internet,” he said.

The only thing preventing new providers from emerging in rural parts of the state is economics.

“I don’t believe a monopoly is the answer,” Gooch said.

As part of the Rural Broadband effort, you can take an online survey if you’re having problems with the availability of broadband in your community.

The Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee co-chaired by Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and State Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) will hold its third public session on Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 10 AM at the Glennville Garden Club, 203 North Caswell Street, Glennville, Georgia 30427. The committee is tasked with examining the conditions, needs, issues and problems of high-speed broadband internet access. The joint study committee is responsible for submitting a report of findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation, by December 1, 2016.

The Joint Study Committee on Industry Incentive for Financial Technologies and Payment Processing meets Thursday from 10 AM to 2 PM at Elavon – 2 Concourse Parkway #800; Atlanta, GA 30318. Co-chairs are State Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) and Senator Brandon Beach (R-North Fulton)

The Emergency Cardiac Care Centers Senate Study Committee meets Friday from 10:30 AM to Noon at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Auxiliary Conference Room. After what is sure to be a sumptuous lunch is followed by a meeting of the Opioid Abuse Senate Study Committee at 1 PM.

The House Study Committee on Mental Illness Initiative meets Thursday at 9 AM in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. At 1 PM on Thursday, the House Study Committee on Judicial Qualifications Commission Reform meets in Room 406 of the CLOB. The House Interstate Cooperation Committee meets at 1 PM on Thursday to discuss Craft Beer and Distillery Industries in Room 606. Further Interstate Cooperation meetings will be held Friday in Augusta, October 26th in Columbus, and November 17 in Savannah.

Judicial Qualifications Commission Member Richard Hyde told the House Study Committee that the Commission is an embarrassment.

Hyde told the board the agency hasn’t had a director since mid-August. It doesn’t have an interim director, either. It doesn’t have a full-time investigator. Its board chair resigned last month. The board chair before her resigned in April.

“We’re impotent,” Hyde said. “We’ve had a lack of leadership for various reasons. We’re backlogged.”

Yet, as Hyde testified before a Georgia House Study Committee on JQC Reform, he said some potential changes might not be helpful, either. He said the key is to attract new talent — a new director and a new investigator, in particular. But that can’t happen, he added, what with all this commotion.

Willard said Edward Tolley, an Athens, Ga., lawyer and JQC board member, will testify before the committee next week. He said invitations to the other board members have either been ignored or declined because of illnesses or a scheduling conflict.

“It’s not an inquisition,” Willard said. “This is trying to get information to better understand what’s happening with the commission so that we, the representatives of the public, have better insight about [the JQC]. Everything done by the commission is pretty much closed meeting, closed information.”

The Joint Agriculture Education Advisory Commission meets Friday at 10 AM at the State FFA Camp John Hope, 291 Hope Entrance Road, Fort Valley, GA 31030.

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 26, 2016 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:22:41 +0000 GaPundit:

Number 52839, Pen H15, is a female Boxer with her seven puppies who are at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. The little family is available only for rescue, but most rescue groups needs fosters, so the best way to help this mama and her pups is to volunteer to foster them. I’d imagine a foster

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Number 52839, Pen H15, is a female Boxer with her seven puppies who are at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter. The little family is available only for rescue, but most rescue groups needs fosters, so the best way to help this mama and her pups is to volunteer to foster them. I’d imagine a foster would also get the pick of the litter for permanent adoption. If you’re interested and need a rescue referral, please email me directly.


Number 52768, Pen 179, is a young female Dachshund who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 52799, Pen 212 is a male long-haired Dachshund who is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 26, 2016 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:09:12 +0000 GaPundit:

On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President. Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will soon add another title – published author – when his book, Education Unleashed, goes on sale October 3d. From the blurb at What

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle will soon add another title – published author – when his book, Education Unleashed, goes on sale October 3d.


From the blurb at

What is the purpose of public education? Writing from his experience as a father, small business owner, and policymaker, Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle presents a comprehensive vision to transform the way that public schools educate our students. Beginning with an idea which unites all Americans–that public education establishes the foundational promise of opportunity for all individuals by empowering us with the ability to learn, develop, and obtain anything we are willing to work for–Cagle makes the case for reforming our schools and rethinking the premise behind how we set and measure goals for student achievement. This is truly the challenge of a generation.

Public schools are important–not just because of the millions of students who will spend thirteen years of their lives learning and preparing for the future in their classrooms–but also for the hundreds of thousands of teachers and educators who spend countless hours each week going above and beyond their duties to make sure all students are able to succeed. Most importantly, the central role of public education includes fostering the strength of our families, communities, and upholding the guiding principles of our nation.

Seeking to remove the obstacles that impede student achievement, while eliminating any justification for complacency in our schools, Cagle explains a thoughtful vision for the future of public education, turning the status quo on its head in favor of leading individual systems, schools, teachers, students, and communities to educational excellence–today and for future generations.

Democratic VP candidate Tim Kaine was in Atlanta yesterday, for a private fundraiser and a public stop at Gwinnett Place Mall for the Fiesta Mexicana.

