The blog.

9
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 9, 2017

Lightening PCAR

Lightening is a young female Rottweiler mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Malley PCAR

Malley is a female Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Austin PCAR

Austin is a young male German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

He is extremely shy and would do best in a home with other dogs. He has been with a professional trainer and knows commands and does very well on the leash for a young age. He needs to be with a family who understands and embraces his shyness and can continue to work with him.

Columbus City Council will vote next week on a tethering law for dog owners.

Canton City Council is considering a ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats within the municipality.

9
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 9, 2017

On March 9, 1862, CSS Virginia and USS Monitor, a Union ironclad, fought to a draw in the Chesapeake Bay.

On March 9, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed two pieces of legislation dealing with African-Americans, one recognized their marriages, the other legitimized children born to African-American couples prior to the act and required parents to maintain their children in the same way white were required.

Bobby Fischer, the Eleventh World Champion of Chess, was born on March 9, 1943 and is considered by many the greatest player of all time.

Governor Ellis Arnall signed two important pieces of legislation on March 9, 1945. The first created the Georgia Ports Authority, with its first project being the expansion of the Port of Savannah. The second authorized the placement of a referendum to adopt a new state Constitution (in the form of a single Amendment to the Constitution of 1877) on the ballot in a Special Election to be held August 7, 1945.

On March 9, 1970, Governor Lester Maddox signed legislation setting the Georgia minimum wage at $1.25 per hour.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The latest entry in the Sixth Congressional District air war: Republican Judson Hill.


COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 30

8:00 AM HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT 606 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION(LD 30) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM MILITARY AFFAIRS WORK GRP 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 406 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Income Tax Sub 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE & TECH 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HS 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE JUD’Y CIVIL 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

2:00 PM House Life & Health Sub of Insurance 406 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION – CANCELED 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE 310 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB


SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 146 – Fire departments; purchase and maintain certain insurance coverage for firefighters; require (Substitute) (SLGO(G)-56th) Gravley-67th

HB 283 – Revenue and taxation; Internal Revenue Code and Internal Revenue Code of 1986; revise definitions (FIN-27th) Knight-130th

SR 195 – US Congress; call a convention; set a limit on number of terms; US House of Representatives and US Senate; request (RULES-52nd)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

HR 170 – State agencies; work toward increasing research, clinical care, and medical education for myalgic encephalomyelitis; urge (H&HS-Cooper-43rd)

HR 281 – Water trails in Georgia; proliferation and use; recognize and encourage (NR&E-Frye-118th)

HR 361 – United States Congress; enactment of a Regulation Freedom Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; encourage (EU&T-Parsons-44th)

SB 69 – Packaging, Labeling and Registration of Organic Products and Certifying Entities; registration requirement; eliminate (A&CA-Williams-119th) Wilkinson-50th

SB 78 – Adulteration and Misbranding of Food; Commissioner of Agriculture to issue a variance to certain rules and regulations; authorize (A&CA-LaRiccia-169th) Anderson-24th


Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week released February revenue numbers.

Georgia’s net tax collections for February totaled approximately $1.17 billion, for a decrease of $70 million, or -5.6 percent, compared to February 2016. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $14.23 billion, for an increase of $498.4 million, or 3.6 percent, over last year, when net tax revenues totaled $13.73 billion.

The net decrease in individual income tax revenue as compared to February 2016 is largely due to the increase in refunds already released this year.

Speaker David Ralston took questions at the Atlanta Press Club yesterday, including about healthcare and rural Georgia.

“I am concerned that there is the potential in the [GOP federal healthcare] proposal to hurt those states that chose to exercise what I think is the prudent route of not expanding Medicaid,” Ralston told the Atlanta Press Club. “I’m a little concerned by that, but I don’t have enough details yet to address that specific question.”

Changes to federal health care policy could have major implications for Georgia.

“From a budget standpoint, we’ll be keeping a very close eye” on Congress, Ralston said.

“This fact is inescapable,” he said. “Rural Georgia has not seen the positive results of growth and faces challenges, very real challenges, to its future. We have talked about this for too long. It is time now to make a priority of rural economic development in Georgia.”

