GaPundit http://gapundit.com Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:41:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.6 Adoptable Georgia Dogs for July 1, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/07/01/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-july-1-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-july-1-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/07/01/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-july-1-2015/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:41:58 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50895 GaPundit:

Zeus is an adult male Great Dane who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, Ga. Once he was in a foster home, Zeus came down with bloat, to which Great Danes are susceptible, and Coastal Pet Rescue is asking for donations to pay for the surgery he required. Abby is a

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Zeus

Zeus is an adult male Great Dane who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, Ga.

Once he was in a foster home, Zeus came down with bloat, to which Great Danes are susceptible, and Coastal Pet Rescue is asking for donations to pay for the surgery he required.

Abby

Abby is a 4-6 year old adult female Great Dane who was abandoned when her previous owner was evicted. She is being treated for eye and ear infections and is working on putting on some weight.She is housebroken and gets along with other large dogs. She will need to be on eye drops for the remainder of her life due to chronic dry eye. Abby will need to be in a home with no cats, no young children, and no small dogs. Abby is a very sweet and loving girl. Loves walks and water!! She has great manners and gets along well with most dogs and older children.

Abby is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, Ga.

Lady Bug

Lady Bug is an adult female Great Dane who was kept tethered outside. Lady Bug is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, Ga.

Sampson

Sampson is a 5-year old Great Dane who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, Ga.

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Attorney General Sam Olens Files Lawsuit Asking Court to Overturn Burdensome ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/attorney-general-sam-olens-files-lawsuit-asking-court-to-overturn-burdensome-waters-of-the-united-states-rule/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=attorney-general-sam-olens-files-lawsuit-asking-court-to-overturn-burdensome-waters-of-the-united-states-rule http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/attorney-general-sam-olens-files-lawsuit-asking-court-to-overturn-burdensome-waters-of-the-united-states-rule/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:38:40 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50892 GaPundit:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 30, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-30-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-30-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-30-2015/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:05:29 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50880 GaPundit:

On June 30, 1665, England’s King Charles signed a royal charter for Carolina, defining its southern border and also claiming all land in what is now Georgia. On June 30, 1775, the Continental Congress passed the Articles of War, laying out complaints against Britain’s Parliament. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

Harbin will join a lobbying firm focused on healthcare, though he is prohibited from actual lobbying for one year from his departure. From the Augusta Chronicle,

Harbin, 51, said that he’s not happy about leaving office in the middle of his term, but that he has to place the needs of his family first.

“My wife and I have talked a lot about what we need to do and it was a difficult decision, but it is for the best,” he said. “For my family, it is the right move at this time.”

“Right now I won’t do any lobbying. I will be a consultant and work on, well, health care is one of the areas they have always worked on,” Harbin said of Southern Strategy Group.

“These are people I’ve known for a long time and I know them very well,” he said. “They are good folks; they don’t work for anyone
shady and they are very well-respected.”

Harbin said he would understand how some might be critical of his sudden move into a lucrative job with a lobbying firm, especially before his term ends.

“I get that and that is a fair assessment,” he said. “I hope the kind of clients that we represent will be in the best interest of the general public. That’s the way I tried to vote in my 20 years, I always tried to vote for my district, and I want to take that perspective with me to the clients I represent and try to make sure that the good guys are winning.”

“After 20 years, you think what all did we do, what have I done?” he said. “There’s a lot of little things that wouldn’t matter and a lot of big things that I’m proud of.”

“During the biggest economic downturn we ever saw, I was the chair that balanced the budget without raising taxes, every year for about five years,” he said. “That’s probably, if you ask, the biggest statewide thing I’m proud of.”

“It is the right decision for us at this time,” he said. “I think my constituents will understand, this is not the way that I wanted to go, but I have to for the sake of my family. It is their time.”

So, what does a former legislator who has joined a lobbying firm do if he’s still under the revolving door prohibition? We saw this question arise after two of the 2014 candidates for United States Senate joined lobbying firms while still under the Congressional revolving door ban.

The Georgia definition of lobbying under the Ethics in Government Act isn’t very helpful in defining what lobbying is and what it isn’t.

Georgia Code §21-5-70(4) defines “lobbying” as “the activity of a lobbyist while acting in that capacity” and §21-5-70(5) defines “lobbyist” as a person who receives at least a certain amount of money “specifically for undertaking to promote or oppose the passage of any legislation by the General Assembly.” The lobbyist definition also includes people who lobby at other levels of state government.

