Hank Aaron hit home run number 715 on April 8, 1974 to become the all-time home run champion, a title he holds to this day.
Governor Zell Miller signed legislation proclaiming Gainesville, Georgia the Poultry Capital of the World on April 8, 1995.
The Square Dance became the official state folk dance on April 8, 1996, when Gov. Zell Miller signed legislation recognizing it.
The Masters Tournament was won on this date by Gene Sarazen (1935), Jack Burke, Jr. (1956), Nick Faldo (2nd win – 1990), Tiger Woods (2nd win – 2001), and former University of Georgia player Bubba Watson in 2012.
A local variation of the “no white before Easter” rule was proposed, which I can support. It holds that the wearing of white may commence in Augusta, Georgia, upon the opening of the Masters Golf Tournament, beginning with the practice rounds. This year, the Masters is after Easter, but often is begins before the holiday and on a number of occasions, the final round of the tournament has been held on Easter Sunday.
Erratum: It was Governor Zell Miller who signed legislation in 1995 designating the Peach as Georgia’s official state fruit. Here are a couple interesting facts about the fruit:
Franciscan monks introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland Island in the 16th century. Cherokee Indians grew peaches here in the 18th century. Raphael Moses, a Columbus planter, was marketing peaches in Georgia in 1851 and gets credit for being the first to sell peaches successfully outside the South.
Peach production exploded after the Civil War, when Georgia farmers were looking for alternatives to cotton. They were so successful that in the following decades Georgia earned the nickname “the Peach State.” increased railroad lines and the refrigerated boxcar meant faster shipment to markets and pushed peach production to 8 million bushels a year by 1928.
Erratum: a reader let me know yesterday that the planned grocery store that may cause trouble for a potential Athens grocery store is to be located in Douglas, Georgia, not Ocilla.
State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) told the Albany Herald he thinks that some incumbent legislators may face voters’ wrath over votes for the Transportation Tax bill, HB 170.
State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, is one of the state lawmakers who voted against the bill. He said some of the bill’s supporters may end up regretting it when they seek re-election.
“I believe in this vote there are some members of the General Assembly who will be vulnerable,” he said.
“Me being on the coast, this [hotel/motel] (tax) is going to have serious consequences.”
In a separate artice, Rep. Spencer is quoted on his “Hidden Predator” bill, which passed this year.
Rep. Jason Spencer, was feeling justified Thursday about criticism he received from Catholics and business groups.
“We’re feeling vindicated,” he said.
In the weeks leading up to passage, he received criticism for his charge in a newspaper column that the Atlanta archdiocese and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce were “pro-child-sexual-predator special-interest groups.”
The bill would extend the opportunity for an adult who suffered sexual abuse as a child to file a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. Experts testified before legislative committees that often child victims deny to themselves the seriousness of their psychological injuries or even the existence of the event until they have children of their own. But by then, the existing law prevents them from suing.
Meanwhile, the Marietta Daily Journal opines that passing the Transportation Tax Bill was the right move for the General Assembly.
A bipartisan majority of the Georgia General Assembly “bit the bullet” last week and voted to approve a transportation funding bill that should go far toward addressing decaying infrastructure. It unfortunately raises taxes at the pump for all motorists, but also does away with corporate tax break on the sale of jet fuel, sets a new fee on heavy truckers and shifts a substantial portion of the funding bill’s tax bite onto the shoulders of out-of-staters.
Gov. Nathan Deal hailed the measure as a landmark that “will give Georgia dedicated resources to maintain the state’s roads and bridges.” Credit Deal with pushing legislators to come up with the compromise bill that finally reached a vote shortly before midnight on the next-to-last day of this session. With Deal, House Speaker David Ralston and other members of the Republican hierarchy behind the drive — strongly supported by the state chamber of commerce, contractors and allied interests — HB 170 got the needed impetus to pass both House and Senate. Not all Republicans were happy with the bill but Democrats made up the difference.
