Georgia Pundit http://gapundit.com Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:17:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Sen. David Perdue: Named Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chairman http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/sen-david-perdue-named-senate-foreign-relations-subcommittee-chairman/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sen-david-perdue-named-senate-foreign-relations-subcommittee-chairman http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/sen-david-perdue-named-senate-foreign-relations-subcommittee-chairman/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:17:57 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48110 GaPundit:

Your Washington Desk From Senator David Perdue Senator […]

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From Senator David Perdue

David Perdue Country2

Senator David Perdue Named Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chairman

Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) today announced that Senator David Perdue (R-GA) will serve as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development. This subcommittee will have responsibility for reviewing the budget and operations of the State Department and USAID.

“For the last six years, the President’s aimless foreign policy has confused our allies and emboldened our enemies,” said Senator Perdue. “Recent terror attacks around the world serve to remind us that the War on Terror is far from over.

“From the debatable effectiveness of our foreign aid programs to the tragedy that took place in Benghazi, Georgians know that current foreign policy decisions are not making America any safer. Through serious oversight of the budget process we will make sure taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly, while protecting our national interests.

“As chairman, I will work to review the structure and operations of these important agencies to ensure an effective foreign policy that achieves our long-term strategic goals.”

The Subcommittee’s responsibilities include:

  • All matters involving the State Department
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Peace Corps management and international operations
  • Bilateral international development policy, and bilateral foreign assistance.

The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes oversight of management and operations of:

  • The State Department
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Broadcasting Board of Governors
  • Foreign Service
  • Public diplomacy matters

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Rep. Austin Scott: Named to Agriculture Subcommittees http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/rep-austin-scott-named-agriculture-subcommittees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rep-austin-scott-named-agriculture-subcommittees http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/rep-austin-scott-named-agriculture-subcommittees/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:12:32 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48108 GaPundit:

Your Washington – GA 8 – Desk From Congress […]

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From Congressman Austin Scott

Austin Scott

Congressman Austin Scott named to Agriculture Subcommittees

House Agriculture Committee Chairman, K. Michael Conaway (TX-11), today announced the Agriculture Subcommittee assignments for U.S. Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08).

Congressman Scott is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit for the 114thCongress. In addition, the Congressman is proud to serve on the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, of which he was Chairman in the 113th Congress, and the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.

“Congressman Scott has a deep knowledge of both commodity programs and risk management,” said Chairman K. Michael Conaway. “Thanks to his knowledge and experience he played an important role on the Committee during the drafting and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. He has earned a position as chairman of the Subcommittee on Exchanges, Energy, and Credit. He will also play an important role on his two other subcommittees. His experience in the Georgia House of Representatives and as a business man focused on insurance and risk management will be an asset as he works on behalf of our farmers and ranchers.”

“It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit, and I thank Chairman Conaway for his trust in me for leading this respected committee,” said Congressman Austin Scott. “I also look forward to being an active participant of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research and the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management in order to further the Committee’s initiatives, and I am proud to represent agriculture producers back home in Georgia as well as across our nation during the 114th Congress.”

Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit has jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rural Development, lending institutions, and agriculture credit and loan operations within the Farm Service Agency.  Congressman David Scott (GA-13) will serve as the Subcommittee’s Ranking Member for the Minority.

Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit:

  • Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08), Chair
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06)
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03)
  • Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03)
  • Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13)
  • Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-06)
  • Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Ranking Member
  • Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34)
  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
  • Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
  • Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

Congressman Scott is serving his third-term as the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District.  He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Risk Management, and owned and operated an insurance brokerage firm for nearly twenty years.  Congressman Scott is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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Gov. Nathan Deal: Sees Transportation Bill As Strong Starting Point http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/gov-nathan-deal-sees-transportation-bill-strong-starting-point/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gov-nathan-deal-sees-transportation-bill-strong-starting-point http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/gov-nathan-deal-sees-transportation-bill-strong-starting-point/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:06:21 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48106 GaPundit:

Your Georgia Desk From Governor Nathan Deal Deal sees t […]

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From Governor Nathan Deal

Gov Deal Budget Speech

Deal sees transportation bill as strong starting point

Upon introduction of a transportation bill today in the House, Gov. Nathan Deal called the plan a positive step forward and a strong starting point for negotiations.