It’s not clear if the activity of lobbying requires individual, personal contact between a lobbyist and a member of the General Assembly or other elected or appointed officials. I think most people, either lay or lobbyist, would agree that a face-to-face meeting with a legislator in which someone asks the legislator to vote for or against a specific bill constitutes lobbying, but that most would not consider someone to be engaged in lobbying if they simply publish an Editorial or Letter to the Editor in a local or metro area newspaper advocating for a solution to a specific policy position.

It’s the vast area in-between where it’s less clear.

So, if a former member of the General Assembly still under the one-year prohibition on lobbying published an editorial in the Atlanta paper advocating for more money for transportation, that’s not lobbying if he or she isn’t advocating for the passage of specific legislation, if no specific legislation is mentioned or if the member receives no compensation. But if he got paid $500 by the newspaper, does that qualify as lobbying? Or if a transportation lobbying group paid him $5000 to promote acceptance among the public of higher funding for transportation? Those are closer questions and come down to the intentions of the respective parties.

A former member of the General Assembly who analyzes, for instance, the state budget as an expert in state budgeting and prepared materials for clients of the lobbying firm discussing what impact the budget is likely to have on their organizations, would bring value to the lobbying firm, but I think most would agree that does not constitute lobbying. If that same individual, as part of his job, made a presentation on the state budget to an industry association audience that included members and employees of the association about the state budget, I think most would agree that isn’t lobbying. If members of the audience included current legislators, it might be a closer case, and whether it’s lobbying would probably hinge on the intent of his making the address, and whether specific legislation or appropriations were promoted or opposed.

So, there are valuable activities that a former legislator can perform within a lobbying firm or organization that rely on his or her expertise on legislative matters, but that most people would agree doesn’t constitute lobbying.

One burning question that remains, however, is whether you can be guilty of lobbying the Georgia General Assembly without actually setting foot in Georgia, and whether the state has jurisdiction over you in any case.

So, we’ll have yet another Special Election for State House in addition to the six Special Elections (two of them runoffs) that are currently scheduled for July 14, 2015.

House District 80

The Brookhaven Post has a Q&A with the four candidates for State House District 80 in Brookhaven and Sandy Springs.

Uber

The Savannah Airport is the latest battleground between Uber, the ride-sharing service on your smartphone, and traditional taxi cabs.

Passengers looking for another way to get home from the airport, now have it. Although, the Savannah airport is trying to pump the brakes until regulations are in place.

But there’s a new transportation service the airport doesn’t want to see right now, Uber. It’s a service that people can use by downloading an app.

The airport though is handing Uber driver’s warnings. It’s currently working on regulations, uber drivers must follow.

The airport wants to charge uber a passenger pick-up fee that all other transportation services pay. It also wants uber vehicles to be properly insured.

The same battle remains joined at Atlanta’s airport, according to the AJC.

Uber drivers and taxi drivers each asked for a level playing field in their battle for customers in Atlanta and at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

State legislation passed earlier this year to require ride-share services like Uber X and Lyft to submit to background checks and to pay taxes takes effect July 1. But that doesn’t mean Uber X has free rein to pick up at the Atlanta airport, the city said.

Airport officials say they are working on policies, and the Atlanta City Council is holding work sessions before policies are finalized.

Uber X drivers pushed for the ability to pick up at the airport, saying customers ask for it.

“Our service should be able to operate anywhere where people need to access transportation,” said Uber driver Bob Carr.

But cab drivers said they pay fees and comply with regulatory requirements to operate at the airport.

“All we’re really asking for is parity,” said Rick Hewatt, president of Atlanta Checker Cab. The competition from Uber X and other ride-share services, which have not been subject to the same requirements, has “been devastating for our industry.”

Cruzin back to Georgia

United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) will visit the Peach State twice in the coming week, according to the AJC Political Insider.

Cruz will be at Foxtale Books in Woodstock at 10 a.m. Friday, then will swing down to Eagle Eye Bookshop in Decatur at 3 p.m.

Cruz will spend the July 4 holiday in Greenville, S.C., but then return to Georgia on Sunday. He will stop at the Barnes and Noble on Wrightsboro Road in Augusta at 11 a.m., then he will appear at Rock Springs Church in Milner (home of high-profile Senior Pastor Benny Tate) at 5 p.m.