The House Rural Development Council will travel across the state to “give this the attention it deserves and needs.”

Ralston would not answer whether he’s considering a run for Governor in 2018.

The speaker on Wednesday, however, said he does not believe it appropriate to discuss such  matters while the 40-day legislative session is ongoing.

“Over the coming months, Georgians are going to start thinking about, talking about, what they’re looking for in the next governor,” he said. “I think they’ll be looking for someone who has a vision, such as a Zell Miller with the HOPE scholarship or Nathan Deal with economic development and criminal justice reform.”

As speaker, Ralston said, “sometimes though you bruise a few egos. and i get that. I get that the last speaker that went to the governor office was 85 years ago. And I think there’s some reason for that, probably.”

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News looks at potential Georgia effects of the GOP healthcare plan.

A spokeswoman Tuesday said Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, is reviewing the GOP congressional plan “and engaging with federal and state officials to assess its impact on Georgia.”

Tom Price, a Georgia physician and former congressman who is the new secretary of Health and Human Services, told reporters that the intent of the Republican plan is to contain the cost of premiums, spark insurance competition and offer “patient-centered” solutions.

The legislation would preserve two of the most popular features of the 2010 health care law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with pre-existing health conditions.

People who let their insurance coverage lapse, though, would face a significant penalty. Insurers could increase their premiums by 30 percent.

Under the GOP plan, states would receive a set amount from the federal government for each person eligible for the program, under a “block grant.”

“With less federal money, costs would shift to the state,” Harker said. “As a result, Georgia would have to raise new revenue or have to make cuts to eligibility, benefits or reimbursement rates.

The new plan includes money for the states, such as Georgia, that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. It would provide $10 billion over 5 years to these “non-expansion” states for safety-net funding.

It’s unclear whether Georgia would be better off financially by accepting the safety-net money or by going through with expansion, which would remain an option for the time being.

Miller separately looked at health legislation that passed the General Assembly ahead of Crossover Day.

The surest bet on health-related legislation this year has already happened. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the hospital “provider fee,’’ a mechanism that draws an extra $600 million in federal funding for the state’s Medicaid program. And Gov. Nathan Deal has already signed the measure, a priority of his, into law.

Among the surprises early on was a quick compromise on the proposal to allow dental hygienists to practice in safety-net settings, school clinics and nursing homes without a dentist being present. The deal on House Bill 154, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican, avoided the conflict that erupted in last year’s General Assembly.

When it came to surprises, the problem of “surprise” medical billing got intense interest under the Gold Dome this year.

A Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, passed that chamber, while a House version, which takes a different approach to the problem, failed to make it through.

A major bill to fight Georgia’s opioid epidemic passed the Senate. It would codify Gov. Deal’s executive order allowing the sale of naloxone, an antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription, and would more closely track the prescribing of opioid medications.

And a second proposal, also approved by the Senate, would put more state oversight on the opioid treatment centers that have proliferated, especially in North Georgia. The centers offer medical-assisted treatment and counseling to help treat patients with addictions to heroin and other opioids.

Hancock County agreed to restore voters stricken from the rolls as part of settling a lawsuit.

Election officials in Georgia’s sparsely populated, overwhelmingly black Hancock County agreed Wednesday to restore voting rights to dozens of African-American registered voters they disenfranchised ahead of a racially divided local election.

About three-quarters of the people they removed from the voting rolls – nearly all of them black – still live in the voting district and will be restored to the county’s registered voter list under the settlement.

“We want to make sure that a purge program like the one that played out in the fall of 2015 never happens again,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which sued the county in federal court.

The lawsuit said board members and people close to them challenged the status of 187 people as a slate of white candidates sought to unseat black incumbents in Sparta, the county seat. It said the board deemed ineligible more than 5 percent of the city’s 988 registered voters, and “nearly all of those voters” are black.

The settlement lays out a process for handling voter registration challenges. Hancock County officials admit no wrongdoing, but do acknowledge “the supremacy of federal law where it conflicts with state law.” It broadly prohibits local election officials from denying “equal opportunity” to vote based on race, and requires “clear and convincing evidence” before ruling a voter ineligible.