“The release of a transportation bill is a positive step forward in the process of delivering for Georgians the transportation improvements we desperately need,” said Deal. “There’s still a long way to go as the plan winds through the General Assembly, but we now have a starting point and something to build on. We know what our challenges are – they are well documented – and we’re now working toward the solutions. I am committed this year to passing legislation that will provide for Georgia the transportation infrastructure it needs to keep our people and goods moving efficiently throughout the state for the next generation.”

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VIDEO – Sen. David Perdue Questions AG Nominee Loretta Lynch http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/video-sen-david-perdue-questions-ag-nominee-loretta-lynch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-sen-david-perdue-questions-ag-nominee-loretta-lynch http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/video-sen-david-perdue-questions-ag-nominee-loretta-lynch/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:00:48 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48104 GaPundit:

Your Washington Desk From Senator David Perdue Senator […]

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Senator David Perdue Questions AG Nominee Loretta Lynch

 

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Sen. David Perdue: Named Senate Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/sen-david-perdue-named-senate-agriculture-subcommittee-chairman/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sen-david-perdue-named-senate-agriculture-subcommittee-chairman http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/sen-david-perdue-named-senate-agriculture-subcommittee-chairman/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:55:18 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48102 GaPundit:

Your Washington Desk From Senator David Perdue Senator […]

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David Perdue Country2

Senator David Perdue Named Senate Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman

Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) today announced that Senator David Perdue (R-GA) will serve as Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources. The subcommittee is responsible for oversight on the EPA’s regulation of pesticides, conservation of natural resources, biotechnology, and forestry. Senator Perdue will also serve on two other Agriculture subcommittees: Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade and Rural Development and Energy.

“I’m proud to represent Georgia’s strong and vibrant agricultural community,” said Senator Perdue. “My goal is to make sure that the EPA doesn’t insidiously burden our farmers, and that we continue to foster growth and innovation across our largest industry. As chairman of this subcommittee, I’ll work to ensure that Georgia’s agricultural interests are protected and that our homegrown products are promoted around the world.”

“I am pleased to have Senator Perdue on the Committee and I look forward to the business experience and family farm background that he brings to our work on behalf of American agriculture,” Chairman Roberts said.

“As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources, Senator Perdue will provide Georgians with leadership in these areas at a time when issues like pesticides and biotechnology are hotly debated across farm country.”

The Subcommittee’s responsibilities include:

  • Conservation and protection of natural resources
  • Regulation of pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
  • Forestry

The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes oversight of management and operations of:

  • National Resources Conservation Service
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  •  Biotechnology
  • The Forest Service

 

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House Transportation Chair Jay Roberts: Introduces Transportation Funding Act of 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/house-transportation-chair-jay-roberts-introduces-transportation-funding-act-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=house-transportation-chair-jay-roberts-introduces-transportation-funding-act-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/house-transportation-chair-jay-roberts-introduces-transportation-funding-act-2015/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:48:42 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48099 GaPundit:

Your Georgia Desk From Representative Jay Roberts House […]

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Jay Roberts

House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts Introduces Transportation Funding Act of 2015

Provides more than $1 billion in new transportation funding with no state tax increase

State Representative Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla) today announced the Transportation Funding Act of 2015.  This legislation addresses Georgia’s critical transportation infrastructure needs and provides more than $1 billion in new transportation funding without a tax increase.

Thursday morning, House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts and others will introduce legislation which we believe will lead to bringing our state into the 21st century with our transportation policy.” said Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge).  “I expect the bill to be thoroughly vetted as it goes through the legislative process.  We welcome constructive discussion and debate.  But the time to begin the process is now.”

“There has been a need for legislation to address our state’s transportation needs for several years now, and we can no longer ignore it,” said Rep. Roberts.  “Throughout 2014 my colleagues and I who served on the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding traveled to all areas of the state to get feedback on local and regional transportation needs. We have studied how to fund transportation in our state going forward, and I believe that this bill provides the best solution. I am proud to introduce this plan that does not involve a tax increase for our citizens.  This is the beginning of a process and we are listening to any and all suggestions.”