The measure will impose a state excise tax of 26 cents per gallon on gasoline and will hike the tax on diesel fuel to 29 cents. The taxes will rise or fall annually based on the Consumer Price Index and the fuel efficiency of vehicles. Once the bill is signed by Deal, it will be effective July 1. The new gasoline tax will replace the current 7.5 cents per gallon state excise tax and 4 percent state sales tax.
The final version of the bill generated significant opposition from Republicans, with many of them saying the needed billion bucks should have been found elsewhere in the budget. But easier said than done, said state Rep. John Carson (R-northeast Cobb).
Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) opines on the results of the passage of his House Bill 1, called Haleigh’s Hope.
The very good news is that these Georgia families will now be able to come back home with the passage of HB 1, named the Haleigh’s Hope Act, after the young girl that inspired our entire state. HB 1 will provide immunity from prosecution for possession of medical cannabis oil for eight medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, mitochondrial and sickle cell diseases. After a resident or caregiver has received a recommendation from the physician that is treating them, they will be eligible to receive a registration card from the state, affirming they can legally possess the oil in Georgia. However, these individuals will still be required to legally obtain the oil in another state. This will be the case until we come up with a safe and effective cultivation and delivery system that is strictly regulated in our state. A commission will be created to study the best way to do that in Georgia. Their recommendation will be made to the governor and General Assembly by Dec. 31 of this year. The members of the commission will be stakeholders in this issue, including medical professionals, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, government agencies and elected officials.
While this step is too far for some, and not far enough for others, it will give some Georgia residents the option to obtain medicine that could change their lives, and it is a step in the right direction. And that is a good thing for Georgians.
We’ve heard the bill may be signed next Thursday.
Governor Deal announced yesterday that state tax revenues were up 9 percent in March 2015 over the March 2014 numbers, and year-to-date collections are up 6 percent over the same period last year.
The budget process for Columbus, Georgia is a painful one this year, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
“We were moaning last year about how tough it was,” Henderson said. “I think you’ll hear us moaning even louder this year.”
The city is looking at expected revenues of $264.3 million versus expected expenses of $265.7, meaning the city will use $1.4 million in reserve funds. That would leave a projected reserve fund of only 60.37 days, barely above the 60-day threshhold beneath which bond rating companies consider lowering a city’s rating and when the city could see cash-flow problems early in the calendar year.
The proposed budget contains more personnel additions and changes than in recent years. It calls for adding a network engineer to the city’s Information Technology department and the already controversial transfer of personnel fro the Sheriff’s Office to the Police Department, ostensibly to eliminate duplicative services. It would also eliminate several position in the Marshal’s Office, along with making some changes in vehicle policies.
Both Sheriff John Darr and Marshal Greg Counrtyman have strongly objected to the proposals, but each will have a chance to present his case to the committee in the coming weeks.
The budget for Bibb County Public Schools can be finalized now, with legislative spending priorities set for the next fiscal year.
“As we receive additional information from the Legislature and also information from the local tax digest — from the local tax assessors and commissioner’s office — we make adjustments accordingly,” he said.
Right now, it’s estimated that the school system will have a general fund of about $185 million for fiscal 2016. Collier said the goal is to always have the fund balance — what’s left over — at 8 percent of the general fund, which would be $14.8 million.
The general fund takes into account anticipated tax revenue that comes from the local and state level. Collier puts that number at about $182 million, which means it’s about $3 million less than where it needs to be to completely support Bibb school operations.
The Georgia Legislature uses the Quality Basic Education Act formula to fund public schools. It has never been fully funded, but this year the reduction in funding is less than it has been in previous years.
Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds will highlight National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, from April 19-25.
Reynolds will be joined by Barry Morgan, Cobb’s solicitor general, Jinger Robbins of SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center and Holly Tuchman, of the Northwest Georgia YWCA, for a community rally and kick-off celebration in Glover Park in Marietta at noon April 20, according to a release from Reynolds’ office.
On April 23, the DA’s office will host the first of five classes on domestic violence, and while the classes are designed for law enforcement officers, they are open to the public.
“Violence in the home is among the most common types of crime, and it tears at the very foundation of communities,” Reynolds said. “We are committed to doing everything possible to end it.”
