GaPundit http://gapundit.com Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections Mon, 08 Feb 2016 12:36:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.11 Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 8, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/08/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-8-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-8-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/08/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-8-2016/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:31:06 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53656 GaPundit:

Boomer is an adult male Beagle who is available for adoption from Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption Inc. in Smyrna, GA. Boomer has a tender heart that he is hoping someone will take the time to treat it gently. This adorable guy has found himself homeless when his owner no longer wanted him. He found

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Boomer

Boomer is an adult male Beagle who is available for adoption from Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption Inc. in Smyrna, GA.

Boomer has a tender heart that he is hoping someone will take the time to treat it gently. This adorable guy has found himself homeless when his owner no longer wanted him. He found himself confused and overwhelmed his first day at the adoption center. He has started to settle in and is now waiting patiently for his special home. He does well with other dogs and would most likely do best in a home with another canine companion. He walks well on leash and is very bright and motivated.

He loves learning new things, especially if there are treats involved! His ideal home will be loving, patient and not have any young children. When he gets excited you can even hear him do a “Beagle Bay.” If you are a giving, kind and generous person who is searching for a new family member, come see if Boomer is the right fit for you.

Henry Beagle

Henry is a 5-year old, 28-pound male Beagle who is available for adoption from Forgotten Paws Pet Rescue in Acworth, GA.

Henry is the sweetest and strangest beagle I have ever met. Sweet because he has a happy wiggle butt, loves everyone and just wants to lay close. He spends half his life belly up snoozing and also flips over for belly rubs constantly. Strange because he refuses to take food from my hands. I truly think he was in a home with kids once and got in trouble for taking food from them. I have never seen a dog tuck his head submissive,y when you try to give him steak! He ended up at Henry county animal control as a stray so we don’t know his history.

Henry is housebroken and goes in his crate on command. He likes bones but won’t chew on them if people or other dogs are around. He is learning to walk on leash. He is so submissive it just will take some time for him to build his confidence.

Leia

Leia is a young Beagle and Hound mix female who is available for adoption from Gwinnett Humane Society in Lawrenceville, GA.

Hi! My name is Leia! I am a very sweet girl that was lost on a busy highway. Luckily a good Samaritan rescued me before I was hurt. I am now spayed and up to date on vaccines. I am good with other dogs and LOVE people. They think I’m around 2 years old and crate trained. Did I mention I am very sweet?!

Two Georgia canine officers are in a Facebook contest to win a bulletproof vest.

DeKalb k9 Tomi Conyers K9 Eddie

K-9 Eddie is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois who joined Conyers Police Department with handler Officer Myra Scruggs just over one year ago.  Eddie’s official job description is Narcotic Detection and Tracking.  Eddie’s tracking efforts are specifically used for lost children, Alzheimer’s patients and anyone “at risk”.  Due to Eddie’s personable disposition, this type of tracking was later added to his extensive training.

K-9 Tomi is a 23 month old German Shepherd from Deutschland, Germany [who works with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office]. K-9 Tomi is out of the Southern Coast K-9 School out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida ran by Bill Heiser. K-9 Tomi is a dual purpose dog and trained in narcotics, apprehension, and tracking.

“Sadly, three K-9s have been killed in the line of duty already this year while attempting to apprehend suspects, said Kim Lucas, Public Information Officer for the Conyers Police Department.  “We’d love to get the message out there about this non-profit that protects our K-9’s.”

VOTE for EDDIE: Eddie is the 13th post down the page.

VOTE for TOMI: Tomi is the 2nd post down the page.

 

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 8, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/08/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-8-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-8-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/08/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-8-2016/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:08:48 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53655 GaPundit:

On February 8, 1751, the first session of the Georgia Provincial Parliament adjourned, having convened on January 15, 1751. On February 8, 1955, Gov. Marvin Griffin signed a resolution by the General Assembly calling on Congress to require racial segregation in the military. On February 8, 1956, the Georgia State House adopted a resolution purporting

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On February 8, 1751, the first session of the Georgia Provincial Parliament adjourned, having convened on January 15, 1751.

On February 8, 1955, Gov. Marvin Griffin signed a resolution by the General Assembly calling on Congress to require racial segregation in the military.

On February 8, 1956, the Georgia State House adopted a resolution purporting to hold the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education null and void.

On February 8, 1981, R.E.M. held their first recording session at Bombay Studios in Smyrna, recording “Gardening At Night,” “Radio Free Europe” and “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,” as well as others.

Under the Gold Dome

Senate Committee Meetings

TBD Rules – Upon Adj. 450 CAP

8:15 AM Appropriations 341 CAP

1:00 PM Regulated Ind & Util 310 CLOB

1:00 PM Public Safety Sub 125 CAP

2:00 PM Education & Youth 307 CLOB

2:00 PM Public Safety 125 CAP

2:00 PM Insurance & Labor 450 CAP

3:00 PM Health & Human Svcs 450 CAP

4:00 PM Econ Dev & Tourism 310 CLOB

4:00 PM Finance – CANCELED Mezz

House Committee Meetings

8:30 AM Approp Gen’l Gov’t Sub 506 CLOB

10:00 AM RULES 341 CAP

1:00 PM Life and Health Insurance Sub 506 CLOB

1:30 PM JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL 406 CLOB

1:30 PM Judiciary Civil Fleming Sub 403 CAP

1:30 PM W&M Income Tax Sub 133 CAP

2:00 PM ECON DEV AND TOURISM 506 CLOB

2:00 PM Approp. Human Res Sub 341 CAP

2:00 PM Approp Education Sub 606 CLOB

3:00 PM Approp Public Safety Sub 506 CLOB

3:00 PM Regulations Sub 605 CLOB

3:30 PM Jud’y Non-Civil Pak Sub 406 CLOB

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 278 – Criminal Offenses; increase the penalty provisions; pimping and pandering (Substitute)(JUDYNC-45th)

SB 283 – Accounting for Public Funds; provide multibank pooling of depositories for acceptance of deposits of public funds from public bodies (Substitute) (B&FI-18th)

House Rules Calendar

Modified Open Rule

HB 649 –  Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act; enact (Substitute) (H&HS-Cooper-43rd)

HB 759 Courts; financial institutions; certain activities shall not constitute the unauthorized practice of law; provide (Judy-Willard-51st)

HB 775 Health; restrictions on sale and dispensing of spectacles; provide (Substitute)(RegI-Ehrhart-36th)

HB 780 Health; certain nondiagnostic laboratories not subject to state licensure as a clinical laboratory; provide (H&HS-Lott-122nd)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 737 Code Revision Commission; revise, modernize and correct errors of said Code (CR-Caldwell-131st)

HB 767 Motor vehicles; add utility service vehicles to the “Spencer Pass Law”; provisions (MotV-Powell-32nd) AM 39 0147

Legislation & Local Politics

Casino advocates are primarily working behind the scenes to create legislative enthusiasm for their proposed statewide referendum.

Outwardly, there’s been almost no action on the casino gambling bill. Backstage it’s a different story.

The bill’s fate appears to rest, in part, on its potential impact on college scholarships.  Backers say casino gambling revenue would actually create a substantial surplus in the state’s HOPE scholarship fund.  So the question noodling around backstage is what to do with that surplus.  And the bill’s sponsor says the surplus would likely go to a needs-based college scholarship for lower income Georgians.

“Everything now seems to be focused around how we get the needs based piece rolled into the HOPE scholarship,” said Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah). “And we’re going to have to have that in some form to get enough votes to get it passed.”

Stephens says his bill’s fate is also somewhat tied into a horse racing bill that has gotten some traction at the Capitol and may get a vote as early as next week.  If horse racing gets momentum, he thinks casino gambling will quickly follow.

Both bills would require two-thirds votes to pass the legislature as constitutional amendments.  Voters would have to subsequently approve them for them to become law.

Macon-Bibb County voters are likely to be asked to support a SPLOST to continue the current one, which expires in January.

Commissioners are expected to talk Tuesday about making a list of special purpose local option sales tax projects. The current $190 million SPLOST had generated through January about $155 million that already has paid for multiple recreation center projects, Second Street Corridor work and the construction of fire stations, an animal shelter and a juvenile justice center.

The SPLOST also has been used for repairs to the Bibb County Courthouse, a new public safety radio system and various other projects and equipment.

A resolution to begin the SPLOST process is expected to go before a County Commission committee Tuesday. Macon-Bibb officials will set up public hearing dates to get people’s input on a new slate of projects. Macon-Bibb department heads already have started developing a wish list of projects.

The State House Natural Resources Committee voted to ask the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to study the issue of storing surface water in the subsurface Floridan Aquifer.

Environmental groups have been pushing for a law to block any storage of surface water in the Floridan Aquifer that supplies most coastal customers. But they accepted the resolution as a start.

The House Natural Resources Committee, with the support of many coastal legislators, voted unanimously for House Resolution 1198 to “encourage” the Environmental Protection Division to review its regulations about storing surface water in aquifers for later use.

Many environmental and coastal civic groups favored Senate Bill 36, introduced last year by Sen. William Ligon, R-St. Simons Island. The Senate passed it 48-3, but the House committee never acted on it.