The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 is a comprehensive package of measures.  Rep. Roberts explained the provisions of the bill as follows:

  • The act will convert the sales tax on motor fuel to an excise tax.  This excise tax will be set at 29.2 cents per gallon which approximates the sales tax rate which has been imposed on gasoline using a weighted average of the price of gasoline over the previous four years ($3.39 per gallon total price at pump).  This excise tax will be indexed to Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards as well as CPI and adjusted annually to ensure that it keeps pace with the ever-increasing fuel efficiency of vehicles.  This provides a reliable, predictable funding source dedicated to transportation.
  • Converting the sales tax on motor fuel to an excise tax adjusts Georgia’s participation in, and advantage of, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).  Doing so will result in an additional $60 million to the state.
  • Converting to an excise tax dedicated to transportation will have the effect of moving the “fourth penny” revenue previously collected on motor fuel from the state’s general fund to funding for transportation needs.  This will result in an additional $175 million in transportation funding per year.
  • Any special purpose local option sales taxes on motor fuel currently authorized by the voters will be honored.  Those SPLOST collections, which would be over and above the state’s excise tax, would cease after their expiration dates as originally approved by local voters.  Motor fuel would be exempt from any future SPLOST.
  • Local governments will be able to charge an additional excise tax of up to 6 cents per gallon (up to 3 cents for counties and up to 3 cents for cities) for local transportation projects by a vote of their county commission and/or city council.  Any additional excise taxes local governments wish to levy on motor fuel beyond the limit would require a referendum offered to the residents of that jurisdiction.
  • Alternative fueled vehicles will pay a user fee of $200 for non-commercial and $300 for commercial vehicles each year.  As these vehicles do not use gasoline, their owners do not currently pay their share of taxes devoted to the maintenance of the roads they use.  This will provide equity among those who drive on our roads and ensure everyone pays their fair share.  This fee will not be imposed on hybrid vehicles which require purchase of gasoline.  This revenue is intended to be used for transit systems.
  • Recapitalize the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank so that a revolving, self-sustaining, loan/grant fund is created to incentivize governments, authorities, CIDs and other entities to provide matching funds for local construction of projects.  The Transportation Infrastructure Bank will be directed to assist tier 1 and tier 2 counties and encourage investment in every region of our state.
  • A significant bond package will provide for critical bridge maintenance, transit system funding and other transportation projects across the state.  This is a prudent way to provide more immediate funding for our transportation needs while leveraging the state’s high credit-rating to borrow at little cost to the state.
  • Increase funding for Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants (LMIG).

The legislation is expected to be filed on Thursday, Jan. 29.  The bill will then go through the committee process and may be amended prior to reaching the House floor for a vote.  If approved, it would then go to the State Senate for consideration.

The Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding, co-chaired by State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and State Representative Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla), was created by House Resolution 1573 during the 2014 legislative session. The committee was tasked with undertaking a study of the conditions, needs, issues, and problems associated with Georgia’s critical transportation infrastructure needs and the means of funding its construction, maintenance, and repair. The committee held which held eight public meetings at locations throughout Georgia.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for January 28, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-28-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-28-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-28-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 11:13:33 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48086 GaPundit:

Pen 43667 is a male senior Miniature Pinscher who was t […]

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Gwinnett43667

Pen 43667 is a male senior Miniature Pinscher who was turned in by his owner. He’s small, calm, friendly, and hoping you’ll want to carry him home from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett40682

Pen 40682 is listed as a male Springer Spaniel, though I suspect he’s mixed with something to give him that beautiful solid black coat. He was also an owner surrender, and is friendly but scared. He is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett43579

Pen 43579 is a cute little scruffy Terrier mix or something similar. He just needs a bath, haircut and some love in a new home. He’s available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett43604

Pen 43604 is a beautiful little female Shepherd mix puppy who was found stray, and is friendly and playful. She is available from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett43605

Pen 43605 is a cute little male Shepherd mix who came in with number 43604; he is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett43957

Pen 43597 is a beautiful young adult cream-colored Lab mix, friendly and scared, he came in with a buddy and is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Gwinnett43596

Number 43596 is a beautiful female cream-colored Lab mix who came in with 43597; also friendly and scared, she is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

OfficialGaDogFlag

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 28, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-28-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-28-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/28/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-28-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 10:48:17 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48084 GaPundit:

On January 28, 1733, Georgia’s first colonists ce […]

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

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

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

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

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

Happy birthday today to Northwestern University (1851), Yale Daily News (1878), the first daily college newspaper in the country, the United States Coast Guard (1915), and the Lego brick, which was patented on January 28, 1958. Elvis Presley made his first appearance on television on January 28, 1956 on the Stage Show on CBS.