Georgia Ports Authority

The Georgia Ports Authority set records for cargo throughput in May, according to a press release.

The Georgia Ports Authority set all-time records for both container volumes and total tonnage in May with strong growth across several key business sectors.

“Strong performances at GPA’s five deep water terminals, including bulk cargoes and containerized freight, contributed to the growth,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz.

During his report at its June meeting, Foltz told GPA’s Board of Directors that the Authority had moved more than 338,000 twenty foot equivalent unit containers (TEUs), a 16.4 percent increase, and 2.9 million tons of freight, a 9.6 percent jump.

“Superior service and unmatched connectivity to inland markets are driving growth at Georgia’s deepwater ports,” said GPA Board Chairman James Walters. “Our ability to handle expanding cargo volumes – without congestion delays – has set GPA apart in support of farming, retail and manufacturing customers.”

Other notable developments included growth at GPA’s East River Terminal in Brunswick. Focused exclusively on bulk cargoes, East River Terminal, operated by Logistec, experienced a 44.2 percent increase (41,168 tons), for a total of 134,277 tons of commodities moved.

Foltz attributed that growth, in part, to strong biofuel exports to Northern Europe.

“Our ports are a vital link to global markets for Georgia exports, with forest products playing an important role in the state’s economy,” said GPA Vice Chairman James Allgood. “In addition to wood pellets used as renewable fuel, the GPA handles forest-derived exports including wood pulp, paper, lumber and cellulose fibers.”

Growing nearly as fast as East River, Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick improved by 40.2 percent (49,575 tons), largely on expansion in soybean meal. A total of 172,825 tons of bulk and breakbulk cargo moved across Colonel’s Island docks in May.

Across all terminals, bulk cargo grew by 60 percent (105,820 tons) in May, to reach 282,613 tons.

At its meeting yesterday, the Georgia Ports Authority Board reelected Chairman James A. Walters for a second one-year term as Chair.

“At a time of unprecedented growth and the start of construction for the deepening project, Jim’s continued, steady leadership sends a strong message to those who choose Georgia as their gateway to global commerce,” said Governor Deal. “Business leaders can be comfortable with Jim’s background in economic development, coupled with a strong vision for the future of Georgia’s ports.”

Continuing in the role of vice chairman will be James L. “Jimmy” Allgood, while A.J. “Joe” Hopkins III will also maintain his post as secretary/treasurer.

“I am honored by the board’s vote of confidence,” Walters said. “I am also excited by the opportunities before us as this body prepares our port facilities to handle the new demands of an evolving logistics industry.”

Walters noted the Port of Savannah’s unmatched ability to handle cargo influxes related to diversions of freight from the West Coast, and the megaships now favored by shipping lines for their increased efficiency.

“The Savannah model, of a large, single-operator container terminal supported by an array of near-port distribution centers, direct interstate access and on-terminal rail has proven to be the right model to meet today’s container trade demands,” Walters said. “Beyond containerized goods, GPA’s diversified terminals, focused on bulk, breakbulk and automotive cargo, provide the right solutions to serve all segments of the logistics industry.”

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 30, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-30-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-30-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/30/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-30-2015/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:34:30 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50879 GaPundit:

April is a lively, happy adult female Labrador Retriever mix who enjoys human company, and loves to go for walks. She is a beautiful dog and would be a wonderful addition to an energetic family! While she loves people and the attention they give, she’s not so fond of other animals. For this reason, April

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GaPundit:

April

April is a lively, happy adult female Labrador Retriever mix who enjoys human company, and loves to go for walks. She is a beautiful dog and would be a wonderful addition to an energetic family!

While she loves people and the attention they give, she’s not so fond of other animals. For this reason, April must be the only pet in the household. April is available for adoption from CSRA Humane Society, Inc. in Augusta, GA.

Sunshine

Sunshine is an young adult male Labrador Retriever mix, a longtime resident of the CSRA Humane Society. Found many years ago as a stray puppy (alongside his brother and his mom), our sunny boy is a bit on the shy side. He’ll greet most strangers with a bark and a retreat, but if you take the time to get to know him first, you will gain his trust and have a friend forever. Once he feels safe, he’s more than happy to sit next to you so you can stroke his head and pull on his ears. Sunshine is a bit selective with regards to doggy companions (he prefers submissive female dogs best).