On Thursday, Committee Chairwoman Lynn Smith said Ligon’s bill is dead because Gov. Nathan Deal signaled he would veto it. That’s because EPD officials want to keep aquifer storage as a possible option.

Former United Peachtree Corners Civic Association President Scott Hilton will seek the Republican nomination for the State House seat currently held by Rep. Tom Rice.

“Through prayer and careful consideration, our family is pleased to announce my campaign for the Georgia State House,” Hilton said in a statement. “As state representative, it will be an honor to build on a lifetime passion of serving my neighbors and the broader community.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute back my time and talents toward keeping Georgia as one of the best states to live, work and play.”

“As an outsider to politics, I am running to champion conservative ideals based on a successful career in private industry,” he said. “I will leverage my experience from a 10-year career in commercial banking to promote conservative, free-market solutions that reduce taxes and eliminate government programs that hinder business expansion.

“We need to keep focused on attracting new industry and quality jobs to our state and region.”

Road deaths were down 11% in January over the same period in 2015, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Drugs & Crime

Governor Deal is expected to propose a legislative package continuing his theme of criminal justice reform aimed to reduce recidivism and long-term incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

What may be the most controversial recommendation from the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform is the idea of lifting the lifetime food stamp ban for felony drug offenders.

The council says about 6,700 otherwise eligible Georgians are denied that benefit every year, a number that includes more than 1,800 children. Granting them food stamps would bring in federal dollars and remove a barrier to helping ex-convicts putting their life back together, the council report says.

The report also recommends several ways to ease up on people who are on probation for misdemeanors but have a hard time paying their fines. Right now, nonpayment can land an offender in jail. The council recommends a hearing first on why the person is not able to pay.

For juveniles, it recommends keeping first-time offenders age 13 and under out of secure detention except for the most serious offenses.

It’s not yet clear whether Deal’s bill will propose everything in the report.

Deal spokeswoman Jen Talaber said “the final pieces of the legislation are still being discussed, have yet to be decided upon,” but she expects the bill to be filed this week.

Drug courts have been a hallmark of criminal justice reform in Georgia, and the Cobb County Drug Court is expanding treatment options available in a move to address an epidemic of heroin use.

The change would allow medication-assisted treatment options that were banned by the drug court up until 2016. Medications such as methadone, and, more recently, buprenorphine, naloxone and naltrexone, taken alone or in combinations known by various brand names, are used to block cravings for and effects of opioids such as heroin. The Drug Court may exercise its discretion about which medications to allow.

Missy Owen, who founded the Davis Direction Foundation after her son died of a heroin overdose in 2014, called the new policy “amazing.”

“It absolutely needed to happen,” she said.

Owen said she has seen cases of individuals who were forced to go off of anti-addiction medication by a court and relapsed. For every year of sobriety, an addict’s chances of staying clean improve dramatically, she added.

“These drugs help you get to where you need to be … it gets you to that year or that three-year (mark),” Owen said. “Medication-assisted treatment is just that: it assists.”

According to Owen, there were 37 confirmed heroin deaths in Cobb in 2015, and not all the toxicology screenings are complete. There were 53 such deaths in 2014, she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids, including heroin, were involved in 28,647 deaths nationally in 2014 and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 2000. Georgia was one of 13 states that had “significant” drug overdose death rate increases between 2013 and 2014 — 10.2 percent.

The Cobb Drug Court’s amendment to its policy follows an executive order by President Obama in October that gave federal agencies 90 days to identify barriers to medication-assisted treatment and remove them. In order to access federal funds, the Cobb Drug Court followed suit, beginning in January.

In the past, Cobb’s drug court, like many, was based on an abstinence model that held that putting addicts on a medication on which they were dependent was trading one addiction for another.

Many in the recovery community, however, have criticized the abstinence model, arguing that it puts users at higher risk of overdosing if they do relapse, which is extremely common, particularly with heroin addiction.

The federal effort to battle drug abuse also includes funding, according to the Gainesville Times.

President Barack Obama has proposed $1.1 billion in new spending to fight an epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse that has taken its toll on urban and rural communities across the country, including in Gainesville and Hall County.

“Overdose from prescription medications and other drugs is not a new issue, but it’s impacting communities that have traditionally seen themselves as immune to its reach,” said Jeremy Galloway, a Dahlonega resident and former heroin addict who is now a certified addiction recovery empowerment specialist in a peer-based support program developed by the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

Drug overdoses are now common in suburban communities and transcend socio-economic lines, Galloway said.

For example, 387 overdose-related calls for help were made to Hall County’s emergency 911 line in 2014, and another 295 calls were made in 2015.

In Georgia, lawmakers passed a medical amnesty law that gives immunity to drug users who call for medical help in the event of an overdose.

And a bill currently proposed in the state legislature would require education and addiction counseling for all patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain.

At some level, part of the rise of heroin use in Georgia may be a tragic unintended side effect of success in driving out pill mills.

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team agents seized a record amount of heroin and arrested a man they believe is a major supplier to the area.

“Essentially, heroin was being bought in bulk,” said Gene Harley, CNT.

“The sad part of this reality is, that means there is that much demand for this product here in Chatham County,” said Harley.

There’s been a surge of heroin users nationwide over the last couple of years after pill mills were shut down, and investigators say since then, the clientele for this drug have changed dramatically.

“These addicts are now going to the base of it – in this case heroin – and now we are finding most of our arrests involving not only users but also dealers are anywhere from teenage up to 40-, 50-year-old mostly white male and female,” said Harley.

New research indicates that four out five new heroin users say they became addicted to prescription pills before they used heroin for the first time.

Investigators say since the pill mills were shut down, those who can’t get their opiate-based pills as easily are now turning to the streets, which means a new class of people are desperate for their drugs, including hard working people in the upper middle class. The signs are very difficult to detect. It could be your coworker, and you’d never know.

“As long as they have their fix, they can otherwise be a fully functional person where they can’t be as a crack-cocaine addict, and that’s the other thing too that’s very concerning too, is that in some cases, we’re are finding professionals who are heroin addicts. You wouldn’t know any better unless we catch them in possession of the heroin,” said Gene Harley, CNT.

Just to give you an idea, in 2014 [Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team] arrested 20. In 2015, 27 and so far this year they’ve arrested five, all relating to heroin.

Peach State Presidential Politics

Today is the first day of in-person early voting for the March 1, 2016 Presidential Preference Primary known as the “SEC Primary.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp last week announced that a record 54,385 residents registered online in the final week before the Feb. 1 deadline.

Kemp said 37,903 of the new registrations came from those signing up for the first time.

On the last day to register, 21,351 people used the online registration Web page, Kemp said.

As the time ran out, the traffic picked up, so the site was processing a user’s request every three seconds.

Residents unsure of their registration status can check it online through the Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page” at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. That page also enables voters to download sample ballots.

Hall County Chief Registrar Charlotte Sosebee is projecting high turnout for the Presidential primary this year.

Projected turnout for the election is 47 percent of the registered residents, 34,978 people, according to the Hall County Board of Elections and Registration. The county had 74,421 active voters as of November 2015. Sosebee noted the turnout numbers are “just my estimate.”

Only the Republicans had a competitive race in Hall in the 2012 presidential primary, which attracted 22,422 voters. The Democrats, with incumbent President Barack Obama solo on the ballot, drew only 620 voters.

Some areas may see Special Elections on their ballot on March 1st, including Tucker, which will elect its first Mayor and City Council. Click here for early voting information for the City of Tucker elections.

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted Cruz will speak at a campaign event from 6-9 PM at Taco Mac, 5600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30342.

Today, Congressman Austin Scott will be at the Georgia State Capitol at 10:30 AM to make an announcement regarding the Marco Rubio campaign.

Here’s a really well done video from last week’s Farmers for Trump rally in Sasser, GA, including the four cropduster flyover.

A contingent of Georgia supporters of Marco Rubio has been tramping through the snow in New Hampshire this weekend, campaigning for the Florida Senator.

NH Campaign Signs

Marco GA NH 3

IMG_9392v2

Judson Hill Campaigns NH

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Georgia supporters of Marco Rubio deploy to New Hampshire http://gapundit.com/2016/02/06/georgia-supporters-of-marco-rubio-deploy-to-new-hampshire/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-supporters-of-marco-rubio-deploy-to-new-hampshire http://gapundit.com/2016/02/06/georgia-supporters-of-marco-rubio-deploy-to-new-hampshire/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:04:35 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53648 GaPundit:

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Marco GA NH 3

NH Campaign Signs

Marco GA NH 2

Marco GA NH 1

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 5, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/05/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-5-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-5-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/05/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-5-2016/#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:18:39 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53629 GaPundit:

Miller is a male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA. Lila is a female Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA. She and her sister Lailey were found as stray puppies

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Miller

Miller is a male Boxer mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

Lila

Lila is a female Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA. She and her sister Lailey were found as stray puppies searching for food at a dumpster.

Lailey

They were adopted but the family was not spending enough time with them so they returned to us. She looks like a large Jack Russell Terrier.Lila is a sweet, outgoing and playful girl; typical JRT in that she bounces! She would be great for a home that wants an active dog. Lila is great with other dogs and she loves children. She is housebroken, current on shots and spayed.