General Assembly Schedule Today

8:00am – 9:00am
House Appropriations – 341 State Capitol
9:00am – 10:00am
House Rules – 341 Cap
9:00am – 10:00am
House Intragovernmental Cooperation – 403 Capitol
10:00am – 12:00pm
House Convenes LD7
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 Capitol
1:00pm – 2:00pm
Senate Education and Youth – 307 Coverdell LOB
1:30pm – 2:30pm
House Judiciary Non-Civil – 132 State Capitol
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Joint Retirement Committee Meeting – Canceled – 403 Georgia State Capitol
3:00pm – 4:00pm
House Education – 606 Coverdell LOB
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Joint Health & Human Svcs Committee – 341 State Capitol
3:00pm – 4:00pm
House Defense & Veterans Affairs – 515 Coverdell LOB
3:00pm – 4:00pm
House Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications Committee – 403 Georgia State Capitol
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Senate Judiciary Non-Civil – 307 Coverdell LOB

Of particular note is that the House Appropriations Committee, meeting at 8 AM has the FY2015 Supplemental Budget on its agenda this morning. Passage by the committee means the bill doesn’t even have to leave Room 341 of the Capitol for a Rules Committee meeting that could send it to the floor for a vote on final passage.

Special delivery may take on a new meaning if State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) gets his way. From Maggie Lee at the Macon Telegraph,

“We are within a couple of weeks of making an announcement with a manufacturer in another state who will be able to ship” to Georgia, said Peake, a proponent of medical marijuana.

That’s depending on two things, though.

First, passage of his House Bill 1, which would decriminalize Georgia possession of a type of liquid medical marijuana that’s low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

It would also depend on medical cannabis companies in other states pushing into legal gray area around the definition of “hemp.”

Congress allows oils and seeds of hemp grown in other countries to find their way into U.S. groceries such as granola bars and cereal. They have also authorized limited hemp cultivation and defunded some federal marijuana enforcement programs.

Peake said companies are looking to use those same federal laws to legally ship medicinal cannabis oil that is low in THC.

The AJC Political Insider blog notes a statement that suggests healthcare for non-certificated employees of school systems may not be facing loss of healthcare coverage after all.

While rewriting the mid-year budget, House leaders inserted language in a section on a State Health Benefits Plan cost study saying, “The General Assembly also finds that non-certificated school employees are an essential part of the education delivery system and directs that any such report include an examination of options to provide health benefits to these workers.”

In many rural communities, the local school system may be the largest single employer and threatening the healthcare coverage of these non-certificated workers can be a major political headache for local legislators.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods has written federal education czar commisar secretary Arne Duncan seeking a better balance of testing and teaching.

“Instead of a ‘measure, pressure, and punish’ model that sets our students, teachers, and schools up for failure, we need a diagnostic, remediate/accelerate model that personalizes instruction, empowers students, involves parents, and provides real feedback to our teachers,” Woods wrote.

Click here to see the full letter.

BetterGeorgia

The radical lefties at Better Georgia took out full page ads to blast State Rep. Sam Teasley and Sen. Josh McKoon over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but really their agenda is fundraising off the fears of Georgians. Shameful.

The Feds may allow offshore drilling along the coast of Georgia.

Freedom Partners, a network of conservative groups affiliated with the Koch brothers may be amassing a warchest of $899 million dollars to deploy in the 2016 Presidential elections, according to the Washington Post.

The new $889 million goal reflects the anticipated budgets of all the allied groups that the network funds. Those resources will go into field operations, new data-driven technology and policy work, among other projects, along with likely media campaigns aimed at shaping the congressional and White House elections.

The group — which is supported by hundreds of wealthy donors on the right, along with the Kochs — is still debating whether it will spend some of that money in the GOP primaries. Such a move could have a major impact in winnowing the field of contenders, but could also undercut the network’s standing if it engaged in intraparty politics and was not successful.