Kaine shook hands and spoke with dozens of people before he was enticed on stage by festival hosts from the La Raza radio station.

Kaine, who once worked in Honduras, spoke briefly to the crowd in Spanish. He first asked if anyone in the crowd was from Honduras. A few indicate they were.

“There are people from Mexico, right?” he said, according to a translation provided by the campaign. “But we are all Americans, right? I’m in Georgia because the Latino vote in Georgia is a powerful vote.”

In Gwinnett County, a majority-minority county, that may be true, but Latinos make up just 2 percent of the state’s registered voters and 4 percent of Georgia’s voting-age population. The number of Latinos registered to vote, however, has increased by 47 percent since 2010, according to data from the secretary of state.

“The population is growing really fast and the Latino vote can make the difference in almost every election here,” Kaine said. “I trust Hillary Clinton because we support the Latino community, we want to reform our immigration system, because we are a nation of immigrants not a nation of deportations.”

A Trump-Pence event in Macon featured well-known African-American supporters of the GOP nominee.

Diamond and Silk urged others to ditch the Democratic party for Trump. The sisters from North Carolina spoke their minds and threw political correctness out the window.

The sisters shared the same type of political commentary as on their YouTube channel, “The Viewers View.”

“I’m tired of being up under the bus, and you know I’m not trying to talk about Obama,” Diamond said.

Diamond continued, “Because there ain’t no sense crying over spilled milk. … We’re going to bring somebody in like Donald J. Trump that can clean up the milk.”

Jones County may have been the safest place in Georgia when more than 40 Georgia sheriffs were hosted.

More than a quarter of Georgia’s 159 elected sheriffs attended the fourth annual Salute to the Georgia Sheriffs in Jones County on Thursday.

“It’s just a pleasure to be in a crowd that makes you feel at home and lets you know you’re appreciated,” Terry Norris, Executive Director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association said.

At a time when law enforcement feels push back, Norris wanted the state’s top cops to be thanked.

“Most people don’t realize the public truly supports law enforcement,” Norris said. “It’s no surprise that we had such a good turnout today as we have in past years.”

There were approximately 500 people that attended.

Henry County Sheriff Keith McBrayer was profiled by the Henry Herald.

Keith McBrayer is a lifelong Henry County resident and has worked with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office most of his adult life. Even so, he continues to look for innovative ways to keep the department moving forward as he seeks re-election to his third term as sheriff.

“I’ve been here a long time. I have watched Henry County grow and change, and I have grown and changed with it,” McBrayer said. “I come to work every day excited to serve the people in our county.”

Staying on the cutting edge of technology has been a priority for McBrayer. For example, he said, all the patrol cars have computers so that deputies can enter in the information when they serve papers. All deputies, including baliffs at the courthouse, are equipped with Tasers, giving them another option when confronting a combative individual. An iris scanner is now in place in the jail as part of the book-in and book-out process. The Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team is equipped and trained so that they can assist the Flint Circuit Drug Task Force with drug raids.

McBrayer also said that the Sheriff’s Office has a firearms simulator. This way, deputies receive ongoing firearms training not only at the firing range but with the simulator that places them in various situations where they have to decide when and if to shoot.

“We do a lot of training on judgmental firearms use,” he said. “In today’s time, you cannot train officers enough so they can stay on track mentally, keep up with the laws that are changing constantly or all the physical work we do.”

Gwinnett County voters can hear from candidates at a forum Tuesday night.

New Jerusalem Baptist Church’s Political Action Ministry, the United Ebony Society, the Gwinnett County Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and Raising Empowered Voices Uplifting People Inc. will host a Gwinnett County Candidates Forum at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The gathering will give voters a chance to hear from candidates in the races for county commission chairman, commissioner District 3 and state House of Representatives districts 81, 96, 101, 102, 105 and 108. Former Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz will moderate the forum.

“The purpose of the candidate forum is to give Gwinnett voters an opportunity to hear candidates discuss the issues of importance to them in this election,” organizers said in an announcement. “This event is free and open to the public as well as the media.”

The church is located at 422 E. Crogan St., in Lawrenceville.

France awarded the Legion of Honor to Whitemarsh Island, Georgia resident James Livingston.

“On behalf of France and the French people, I am here to thank you, James L. Livingston, for the role that you played in liberating France and defending the values of freedom and democracy that we have in common,” [Honorary French Consul Denis] Blackburne said during the ceremony.

Safe Harbor Amendment

Senator Renee Unterman spoke to Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph about Constitutional Amendment 2, the Safe Harbor Amendment.

Every year, hundreds of Georgia children, some as young as 9, are lured to run away, or they’re brainwashed. They’re pimped, sold for sex.

“People in the rural areas they say, ‘It doesn’t happen here.’ (But) it happens any place you got the internet. You got chat rooms and kids run away from home. Or they make an acquaintance in the chat rooms, and they get picked up,” she said.

And it happens wherever you have a lot of potential buyers passing through, she said. Like say, on the big highways through Macon.