The Savannah International Trade and Convention Center Board voted to support legislation converting it into a state authority.

House Bill 125 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) would offer a sales tax break on repairs to high-end boats in order to attempt to create a yacht-retrofit industry in the state.

“Georgia is poised to become a significant force in the yacht repair and refit industry currently dominated by Florida,” said Rob Demere, president and CEO of the Colonial Group Inc., a multigenerational Savannah business that has grown to be one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

“We have a facility — Savannah Yacht Center — that’s second to none on the East Coast,” he said. “Coupled with Savannah’s charm as a destination, it should be a slam-dunk.

“But we can’t attract any of this lucrative business unless we level the regulatory playing field with Florida, which limits sales tax to the first $1 million of a refit or repair, effectively capping it at $60,000.”

House Bill 125 specifies that a boat owner would get a sales tax break on parts, engines and other equipment for a refit or repair, but only after the first $500,000 is spent.

Sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, it passed the House with no problem and now goes to the full Senate, where it is sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson.

8
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 8, 2017

Wilbur MOAS

Wilbur is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Liam

Liam is an adult male Treeing Walker Coonhound or Foxhound who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Tucker

Tucker is an adult male Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

8
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 8, 2017

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time.

On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.

On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.

Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”

The stakes were enormous.

Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.

The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.

The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.

The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.

On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The newest ad in the Sixth Congressional District comes from Republican Bob Gray.

End Citizens United, a liberal national organization, said it raised $250k to support Democrat John Ossoff in the 6th District.

End Citizens United (ECU) announced that 25,000 donors have given an average contribution of $10 to Ossoff’s campaign.

Ossoff is one of 18 candidates seeking to replace Tom Price, now the secretary of the U.S. Department of health and Human Services, running in a special election to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

“The corporate special interests and Washington insiders who believe this seat belongs to them are having a rude awakening,” said ECU Executive Director Tiffany Muller. “They’re panicked because Georgia families want to end the rigged system in Washington and the grassroots are mobilizing to elect a reformer.”

“ECU’s members will continue to stand with Ossoff to help him fend off the corporate spending that’s already flooding into the race to attack him.”

Last week, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Washington superPAC, launched a $1.1 million ad buy attacking Ossoff.

The election is quickly becoming a proxy battle among moneyed Washington, DC interests, in which the interests of 6th District voters are subsumed.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB

9:30 AM HOUSE ECON DEV & TOURISM Madision County, GA

9:30 AM House Setzler Sub Jud’y Non Civil 132 CAP

10:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Sales Tax Sub 122 CAP

10:00 AM House Sub 2A of Public Safety 406 CLOB

10:00 AM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 506 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE NAT’L RESOURCES & ENV’T – CANCELED 450 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB

1:55 PM SENATE FINANCE – Public Policy & Finance Sub 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 125 CAP

2:00 PM House Regulations Sub Regulated Ind 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE BANKING – CANCELED 310 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE SLGO – CANCELED MEZZ 1

3:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER ED – CANCELLED 403 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y – Sub B 307 CLOB

The Most Interesting Committee Meeting today will be the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee, which will be taking a guided tour of Madison County, Georgia, departing the State Capitol at 9:30 AM.

The Most Interesting Committee Meeting title for yesterday goes to the House Health and Human Services Committee, which heard testimony on House Resolution 447 by Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram).

Governor Nathan Deal is in talks with Campus Carry proponents over legislation that passed the State House.

The Republican said this week that he is meeting with supporters on the legislation, House Bill 280, though he did not elaborate on what he said were his ongoing “concerns” with the measure.

“We’re receptive to continuing to talk with them, and hopefully they’re receptive to making some additional changes,” he said. “Perhaps. But whether they do or don’t, that’s their decision.”

“I do anticipate the Senate will take up the measure,” [Lt. Governor Casey] Cagle said, adding that he was mindful of Deal’s veto last year. “I look forward to working with the governor’s office to see if there’s a compromise there.”

“It’s the God-given right that people have to not be a victim in the state of Georgia,” said Ballinger, a Canton Republican who described herself as a victims’ advocate. “States that have enacted campus carry measures have become safer. And we just want to afford that protection to all Georgians.”