Yesterday, Google announced it would bring fiber-based internet to several cities in Metro Atlanta. You’re potentially in luck if you live in the cities of Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, or Smyrna.

“This is a huge day for Metro Atlanta and the City of Brookhaven,” Mayor J Max Davis said. “I have been hearing from alot of residents who were extremely excited about the possibility of Google Fiber coming to Brookhaven. City leadership and staff did what it had to do to make sure the internet of everything is at the doorsteps of all of Brookhaven residences and businesses.”

The next step in the process is to create detailed maps of where to place thousands of miles of fiber using existing infrastructure (light poles, underground conduits). Brookhaven administrators say that a joint team of surveyors and engineers will be working on the design of the network. That particular effort has a target completion date of sometime during mid-2015. After that, construction will start.

Councilman Bates Mattison said Google Fiber coming in to Brookhaven is a huge plus. He said today’s announcement brings with it a tremendous opportunity for Brookhaven’s citizens and businesses – as well as the city as a whole. “Having companies, like Google, choose to invest in our city shows the opportunity we have as a community to attract high-tech citizens and workforce,” said Mattison. “This aligns well with our Brookhaven Innovation Academy initiative, as we have intended to use Google Education and online learning modules to produce the high-tech workforce needed in the future.”

Councilman Joe Gebbia added that bringing Google Fiber to metropolitan Atlanta will have a profound effect for generations to come. “We needed to be nimble, responsive and have that real feeling of enthusiasm – all those components that come with a smaller, accessible government. And we did it. It will help with home resale values, business developments as well as being a great asset as we move forward to developing the entrepreneurial spirit via Brookhaven’s business incubator,” said Gebbia.

If pricing is like they have in Kansas City, we’ll see Gigabit internet for under a hundred bucks a month. Google is also working to develop a cell-phone service that uses excess capacity on existing networks combined with Wi-fi.

Google Inc. ’s upcoming wireless service would aim to end subscribers’ reliance on a single carrier, instead giving them the ability to pick the best signal from a variety of sources, people familiar with the plan said.

The service would feature new technology that would hunt through cellular connections provided by Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. and Wi-Fi hotspots, picking whichever offers the best signal to route calls, texts and data, the people said.

The offering could be rolled out in the first half of this year and would likely be available nationwide, although previously scheduled launches—including one in October 2014—have been delayed, so the timing could slip again, some of these people said.

Transportation News that doesn’t include the word “Tax”

Total freight tonnage through the Georgia Ports increased 7.4% in 2014 over the previous year.

“In 2014, we saw phenomenal growth in every category,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of the Georgia Ports Authority. “Georgia’s ports benefited from an improving retail economy, renewed strength in manufacturers’ orders of raw goods and the expanding population of the Southeast.”

West Coast labor issues contributed to Georgia’s increasing freight volume.

A recovering U.S. economy gets credit for some of the growth Savannah and Brunswick have experienced since last summer, Foltz said. But he also credited protracted labor negotiations at ports on the West Coast, where increased congestion on the docks has caused shippers to divert more retail imports from Asia to ports on the East Coast.

West Coast woes helped make December, normally a slow month, the Georgia ports’ second-busiest month on record. Overall tonnage shot up nearly 13 percent compared to December 2013, while container traffic increased by 18 percent.

The Port of Brunswick, Ga was the top United States port for exports to Cuba.

The Port of Brunswick, which handles mostly machinery, cars and crops, also had a busy year and was revealed in news reports to be the top U.S. port for exports to Cuba, the communist Caribbean nation with which the U.S. maintains an embargo excluding agricultural, medical and telecommunications products. Cuba has been in the news of late thanks to President Obama’s surprise move to reopen diplomatic relations, relaxing certain restrictions on travel and leading to debate on the embargo, which would require congressional action to repeal.

Georgia exports to the nation of 11 million have to trans-shipped through ports in the Caribbean since there is no direct service from Savannah, the Savannah Morning News reported. Over the past three years, the state has shipped 38,000 tons of soybeans there, but the value is mostly made up of frozen chicken, the top product in the $266 million in export value to Cuba, which has slumped in recent years.

The Ports Authority will continue working to move more outbound freight over the rails instead of Georgia’s roadways.