If Georgia voters approve, people convicted of things like pimping would pay a new $2,500 fine, above whatever a court may fine them. And strip clubs would pay a fee of either $5,000 or 1 percent of their annual revenue, whichever is greater.

Those collections would be worth about $2 million for services for children who have been extracted from the sex trade.

As for the question of the fund for victims, early voting begins Oct. 17. The final day to vote is Election Day, Nov. 8.

In the Savannah Morning News, Kris Rice writes in favor of voting Yes on the Safe Harbor Amendment.

Amendment 2 would allow the development of a fund to provide services to sexually exploited children and teens — without the need to levy any new taxes.

Services desperately needed for these young victims include shelter, therapy, educational resources and medical care, but particularly lacking in our part of the state is housing. Currently, only two such facilities are available for juvenile trafficking victims, both in the Atlanta area.

Unfortunately, however, of eight girls placed in one of those two group homes earlier this summer, six were from the Savannah area.

Developing appropriate options for safe and secure therapeutic shelter is crucial — away from the city centers 
the girls’ pimps frequent, and the streets they know so well — and in areas away from urban cores. But without adequate funding to support the development of such residential treatment facilities in southeast Georgia, these girls will continue to be forced to ply their trade in seedy motels in Savannah and surrounding areas.

We have an opportunity to change that.

Let’s do so. For the future of our exploited kids, please vote “yes” on Amendment 2 on Nov. 8.

Kris Rice is the former director of the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center in Savannah.

Opportunity School District Amendment

State Rep. Brooks Coleman, Chairman of the House Education Committee and a retired career educator from Gwinnett County writes in favor of passing the Opportunity School District Amendment.

Voting “yes” would allow for the creation of the Opportunity School District. If approved by voters this November, the OSD would authorize the state to temporarily intervene in chronically failing public schools and rescue the children languishing within them. These are schools receiving an “F” on standardized tests for three consecutive years.

Unfortunately, we have almost 68,000 students in Georgia trapped in these failing schools. The graduation rate for students attending failing schools is an abysmal 55.7 percent. As a former teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for the Gwinnett County School System and current chairman of the State House of Representatives Education Committee, this statistic is not acceptable. That is why I support the sorely needed state intervention and passage of the Opportunity School District amendment.

Supporters of the status quo continue to use scare tactics to intimidate voters and parents; however, what’s really scary is the fact that there are 68,000 children trapped in these failing schools statewide. These groups have yet to come forward with any viable solutions to fix that. How much longer can our students wait for their districts to turn these failing schools around?

The OSD will give our neighborhoods a needed voice for change, and hold those accountable that refuse to roll up their sleeves and commit to improving Georgia’s schools. The OSD has been uniquely designed to heavily involve local parents and teachers, improve failing schools and meet the needs of our local communities.

It would be a mistake to continue to devote precious taxpayer funds to schools where failure is the norm and accountability for those in charge is altogether absent. Children are suffering – in some instances for the entire duration of their K-12 careers – because of it.

We have a real chance on Nov. 8 to provide students, families and communities a lifeline. Voting “yes” on Question 1, the Opportunity School District amendment, is a vote to ensure that future generations of Georgians will have the best opportunities available. It is an opportunity to declare that in Georgia, the zip code you were born into will not determine your path in life.

Robert A. Clay, also a retired educator, writes against the OSD Amendment.

The OSD superintendent would determine if the school taken over would be, (1) operated by the OSD, (2) converted to a state charter school, which currently are experiencing a 25 percent failure rate, (3) operated by the local board of education under strict supervision and veto power by the OSD, (4) closed completely with students re-assigned to other schools.

The OSD superintendent would also determine if services would be purchased from for-profit educational service providers. The superintendent or charter governing board would make all decisions, including those regarding finances, personnel and curriculum.

Funding for opportunity schools would be with regular local, state and federal entitlements, plus any special appropriations made by the Legislature or received from private solicitations.

I urge you to vote no on Amendment No. 1 in November. Then urge Georgia’s political leaders to redirect the $50-plus million in tax credits given annually for scholarships to private schools. These schools are not subject to the state grading system and never risk being labeled failing. Use these redirected funds in schools labeled as failing to provide tutoring for students, additional training for teachers, school and district level leaders and parents and rigorous supervision by the Georgia Department of Education.

And from Carrollton’s Times-Georgian,

“I don’t speak for our entire board, but I believe we have a consensus that the Opportunity School District is something that we oppose,” said Mike Rothschild, a Carrollton Board of Education at-large member. “I have to applaud Gov. Deal for coming up with a plan to help failing schools, but this would eliminate the system of checks and balances we have between our state and local government.”

Carroll County Superintendent Scott Cowart urged voters to oppose the amendment during the November elections.

“Some of the concerns we have with that is that the state has changed the way they have rated the CCRPI each of the last three years,” said Cowart. “There is no consistency in how they grade the CCRPI from year to year because it has changed each year.”

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 23, 2016 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:28:58 +0000 GaPundit:

Basil is a three-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA. Basil is a handsome, confident three year old has a goofy face and a heart of gold. He’d love to meet you at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services! His adoption fee is waived throughout September!