Speaker David Ralston is looking for creative solutions to issues for rural Georgia.

“I want this council to look at the big picture and recommend legislative actions that can empower our rural areas,” said House Speaker David Ralston, explaining House Resolution 389 to a House committee on Tuesday.

The legislation would create the House Rural Development Council, a group of 15 lawmakers to be appointed by Ralston.

“We lost a hospital in Ellijay just last spring, one of several rural hospitals to close in Georgia in recent years,” Ralston said. “However, this Friday afternoon I’m going back home to reopen a new emergency room facility as part of a new ‘micro hospital’ with fewer than 10 patent beds in that town. This is the kind of creative approach to addressing issues in rural Georgia that I want this council to explore.”

Problems in rural communities can include population loss, lack of doctors or hospitals, poor infrastructure, slow or nonexistent internet connections, less educational opportunity, job scarcity and overall lack of growth. Ralston brought to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee a study from Georgia State University that shows most rural counties had fewer jobs in 2014 than in 2007.

“I am not interested in government creating jobs,” said Ralston. “Rather, I want to create an environment in which private enterprise can create jobs in rural Georgia.”

State School Superintendent Richard Woods says that school turnarounds proposed under House Bill 338 should be under his guidance.

Georgia’s elected school superintendent argues that he should be in the middle of any major school turnaround effort as lawmakers consider a bill that focuses on struggling schools.

House Bill 338 by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville …. creates the position of “Chief Turnaround Officer,” overseeing state intervention in the lowest-performing schools.

Tanner chose to have the officer report to the state Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor, rather than to the state superintendent, who is elected. Asked why at a hearing of the Senate Education and Youth Committee Monday, Tanner said it’s because the board sets policy for the state Department of Education.

“So the real power base is with that state board,” he said.

But the superintendent is in charge of the education department and its staff of roughly 600. They have deep experience and direct access to funding. Richard Woods, the superintendent, said the turnaround chief would be better off reporting to him.

“Having this individual fully incorporated with the structure of DOE is very imperative,” Woods said.

The AJC also looks at groups supporting and opposing the legislation.

Neither the Gwinnett County Commission nor the Ethics Board it created has the power to remove a member of the Commission, according to an attorney for the County.

“It’s important to note that the ordinance restricts the board’s ability to remove one of its members from office because it says ‘as provided for by Georgia law,’” County Attorney Bill Linkous told the commission. “In this instance, the Board of Commissioners does not have the power under Georgia law to remove one of its sitting members from the Board of Commissioners.”

“The Georgia Constitution does not give the power to remove an elected official to the BOC,” county spokesman Joe Sorenson said, citing Article IX, Section 2, Subsection C, Sub-subsection No. 1 of the state Constitution. “Further, the legislature did not give the BOC the power to remove an elected official in the enabling legislation.”

Initially, Linkous only told the commission it could not remove Hunter from office, but he elaborated more on what he felt state law prevented them from doing after he was questioned by Commissioner John Heard about it.

“In the event the ethics panel comes back and makes a recommendation to the board for a temporary suspension, would that be within — would state law dictate on that?” Heard said.

Linkous responded: “Yes, it would. State law does not grant to the Board of Commissioners the ability to suspend one of its members from office.”

Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs says the Hall County municipality has a role to play in area transit plans.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert cast the deciding vote on a controversial local ordinance.

The 5-4 vote came after Commissioner Mallory Jones questioned the gender identity portion of the measure, which he said opposed traditional values.

The resolution was a call of support for the March on Macon that will be held Saturday. The rally is to support state Senate bill 119 that would ban employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The rally is also to show favor for expanding anti-discrimination language in the county code, according to the resolution.

Jones said his concerns were about the impact of someone using a public bathroom that was different from the gender on their birth certificates.

“This impacts our children, our teenagers, our mothers, our grandmothers in a negative, compromising way,” Jones said.

The Cobb County school system will unveil the latest demographic predictions, including nearly 2000 additional students expected in south Cobb schools in coming years.

Cobb County transportation officials said toll lanes will increase in the future.