Sunshine is available for adoption from CSRA Humane Society, Inc. in Augusta, GA.

Lola

Lola is a female Border Collie mix, about 1.5 to 2 years old. She was found stray in Burke County, where there is not county shelter and dogs are often dumped. We posted to try to find an owner, but nobody claimed her. Lola is a young adult female Border Collie-mix, house trained, good with dogs, and kids. She is a bit too interested in the kitties, so best in a home without them. She is a herding breed, so does like to herd the young children when they’re running.

Lola is available for adoption from Columbia County Animal Rescue in Evans, GA.

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Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Elected Chair of Southern Attorneys General http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/georgia-attorney-general-sam-olens-elected-chair-of-southern-attorneys-general/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-attorney-general-sam-olens-elected-chair-of-southern-attorneys-general http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/georgia-attorney-general-sam-olens-elected-chair-of-southern-attorneys-general/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:06:56 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50877 GaPundit:

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

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GaPundit:

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

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

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

Olens was also elected Co-Chair of the Federalism/Preemption Committee and will serve on the Energy and Environment Committee, the Human Trafficking Committee, the Internet Safety/Cyber Privacy and Security Committee, the Law Enforcement and Prosecutorial Relations Working Group, the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute/Training Committee, and the Substance Abuse Committee.

At the NAAG summer meeting, Olens delivered a presentation on alternative sentencing and criminal justice reform. He also hosted Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Street Grace, who gave a presentation on Georgia’s anti-sex trafficking initiative Georgia’s Not Buying It. Arizona and Indiana have already adopted this Georgia-initiated campaign aimed at ending demand for child sex trafficking and additional states are expected to sign on this year.

NAAG also decided that it will host its December 2017 fall meeting in Jekyll Island, Ga.

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Gov. Deal names sculptor for Capitol’s MLK statue http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/gov-deal-names-sculptor-for-capitols-mlk-statue/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gov-deal-names-sculptor-for-capitols-mlk-statue http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/gov-deal-names-sculptor-for-capitols-mlk-statue/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:52:02 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50874 GaPundit:

Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (Columbus) announced today that the state has selected Henry County-based sculptor Andy Davis to create the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. that will stand on Georgia Capitol grounds. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza. Deal tapped Smyre,

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GaPundit:

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

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

“We believe the sculpture should capture the essence of Dr. King’s legacy — as a civil rights leader, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a husband, father and a Georgian,” the King Estate said in a statement. “We also are grateful for Gov. Deal, Rep. Smyre and the other stakeholders who have worked to ensure this memorial appropriately honors Dr. King, a native son of Georgia who left his state, his nation and his world a better place.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired our nation with his dream of hope, peace, justice, and human rights. I am honored to have played a role during the 2014 Legislative Session in passing House Bill 1080, which authorized the placement of a Capitol-grounds statue honoring Dr. King and was signed into law by Gov. Deal,” said Smyre, who presented the decision on the sculptor to the Georgia Building Authority board this morning.  “It is now time for us as a state to make this a reality. Naming Andy Davis as the sculptor is the first step in that process. It was important that a Georgia sculptor be chosen for this historic project. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders as we undertake the statue’s design, likeness and private fundraising efforts.”

Andy Davis
Davis began his career as a full-time sculptor in 1999. His works include music legend Ray Charles, the Georgia Police Memorial, Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, Griffin County founder Gen. Lawrence Griffin and Patrick Henry. He works from the Andy Davis Studio in the Hood Street Arts Center in McDonough. Davis and his wife, Gerri, have two children and reside in McDonough.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for June 29, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-29-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-29-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-june-29-2015/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:00:23 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50863 GaPundit:

Ariel is an adult female Plott Hound mix with a beautiful brindle coat. She was found in Liberty County, abandoned after her people had moved. She had an embedded collar and was high heartworm positive, though she’s been treated. Ariel is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA. Gemma is a beautiful

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GaPundit:

Ariel

Ariel is an adult female Plott Hound mix with a beautiful brindle coat. She was found in Liberty County, abandoned after her people had moved. She had an embedded collar and was high heartworm positive, though she’s been treated. Ariel is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.