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



Basil is a three-year old male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA.

Basil is a handsome, confident three year old has a goofy face and a heart of gold. He’d love to meet you at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services!

His adoption fee is waived throughout September!


Agatha (left, female, Hound, 2 years old) and Einstein (right, male, Hound 8 years old) are best friends who are available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA. Their story will make you want to adopt both so they can live together happily ever after.

Einstein was found by a good Samaritan laying in the middle of the road. Agatha was by his side in the middle of the road – not wanting to leave her friend alone.

This special pair has stolen our hearts with their zest for life and loving personalities. They both have some medical issues that would need to be addressed by their adopter’s vet. We would love to see them living the good life in their forever home.


Truman is a one-year old male Hound mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA.

Truman is the happiest Hound we know. This one year old boy loves a good sniff around the yard. He is super friendly, great with other dogs, and ready to join your family. Does Truman sound like your perfect match? Meet him at LifeLine’s DeKalb Animal Services!
His adoption fee is waived throughout September! For more information email To see all of our available pets visit

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 23, 2016 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:28:16 +0000 GaPundit:

Georgia and American History James Oglethorpe was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Charles Wesley was named Secretary of Indian Affairs by the Georgia Trustees in London on September 24, 1735. John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


Georgia and American History

James Oglethorpe was named Commissioner of Indian Affairs and Charles Wesley was named Secretary of Indian Affairs by the Georgia Trustees in London on September 24, 1735.

Bon Homme Richard

John Paul Jones, at the helm of US ship Bonhomme Richard, won a naval battle off the coast of England on September 23, 1779.

After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him.

The Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the first federal judicial system, was adopted on September 24, 1789 with the signature of President Georgia Washington. Under the Act, the original size of the Supreme Court was five Associate Justices and a Chief Justice. Washington nominated John Jay as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson as Associates.

Also established on September 24, 1789 were the office of Attorney General of the United States and the United States Post Office Department.

On September 25, 1789, Congress adopted the first twelve amendments, called the Bill of Rights, to the United States Constitution. A little more than two years later, in 1791, enough states had ratified ten of the Amendments, with two not receiving sufficient support.


Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis Missouri from their exploratory trip to the Pacific coast on September 23, 1806.

On September 24, 1862, the Confederate Congress adopted the Seal of the Confederate States of America.

On September 25, 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis met with General John Bell Hood and visited troops at Palmetto, Georgia.

The Decatur Female Seminary opened with 60 students on September 24, 1889 and would later be chartered as Agnes Scott College.

Sir Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey was appointed British Governor General of Canada on September 26, 1904. We shall drink his tea in his honor this afternoon.

On September 26, 1928, future President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke in Atlanta on behalf of Democrat Alfred Smith’s campaign for President.

Atlanta-born Robert Trent “Bobby” Jones won his first Grand Slam on September 27, 1930.

On September 23, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was speaking at a dinner with the Teamsters union and addressed attacks that had been made by Republicans, including the allegation that after leaving his dog, Fala, behind in the Aleutian Islands, he sent a Navy destroyer to fetch the dog. This would become known as the “Fala speech.”

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I’d left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him—at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars—his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself … But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog.

The idea for the joke was given to FDR by Orson Welles. The political lesson here is that any time you get an audience laughing at your opponent, you are winning.

A statue of former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol was unveiled on September 23, 1949, the 65th anniversary of Talmadge’s birth near Forsyth, Georgia in 1884.

On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard M. Nixon was under fire for allegedly accepting $18,000 and using it for personal expenses. To salvage his place as the Vice Presidential candidate on Eisenhower’s Republican ticket, Nixon took to the airwaves in the first nationally-televised address and delivered what came to be known as the “Checkers Speech. From The Atlantic:

[A] 1999 poll of leading communication scholars ranked the address as the sixth most important American speech of the 20th century — close behind the soaring addresses of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The “Checkers” speech wins this high rank for one stand-out reason: It marked the beginning of the television age in American politics. It also salvaged Nixon’s career, plucking a last-second success from the jaws of abject humiliation, and profoundly shaped Nixon’s personal and professional outlook, convincing him that television was a way to do an end-run around the press and the political “establishment.”

Click here for the full text of the “Checkers Speech.”

On September 24, 1960, USS Enterprise CVN-65, was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in Norfolk, Virginia, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Enterprise was inactivated on December 1, 2012.

On September 26, 1960, Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy and Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon met in the first nationally-televised Presidential debate.

The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was delivered to President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 24, 1964.

On September 23, 1976, President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter met in their first televised debate. On September 24, 1976, former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter resumed campaigning after the first debate.

On September 24, 1979, CompuServe offered the first dial-up computer information service to consumers.

Launched as MicroNET in 1979 and sold through Radio Shack stores, the service turned out to be surprisingly popular, thanks perhaps to Radio Shack’s Tandy Model 100 computers, which were portable, rugged writing machines that dovetailed very nicely with the fledgling, 300-baud information service.