Over time, over-the-road freight movement via truck will continue to become more expensive and less environmentally friendly,” Foltz said, adding that his team is constantly working with CSX and Norfolk Southern to find ways to move a higher percentage of freight by rail.

In the calendar year just completed, Georgia Ports moved 340,000 containers by rail, an increase of 5 percent over 2013, he said.

“Rail expansion has been a huge part of our capital improvement budget over the last decade or more, and we expect that to continue as we work with both CSX and Norfolk Southern to improve the efficiency of our rail connections and speed and further develop our inland connections,” he said.

“We’ve been very collaborative with both major railroads as we work to provide our customers with the tools they need to move their freight as effectively as possible.”

Craig Camuso agreed.

“We have a great partnership with Georgia Ports,” said Camuso, regional vice president at CSX Transportation. “Their growth has helped spur our growth.”

CSX moves 150,000 20-foot containers — or TEUs — through the Savannah port every year.

Here’s an idea – take the idea of the Cordele inland port – which moves containers in by rail and puts them on truck chassis to hit the road at I-75 well away from Macon or Atlanta – and look for other communities where trans-shipping centers might make sense while avoiding rail and road congestion on the existing network.

Cordele Intermodal Services offers overnight rail access, three times weekly, to the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah, Georgia. CIS provides cost savings, traffic mitigation, reductions in CO2 output, and additional operational service offerings to benefit shippers, trucking companies, and steamship lines. CIS is situated within a market that includes the Southwest quadrant of Georgia, the southern half of Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. The Cordele Intermodal facility sits on 40 acres in the Crisp County Industrial Park, with an option to expand on 1,200 adjacent acres. It is less than one mile from Interstate 75, Georgia Highway 300, and Georgia Highway 280. CIS is served by the Heart of Georgia RR and Georgia Central RR, with access to both Class I RR’s in the region (CSX & NS).

Cordele is located in a regional center for agriculture – including the production and export of cotton, peanuts, wood products, and other commodities. Cordele Intermodal Services makes those commodities more competitive in the global market, while reducing carbon emissions. The inland depot also reduces the shipper’s exposure to truck capacity and shortages.

Cordele’s inland port is an innovative public-private partnership that leveraged local economic development programs, to help improve both the local economy, and transportation.

A new Savannah River port in Jasper County, SC, jointly owned by the Palmetto and Peach States, appears feasible according to a report presented this week.

The Savannah River has enough room for cargo ships to accommodate Georgia and South Carolina adding a new port terminal downstream from the busy Port of Savannah, according to a study presented to officials from both states Monday.

Engineering consultants told the joint port board, meeting Monday for the first time since May, that they developed models to estimate ship traffic in the river channel in 2049. Their report concluded that delays affecting ships likely would be slightly more frequent, and just a few minutes longer, with a second port on the river.

“The river is not going to shut down with the addition of the Jasper terminal,” said Michael Rieger, the project manager for consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol. “We can still get ships in and out, and the delays are just a little bit longer than what occurs today.”

Georgia and South Carolina officials have said they expect the new port terminal could be permitted, built and operational by about 2030.

A delegation from Effingham County met with the State Transportation Commissioner this week in a trip to the Capitol.

The nearly hour-long meeting with State Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry resulted in improved understanding of Effingham traffic concerns, especially the need for more

north-south connectors to job-rich Chatham County, according to Dinah King, a member of the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.

McMurry praised the county for scaling back plans for the proposed Effingham Parkway, which will connect with Chatham County’s planned extension of Benton Boulevard.

“Last year up here, the feedback from them was to figure out a better way to change the traffic pattern,” said King, who is also the area manager for Georgia Power Co.

The project had been conceived as part of a transportation sales tax referendum that voters defeated in 2013. Instead of a four-lane, divided highway, the new concept is two lanes at about one-third of the original budget.