Gemma

Gemma is a beautiful young adult lab mix girl, around 10 months old, spayed, heart worm negative, and up to date on all vaccines and preventions. Gemma is a young pup that is full of energy! She’ll need an active family that will keep her on her toes, or paws ;) This girl has a love for tennis balls, and often hoards them in her kennel, she just can never have enough! She is incredibly obedient and intelligent. She learns extremely quickly and even during a simple game of fetch, you will never see her lose focus from the ball. Gemma is extremely selective when it comes to other dogs, and is not very fond of cats. Given her energy level, it is best that no young children live in the household.

Gemma is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.

Blaze

Blaze is a beautiful and sweet young female Pibble, still a puppy in many ways, who was dumped by her owners. Blaze is an amazing, smart, and very obedient girl.

Blaze must have been loved before because she knows several comments such as “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “shake” and “beg.” She is a complete lover that enjoys going on car rides and like most pups, rolling around in the dirt! She absolutely LOVES to fetch. She will do just about anything to get that tennis ball, especially one that squeaks! Once she sees one in your hand, she’ll automatically sit on her back legs waiting for it to be thrown ?

Blaze is available for adoption from Carpathia Paws, Inc. in Hinesville, GA.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 29, 2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-29-2015/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-29-2015 http://gapundit.com/2015/06/29/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-june-29-2015/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:50:03 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50862 GaPundit:

On June 29, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed from Cadiz, Spain to invade Florida. Johan De Kalb was born on June 29, 1721 in Germany. In 1777, De Kalb joined the Marquis de Lafayette in supporting the Americans against British forces, dying in Camden, South Carolina in 1780. In 1822, the Georgia General Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second week times will vary depending on the day.

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

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

 

The four candidates in State House District 155 (Ben Hill, Coffee, Irwin, Tift and Turner Counties) met in a debate sponsored by the Tifton Chamber of Commerce.

All four candidates shared their thoughts on what would be the biggest issue for the district.

“We have an eight percent unemployment, we’re having trouble filling the jobs because people aren’t trained,” said Scott Downing.

Sherry Miley said, “It’s hard to get big companies when you don’t have the workforce to fill those jobs so I’d say economy with our jobs right now.”

“We wanna make sure that we maintain the University of Georgia and the ABAC College and the technical college here in Tifton. I think that’s critical because that’s gonna train the jobs, the employees for the job and it’s gonna educate our kids that goes into higher education,” said Horace Hudgins.

The final candidate, Clay Pirkle, said “Education is always going to be critical for economic development, it’s gonna be critical for job creation.”

In DeKalb County Commission District 5, where top vote-getters Mereda Davis Johnson and George Turner meet in a July 14 runoff, two candidate forums are planned.

The June 29 candidate forum starts at 6:30 p.m. and will last for an hour and a half. It is sponsored by the Greater Lithonia Chamber of Commerce, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., National Council of Negro Women, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Inc., East Metro Orchids, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Salem Bible Church is at 5460 Hillandale Drive.

On July 9, Georgia Stand Up, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and the Voter Empowerment Collaborative are hosting a forum at Fairfield Baptist, 6133 Redan Road. It starts at 6:30 p.m.

Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-11) will hold a Town Hall Meeting tonight from 6-7:15 PM at Kennesaw City Hall in the Council Chamber.

Last Thursday night, an event for State Rep. Roberty Dickey (R-Mussella) drew Gov. Nathan Deal and a number of Dickey’s legislative colleagues.

Georgia’s highest ranking elected official was at the gathering showing his support for State Representative Robert Dickey

The Governor told the crowd of over 100 that his administration is consistently creating jobs for Georgians.

“In that almost six-week period of time, we have added over 3,300 jobs in the state of Georgia,” said Deal.

He spoke of his recent trip to Brazil, where he met with an Information Technology company.

“400 jobs has already been announced from a company that we visited while we were there, and more will come. What we are doing in economic development is important because we need to provide jobs for our citizens today and our children for tomorrow,” said Deal.

Jack Kingston: the Sad Truth about King v. Burwell

Former First District Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) wrote an Op-Ed about the King v. Burwell decision. Click here to read the full text.

The Affordable Care Act may be remembered as one of the most disastrous pieces of legislation in modern history. It’s bad for patients, it’s crushing small businesses with more than 20,000 pages of regulations, and it does nothing to address the real problems in our healthcare system like the cost of treatments or access to care. I voted against the Affordable Care Act, I voted to repeal it more than 40 times, I fought to defund and dismantle it, and I strongly believe it must be repealed.