MicroNET was renamed the CompuServe Information Service in 1980. Around the same time, CompuServe began working with newspapers to offer online versions of their news stories, starting with the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch in 1980. At least 10 major newspapers were offering online editions through CompuServe by 1982, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Examiner.

Ronald Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Justice of the United States on September 25, 1981. In an interview with Terry Gross, she recalled receiving the call from President Reagan:

“I was working in my office on the Arizona Court of Appeals,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “I was at the court in my chambers when the telephone rang. And it was the White House calling for me, and I was told that the president was waiting to speak to me. That was quite a shock, but I accepted the phone call, and it was President Reagan, and he said, ‘Sandra?’ ‘Yes, Mr. President?’ ‘Sandra, I’d like to announce your nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Is that all right with you?’ Well, now, that’s kind of a shock, wouldn’t you say?”

The last game played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium took place on September 23, 1996.

On September 25, 2008, the last car came off the line at GM’s Doraville Plant.

On September 24, 2009, it was announced that the College Football Hall of Fame would move to Atlanta, where it opened on August 23, 2014.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Another Day, another story about Georgia turning blue or purple. This time from another group of folks who aren’t in Georgia.

About 44 percent of Georgia’s population are members of minority groups, according to the Center for American Progress. That’s up from 37 percent just a decade ago. During that period, minorities have accounted for 81 percent of the state’s population growth.

African-Americans account for the largest share of that growth, followed by Hispanics, whose numbers nearly doubled during that period to more than 850,000, making it the 10th-largest state by Hispanic population.

This demographic shift is apparent in the state’s largest city. Atlanta is 54 percent black — the vast majority of whom are Democrats — 38 percent white and 11 percent Hispanic. Political pollsters, Democratic officials and some residents say racial politics in Georgia could significantly impact the presidential race.

But Republicans in Georgia remain optimistic.

“This is a critical year for the party as we work to elect conservative candidates and advance the Republican message of limited government, personal responsibility, economic freedom and fiscal accountability,” Trey Kelly, chairman of the Fulton County Republican Party, wrote on the party’s website.

“Our efforts in Fulton are essential to keeping Georgia red and achieving victory in statewide elections and our local communities.”

The only thing that’s turning blue or purple in Georgia this year is your face if you’re holding your breath for Georgia to go Democratic.

The Georgia Board of Education, the statewide body that oversees the Department of Education, voted to endorse Governor Deal’s proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, the Opportunity School District.

(Under Georgia law, the governor appoints the state school board with consent of the state Senate.)

The resolution says the state school board supports the OSD “in order to improve the education of Georgia children trapped in failing schools.” Voters will decide Amendment 1 in November.

It states, “Whereas the mechanisms available to the Opportunity School District may involve the local districts, will involve the members of the community and will provide a mechanism for a period of up to five years to correct the problems within those failing schools, we, the state Board of Education, resolve that we support the Opportunity School District.”

Deal issued this statement, “I commend the members of the State Board of Education for their formal resolution in support of the Opportunity School District. There is a shared mission between the proposed Opportunity School District and the state school board, which is to establish an environment where every public school in Georgia is successful and every child can thrive. Students across our state have been left behind to languish in failing schools for far too long, and I believe Georgia can and must do better. By supporting the Opportunity School District, the State Board of Education is taking a stand against the failing status quo. They are seizing the chance to improve our schools and make our children’s future brighter.”

The circus political debate over religious liberty legislation came to Tifton this week.

Senator Greg Kirk, a conservative Republican from Americus, made a name for himself by introducing a controversial religious liberties bill at the state capitol.

On Thursday night, he debated the merits of that legislation and other issues, with Senator Vincent Fort, a liberal Democrat from Atlanta.

Kirk said he may support new religious freedom measures, but he won’t sponsor one after the one bill that passed last year was vetoed by Governor Nathan Deal.

Fort worried new bills could be modeled after a North Carolina law focuses on bathroom use by transgendered people.

Both men said they’re willing to work together in the next General Assembly session to improve health care access and help rural hospitals.

Thursday’s debate was the last of four the two senators held around the state to get people talking about important issues.

He said that would lead to economically disastrous boycotts, but Kirk said that is a legitimate issue.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp spoke about this year’s Presidential election in Candler County.

Will Hillary vs Donald draw more people to the polls on election day, or send them running? Georgia’s Secretary of State is as interested to know as everyone else.

It might be the most polarizing presidential election in history. Kemp told folks in Metter that the two candidates may get as many votes from people voting against the other candidate as those voting for them. However, he says numbers show that more people turn out to vote in presidential elections compared to ballots with local candidates only, but he’s still not sure what to expect this time around.

“Somewhere between 69 and 72 percent, maybe as high as 75 percent, is what we normally see in a presidential election. I would expect us to have that kind of normal turnout. But this year, it’s almost impossible to predict,” said Brian Kemp, Secretary of State.

A Bibb County Superior Court Judge denied a claim by losing HD 142 Democratic Primary candidate Gerald Harvey who sought a redo of the election.