McMurry also announced that construction will begin by the end of this year on upgrades to the Interstate 95 intersection with Hwy 21. It will become what traffic engineers call a diverging diamond interchange in which vehicles are channeled to the opposite side of the road to eliminate the delays caused by left turns across oncoming traffic. Construction will take about 18 months, he told the group. The reception capped the day, giving the local representatives the chance to play host after spending Monday calling on Atlanta-based officials. Booths from local businesses and nonprofit organizations lined the long event hall across from the Capitol, as legislators sipped cocktails and chatted with local residents.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for January 27, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/27/adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-27-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-27-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/27/adoptable-georgia-dogs-january-27-2015/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:58:29 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48058 GaPundit:

Goose, above and below, is a deaf, 1-2 year old English […]

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GaPundit:

Goose

Goose, above and below, is a deaf, 1-2 year old English Bulldog who was abandoned at a kennel. Here’s his story:

I love other dogs and even do well with cats and kids! I am looking for an active home where they can continue my training. I do all the Bulldog tricks like snore, fart, and stick out my tongue. Everyone tells me I might be an Old English Bulldog, but I just think I’m fantastic! I have some bad habits like jumping at the leash and biting it, but these are all things you can work with a trainer on. In fact, a trainer has offered a free lesson to whoever adopts me! I am very snuggly and love my people. I am looking for a great family that will have the time and dedication to deal with my deafness and energy. Email blabauve@gmail.com for more info one me!

Goose is available for adoption from Animal Action Rescue in Clarkston, GA.

Goose2

Deeogee

DeeOGee is super handsome 2 year old male English Bulldog/Mastiff mix who is very sweet and playful. If you like big loveable dogs , then this is the boy for you. DeeOGee is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, Ga.

Buffy

Buffy the Heartworm Slayer is a young female English Bulldog mix, and one of the most happy, affectionate dogs you will ever met. She loves everyone she meets. She has this great big fierce bark, then when someone comes to the door, all she wants to do is jump up on the newcomer to smell and get loves. She’s super snuggly, and will climb on your lap (yes, all 45 lbs of her) for tummy rubs all day long. She’s great with other dogs. She likes being the center of attention, and loves it when her foster mom has lots of friends over, so she can be a social butterfly. She’s great on the leash and will make you meet new friends because she wants to say hello to everyone you pass – people and dogs!

Buffy would be great with older kids, but maybe not little ones as she doesn’t know her size! She has been treated for heartworms and is good to go – what a trooper! She should be the mascot of the Life is Good company, always grinning and loving life. She is a joy and is ready for her forever home!

Buffy is available for adoption from Rescue Me Georgia Inc in Dunwoody, GA; for more info on Buffy please take the first step by submitting an adoption application on www.rescuemega.org and we will follow up.

Nadia

Nadia is a sweet little 35-pound Black Lab mix, about nine months old and scheduled to be euthanized at the Barrow County Animal Shelter tomorrow, Wednesday, January 28th. She loves people and if you’d like to save her life, please have your paperwork in to Barrow County Animal Shelter by 4 PM today.

This week saw State Rep. Carolyn Hugley (D-Columbus) introduce legislation to name the Gray Fox the Official State Mammal of Georgia. You will also be seeing legislation this session to designate an Official State Dog. What kind do you think it should be?

Official Georgia Dog Header

Click the picture above or below to follow the Twitter Account for OfficialGaDog to find out.

OfficialGaDogFlag

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for January 27, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/27/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-27-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-27-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/01/27/georgia-politics-campaigns-elections-january-27-2015/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:26:39 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=48056 GaPundit:

On January 27, 1785, a charter was approved by the Geor […]

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GaPundit:

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

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

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

On January 27, 1965, the Shelby GT 350 was unveiled. Just for fun, here’s the current Shelby Cobra GT 500, photographed last Friday at the Washington DC Auto Show.

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

Senate Committee Meetings Today

12:00 PM RULES UPON ADJ 450 CAP – Cancelled
1:00 PM INTERSTATE COOPERATION 123 CAP – Cancelled
1:00 PM SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 318 CLOB
2:00 PM JUDICIARY 307 CLOB
3:00 PM HIGHER EDUCATION 310 CLOB
4:00 PM URBAN AFFAIRS 318 CLOB
4:00 PM BANKING AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS 307 CLOB – Cancelled

House Committee Meetings Today

TBD FLOOR SESSION (LD 6) HOUSE CHAMBER- 10:00am
2:00 PM REGULATED INDUSTRIES 406 CLOB
3:00 PM WAYS & MEANS 606 CLOB

Georgia GOP Senate Caucus Agenda

Renee and Cowsert2

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), Senate HHS Chair Renee Unterman (R-Buford – Go Wolves!) and their Republican colleagues introduced the Senate Republican Caucus 2015 Agenda.