Disappointingly, after Thursday’s King vs Burwell ruling, it’s clear that the Supreme Court is playing favorites by defending and practically rewriting certain laws in order to protect them from legitimate challenges. Thus, Obamacare appears to be the law of the land unless Republicans win the Presidency in 2016, hold onto our majorities in the House and in the Senate, and unite behind a legitimate alternative to keep Americans healthy but protect our freedoms.

That’s the sad truth, at least for another 18 months.

An equally sad truth— and one that says a lot about the times we live in— is that by upholding Obamacare, Chief Justice John Roberts and the five associate justices in the majority probably just saved the Republican Party. Politically.

It’s a fascinating perspective on the Supreme Court and its current role in our system of government.

Congressman Tom Price (R-6) offers his thoughts on the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court serves only as further encouragement to use the court system as a systematic springboard to enact agendas outside the democratic and legislative structures of government. Thirty States have held statewide ballots banning gay marriage since the year 2000, and yet legislating from the bench has superseded both public approval and our elected representatives. This is not only a sad day for marriage, but a further judicial destruction of our entire system of checks and balances.”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-3) also offers this on the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

“I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, as they chose to rewrite the ancient and biblical definition of marriage and ignore the will of the states. The Constitution does not define marriage and these unelected judges exercised judicial activism by deciding what the Constitution should mean, rather than what it actually says. It should be decided by the people of the state through a democratic process; for the 10th amendment guarantees the states and people rights that are not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. I will continue to fight to protect traditional marriage values, and the religious rights of those who join me in believing that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

And Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens released the following statement.

“Today the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.  It does not permit bans on same-sex marriage. In our system of government, the Supreme Court bears the ultimate responsibility for determining the constitutionality of our laws. Once the Supreme Court has ruled, its Order is the law of the land. As such, Georgia will follow the law and adhere to the ruling of the Court.”

Randy Evans, Republican National Committeeman for Georgia, spoke about the Supreme Court rulings with the Madison Forum.

Evans started his speech by addressing the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Affordable Care Act does not violate the Constitution by authorizing federal tax credits for eligible citizens in states both with and without state health care exchanges.

“What we have seen with this latest round of Supreme Court decisions combined with the policies of the Obama administration is a systematic disintegration of the fundamental predicate of the rule of law,” Evans said.

He said the Supreme Court made its decision on the Affordable Care Act based on the idea the health care law was “too big to fail,” much like the financial institutions involved in the Great Recession.

“The whole gist of John Roberts’ opinion on Obamacare is it … doesn’t matter what the law says, doesn’t matter if it’s effective, doesn’t matter we all agree it’s worded improperly — it’s too big to let it fail,” Evans said.

Evans also said the Supreme Court’s ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage across the country was about more than gay rights.

“The far broader implication was the shift of the balance of power between the federal government and the state government to the federal government,” Evans said. “What was the one thing that the Founding Fathers feared the most? A king.”

Evans said everything in the Constitution was deliberately designed to make the government inefficient.

“Not because they wanted an inefficient government, but because they believed that inefficiency is the best way to slow the accumulation of power in a single person,” Evans said.

Local Government

The consensus appears to be that consolidation of Augusta-Richmond County was a mistake, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

As it is, most people say consolidation was a mistake, among them the new government’s first mayor, Larry Sconyers.

“SET UP TO FAIL”: “And just look what a mess we’ve got today,” Sconyers said. “Nobody works together. Ten people trying to run the government. One person is elected by all the people, and he has zero power. Yet all the burden falls on the mayor.

“The mayor of Augusta doesn’t have the respect the mayor of the second-largest city in the state of Georgia should have. The legislators could change that if they ever decided to do what they promised to do and give power to the mayor’s office. The current mayor and administrator are not communicating by what I’ve read in the media.

“Government is like a bus, you’ve got to have one person in charge. If I ran my business the way Richmond County runs theirs, I wouldn’t have one.”

“OVERSOLD”: Consoli­da­ted Augusta’s second mayor, Bob Young, said consolidation was oversold.

“The expectations were set too high,” he said. “People were expecting too much. As mayor, I did find it frustrating because working relationships were not defined. Inherent challenges were there. Dysfunctional? I don’t agree with that. Sometimes it limps along. Sometimes it sprints. I wouldn’t say the whole consolidation experiment has been a failure.