Allegations of racial slur-use in open court in Fannin County have allegedly led to an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Campaigns & Elections
Frank Reynolds, currently a Captain with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department, is running for Cherokee County Sheriff in 2016 and has begun his campaign.
When [Sheriff Roger] Garrison in 2012 announced he would not seek re-election to a seventh term, Reynolds said people began to approach him and ask if he’d planned to run for the office.
“Over the past several years, it seemed like doors were being opened and opportunities were presenting themselves, and I felt that I was being led down that path (by) a higher authority,” he said. ”And I truly believe that this is a calling.”
Now, after seven years with the agency to the north, Reynolds is ready to live, work and play all inside Cherokee County.
“I’m ready to come home,” he said. “I’m ready to come back and serve the citizens of Cherokee County.”
If elected, Reynolds told the audience he plans to protect the constitutional rights of citizens; improve community relations with businesses and various neighborhood watch programs; work to reduce unnecessary spending in the sheriff’s office budget; establish a Sheriff’s Academy, similar to citizens public safety academies implemented by local police departments; and partner with the Cherokee County School District’s School Police Department to enhance safety and security for students and other learning communities.
Fairburn Police Chief Chip McCarthy also appears to be running, with a website a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.
Former Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey has joined the Washington, DC office of Drinker Biddle & Reath as a Senior Advisor in the Government Affairs practice. Presumably he’s not yet “lobbying” under the Congressional revolving door ban.
Rafael Cruz, father of United States Senator and Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, will speak in Rome, Georgia on Friday and Saturday.
Rafael Cruz, a North Texas pastor and director of Purifying Fire Ministries, will speak at Pleasant Valley South Baptist Church Sun-
day morning, at Unity Christian School on Monday morning and at the Rome Tea Party on Monday night, said Mike Morton, chairman of the local Tea Party.
“I think it’s his story, his message, that resonates,” Morton said. “His message of freedom in general and the preciousness of freedom. It just really does fit with us.”
The public is invited to attend the Tea Party gathering, slated for 6 p.m. at Congregation Beth Aliyah, 710 E. First St. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.
Cruz also will appear at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service at Pleasant Valley South, 702 Pleasant Valley Road and at an 8 a.m. Monday high school assembly at Unity Christian School, 2960 New Calhoun Highway.
Hannah Payne, a Unity Christian student who created a chapter of the Young America’s Foundation at her school, asked Rafael Cruz to speak in Rome when she saw him at a conference, Morton said.
I saw Mr. Cruz speak at an Americans for Prosperity event and he is, indeed, an exceptional speaker.
United States Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced yesterday that he will run for President in 2016.
“I am running for president,” his web message said. In remarks to supporters, Paul could be counted on to be a fierce critic of Washington, where he is in his first term as a senator but seldom in line with his party’s leadership.
Paul’s challenge now is to convince Republican primary voters and caucus-goers that his is a vision worthy of the GOP presidential nomination, a prize twice denied his father, former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
Paul begins the 2016 race as just the second fully declared candidate, behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but he could face as many as 20 rivals for the nomination before the lead-off Iowa caucuses in February.
Along the way, Paul is likely to challenge his fellow Republicans’ views on both foreign and domestic policy, as well as the nuts and bolts of how campaigns are run. Tech savvy and youth-focused, Paul is expected to be an Internet juggernaut that his competitors will be forced to chase.
After his speech in Louisville, Paul was set to answer questions from voters on his Facebook page. Before his announcement speech, he was already selling on his website iPhone cases branded with his logo, signed copies of the Constitution and Rand Paul beer steins.
Several Georgians made the trip to Kentucky for Paul’s announcement, including Republican State Representatives John Pezold and Scot Turner, along with 3rd District GAGOP Chair Dale Jackson and former Hall County Commissioner Ashley Bell.
Among the items Paul is selling on his campaign website is an “NSA Spy Cam Blocker” for $15.