First Lady Sandra Deal read to first grade students at St. Anne School in Columbus.

Floyd County schools will recoup $112k of $4 million stolen in a spending scandal.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/news/local/article137061298.html#storylink=cpy
7
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 7, 2017

Looloo Macon

Looloo is a female Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Libby Macon

Libby is a female Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Louis Macon

Louis is a male Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

7
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 7, 2017

On March 7, 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention reconvened in Savannah to adopt a new state Constitution. A resolution offering to host the Confederate Capitol did not pass.

On March 7, 1965, a group of marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr., met Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick… I thought I saw death.”

—John Lewis, SNCC leader

As a student of Southern politics at Emory, we were immersed in reading about the Civil Rights Movement and its effect on Southern politics, and American politics. But it was not until years later that I saw the PBS series called “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1956-1985.” It’s chilling to see American citizens turned away by armed police from attempts to register to vote.

John Lewis, now the United States Congressman from the Fifth District was in the front row wearing a light-colored overcoat and backpack.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Finance & Public Policy 328 CLOB

10:00 AM House Fleming Sub Jud’y Civil 132 CAP

10:00 AM House Resource Mgmt Sub Nat’l Res 606 CLOB

11:00 AM HOUSE ECONOMIC DEV & TOURISM 341 CAP

12:00 PM House Env’tal Quality Sub Nat’l Res – CANCELED 606 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR – CANCELED 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE ECON DEVE & TOURISM 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HS – CANCELED 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH AND HS 606 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Ind & Labor Sub 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE GAME, FISH, & PARKS 403 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

3:00 PM House Special Sub on Transportation 515 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y – Sub A 307 CLOB

Several pieces of ethics legislation in the Georgia General Assembly failed to pass one chamber in time to be considered by the other chamber in this year.

“I would refer to the bills as mostly dead. So they could revived at a later time,” said Sen. Josh McKoon, sponsor of several mostly-dead ethics bills.

They include:

- SB 22, a bill to disclose campaign contributions from government contractors

- SB 23, a bill to restrict lawmakers on powerful conference committees from getting state jobs afterward

- SR 24, a bill to curb unrecorded voice votes in the state senate

- SR 36, a bill to give the state ethics commission a fixed percentage of the state budget.

“They’re worried all kinds of amendments will come in to make government better,” said William Perry, founder of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs.  “So when their fear is openness and transparency, they’re trying to make it the least transparent they can.”

Continue Reading..

6
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 6, 2017

Sarge Barrow

Sarge is a 68-pound, 6-8 year old male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Coco Barrow

Coco is a senior female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

Lady Barrow

Lady is a 10-year old, 45-pound mixed breed with a gorgeous spotted coat who is available for adoption from the Barrow County Animal Shelter in Winder, GA.

6
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 6, 2017

On March 5, 1735, James Oglethorpe presented a budget to the trustees of Georgia and proposed seeking an appropriation from Parliament, thus beginning the addiction of the Georgia government to Other People’s Money.

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.

the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.

The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

On March 5, 1869, the United States Congress refused to seat Georgia’s elected members of the House and Senate.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

On March 5, 1977, President Jimmy Carter held the first “Dial-A-President” radio broadcast in which he fielded questions from radio listeners.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

UNDER THE GOLD DOME – COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJ’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE HIGHER ED 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTIL 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

3:00 PM SENATE GOV’T OVERSIGHT 125 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE ETHICS 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB

12:30 PM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE SESSION (LD 29) HOUSE CHAMBER

3:00 PM HOUSE MEDICAL CANNABIS WORK GRP 403 CAP

SENATE RULES CALENDAR – LEGISLATIVE DAY 29

HB 127 – Insurance; nonprofit medical and hospital service corporations; revise provisions (I&L-16th) Smith-134th

HB 176 – Agriculture, Department of; enter into agreements with the federal government to enforce provisions of certain federal laws; authorize (AG&CA-20th) McCall-33rd

HB 303 – State Commission on Family Violence; terms and qualifications of members; change provisions (SJUDY-42nd) Ballinger-23rd

Former State Representative Burke Day died at home this weekend.Continue Reading..