Harvey argued the Bibb County Board of Elections didn’t properly post signs about Frank Austin Jr. being disqualified from the race.

“Even assuming that the 93 total votes cast for Mr. Austin, the disqualified candidate, at the three polling places at which the notices were not posted were not cast due to one of the potential reasons listed … these votes are not enough to cast doubt on the results of the election under any standard which might be applicable to this case,” the judge wrote.

Watson’s lawyer, William Noland, said, “The margin of victory in the race was 475 votes. Accordingly, the outcome of the election could not possibly have been affected, even if you assume that all 93 votes would have gone to Mr. Harvey.”

Seven Bibb County voters who cast ballots in the election testified at the hearing, saying they didn’t see signs at the polls saying Austin had been disqualified. When questioned by lawyers representing the board of elections and Paris, each witness admitted to being a friend or associate of Harvey.

Edward Tarver, United States Attorney and former Georgia legislator, warns of an overdose epidemic.

“Last year, more Americans died of overdoses from heroin, prescription drugs and opioid pain relievers than in traffic accident or firearms-related deaths,” Tarver told a gathering of law enforcement, health care providers and others as part of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.

According to Tarver, heroin overdoses have increased by 244 percent between 2001 and 2013, and on an average day at least 78 people will die from an opioid-related overdose.

“This crisis is real,” he said, adding that Savannah has experienced a “substantial increase” in numbers but not the same increases experienced elsewhere.

“Though the alarming national rise in opioid and heroin abuse has not yet hit Savannah in epidemic proportions, every measure is being taken to ensure prevention and preparedness to prevent this issue from having a larger impact on this community,” he said.

But Diane Diver, chief operating officer at Recovery Place Inc., said local statistics tell her the epidemic is here in Savannah.

Between 2012-2014 there were 82 opioid overdoses reported in Chatham County or 10 per 100,000 people, she said. There were 146 opioid overdoses in DeKalb County or 7 per 100,000 for the same period, she added.

The Cherokee County E-SPLOST will have a committee supporting passage in November.

The penny sales tax has been approved by county residents four times since it was first placed on the ballot in 1997 and typically generates between $30 and $35 million a year for the school system, said Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens.

Ahrens serves as the chair of the Committee to Renew Ed-SPLOST for Cherokee Schools, a group made up of about 30 community leaders that champions the renewal of the 1-cent sales tax.

Other leaders of the group to pass the tax include community volunteer Amy Turcotte, who is serving as vice chair, and treasurer Dennis Burnette, a local businessman.

Those serving as ex-officio members include Cherokee School Board Chair Kyla Cromer, Vice Chair Patsy Jordan, Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, assistant superintendent for financial management Kenneth Owen, and Jeremy Law, Cherokee Teacher of the Year.

Chatham Area Transit is seeking more riders, having seen a decrease of more than 11 percent.

Amanda Heath is the newest Juvenile Court Judge for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, covering Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties, while Amber Patterson takes the bench in Cobb County’s Juvenile Court.

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for September 22, 2016 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:25:37 +0000 GaPundit:

Rachel is a 34 pound adult female Pit Bull and Boston Terrier mix who is available for adoption from HART of McIntosh County (Humane Animal Resource Team) in Darien, GA. Rachel is a fabulous dog! A mellow lover of a dog, she’s a gorgeous Pit/Boston Terrier Mix, curious and loving to no end! Although she

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections


Rachel is a 34 pound adult female Pit Bull and Boston Terrier mix who is available for adoption from HART of McIntosh County (Humane Animal Resource Team) in Darien, GA.

Rachel is a fabulous dog! A mellow lover of a dog, she’s a gorgeous Pit/Boston Terrier Mix, curious and loving to no end! Although she is still learning potty training, she walks on a leash like a dream and keeps a watchful eye out for her human walking her. Can be a Perfect Service Dog.

Getting along with people has been smooth sailing for her, and she LOVES attention. Super smart, and willing to please, she’s OK with other dogs and cats. Described as easy-going, sweet and friendly with people, she will capture your heart! Rachel will be a fabulous addition to your family and is patiently awaiting her forever home.


Monica is a young female Norwegian Elkhound who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Houston County, Inc in Warner Robins, GA.


Phoebe is a small Yorkshire Terrier mix female who is available for adoption from the Henry County Humane Society in McDonough, GA.  She is described as having a lovely, wonderful temperament. She has a bff named Paige with whom she would like to find a home together.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for September 22, 2016 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:15:50 +0000 GaPundit:

On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated, “. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall

GaPundit - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections



On September 22, 1862, Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which stated,

“. . . on the first day of January [1863] . . . all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta on September 22, 1877. Click here to read the text of his speech in Atlanta.

White vigilantes seeking to assault African-Americans after reports of four white women being assaulted led to the Atlanta Race Riots on September 22-24, 1906, which would claim the lives of at least 25 African-Americans and one white person.

On September 22, 1918, the City of Atlanta gasoline administator prohibited non-emergency Sunday driving to conserve fuel for the war effort.