Wags

Wags is a female Labrador Retriever and Collie mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

Wags is one of a litter of 7 puppies that were found under a handicap ramp of an abandonded home when they were only 10 days old. Their mother had been struck and killed by a car; one of our foster homes took the puppies in and bottled fed them and happily, they all survived and have thrived! But, Wags and the gang need a home of their own.

Wags and her brother, Lewis, must be adopted together. Lewis is very attached to Wags, and since they have been together their entire lives, we think it best for both of them to keep them together. If ever there were a dog appropriately named, it is Wags. She is great with other dogs, likes children and is all around sweet girl, her tail never stops wagging, hence her name (she is untested with cats). She would be great for a home that is looking to “balance out their pack”-she seems to have a calming effect on other dogs.

Louis

Louis is the brother of Wags. He is good with all female dogs and some male dogs; he likes children, he is smart and eager to please (he is untested with cats). He is fun loving and just wants to be where ever the people are. He is current on shots, neutered and on heartworm prevention.

Nugget

Nugget is a male Bassador puppy – a Labrador Retriever and Basset Hound mix – who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Terrell County in Dawson, GA.

I love to fetch, run and play! My favorite things to do are: chasing my favorite ball, playing with my stuffed monkey, eating and cuddling.

My foster mom says to tell you that I’m housebroken “if you stay on top of it”. (She swears you’ll understand that even though I don’t.) She says I listen well and that I understand the difference between play time and calm down time. (She is telling the truth! I know what all of that means.)I get along great with the other dogs and cats in my foster home too.

My previous family took me to stay at a nice persons house during recent flooding because they offered to help by keeping me safe. When it was time for my family to pick me up, they refused to come get me. I’m doing great though and I love being at my new foster home. My foster family says I am such a joy to have. My foster mom said I’m an adorable goofball and will be an awesome addition to YOUR home!

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 5, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/05/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-5-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-5-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/05/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-5-2016/#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:59:39 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53630 GaPundit:

Georgia and American History On February 7, 1733, the first Georgia colonists had been here a week and they finished building a hand-operated crane to move heavy supplies and livestock from their boats to the top of the forty-foot high bluff where they were building a settlement. John and Charles Wesley arrived at Tybee Roads,

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Georgia and American History

On February 7, 1733, the first Georgia colonists had been here a week and they finished building a hand-operated crane to move heavy supplies and livestock from their boats to the top of the forty-foot high bluff where they were building a settlement.

John and Charles Wesley arrived at Tybee Roads, at the mouth of the Savannah River on February 5, 1736, along with James Oglethorpe and 254 other colonists.

On February 5, 1777, Georgia’s first Constitution was adopted in Savannah, creating the first eight counties. Happy birthday to Wilkes, Richmond, Burke, Effingham, Chatham, Liberty, Glynn, and Camden counties.

The 1777 Constitution was progressive for the time, outlawing primogeniture and entail, English common law doctrines that controlled inheritance of land.

Primogeniture ensured that the eldest son in a family inherited the largest portion of his father’s property upon the father’s death. The practice of entail, guaranteeing that a landed estate remain in the hands of only one male heir, was frequently practiced in conjunction with primogeniture. (Virginia abolished entail in 1776, but permitted primogeniture to persist until 1785.)

Georgians restructured inheritance laws in Article LI of the state’s constitution by abolishing entail in all forms and proclaiming that any person who died without a will would have his or her estate divided equally among their children; the widow shall have a child’s share, or her dower at her option.

The House of Assembly, Georgia’s legislative body, held its second meeting after statehood on February 6, 1788 in Savannah.

The Southern Pacific Railroad completed its “Sunset Route” from New Orleans to California on February 5, 1883, giving the SP a dominant position in transcontinental railroading.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. In 1980, Reagan would be elected President of the United States, beating incumbent Jimmy Carter. When he was born, his father said, “he looks like a fat little Dutchman.  But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced his “court packing” plan on February 5, 1937. After the United States Supreme Court found some of his “New Deal” legislation unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s proposal would have encouraged the retirement of justices older than 70 and for those who did not retire, appoint an assistant Justice with full voting rights on decisions by the Court.

On February 5, 1945, Governor Ellis Arnall signed legislation abolishing the poll tax, making Georgia the first Southern state to do so.

Georgia’s 1877 constitution authorized the tax, which limited voter participation among both poor blacks and whites. But most whites got around the provision through exemptions for those whose ancestors fought in the Civil War or who could vote before the war.

In 1937, the U.S. Supreme court upheld Georgia’s poll tax as constitutional. But in 1942, Georgia voters chose Ellis Arnall for governor and the progressive Arnall ushered in a wave of reforms, including abolishing Georgia’s poll tax.

Nigel Tufnel, of the band Spinal Tap, was born on February 5, 1948.

On February 6, 1952, Governor Herman Talmadge signed resolutions of the General Assembly that included:

A resolution calling on Congress to call a convention to propose a constitutional amendment to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and instead allow a maximum rate of 25 percent on any federal income, transfer, gift, or inheritance tax.

A resolution urging U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell to run for the presidency.

On February 6, 1956, Governor Marvin Griffin addressed a joint session of  the Georgia General Assembly, asking their support for House Resolution 1185, which introduced the idea of “interposition,” in which the State of Georgia would declare the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 and 1955 Brown v. Board of Education decisions “null and void” in Georgia. That day Griffin also signed a raft of legislation for his “massive resistance” agenda against integration of state schools.

On February 5, 1974, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” by Barry White reached #1 on the charts.

Def Leppard’s “Pyromania” began a 92-week run on the best-seller charts on February 5, 1983. Rock on.

On February 6, 1985, Reagan gave the State of the Union. During the speech he announced what would be known as the “Reagan Doctrine.”

Reagan began his foreign policy comments with the dramatic pronouncement that, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God’s children.” America’s “mission” was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” More specifically, Reagan declared that, “We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives—on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua—to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.” He concluded, “Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.”

With these words, the Reagan administration laid the foundation for its program of military assistance to “freedom fighters.”

On February 7, 1990, the Communist Party Central Committee of the Soviet Union agreed to a proposal by Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev that is should give up its political monopoly.

The response from the United States was surprise and cautious optimism. One State Department official commented that, “The whole Soviet world is going down the drainpipe with astonishing speed. It’s mind-boggling.” Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger indicated that he was “personally gratified and astonished that anyone would have the chance to say such things in Moscow without being shot.” President George Bush was more circumspect, merely congratulating President Gorbachev for his “restraint and finesse.”

Ironically, the fact that the Communist Party was willing to accept political challenges to its authority indicated how desperately it was trying to maintain its weakening power over the country. The measures were little help, however–President Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991 and the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1991.

Georgia Politics

State Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross) announced yesterday that he will not run for reelection, and will endorse Scott Hilton to succeed him.

Tom Rice Retiring

Scott Hilton is a friend of mine, and a classmate from the Conservative Political Leadership Institue. He’ll be a very strong candidate, and if elected, will serve honorably.

Earlier this week, State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) quashed speculation that he would run for Lt. Governor in 2018.

State Rep. Allen Peake is abandoning the idea of a 2018 run for lieutenant governor, saying his well-reported deliberations about the office are undercutting his push for medical marijuana.

“I keep hearing that the only reason I’m pushing this medical marijuana bill is to elevate my name … as a platform for higher office,” Peake, R-Macon, said.

“I thought it was time to make it clear: My motivation for pushing this bill has nothing to do with higher office,” Peake said.

Peake said he will run for re-election to the state House this year.

Former State Senator Floyd Griffin, Jr. of Milledgeville will run against Rusty Kidd, the sole Independent in the State House.

“I’m announcing my intent to run for House seat 145,” said Griffin, a Democrat.

The district covers all of Baldwin County and part of Putnam.

Griffin, 71, said he thinks that he is the best-qualified person for the office. He also said it is time for incumbent Rusty Kidd, an independent, to leave office.

“Kidd has lost the trust and confidence of the citizens here in this district, especially in Milledgeville and Baldwin County, because of his involvement and heavy-handed approach with the consolidation effort,” Griffin said.

Griffin also said he will step aside if a more qualified candidate with a better chance of winning shows up.

“I have been encouraged, recruited … by citizens here in the community to run for this position,” Griffin said. “I’m not overly enthused about going back to Atlanta but I think it’s an obligation since I’ve been asked to do this and I’m the most qualified person in this district.”

Griffin was elected to the state Senate in 1994 and left in 1998 to run for lieutenant governor. He was mayor of Milledgeville from 2002 to 2006.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert and Coroner Leon Jones announced separately that they would run for reelection to their respective posts.

Monique Walker announced she will run for State Court Judge in Richmond County.

The daughter of former Georgia state Sen. Charles Walker, Monique Walker managed the family business while he served eight years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a law degree, both from the University of Georgia. Walker said she is responsible for more than 1,000 employees and runs a boutique law firm.

Also seeking the judgeship are Kellie Kenner-McIntyre, Augusta’s solicitor general and the daughter-in-law of former Augusta Mayor Ed McIntyre, and attorney Bo Hunter. The nonpartisan post is held by John Flythe, who is running for Superior Court judge. The election is May 24.

Wright McLeod’s campaign for House District 123 became more complicated after he was arrested on allegations of assault.