Some folks have made fun of this, but I think it’s brilliant. It highlights his anti-spying positions and has gotten good coverage from geek-tech sites like Gizmodo and Ars Technica. Also pretty cool is the “Don’t Drone Me, Bro!” shirt.
It’s pretty funny that they couldn’t bring themselves to call the “Bag Toss Game” by it’s traditional name, “Cornhole.”
Democratic strategists could barely contain their glee at the prospect of using Rand Paul as a punching bag and proxy for unpopular GOP policies.
“I couldn’t be happier. I mean, this is one of my favorite days — Rand Paul’s finally getting into the race,” [Jim Manley] senior director at QGA Public Affairs said. “We knew it was coming, but this is the big day, so put me down as one happy Democratic strategist. … There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell any of them get through a general election vis-a-vis Secretary [Hillary] Clinton.”
Now, mind you, this is coming from a former spokesman for Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Harry Reid (D-NV).
Closer to home, Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Dubose Porter had this to say,
“Rand Paul’s announcement should alarm every woman, college student, and hardworking family in the state of Georgia.
“If Rand had his way, never mind about the nearly one million Georgians that would benefit from raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, and never mind about Georgia’s women who make 81.2¢ for every dollar a man makes.
“President Obama’s administration has worked hard to lift up students, giving them a fair shot at the American dream. Yet, Rand opposes legislation that would allow student borrowers to refinance their loans at a lower rate. Plain and simple—Rand would kneecap 871,000 Georgia students who want nothing more than to better themselves and do right by their community.
“Rand is on the record with his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and opposes expanding Medicaid—something he has in common with the Georgia GOP. I suppose they all just don’t care about the 478,000 Georgians who would benefit from Medicaid expansion—or give a flying flip about the more than 631,000 Georgia children who have benefited from the ACA preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums as a result of preexisting conditions.
“Even by Georgia standards, Rand Paul is a whackadoo that would turn the Office of the President into a breeding ground of the bizarre and extreme right. The guy is on the record criticizing the Civil Rights movement, saying he doesn’t believe in LGBT rights because they’re ‘based on behavior,’ and saying that vaccinating our children is a step toward ‘martial law.’
“Rand is a prime example of what we can expect from the GOP presidential field—including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and whoever else aspires to carry the extreme right-wing mantle in 2016. The GOP is offering the same old fringe, out-of-touch vision for Georgia that continues to threaten true progress.
“Georgia deserves a credible, forward-thinking Democratic leader like President Obama—whoever she or he will be.”
Last week we noted a change in former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s standard Waffle House order and suggested that “one sure sign of an impending campaign for higher office is the candidate going on a diet.”
But while [questions about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's weight] in turn gave way to all sorts of editorializing about whether the United States was a fattist country, and so on, it turns out that the weight thing, when it comes to political campaigns, is not in fact solely an American question.
Fitness, for obvious reasons, has always been part of the leadership arsenal, with the workout photo op seeming almost de rigueur, be it jogging (Bill Clinton, Mr. Cameron); golf or basketball (Barack Obama); or hunting (Vladimir Putin). But the public discussion of executive waistline issues is a relatively new development. And presumably a calculated one.
Party leaders need to use every tool at their disposal, including personal weight battles.
Just as it is probably not a coincidence that the one thing that is never mentioned regarding a female candidate, be it Hillary Clinton or Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party or Marine Le Pen, is her weight. Clothes and hair are fair game, it seems, but weight is the off-limits topic.
We go on and on about how unfair it is to women in positions of authority that their fashion statements are endlessly discussed and dissected, as opposed to their vocal statements (though I would say the two are related).
Yet here is a case of appearance-centric talk that is men-only. And it is a discussion that has been started largely by the candidates themselves, to their own ends. Which is why I would guess it is going to continue.
The Berry College Eagle Cams are pretty epic right now, with two young hatchlings. Yesterday saw what appeared to be a red-tailed hawk looking to gobble down one of the youngsters, and Mom and Dad Eagles fending off the intruder.
Zoo Atlanta is raising funds to build a Bald Eagle habitat and get a suitable bird for the zoo.