Deke Copenhaver, said that overall, consolidation has saved the city money.

Gwinnett County will open four new schools this year, and is discussing further magnet and theme-magnet schools, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Several of the schools have placed a focus on technology initiatives, and science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

In August of 2016, the district plans to open a “STEAM school” in the Duluth cluster, which adds the fine arts to the STEM acronym. That school will be at the former Monarch School location on Main Street. The ADAPT special education program formerly housed at Monarch moved to the Northbrook Center in Suwanee.

A new Norcross cluster elementary school will relieve schools in the Norcross cluster, primarily Peachtree Elementary. But it doesn’t yet have any unique characteristics. It is also planned to open in August 2016.

Long-term plans also call for relief high schools in the Norcross and Meadowcreek clusters, and district officials plan to tailor the curriculum toward a specific theme, such as health sciences and medicine in one school, and international business, finance and law in the other. Financing plans for those schools has not yet been established.

At Discovery, perhaps the most publicized of the new schools, students from across the county beginning in middle school will learn personal finance and entrepreneurial skills, including creating and running a viable business through a partnership with Junior Achievement. Local businesses have also contributed sponsorships and employees volunteering their time.

A facility that’s being relocated, Summerour Middle, boasts an environmental center that allows students to explore outdoor classrooms within a community-managed agriculture program.

Expensive Accounts

The AJC has found that, surprise, cost controls on elected officials’ use of expense accounts is a little loosey-goosey.

Over the past six years, commissioners in Clayton, Cobb and DeKalb counties collectively received about $465,000 in supplemental expense allowances with little accounting of how the money was used, a Georgia News Lab and Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation has found.

The allowances, paid directly to commissioners, range from $3,000 to $7,200 a year and are intended to cover job-related expenses. But the money comes with no strings attached, the News Lab and AJC found.

Clayton Commission Chairman Jeff Turner used some of his allowance for clothing and car washes. And some commissioners sought reimbursement for expenses that appeared to be covered by their monthly supplement.

Receipts show Clayton Chairman Turner, who was first elected in 2013, spent more than $3,500 of his allowances on expenses such as food, travel, parking and baggage fees. He also used it to pay for car washes, dry cleaning and clothing.

Between 2013 and 2014, Turner spent $712.99 at D&K Suit City and K&G Men’s Superstore in Morrow for clothing.

Turner said he is entitled to make these purchases.

“I am full-time chairman, and usually employees get a clothing allowance,” he said. “So I use my stipend to try to make sure that I have the proper attire to make sure I carry out my duty.”

The Savannah Morning-News raised questions about expense reimbursement for Chatham County Commissioner Helen Stone.

According to mileage reports reviewed this month by the Savannah Morning News, the county has paid District 1 Commissioner Helen Stone $878.19 for local travel since Jan. 1. The majority of that was paid to Stone to reimburse her for mileage for traveling from her home — and back — to attend meetings where she serves as a board member.

Those include the county commission, the Chatham Area Transit board of directors, the board of managers of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the board of directors for the Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care Clinic.

Stone’s mileage sheets show that attending these meetings required her to travel between 20 and 40 miles round-trip, mainly from and back to her home on Whitefield Avenue.

She was the only commissioner or board member to seek reimbursement for mileage for attending those meetings.

The county finance department’s files also indicate that, for the second time in the past three years, Stone recently reimbursed Chatham County for some of her travel expenses.

In October 2012, the Savannah Morning News reported that Stone wrote a check to the county for $110 after a reporter pointed out she had been reimbursed for travel to campaign events.

According to the most recent documents, Stone this month reimbursed the county for an additional $396.68, noting on the check that the payment was for mileage due. Also written on a copy made of the check was that the payment was “reimbursement for travel — mileage” after an open records request of her travel expenses was publicized earlier this year.

New Laws Effective July 1

Walter Jones of Morris News, reviews some of the new state laws becoming effective this week.

The state’s fiscal year begins July 1, and that becomes a convenient time for new laws to kick in. The state’s $22 billion budget begins that day, so it makes sense to use the same date for adding three judges to the Court of Appeals, for the transfer of the Office of Consumer Affairs from the governor to the attorney general’s office and for the launch of the Department of Community Supervision that takes over supervising offenders on parole or probation, including juveniles.

The first day of the fiscal year is also a logical start for the revised gasoline tax and the end of the tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles.