Attorney Wright McLeod, a candidate for Georgia House District 123, was booked Thursday on a charge of false imprisonment then released on his own recognizance.

Richmond County Magistrate Court Judge William D. Jennings III signed the warrants for the arrests of McLeod and Amy Palowitch, ruling there was probable cause to
support a charge of false imprisonment.

At a pre-arrest hearing last week, Janice Jamison presented her side of a Dec. 28 incident in which she said that McLeod and Palowitch came into her office at the Augusta War­rior Project and told her she was fired.

According to Jamison’s complaint, McLeod, a board member of the Augusta Warrior Project, and Palo­witch told her she wouldn’t be allowed to leave unless she let them search her purse and backpack. Jami­son refused and the sheriff’s office was called in.

A subcommittee of the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to recommend passage of House Bill 757, the “Pastors Protection Act” by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville).

The bill now goes to the full Judiciary Committee for consideration. The measure known as the “Pastor Protection Act” is among at least eight bills seeking religious exemptions for same-sex marriage objectors.

But it’s the only bill backed by Speaker David Ralston, the House’s top Republican.

Supporters of the bill said the Supreme Court’s decision last year legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide prompted the push for its passage.

“The Bible states a marriage is between a man and a woman,” state Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said.

He added that protections are “absolutely” needed if pastors feel pressure to act against their own belief.

The measure approved by a subcommittee Thursday also would allow religious organizations to prevent its property from being used for purposes “objectionable” to their beliefs.

Click here for the full text of the Pastors Protection Act, HB 757.

The House Governmental Affairs Committee greenlighted the City of Stonecrest incorporation bill to move to the House floor for a vote, according to the AJC.

The next metro Atlanta community to become a city could be Stonecrest in DeKalb County, a proposal that is advancing through the Georgia General Assembly.

The Stonecrest cityhood bill unanimously passed the House Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday and could soon receive a vote in the full House of Representatives. The legislation, Senate Bill 208, already passed the Senate last year.

Stonecrest would include about 50,000 residents along Interstate 20 and near Stonecrest Mall, covering the southeast corner of DeKalb and bordering the city of Lithonia.

Stonecrest supporters said they want the same local control of their government that has been granted to three other young cities in DeKalb: Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Tucker.

“People want to be empowered, and we can focus on our economic development in that corridor,” said Jason Lary, president of the Stonecrest City Alliance. “That’s something that has been lacking in our area, and that’s our path to prosperity.”

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr spoke to DeKalb County leaders about the importance of getting their ish coming together to support the development at the old GM plant in Doraville.

Remarks by state economic development chief Chris Carr underscored the mounting pressure on the DeKalb school board to take part in a tax incentive plan developers say is critical to creating a new downtown for a city decimated by the auto plant’s closure in 2008.

He warned that the effort to upgrade the site could fail without the school district’s support for infrastructure improvements, including a street grid and pedestrian connections to MARTA.

“We have an opportunity in our county to have the best site in metro Atlanta — probably one of the best sites in the Southeast — and we’re on the verge of blowing it,” Carr said during a meeting with a dozen DeKalb lawmakers.

Despite the pressure, DeKalb school board members say they haven’t been convinced the redevelopment would benefit students anytime soon.

Its construction depends on financing for the project that would use expected growth in property tax revenue to pay for $247 million in infrastructure improvements. School taxes would pay for more than half that amount, with the rest of the burden shared by DeKalb and Doraville governments, which have already approved their parts of the deal.

DeKalb Board of Education members rightly put the benefits to students at the center of their deliberations, so let me address that briefly. The tax break being sought by the developers here would waive the increased property taxes on the site for several decades to pay for public infrastructure improvements at the site. At the same time, the school system (and thus, students) will benefit from dramatically increased sales taxes at a now-abandoned site and from increased spending by the hundreds or thousands of people who will eventually work at the site.

Beyond the money that will flow into county school coffers, we can’t afford to ignore the benefits of job creation. If students perform best when their parents can afford to keep a roof over their heads, the student body in DeKalb will surely benefit, even if indirectly, from job creation in the county. Conversely, if this development fails due to government recalcitrance, DeKalb County overall will likely never see a job creation opportunity like this in my lifetime.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber has a report that says increasing taxes will benefit the state economy by less money than it costs to build out MARTA.

A $8 billion plan to expand MARTA could inject $5.2 billion into the region’s economy over the next two and a half decades, a new study shows.

It could also lead to 45,000 new jobs, $1.8 billion saved from loss of revenue due to commuters sitting in traffic and $116 million in increased wages, among other benefits. The estimates are spotlighted in a report released this week by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Transportation Alliance (a policy arm of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce) to make a business case for proposed legislation that would help nearly double the size of MARTA’s existing system.

Some lawmakers, however, are skeptical of the study, which was drafted by and and on behalf of companies that could potentially profit from a MARTA expansion.

“I trust the Chamber and Transportation Alliance,” said state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, who has been critical of MARTA’s expansion plan. “What I would be concerned with is if they only put the things in there that support the conclusion they wish to advocate. That’s what I have seen happen before.”

Meanwhile, Senate Transportation Committee members heard a presentation of the report Tuesday and many seemed receptive to growing MARTA.

Of course, the Senate Transportation Committee is composed primarily of legislators from outside Metro Atlanta who will not be stuck paying increased sales taxes for years into the future. I’m open to the expansion of MARTA, and obviously, that would need to be paid for by someone, but simply raising taxes on DeKalb, Fulton, and Clayton Counties, which already pay the vast majority of MARTA’s costs is not my favored way of doing so.

Maybe showing DeKalb County taxpayers some benefit from a higher tax by chipping in to pick up the BOE’s portion of the Doraville TAD, which is centered on a MARTA station and will increase the utility of that MARTA line would be a way to show us some love.

Georgia Presidential Politics

Candidates for public office have a Campaign Contribution Disclosure due today by 5 PM. This is the end of the grace period for the January 31 filing.

The Trump campaign Farmers for Trump event in Sasser, Georgia yesterday was estimated to have tripled the population of the Southwest Georgia town of 279 souls.

Trump Farmers Rally

The signs were made for the event and will be used at other Farmers for Trump coalition events.

And the event included a four-plane flyover with cropdusters in formation. That’s pretty cool and something I’ve never heard of for a political event.

Farmers Trump Flyover Small

Georgia’s Twitter Trolling is Strong

Yesterday, Congressman Steven Smith (R-GA) of the Fifteenth Congressional District tweeted his endorsement of Donald J. Trump, receiving more than 1600 retweets and 2400 likes.

The only thing is that Steven Smith is not a Congressman from Georgia, and there is no Fifteenth Congressional District.

Among the gullible souls who hit retweet without doing the research was Ann Coulter. (Hat tip to Erick Erickson).

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Marsy’s Law aims to put victims’ rights in constitution http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/marsys-law-aims-to-put-victims-rights-in-constitution/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marsys-law-aims-to-put-victims-rights-in-constitution http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/marsys-law-aims-to-put-victims-rights-in-constitution/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:41:04 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53626 GaPundit:

Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) and Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone) on Thursday introduced Marsy’s Law for Georgia to elevate crime victims’ rights to the state constitution. “In Georgia, people convicted or accused of crimes have constitutional rights, but their victims do not,” said Parsons. “In 2010, I sponsored and passed a bill that put comprehensive victims’

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Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) and Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone) on Thursday introduced Marsy’s Law for Georgia to elevate crime victims’ rights to the state constitution.

“In Georgia, people convicted or accused of crimes have constitutional rights, but their victims do not,” said Parsons. “In 2010, I sponsored and passed a bill that put comprehensive victims’ rights into state law. In these six years, we’ve shown we can prioritize the needs of victims and their families without putting an undue burden on the criminal justice system. We know it works; now it’s time to join the majority of states by putting victims’ rights in the state constitution.”

“The highest rights in our society are embedded in our constitution,” noted Fludd, Democratic Caucus chairman. “Marsy’s Law gives victims the same rights as the criminals who harmed them, and the support they and their families need during a stressful, scary legal process. In 2016, Georgians can vote to bring our state in line with more than 30 other states that already have enshrined the rights of victims in their most sacred legal documents. I’m sponsoring this legislation because I believe victims deserve – at the very least – rights equal to those who victimize them.”

Other early signers include House Judiciary Chairman Wendall Willard and Atlanta Democrat Margaret Kaiser.

A state constitutional amendment for victims’ rights would guarantee crime victims and their families the following:

  • The right to receive information about their rights and the services available to them.
  • The right to receive notification of proceedings and major developments in the criminal case.
  • The right to receive timely notification of changes to the offender’s custodial status.
  • The right to be present at court proceedings and provide input to the prosecutor before a plea agreement is finalized.
  • The right to be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings or any processes that might result in the offender’s release.
  • The right to restitution.

Marsy’s Law for Georgia stems from a national effort spearheaded by Dr. Henry Nicholas of California, whose sister, Marsy, was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Shortly thereafter, the killer, who unbeknownst to the family had been released on bond, confronted him and his mother at a grocery store. Since then, Dr. Nicholas’ mission has been protecting the rights of victims.