Friends debuted on NBC on September 22, 1994.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Nathan Deal appointed William “Billy” Sparks to the bench as Superior Court Judge of the Rome Judicial Circuit, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Walter Matthews.

Georgia’s gas supply could be restored by the weekend, but it may take several more days before all stations are running again, according to Gov. Deal.

“We have been told by the Federal Energy Commission that they’re putting a quota on every state at the outset, so that the line and product on the line is distributed throughout the entire area that is effected by this,” Deal told reporters, according to a report by WXIA 11Alive, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s broadcast partner.

“Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions, the company said in a statement. “Colonial continues to move as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as possible and will continue to do so as markets return to normal.”

Anne Holton, wife of Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine, kicked off a day of phone banking for the Clinton/Kaine campaign in Atlanta yesterday.

“When the polls go up and the polls go down, he’s said all along it’s going to be a close race.” Holton told a group of about 100 women gathered at Amelie’s French Bakery in downtown Atlanta for a phone-banking event. “But we’re gonna win it. And let’s win it with Georgia in the plus column. If you all deliver Georgia, we will deliver the nation.”

Atlanta-based Gray Television says the pace of political ad buying has changed.

“While political revenue remains significant, Gray stations are receiving political advertising orders later than usual and current orders generally are being placed with only a few days advance notice before broadcast,” the company reported Sept. 20. The company owns and/or operates television stations across 51 television markets.

“The Trump campaign and/or allied PAC’s have purchased advertising time in some Gray markets, and it has expressed interest in placing advertising in up to 9 states involving up to 17 Gray markets,” the company added. “At this time, however, the campaign’s future spending is currently impossible to predict. The Clinton campaign and allied PAC’s are currently active and/or are expressing interest in placing advertising in up to 6 states involving up to 7 Gray markets. Recent polling between Clinton and Trump appear to have tightened and could lead to increased ad spending by the respective campaigns and related PAC’s. Nevertheless, there can be no assurance that increased spending will materialize given the very unusual nature of this year’s late presidential campaign season.”

Gray also reported that its stations “are currently seeing somewhat more competitive statewide races in Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina than previously predicted. On the other hand, Senate races in Ohio and Colorado have not led to the robust advertising spending as was widely anticipated. Furthermore, some historically large political advertisers have very recently indicated that they may direct funds to organizing voters and other campaign activities rather than advertising.”

U.S. District Court Judge William Duffey, Jr. ordered Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to release information on rejected voter registration applications.

U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr.’s ruling on Tuesday is a victory for Project Vote, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit waging an ongoing fight for records detailing Georgia’s process for reviewing voter registration applications and the reasons why applications are rejected.

Project Vote has been seeking the records since May 2014, and finally sued, it said, after Kemp responded to its request with incomplete database records.

The NAACP and others have accused Georgia of frustrating the minority vote by failing to promptly determine the eligibility of thousands of black, Latino and Asian voters. In 2014, the organization sued the state, contending the delays could potentially deprive minorities of their right to vote in that year’s elections.

In the separate Project Vote case, Judge Duffey said Tuesday that the threatened injury over caused by blocking the release of certain voter registration records outweighs the harm to the state, which had sought to dismiss the case citing privacy concerns and the costs, monetary and in worker’s time, associated with producing the records.

Kemp has consistently maintained his office was cooperative and transparent with Project Vote over the records, and that his staff always acted in good faith in dealing with Project Vote.

Dougherty County voters will be able to vote on Sunday, October 30, after the county board of elections approved a full weekend of voting.

The Dougherty County Board of Registration and Elections voted unanimously Wednesday to allow a Sunday voting period from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 30.

The Sunday vote would follow a state-mandated Saturday voting period, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. Both weekend voting sessions will be conducted at the Riverfront Resource Center’s Candy Room at 125 Pine Ave.

“My recommendation is that we hold the Sunday vote on Oct. 30, the day after the state-mandated Saturday vote,” Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said. “That would allow for a full weekend of voting in Dougherty County.”

Nickerson noted that the county had approved a similar Sunday voting period in 2014, and that it had been well-attended. Asked by Board Chairman Walter Blankenship if there was talk of a statewide move to take the Sunday vote out of the separate counties’ hands and make it mandatory, the elections supervisor said only “five or six” counties had indicated they were interested in such action when polled.

“I believe during the last county-determined Sunday voting day in 2014, there were only about 10 counties that voted to approve it,” Nickerson said.

Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) is requesting federal election monitors for the November General Election.

“We should ask for federal protection,” the Georgia Democrat said Wednesday, warning “the election can be stolen on election day at polling places.”

Lewis, who was badly injured in 1965 while marching in Selma, Alabama for voting rights for African-Americans, said several states including Georgia, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina should be monitored, and potentially all of the states that belonged to the confederacy.

Lewis said the 2016 presidential election is the first since 1965 that voters don’t have the full protections of the Voting Rights Act due to a Supreme Court ruling three years ago. The lawmaker said it was a “shame and a disgrace” that Congress hasn’t acted on the issue.