Coming just before Independence Day, it is a handy time for the start of legalized fireworks purchases, too.

Here’s a list of the new laws most likely to affect everyday Georgians.

• Transportation Funding: The sales tax on gasoline is converted to a per-gallon basis and raised 6 cents per gallon. The law imposes a $5 nightly tax on hotel/motel rooms and a $200 yearly user fee on electric vehicles while eliminating the tax credit for purchasing them. Gone, too, is Delta Air Lines’ exemption from the sales tax on jet fuel.

• Speed traps: Local law enforcement agencies that get more than 35 percent of their budget from traffic citations within 20 mph of speed limits will have a tougher time winning court challenges. The law is designed to discourage revenue-producing speed traps.

• Fireworks: celebrations can now pop with the legalization of fireworks sales. They’ll be taxed, and shops selling them will be inspected by local and state fire marshals.

• Solar financing: A law passed unanimously removes a legal hurdle to financing solar panels for homeowners, small businesses and nonprofits. It allows private companies to own the rooftop panels, paying the property owner with electricity while selling the rest to the local electric utility.

From the Associated Press, Kathleen Foody also examines new laws that start this week.

Lawmakers can specify when bills go into effect, either when signed by a governor, at the start of a new year or a mix of both. For instance, the state’s new law allowing people with certain medical conditions to sign up for a medical cannabis registry allowing them to possess oil has been up and running since mid-June.
Georgia’s craft brewers fell short this session in their push for direct sales to customers. Wholesalers who act as a go-between from brewers to retailers have opposed dismantling Georgia’s three-tier system.

But brewers around the state did get the ability to charge for a tour and provide a “souvenir” amount of beer to drink on-site. Buying a tour also lets you receive up to a six-pack’s worth of beer to take home.

Brewers are planning a variety of changes when the law goes into effect July 1, from expanding existing tour hours to special events like the July 1 midnight tasting at Burnt Hickory Brewing in Kennesaw.

FIREWORKS

Just days before the July 4 holiday, large fireworks sales become legal for the first time in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Insurance had received more than 200 applications early last week.

Sparklers and fireworks that didn’t lift far off the ground were allowed previously. The new law limits sales during the first year to permanent locations, with tents beginning next summer.

Local governments are taking a variety of approaches ahead of the law taking effect and the holiday weekend likely to see both sales and fireworks use peak. While some are taking no action, other cities plan to use zoning or other local ordinance changes to specify where the stores can locate.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said city officials passed a 90-day moratorium on allowing sales while they update city policies. Paul said residents still can celebrate using fireworks once the state law takes effect but officials want to be specific about where the stores operate.

“There is a public safety issue storing large amounts of explosives in on site,” he said. “We need to be sure where we allow them to sell is a safe location.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Georgia’s generous tax credit for electric vehicle purchases will vanish overnight, starting July 1.

A new $200 fee for registration of alternative fuel vehicles also goes into effect.

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Confederate groups vow to fight back | www.ajc.com http://gapundit.com/2015/06/28/confederate-groups-vow-to-fight-back-www-ajc-com/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=confederate-groups-vow-to-fight-back-www-ajc-com http://gapundit.com/2015/06/28/confederate-groups-vow-to-fight-back-www-ajc-com/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:23:04 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50860 GaPundit:

The leader of Georgia’s Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter said Friday he plans to “counter the new attacks against our heritage” with a lobbying campaign, a membership drive and the threat of legal action against the state. The group outlined its plans as Democrats and other critics vowed to step up their plans to end

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

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

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

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

via Confederate groups vow to fight back | www.ajc.com.

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Decatur church installs solar panels, supports pope’s climate change message – Decaturish http://gapundit.com/2015/06/28/decatur-church-installs-solar-panels-supports-popes-climate-change-message-decaturish/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=decatur-church-installs-solar-panels-supports-popes-climate-change-message-decaturish http://gapundit.com/2015/06/28/decatur-church-installs-solar-panels-supports-popes-climate-change-message-decaturish/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:22:28 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=50858 GaPundit:

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in greater Decatur celebrated the installation at a Monday gathering to also support Pope Francis’ recent message about climate change. Earlier this year, Hannah Solar, LLC installed about $200,000 worth of solar panels “zero cost to the parish” through a federal program, according to a story on the Episcopal News Service.

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

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

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

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

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

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