“I believe these rights are fundamental,” said Parsons, “and fundamental rights belong in a constitution. I encourage my colleagues in the General Assembly to discuss this effort with their constituents because I believe wholeheartedly it will enjoy widespread, bipartisan support in their districts.”

“Try as we might, we’ll never prevent all crimes, but as a state, we can do everything in our power to make things right for those victimized by it,” said Fludd.

Amending Georgia’s state constitution with Marsy’s Law requires a two-thirds majority of the state House and Senate, and majority approval by Georgia voters.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 4, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-4-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-4-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-4-2016/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:57:34 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53611 GaPundit:

Lucky is a senior female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA. Lucky is a super sweet and cute girl and even much prettier in person. She is very friendly and sits when told. She does have some skin allergies, but a good diet and medicated

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Lucky

Lucky is a senior female Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Lucky is a super sweet and cute girl and even much prettier in person. She is very friendly and sits when told. She does have some skin allergies, but a good diet and medicated baths should take care of that. Lucky was brought to the shelter as an owner turn in on 1/19/2016. She is about 10 years old and 60 lbs.

Lucky’s ID at the shelter is 581719 and she is in run 17. Her run number could change, so please make a note of her ID and ask for assistance if you don’t find her in run 17.

Abigail

Abigail is an adult female Flat-Coated Retriever who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

If you are looking for a fun companion then this 2 year old, 58 pound girl is for you. She loves to play ball, she knows sit, stay, shake, and lay down on command. She would make an excellent running partner. Abigail has been spayed and tested negative for heart worms and is current on vaccines. She is waiting to meet her new best friend in cage 806 and her ID# is 581756.

Lady

Lady is a senior female Dachshund who is available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter in Marietta, GA.

Lady is a sweet, sweet 13 year old, 11 pound baby doll. Her family left her at the shelter on 02/03 because they said she did not like small children bothering her any longer. How can she be blamed for that? How sad for her to have a home for 13 years and then dumped in a big, loud and scary shelter. At this point she has not figured out her family is not coming back for her.

Lady is quiet in her cage and is a very loving girl who wants to sit on your lap. The family said she is house trained. Lady is spayed and current on her vaccines. She is hoping not to spend much of her senior years stuck in a cage. She is waiting in cage 327 and her ID# is 581962.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 4, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-4-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-4-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/04/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-4-2016/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:44:36 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53612 GaPundit:

On February 4, 1789, George Washington was unanimously elected by the Electoral College as the first President of the United States; Washington’s runner-up John Adams served as Vice President. Washington would repeat the feat four years later on February 4, 1793. On February 4, 1801, John Marshall took office as Chief Justice of the United

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GaPundit:

On February 4, 1789, George Washington was unanimously elected by the Electoral College as the first President of the United States; Washington’s runner-up John Adams served as Vice President. Washington would repeat the feat four years later on February 4, 1793.

On February 4, 1801, John Marshall took office as Chief Justice of the United States. Marshall continued to hold the post of Secretary of State until March 4th. In one of American history’s rich ironies, Marshall, who served at the same time in the judicial and legislative branches of the federal government, would write the Court’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison, establishing the supremacy of the Supreme Court in matters of applying the Constitution through judicial review and establishing the doctrine of separation of powers. Marshall would serve during the terms of six Presidents.

On February 4, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress convened in Montgomery, Alabama, where it would draft a Constitution for the Confederate States of America, beginning with a near-verbatim copy of the United States Constitution.

On January 4, 1976, the Georgia Senate approved a resolution previously passed by the State House proposing a Constitutional Amendment to allow Governors of Georgia to serve two consecutive terms and voters approved in November 1976. Then-Governor George Busbee won reelection in November 1978, and since then Democrat Roy Barnes is the only Georgia Governor to not win reelection.

Under the Gold Dome

Senate Committee Meetings

12:00 PM RULES — UPON ADJ’MNT 450 CAP

1:00 PM INSURANCE & LABOR 450 CAP

2:00 PM URBAN AFFAIRS 125 CAP

2:00 PM JUDICIARY 310 CLOB

2:30 PM Health Care Delivery Sub – HHS 122 CAP

3:00 PM TRANSPORTATION- CANCELED

3:00 PM JUDICIARY NON-CIVIL- CANCELED

4:00 PM BANKING & FIN. INST. – CANCELED

4:00 PM NAT’L RES. & ENV’MNT 450 CAP

House Committee Meetings

8:00 AM NAT’L RES. AND ENV’T 606 CLOB

8:00 AM Approp. Econ. Dev. Sub 506 CLOB

8:30 AM Judiciary Non-Civil Setzler Sub 132 CAP

9:00 AM RULES 341 CAP

12:00 PM Tags & Title Sub 606 CLOB

1:00 PM Approp. Human Res. Sub 403 CAP

1:00 PM Approp. Education Sub 606 CLOB

1:30 PM Jud’y Non-Civil Pak Sub415 CLOB

1:30 PM Resolutions Sub on Transport. 506 CLOB

1:30 PM JOINT SMALL BUS DEV, BANKS & BANKING 341 CAP

2:00 PM WAYS & MEANS 406 CLOB

2:15 PM TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

3:00 PM Judiciary Civil Caldwell Sub 132 CAP

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 230 – ‘Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act’; enactment (Substitute) (H&HS-52nd)

House Rules Calendar

Modified Open Rule

HB 593 Low-voltage Contractors, Division of; require continuing education; authorize (Substitute)(RegI-Hawkins-27th)

HB 730 Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council; commissioner of juvenile justice as a voting member; add (Substitute)(JuvJ-Powell-32nd)

HB 747 Motor vehicles; safe operation of motor carriers and commercial motor vehicles; update reference date to federal regulations (MotV-Rogers-10th)

HB 800 Veterinarians; veterinarian-client-patient relationship; clarify scope (A&CA-Jasperse-11th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 228 Sheriffs; collect and deposit certain fees; provide (Substitute) (Judy-Jones-167th)

Legislation

At least eight pieces of legislation seeking to expand the state’s protection of religious liberty have been dropped in the offering plate legislative hopper.

SB 129 by Sen. Josh McKoon, the original Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

HB 218 by Rep. Sam Teasley, the Preventing Government Overreach on Religious Expression Act.

HB 837 by Rep. Ed Setzler, the “other” Religious Liberty Restoration Act.

SB 284 the First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia by Sen. Greg Kirk.

HB 756 by Rep. Kevin Tanner to protect certain sellers of goods and services against infringement of religious freedom.

HB 757 the Pastor Protection Act by Rep Kevin Tanner.

HB 816 by Rep Billy Mitchell, the “Georgia Student Religious Liberties Act of 2016.”

HB 870 the Quality Basic Education Act by Rep. Brian Strickland, which would protect students’ ability to make religious expressions on their clothing.

Somebody asked me during the preachers’ press conference at the Capitol what I expect to come from the offering of religious liberty legislation. I asked him what has changed since last year. He said, “nothing,“ and I replied, “that’s what I expect to happen here – nothing but more noise on both sides of the debate.

After his first attempt at a MARTA bill that would allow even higher sales taxes to pay for expanding MARTA’s rail footprint was shunted into a siding,  Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) took a second bite at the apple, introducing another bill to do the same thing.

The new bill filed Wednesday afternoon, SB 330, effectively replaces SB 313, which Beach filed on Monday. The two versions are nearly identical, Beach said. The only real change is some added language that requires development around new MARTA stations to be subject to local zoning requirements.

The main reason for filing the new bill was to correct what Beach said was an error in the committee assignment. The former bill had been assigned to the State and Local Government Operations Committee. As AJC columnist Jim Galloway pointed out earlier this week, that committee is chaired by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who has been a vocal opponent of MARTA rail expansion in North Fulton. Transit supporters privately worried that it would not get a vote in that committee.

Beach said he expects the new bill will have a first read tomorrow, and then be assigned to the Transportation Committee. Beach said that’s where the bill always belonged.

Yesterday, I was invited by a prominent Republican activist to join a Facebook group called “Citizens Against Increasing Taxes & MARTA Expansion.” That group only has 24 members this morning, but I’d say it’s probably only the beginning.

Also skeptical about a MARTA tax increase are some DeKalb elected officials, who never met a tax hike they didn’t like, unless it threatens their own planned tax hike.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners recently drafted a letter saying the county “has been placed in a very awkward posture” because a vote on raising MARTA sales taxes could conflict with the county’s infrastructure sales tax proposal.

The county plans to ask voters to decide in November whether to add 1 cent per dollar to their sales taxes to pay for roads, public safety facilities and other infrastructure through a special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST).

If a half-cent per dollar proposal to fund MARTA’s growth were also on the ballot on the same day, that initiative could undermine the SPLOST effort, according to the county’s letter.

“Unfortunately, the proposed half-penny competes with our top sales tax priority to advance a 1-cent SPLOST referendum in November 2016 to meet the basic essential needs of our constituency — crumbling roads,” said the Jan. 26 letter, which was addressed to MARTA CEO Keith Parker and MARTA’s board.