The American Farm Bureau Federation awarded its Friend of Farm Bureau Award to thirteen Georgia members of Congress.

Georgia legislators receiving the award are: Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Reps. Rick Allen, Sanford Bishop, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Tom Price, Austin Scott, Lynn Westmoreland and Rob Woodall.

Perdue, serving his first term in the U.S. Senate, is a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Allen and Scott serve on the House Agriculture Committee, where Scott chairs the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit.

Bishop serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee in Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. Hice is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The Macon League of Women Voters held a forum on the Opportunity School District with speakers for and against the Amendment.

[Senator John F.] Kennedy was asked specifically what would happen to Bibb County Schools if they were taken over. He said there were of a few possibilities.

“First of which is a cooperative model between the new superintendent and the local school system that’s there,” Kennedy said. “I would submit to you that’s the most likely model that’s followed.”

If the amendment is passed, Gov. Deal will appoint a superintendent to the new school district, approved by the state senate, that’ll have the power to fire teachers and principals.

Kennedy’s question to the crowd of about 30 people was simple:

“How long are we going to leave these children in a failing schools and not do something about it?”

Gwinnett County School Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks told a Chamber of Commerce luncheon that the county school system will not formally oppose the Opportunity School District amendment.

[W]hile Wilbanks didn’t take a side on the issue, he also noted how the question is presented to voters.

“As with many ballot issues, the preamble and the question that will appear on the ballot are written in a way that someone who’s not informed about it would be inclined to vote in support of it,” the superintendent said. “Obviously, if I was writing the preamble about the ballot question, I would probably do the same thing. I’m not here today to advocate for or against Amendment 1, but I do encourage you to learn all you can about it.”

Wilbanks went on to note that Gwinnett does not have any schools on the list that’s subject to a potential state takeover, and the Gwinnett County Board of Education has not issued an official policy statement.

“But we do believe that something does need to be done and that’s what we’re trying to work through,” he said.

However, Gwinnett School Board Chairman Dr. Robert McClure has told the Daily Post that while the board hasn’t made an official policy about the issue, the group is not in favor of the proposal. He said it doesn’t make any more sense than the federal government running local schools, and that it would be only slightly better because the best government is the smallest that’s closest to the problem.

Cobb County Board of Education member David Morgan is taking flak for missing meetings while promoting passage of the Opportunity School District amendment.

Cobb school board member David Morgan will not attend tonight’s board meeting. Instead, he’ll be promoting Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District at a Mableton Improvement Council forum.

Morgan is the only Cobb school board member publicly favoring the constitutional amendment.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners are split on the timing of a sales tax for transportation.

Two weeks before they’re scheduled to vote on a process leading to a Nov. 7, 2017, referendum on a 1 percent local sales tax hike for transportation projects, Athens-Clarke County commissioners are asking about moving the referendum to May 2018.

Moving the referendum forward by six months would mean it would coincide with a number of local nonpartisan elections that could increase voter interest in going to the polls, Commissioner Mike Hamby noted at Tuesday’s commission agenda-setting meeting, where commissioners decided on items they’ll consider at their Oct. 4 voting meeting.

Locally, the May 2018 nonpartisan election will include a mayoral race and could also include as many as five commission races. According to information presented to commissioners Tuesday, the only local races set for Nov. 7 of next year are a couple of city council seats in Winterville, with no countywide races on the slate.

House District 104, held by Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) is under scrutiny after district lines were shifted by the General Assembly.

The Georgia General Assembly approved new boundaries for 17 of the 180 House districts, including several in metro Atlanta. But one in particular has drawn interest: Critics say lawmakers took a highly competitive Gwinnett County district and made it easier for incumbent Republican Rep. Joyce Chandler of Grayson to get re-elected.

While partisan gerrymandering is almost as old as the United States, removing hundreds of minorities from District 105 and placing them in adjacent District 104 is a violation of the Voting Rights Act, they argue. They say the move intentionally spreads out minorities so they can’t join together to elect a candidate they think represents their interests.

Prominent Atlanta voting rights attorney Emmett Bondurant agreed it’s worth taking a look to see if a violation has occurred. “I would need to see the demographics of the district before and after (redistricting),” he said. “But if the precincts moved were overwhelmingly minority precincts, the likelihood of a (voting rights) violation is very high.”

[State Rep. Randy] Nix, chairman of the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee, said lawmakers requested the changes.

“We had done no redistricting since 2011 and numerous members had asked for minor changes,” Nix said. “We announced to all members of the House that we would consider changes during the 2015 session. The requirement was that it not make significant statistical changes and that all members involved in the changes had to agree.”
Chandler said she doesn’t recall requesting a change to her district. “I was not privy to the reason behind that,” she said.

Gainesville retains the lowest unemployment rate in Georgia, decreasing to 4.4% for August.

The Taylor County Board of Education fired its Superintendent.

“Last night the board voted 3 to 2 to terminate the contract of the Superintendent, Dr. Gary Gibson. In another motion, the board voted 3 to 2 to appoint a former Superintendent, Mr. Norman Carter, as interim Superintendent.”

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