The Republican agenda for the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly will focus on the following five issues:

1. Helping young children with autism
2. Providing opportunities and breaking down bureaucratic barriers for high school students ready to take college-level courses
3. Continuing and expanding the protection of our children
4. Pushing economic development and job creation
5. Ensuring that the founding principles of our constitutional republic are taught to our students so that they are equipped for self-government and able to maintain their heritage of freedom.

“If you take a look at the bills we are considering most pressing, it should be obvious that the Majority Caucus is focused squarely on the education, health and protection of Georgia’s children,” Sen. Cowsert said. “At the same time, we will work to ensure Georgia remains the best place in the U.S. for business, thereby continuing to push every viable job creation mechanism for the benefit of Georgians across the state.”

Cowsert said this session’s main education bill is a bi-partisan initiative spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that provides options and breaks down bureaucratic barriers for high school students who are ready to enroll in college level courses. Senate Bill 2 would enable a high school student to enroll in a college or university upon successful completion of a college entrance exam. When they complete a degree or certificate program, their college level courses would satisfy high school graduation requirements. Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R – Marietta) will carry the bill with Sen. Freddie Powell-Sims (D – Dawson) and Sen. Bill Cowsert (R – Athens) as co-sponsors.

“Nothing drives the economy more than a skilled workforce,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. “We have a skills gap in our state and nation. The truth is those employers will find what they need – they have no other choice. Our choice is whether they’re going to find it here in Georgia among our fellow Georgians or be forced to look somewhere else. If a student is ready to successfully begin a program of study after the 10th grade, let’s not hold them back. Under this initiative, we can finally fulfill our vision of seeing students graduate high school on Friday and college on Saturday.”

Casey Presser

To help protect the health of Georgia’s children, the Majority Caucus will push Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R – Dalton), which will guarantee early intervention treatment to insured children in Georgia who are diagnosed with autism. The bill will require insurance policies to cover analysis, treatment and counseling for autistic children under six years old. Early intervention for those with autism has proven to help children get back into school programs and into a regular social atmosphere as early as possible. This is especially important for those on the lower end of the autism spectrum.

“Autism is becoming an epidemic that Georgia cannot afford to ignore,” Sen. Bethel said. “We are taking steps to ensure the public and private sector work in concert to provide the best outcomes for these young Georgians and their families.”

Sen Bethel

To further protect Georgia’s children, the Majority Caucus will support legislation and budgetary initiatives that will increase the number of caseworkers at the Division of Family and Children Services, reduce red tape for potential foster families, and facilitate the adoption process. The Republican caucus will explore options for private-sector participation or expansion of the private-sector’s involvement in each of these areas.

Renee Unterman Presser

Senator Renee Unterman discussed Senate Bill 3, “Several years ago we passed a bill to expand the ability of grandparents to care for their grandchildren. Senate bill three continues the focus on parents having an ability to determine who would be able to care for their children. The three key objectives are preventing child mistreatment in the foster care system, keeping kids out of the foster care system, and family support and stabilization to allow a process for temporary powers of attorney for people other than parents who are caring for Children. Georgia has a lot of military bases and families, and gives those families greater tools and flexibility to ensure the proper care of their children during the parents’ deployment.”

The Majority Caucus also will use this session of the General Assembly to attract new businesses and promote job creation. Along with the proven tactics that have helped Georgia become the best place in the U.S. to do business, the Senate will work to improve the state’s infrastructure. This will ensure transportation issues do not interfere with businesses’ ability to transport goods and services and people have an easy ability to get to work, home, school, and church.

“Job creation remains our highest priority,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R – Duluth). “We want to keep Georgia a place where businesses want to locate and where people want to live, work, study, and worship.”

Finally, Senate Republicans will work with the Georgia Department of Education to ensure the development of better standards and curriculum in order to provide students with a solid understanding of the rich history of our country’s founding principles.

Sen. Cowsert said the above agenda represents the goals of the Majority Caucus but is far from inclusive of every issue the state Senate will undertake in the 2015 session.

Senator Buddy Carter’s Maiden Speech in Congress

Senator Renee Unterman on Human Trafficking

Rep. Allen Peake Introducing House Bill One

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