A bipartisan poll by The Mellman Group and McLaughlin & Associates asked Georgia respondents a question about casino gambling:

More than eight-in-ten (84%) want the chance to decide the casino issue in a referendum, while only 14% believe Georgia’s state legislature should decide itself whether or not to allow casinos to operate. Democrats (82%) and independents (83%) join Republicans (86%), conservative Republicans (87%), white evangelicals (86%), GOP primary voters (88%) and lower turnout primary voters (85%) in wanting Georgia’s state legislature should allow the people to allow casinos to operate in Georgia’s state legislature

Georgians are ready and willing to approve casino gaming in the state. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) say they would vote “yes” on a constitutional amendment to allow local jurisdictions to approve casinos that would help fund HOPE. This is nearly double the number who would vote against the plan (29%).

Support is highest among Democrats and minorities, but also reaches majority or plurality levels among Republicans (+12 net yes), Republican primary voters (+14), conservative Republicans (+2), white evangelicals (+8) and whites (+18).

The Georgia House of Representatives passed legislation by State Rep. Jan Jones (R-North Fulton) that will give HOPE scholarship recipients a GPA bump for some science, technology, engineering, and math courses.

Rep. Jan Jones, R-Milton, says the change will encourage students to take such classes and pursue jobs in fields that need skilled employees. Hope Scholarship recipients must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 to keep receiving help for college tuition.

Jones says some students may have avoided the courses due to fear of losing their scholarship eligibility.

She says the Board of Regents, which oversees state colleges and universities, will determine the courses eligible for the added weight.

Legislation sponsored by State Rep. Don Parsons attempts to put another Constitutional Amendment on the November 2016 ballot.

Rep. Don Parsons (R-Marietta) and Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone) on Thursday introduced Marsy’s Law for Georgia to elevate crime victims’ rights to the state constitution.

“In Georgia, people convicted or accused of crimes have constitutional rights, but their victims do not,” said Parsons. “In 2010, I sponsored and passed a bill that put comprehensive victims’ rights into state law. In these six years, we’ve shown we can prioritize the needs of victims and their families without putting an undue burden on the criminal justice system. We know it works; now it’s time to join the majority of states by putting victims’ rights in the state constitution.”

“The highest rights in our society are embedded in our constitution,” noted Fludd, Democratic Caucus chairman. “Marsy’s Law gives victims the same rights as the criminals who harmed them, and the support they and their families need during a stressful, scary legal process. In 2016, Georgians can vote to bring our state in line with more than 30 other states that already have enshrined the rights of victims in their most sacred legal documents. I’m sponsoring this legislation because I believe victims deserve – at the very least – rights equal to those who victimize them.”

Click here for more information on Marsy’s Law in Georgia.

Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz is leaving the state agency, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The Georgia Ports Authority board made the announcement Wednesday morning in a special meeting. They also unanimously accepted the nominating committee’s recommendation to appoint Griff Lynch, the ports’ chief operating officer, to succeed Foltz as executive director.

“During his tenure at the Georgia Ports Authority, Curtis oversaw our ports’ consistent and rapid growth,” Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday. “I’m grateful for his efforts on behalf of our state and am confident that Griff Lynch will continue moving our ports and Georgia forward.”

Foltz, 55, has been with Georgia Ports for 12 years, moving into the top spot in 2009 when then-executive director Doug Marchand retired. His salary for fiscal 2015 was listed at $637,355.

“Curtis Foltz has led the GPA to achieve great things over the past six years as executive director and the six years prior as chief operating officer,” said board chairman Jim Walters. “Under his leadership the GPA has achieved record cargo growth, modernized its terminals and developed operational practices that increased efficiency, improved safety and focused on environmental stewardship.

Peach State Presidential Politics

Blamestorming speculation over the source of rumors that Ben Carson would drop his presidential bid after Iowa have fixated on a young Republican from Georgia.

According to a tweet that is spreading far and wide, first reported by Politistick, the Rubio campaign was pushing the story ‘hard’ that Carson was dropping out of the race too.

The tweet is by a guy named Conrad Close who seems to be an avid Rubio supporter based on his tweets, and says he is a “Conservative journalist and comms guy fighting to make a difference for God and Country. Managing Editor, OUTSET. Occasionally tries to save the world.” on his Twitter profile.

Close later addressed the question, saying that he “was not in Iowa. That tweet was based off what I saw on Twitter. Nothing more.”

If he had been trying to start something, it would have been a brilliant tactical trolling move – the hubbub got Trump and Carson fighting against Ted Cruz, which likely helps Marco Rubio.

The bigger question is why the Carson campaign (and every other Presidential campaign) wasn’t doing a better job of (a) communicating their candidate’s travel plans in a way that didn’t easily play into the idea that he would leave the race; and (b) monitoring Twitter during the caucuses and refuting inaccurate comments about their candidate.

Jim Galloway of the AJC Political Insider points us to this article from the Tulsa World, which describes a problem faced by Trump in Iowa that will likely resurface as the Presidential race turns South.

White evangelicals made up 65 percent of GOP caucus participants, and Trump won only 21 percent of them, compared to 34 percent for Cruz. Marco Rubio ran third in Iowa, also with 21 percent of the evangelical vote.

Trump, who has identified himself a Presbyterian, had worked to gain evangelical support but stumbled along the way.

Trump has drawn support from some high-profile evangelicals, including Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church, Dallas.

If you’re wondering how the Iowa caucus with its traditional first in nation status came to be seen as make or break for Presidential campaigns, you can thank, in part, Jimmy Carter.

By 1976, when both parties held their caucuses, the world was watching Iowa. “As the curtain raiser on the nominating process,” TIME noted, “the Iowa precinct caucuses stood to give one candidate a publicity bonanza and a jump on his rivals.” And sure enough, they did: Jimmy Carter, then Governor of Georgia, devoted himself to campaigning in the state and came away with about a quarter of the vote, which was more than twice as much as his nearest rival. Though their mathematical impact of those delegates was slim, the support for Carter made a difference for an outsider candidate—so much so that he made it all the way to the White House.

Iowans and the rest of the nation had figured out that their once-sleepy caucuses had become a major part of the American political scene.

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, the former President and Georgia Governor said if he had to choose between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, he’d choose Trump.

“I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you,” the former Democratic president said during an appearance at Britain’s House of Lords on Wednesday afternoon. He was asked who he would pick for the GOP nomination.

“The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable,” Carter explained. “I don’t think he has any fixed [positions] he’d go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right wing policies he’d pursue if he became president.”

When I read that yesterday, my first reaction was that I could hardly imagine how Jimmy Carter could do more damage to Trump than to endorse him. Apparently Cruz agrees, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

Sen. Ted Cruz is happy that rival Donald Trump received one endorsement: a nod from former Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

During a campaign event Wednesday night, Mr. Cruz referred to the comments with glee.

“Get the video, I want the video. I’m going to pay to air Jimmy Carter attacking me,” Mr. Cruz said to a crowd of several hundred gathered at a school here.

Rick Santorum has dropped his presidential bid and endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has also dropped out of the Presidential campaign to concentrate on his reelection to the Senate. Mike Huckabee has folded his campaign as well.

Huckabee won the 2008 Georgia Republican Presidential Primary. In 2012, Santorum came in third in Georgia’s Presidential Primary behind former Speaker Newt Gingrich and eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Senoia) will endorse Marco Rubio for President today.

Rubio now has been endorsed by more members of Congress than Jeb Bush.

Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) bagged six endorsements in quick succession, including the coveted support of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, which will help him in the Palmetto State primary Feb. 20.

Rubio now has 32 endorsements to Bush’s 31 — a blow to the former Florida governor and yet another sign that the GOP establishment is consolidating around Rubio before next week’s New Hampshire primary as its best hope to defeat outsiders Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Rubio’s Wednesday endorsement from Pennsylvania Rep. Glenn Thompson tipped the junior senator over Bush….

The swing behind Rubio hurts Bush, who had been selling establishment support as one of his key advantages. Endorsements have historically been a strong predictor of the nominee, and Bush was trying to position himself as the serious – even inevitable – alternative to Trump and Cruz.

State Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), formerly supporting Sen. Rand Paul, has now endorsed Ted Cruz.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 3, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/03/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-3-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-3-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/03/adoptable-georgia-dogs-for-february-3-2016/#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:17:59 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53590 GaPundit:

Bishop is a senior male Labrador Retriever and Box mix who was abandoned by his family at the Cobb County Animal Shelter. He needs a new foster or forever home. Bishop was turned into the shelter on 1/28 because they had a new baby. But they did say he is good with kids. Poor Bishop

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GaPundit:

Old Man Cobb

Bishop is a senior male Labrador Retriever and Box mix who was abandoned by his family at the Cobb County Animal Shelter. He needs a new foster or forever home.

Bishop was turned into the shelter on 1/28 because they had a new baby. But they did say he is good with kids. Poor Bishop was so distraught when his owner walked away, he was scratching the floor and door to try to get his attention to please not leave him. It was such a sad scene, it had 2 of our staff members in tear and needless to say they have seen and heard everything.

Bishop is 10 years old, his ID is 581861, he is in run 828 and he weighs 80 lbs. Bishop is a really sweet boy, and can’t imagine why his whole world has been turned upside down. Please, please, please consider adopting this older boy, he has lots of love left to give some lucky person.