3
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 3, 2017

On March 3, 1779, the British Army met America forces in Screven County, Georgia.

On March 3, 1779, 238 years ago [] , the first major battle of the British Army’s push into the American South took place at Brier Creek at the old road between Savannah and Augusta. According to Battle and President of the Brier Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Craig Wildi, the American loss resulted in the deaths of at least 200 patriots.

Studies done by Battle in conjunction with other professional organizations have uncovered evidence that some of Georgia’s soldiers who lost their lives in the fight for independence may still lie in graves at the battle site.

“This was the 16th bloodiest of all battle sites throughout the Revolutionary War,” Battle said. “We found so many artifacts under our original permit, Georgia DNR (Department of natural Resources) shut the study down.”

The land around the battle site is public, managed by Georgia DNR as part of the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area. The wildlife management area is about 15,000 acres. Battle and Wildi said they want 500-600 acres set aside to fully study the site, but said DNR hasn’t been willing to dedicate more than about five acres for site preservation and management.

Last year, the Sons of the American Revolution held a commemorative event to place flags in honor of those who died at the battlefield. Because the event was hosted by a non-profit organization, Wildi said Georgia DNR waived the requirements for certain liability insurance policies and other fees for group events. This year, he said they are requiring the group to pay for those requirements; payments the small non-profit says it can’t afford.

During the surveys for and original push for the Palmetto Pipeline, bulldozers and other equipment were brought onto the site to widen roads across it inside the wildlife management area. The proposed pipeline map originally had the right of way slated to cross the battlefield. While both said they were relieved the pipeline was stopped, they say other challenges remain in saving the site.

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

And if you think the legislature has been crazy this year, three years ago, Crossover Day and the first day of candidate Qualifying both occurred on March 3d. Today, we only have Crossover Day to contend with.

It must have been my fat fingers hitting the wrong key, but several readers wrote in to correct me that the groundbreaking for Buford Dam was on March 2, 1950, not 1850. As a sign of my repentance, here is a fascinating story about the groundbreaking by Harris Blackwood, then writing for The Gainesville Times, but currently serving as Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The AJC also compiled a great collection of photos from the groundbreaking in 1950.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is Crossover Day in the Georgia legislature: the last day on which lobbyists can secure enough progress to justify a contract renewal legislation can be passed in one chamber and be eligible for consideration in the other. Traditionally the 30th day of the session, this year’s Crossover occurs on Legislative Day 28. The change was designed to give each chamber a little extra time to consider legislation that originated on the other side of the Capitol.

The season of Lent calls us to repent of our sins and leads us to a joyous celebration of the triumph of Christ over the grave. Today, some folks in Atlanta will be speaking of economic development and working to dig casino gambling out of the shallow grave in which it was earlier this week interred. From Jim Galloway at the AJC:Continue Reading..

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Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 3, 2017

Luke and Cody

Luke and Cody are a bonded pair of Mountain Cur & Labrador Retriever mix puppies who are available for adoption from Falling Star Dog Rescue in Sugar Hill, GA.

Luke and Cody are currently 10 and 12 pounds and growing rapidly, a mix of Patterdale Terrier and Mountain Cur. Luke and Cody can be a little shy initially but has a very loving, playful, and charming personalities, and get along with other dogs. Luke and Cody are fun, happy, healthy boys who will make wonderful companions and additions to your family. The shelter is only considering homes with fully fenced yards for Luke and Cody as they need to play in a safe enclosed area.

Beauregard

Beauregard is a young male Basset Hound & Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Falling Star Dog Rescue in Sugar Hill, GA.

Five month old Beau appears to be a Bassett Hound and yellow lab mix and a great size at just 18 lbs. We expect he will remain on the smaller side when fully grown. Beau can be a little shy initially but has a very loving, playful, and charming personality, and he gets along with other dogs. Beau is a fun, happy, healthy boy who will make a wonderful companion and addition to your family.

Roxy Rotty

Roxy is a 6-month old female Rottweiler puppy who is available for adoption from Rottstars Rescue in Buford, GA. Roxy is a complete love bug, though at her current stage of puppyhood, she requires constant supervision to prevent her shredding anything she can get hold of.