This beautiful pet and many others need a forever, loving home and are available for adoption from the Cobb County Animal Shelter.1060 Al Bishop Drive Marietta, Georgia 30008, call (770) 499-4136 for more information. Our Shelter hours for Adoptions are: Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., CLOSED Mondays and Holidays.

Hat tip to Tim Darnell of Patch.com for bringing this boy to our attention.

Gwinnett Urgent

Gwinnett County Animal Shelter has an urgent overcrowding situation and will be forced to euthanize dogs for space if folks don’t come in and take some home. If you’ve been considering adopting or fostering, today is a great day to find your new BFF.

Gwinnett49888

48998 is an adult male Golden Retriever who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

49005

49005 is a 10-year old female Miniature Pinscher who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett49001

49001 is a 1-year old Great Pyrenees male who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

Gwinnett49007

49007 is a male Plott Hound/Irish Wolfhound mix male who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA.

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 3, 2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/03/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-3-2016/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-3-2016 http://gapundit.com/2016/02/03/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-february-3-2016/#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:07:16 +0000 http://gapundit.com/?p=53591 GaPundit:

In Today’s Politics, Campaigns, and Elections Update: 1. Under the Gold Dome 2. Public Servants Gone Wild 3. Georgia Elections 4. Peach State Presidential Politics – What’s next for Trump, Cruz, and Rubio 5. Nuke News On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

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GaPundit:

In Today’s Politics, Campaigns, and Elections Update:

1. Under the Gold Dome

2. Public Servants Gone Wild

3. Georgia Elections

4. Peach State Presidential Politics – What’s next for Trump, Cruz, and Rubio

5. Nuke News

On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting.

On February 3, 1887, Congress adopted the Electoral Count Act to clarify how Congress was to count electoral votes.

Electoral vote counting is the oldest activity of the national government and among the oldest questions of constitutional law. It was Congress’s first task when a quorum appeared in the nation’s new legislature on April 6, 1789. It has happened every four years since then. Yet, electoral vote counting remains one of the least understood aspects of our constitutional order.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA) lies at the heart of this confusion. In enacting the ECA, Congress drew on lessons learned from its twenty-five previous electoral counts; it sorted through innumerable proposals floated before and after the disastrous presidential election of 1876; and it thrashed out the ECA’s specific provisions over fourteen years of sustained debate. Still, the law invites misinterpretation. The ECA is turgid and repetitious. Its central provisions seem contradictory. Many of its substantive rules are set out in a single sentence that is 275 words long. Proponents of the law admitted it was “not perfect.” Contemporary commentators were less charitable. John Burgess, a leading political scientist in the late nineteenth century, pronounced the law unwise, incomplete, premised on contradictory principles, and expressed in language that was “very confused, almost unintelligible.” At least he thought the law was constitutional; others did not.

Over the nearly 120 years since the ECA’s adoption, the criticisms faded, only to be renewed whenever there was a close presidential election. Our ability to misunderstand the ECA has grown over time. During the 2000 presidential election dispute, politicians, lawyers, commentators, and Supreme Court justices seemed prone to misstate or misinterpret the provisions of the law, even those provisions which were clear to the generation that wrote them. The Supreme Court, for example, mistakenly believed that the Supreme Court of Florida’s erroneous construction of its election code would deny Florida’s electors the ECA’s “safe harbor” protection; Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s hasty submission of his state’s Certificate of Ascertainment was untimely under the Act; and Democratic members of Congress framed their objections to accepting Florida’s electoral vote on the wrong grounds. Even Al Gore, the presidential candidate contesting the election’s outcome, misread the federal deadline for seating Florida’s electors.

Only the United States Congress could so obfuscate a matter as seemingly simple as counting that its Act remained undecipherable for more than one hundred years.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Delaware on February 3, 1913, giving the Amendment the requisite Constitutional supermajority of three-fourths of the states. The text of the Amendment reads, in its entirety,

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

President Woodrow Wilson died on February 3, 1924 in Washington, DC. Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia (pronounced Stan-ton) and spent most of his youth to age 14 in Augusta, Georgia. Wilson started practicing law in Atlanta, Georgia in 1882, leaving the next year to pursue a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. His wife, Ellen Louise Axson, was from Savannah, and they married in Rome, Ga in 1885.

On February 3, 1959, a chartered Beechcraft Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed near Mason City, Iowa, killing all aboard.

Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze on this date in 1967.

Under the Gold Dome

Senate Committees

12:00 PM RULES — UPON ADJMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM REGULATED IND & UTIL. – CANCELED

1:00 PM PUBLIC SAFETY 125 CAP

1:00 PM EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM Joint HEALTH & HMN SVCS and HIGHER ED. 307 CAP

2:00 PM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 310 CLOB

2:00 PM DOT Delegations- CD 4 Senate Chamber

2:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Public Safety Sub 341 CAP

3:00 PM STATE INST & PROP – CANCELED

3:00 PM DOT Delegations-CD 11 Senate Chamber

3:30 PM Approp Gen’l Gov’t Sub 341 CAP

4:00 PM HEALTH AND HUMAN SVCS SUB 318 CLOB

4:00 PM FINANCE – CANCELED

House Committees

8:00 AM INSURANCE 606 CLOB

8:30 AM Trucks Weights Sub 415 CLOB

8:30 AM RULES 341 CAP

9:00 AM INTRAGOV’TAL COORD 403 CAP

1:00 PM Academic Innovations Sub 506 CLOB

1:30 PM Judiciary Non-Civil Setzler Sub 132 CAP

1:30 PM GOVENMENTAL AFFAIRS 606 CLOB

2:00 PM Appropriations Health Sub 406 CLOB

2:00 PM RETIREMENT 515 CLOB

2:00 PM BUDGET & FISCAL AFFAIRS 506 CLOB

2:30 PM Judiciary Civil Fleming Sub 403 CAP

3:00 PM SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB

3:00 PM Approp Gen’l Gov’t Sub 415 CLOB

3:00 PM EDUCATION 606 CLOB

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 199 – Elections; provide for a definition; prohibit certain activities within close proximity to polling places (ETHICS-17th)
SB 273 – Clinical Laboratories; provide certain nondiagnostic laboratories not subject to state licensure as clinical laboratory (H&HS-11th)

House Rules Calendar

Modified Open Rule
HB 402 – Insurance; encourage employers to provide work based learning opportunities for students age 16 and older; provisions (Substitute) (I&L-Lumsden-12th)
HB 421 – Retirement and pensions; officers employed by Department of Community Supervision shall be entitled to certain disability benefits; provide (Substitute)(Ret-Nimmer-178th)
HB 690 – Employees’ Retirement System of Georgia; provide that certain law enforcement officers obtain creditable service in system under certain
conditions; provisions (Substitute)(Ret-Carter-175th)
HB 815 – Meat inspection; inspection and regulation of certain avian meat products and facilities; provide (A&CA-Rhodes-120th)

Modified Structured Rule
HB 691 – Municipal courts; removal of appointed judges under certain circumstances; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Tanner-9th)
HB 801 – HOPE; include certain coursework in computer science as optional rigor requirements; revise provisions (Substitute)(HEd-Jones-47th)

Yesterday felt like Groundhog day for more reasons than being reminded by the media every 20 minutes that the Philadelphia rodent predicted an early spring. Yes, it was religious freedom day, with the Georgia Baptist Convention holding a Press Conference, followed by a group of rabbis and a liberal Methodist politician opposing them, then a group of Republicans who oppose Religious Freedom legislation.

From 11 Alive,

That list [of religious liberty bills] has become substantial over the last 13 days.

  • Two bills call themselves the religious freedom and restoration act, or RFRA.
  • Another would outlaw govermment overreach against religious expression
  • One is called the first amendment defense act.
  • One protects religious expression on the clothing of high school athletes.
  • One protects the religious liberties of students.
  • One protects florists and other businesses from forcibly participating in gay weddings.
  • Another, the pastor protection act, protects pastors from forcibly participating in gay weddings.

That last bill has the backing of a key House Democrat, Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta).

“I’m the daughter of ministers.  I think that’s an important conversation to be had. It’s also important to say that changing our evolving laws in our state are not going to fundamentally disturb our religious beliefs,” Abrams said, referring to the legalization of gay marriage.  “I think the rest of those laws, regardless of who introduces them, are dangerous because they open the door to discrimination and that should never be the posture of this legislature.”

But backers of the RFRA measures say they don’t discriminate.  “We have no desire to discriminate against anyone. The concern I have is that people of faith in Georgia are being discriminated against. And that needs to stop,” said Dr. Robert White of the Southern Baptist Convention during a rally inside the Capitol Tuesday.

DeKalb County Public Schools has regained its fully-accredited status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). If Michael Thurmond runs for DeKalb CEO, I suspect he can take credit for helping lay the groundwork for this.

A South Carolina legislator says that carry permit reciprocity between the Palmetto State and the Peach State is one of the major issues his constituents mention.

North Augusta Rep. Bill Hixon wants his constituents to advocate for his gun-permit reciprocity bill, which would ease travel to and from Georgia for those with concealed weapons. It’s the No. 1 issue raised by the community, whether at church, at Publix, or at any public event, according to the lawmaker.

The North Augusta Republican introduced H. 3799 last March, which would mean both Georgia and North Carolina would recognize the concealed-weapon permits of South Carolinians. The House passed the bill 101-5 in April and sent it to the Senate, where it sits.

“I personally would urge the citizens of the counties who live in the border counties to call their sheriff and tell the S.C. Sheriffs Association to get out of the way of blocking this bill,” said Hixon, adding that, “all 46 sheriffs don’t agree,” with the association, which has expressed concerns. Indeed, counties that border the Savannah River have unique circumstances.

“We have many people that travel back and forth, Georgia folks and South Carolina folks, that are absolutely breaking the law every single day. And they don’t intend to,” said Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, “Do I remember when I cross the bridge to reach over and grab my glove box and lay it (firearm) on the seat? No. Who does that?”

Without a Georgia concealed-weapon permit, someone with a firearm must display it in plain view.

“Most of us don’t think that’s a very good idea,” said Taylor. “The whole idea of concealed is you’re not alarming anybody, you don’t see anybody, no one sees you.”

Public Service: You’re Doing it Wrong

Chatham County Commissioner Yusuf Shabazz received a sentence of 12 months probation, a $1000 fine, and will be required to complete a drivers education course after being found guilty of reckless driving.

Jacksonville, Georgia Mayor John Dopson was arrested for impersonating a police officer, as he drove a marked city police vehicle.

John Dopson, mayor of Jacksonville, population 140, was driving a Jacksonville police cruiser when he was pulled over Monday by Telfair County deputies, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Dopson declined to take blood and urine tests, “indicating the reason for his refusal was because he knew it would show positive for ‘weed,’” according to the statement.

In addition to the impersonation charge, he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

The sheriff’s office said it had been investigating the mayor for some time “in response to numerous complaints related to the daily personal use of a marked and equipped City of Jacksonville patrol car by an individual who possesses no law enforcement authority.”

Dopson was appointed mayor late last year even though he has been awaiting trial since last March on a felony aggravated assault charge, according to state court records. The Associated Press reported that Dopson was accused of pointing a gun at another man in an incident that was recorded on video.

Georgia Elections

Former State Rep. Delvis Dutton, who ran for Congress in 2014, will seek a return to the Gold Dome, running for the State House seat he previously held against its new occupant, Rep. Bill Werkhiser.

“I want to return to Atlanta to not only finish what I started with the Appeal to Heaven movement, but to continue to push for a state government that is transparent and accountable to Georgians.”

Dutton continued, “When I previously served in the legislature, I was committed to being a responsible steward of our tax dollars while leading a caucus of legislators in restoring our rights, fighting harmful legislation, and ensuring our district was well-represented. I have a proven track record of fighting for the 157th, regardless of the political cost.”

State Rep. Stephen Allison announced via Facebook that he will not run for reelection to the State House, choosing to return home.

A doctor, a lawyer, and a nurse walk into an election…. Lori Swim Greenhill, a Martinez nurse, announced her campaign for State House District 123.

Lori Swim Greenhill made a name for herself last year speaking out on behalf of homeowners affected by construction of the River Watch Parkway extension into Columbia County.

“You’ve seen me with my feet on the ground, working and advocating for the community,” Greenhill said to a handful of supporters Monday. “I think that’s what being a representative of the people is all about, being there for the people.”

“I’m more aligned with Republicans, but I’m very open-minded,” she said. “I listen to people and mull over what they have to say to reach the best solution.”

Evans attorney Wright McLeod and physician Mark Newton, who heads the emergency department at Doc­tors Hospital and owns a chain of urgent care clinics, are also pursuing the District 123 seat held by Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta, who is retiring.

Georgia elections officials have seen high numbers of new voter registrations in advance of this year’s Presidential election.

Officials from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office say they’ve seen nearly 55,000 voters register during the last seven days of open registration.

Muscogee County election officials have already seen a spike that will add to the already 85,000 plus active and registered voters in Columbus.

Kennesaw will hold a special election on May 24 to fill the City Council seat vacated by the child molestation guilty plea of former member Leonard Church.

The qualifying fee for the Post 3 seat is $360. The term ends Dec. 31, 2017.

Peach State Presidential Politics

I’ve written up my thoughts on Iowa over at Medium.com, and if you’re interested I hope you’ll take a minute to read it.

Those of us in the Peach State, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp coined the concept of a Southern Super Tuesday he dubbed “SEC Primary,” have seen much of Ted Cruz since his bus tour that began in Savannah before the RedState Gathering in Atlanta and continued afterwards to head south toward Newnan and Columbus ,Georgia before heading West through Alabama and much of the rest of the SEC states.

He was also back in Georgia in December with wife Heidi and their two girls as part of a fly-around. In the meantime, he’s piled up significant endorsements and built the best grassroots presidential campaign I’ve seen in twenty years of Republican politics here.

Iowa provided the proof of concept that a well-executed ground game, buttressed by sufficient media buys and all the latest and greatest in targeting can still win elections, even against what Newt Gingrich calls “the Kardashian model of social media” in Presidential politics.

The lesson Cruz can draw from Iowa is to continue building-out and refining the ground game that landed him the top slot in Iowa, while Trump may be trying to figure out how to effectively build a get out the vote machine starting months later than his rival.

WSB-TV spoke with some folks at the top three Republican campaigns in Georgia about building out their ground game headed toward March 1.

“We’re real excited about it,” [Cruz Georgia grassroots co-chairman Louie] Hunter told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot. “We’re doing the same thing here that we did in Iowa. We have county co-chairs, chairs and co-chairs in almost all 159 counties in Georgia.”

“Iowa’s behind him now, and now it’s on to New Hampshire and which I think Mr. Trump will do very well,” [State Senator Burt] Jones said.

“We’ve got a good ground game. We’ve got a lot of good folks coming to us every day to help support Senator Rubio and volunteer for his campaign, so we feel confident that we’re ready to roll,” [State Rep. Buzz] Brockaway said.

Farmers for Trump will hold a Rally on Thursday at 4:30 PM on Main Street in Sasser, GA. If you’re not sure where Sasser is, it’s a little bit northeast of Albany, in Terrell County. Population 279.

The Trump campaign is also opening additional offices across the state and will be holding a number of grassroots meetings.

CSRA TRUMP HQ GRAND OPENING
Friday, February 5 @ 1PM
4426 Washington Rd, Evans, GA 30809
For more information contact Pat Goodwin
706.829.1343, ptgoodwi@bellsouth.net

SOUTH GEORGIA TRUMP HQ GRAND OPENING
Saturday, February 6 @ 11AM
3380 B, North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, GA, 31605
For more information contact Barbara Schmader
229.242.1186, bsquare917@gmail.com

COASTAL TRUMP HQ GRAND OPENING
Friday, February 5 @ 10AM
1512 New Castle Street, Brunswick, GA
For more information contact Laura McKinley
912.912.399.0919, mckinley.laura@ymail.com

TRUMPROOTS TRAINING MEETING
Saturday, February 6 @ 10am 
Benton Lee’s Steakhouse
138 Benton Powell Rd
Uvalda, GA 30473
RSVP required with gwisenbaker@donaldtrump.com

BARTOW MEETING
Cartersville Public Library
429 W. Main St.
Cartersville, GA 30120
February 6 @ 10AM

COBB MEETING
Cherokee Cattle Company
2010 Canton Rd.
Marietta, GA 30066
February 2 @ 7PM

DEKALB MEETING
Bambenelli’s
3202 Northlake Pkwy. NE
Atlanta, GA 30345
February 6 @ 12PM

DOUGLAS MEETING
Golden Corral
6975 Douglas Blvd.
Douglasville, GA 30135
February 4 @ 7PM

FULTON MEETING
Alpharetta Public Library
10 Park Plaza
Alpharetta, GA 30009
February 6 @ 11:30AM

GWINNETT MEETINGS
Golden Corral
4020 Buford Dr.
Buford, GA 30518
February 2 @ 7:30PM

Sweet Tomato
3505 Mall Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30096
February 3 @ 7PM

Johnboys
3050 Main St. W.
Snellville, GA 30078
February 6 @ 11AM

HENRY MEETING
Logans Roadhouse
20 Mill Rd.
McDonough, GA 30253
February 7 @ 5PM

NEWTON MEETING
Square Perk
1105 Church St.
Covington, GA 30014
February 6 @ 11AM

PAULDING MEETING
Dallas Public Library
1010 Memorial Dr. E.
Dallas, GA 30132
February 13 @ 10AM

High Energy

On the same day Georgia Power announced completion of a milestone in the construction of nuclear reactor 3 at Plant Vogtle, the Georgia Public Service Commisison voted to review nearly $1 billion in spending on the facility.

The detailed probe of what Georgia Power has spent is expected to take 14 months to examine the delays that have added nearly $1 billion to the Plant Vogtle expansion.

Commissioner Stan Wise pushed for the review now rather than waiting until the reactors are running because he said customers, investors and supporters of nuclear power needed to see a positive response by regulators.

Georgia Power wants the review, officials said. It will resolve questions investors have about who will get stuck paying for the overruns.

Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald announced that the construction delays should result in an immediate savings on customers’ monthly bills. He wants to repeal a state law that allows Georgia Power to charge customers during construction for a portion of the finance costs because he said it was supposed to end next month on the original completion date.

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