The blog.

9
Jan

Sen. – Elect P.K. Martin: Applauds Grayson & Snellville – Give Hunger the Boot

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator-Elect P.K. Martin

PK Martin state SEnate 9 Logo

State Senator-Elect P.K. Martin Applauds Grayson and Snellville on Efforts to Give Hunger the Boot

Senator-elect P.K. Martin (R – Lawrenceville) today applauded the joint efforts by the cities of Grayson and Snellville to fight hunger and help those in need in our local community and encouraged local residents to join the challenge.

Snellville Councilman Dave Emmanuel and his wife Kathy created the ‘Give Hunger the Boot’ Program in Snellville, which has raised more than $10,000 in food and financial donations for the Southeast Gwinnett Food Co-Operative in the last three years.

Last month, the city of Grayson challenged the city of Snellville to a donation-raising contest to see which city could collect the most canned and dry food donations. The outcome will be decided on Jan. 19 when all donations are delivered to the Co-Op.

“I want to applaud the cities Snellville and Grayson for reminding us that hunger doesn’t end at Christmas. There still a great need in our community, and I am proud of those in each city who are working hard to make a difference. My family and I have donated food to the effort in both cities, and I encourage people to please consider joining this effort by giving to the local food co-ops today,” said Senator-elect Martin.Continue Reading..

9
Jan

Rep. Tom Graves: Announces Staff Changes

Your Washington – Ga 14 – Desk 

From Congressman Tom Graves 

Tom Graves 2

Rep. Tom Graves Announces Staff Changes

Rep. Tom Graves today announced staff changes in his Washington and Dalton offices.

John Donnelly, who previously served as communications director and deputy chief of staff for Rep. Graves, was named chief of staff.

Garrett Hawkins, who most recently worked as deputy communications director on Ed Gillespie’s campaign for U.S. Senate in Virginia, and also served as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, was hired as communications director.

Valerie Jones, who previously served as staff assistant in the Dalton office, now serves as a constituent service representative.Continue Reading..

9
Jan

Rep. Allen Peake: Announces Changes to Medical Cannabis Legislation

Your Georgia Desk 

From State Representative Allen Peake

allen child

Rep. Peake Announces Changes to Medical Cannabis Legislation

State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) today met with Governor Nathan Deal to announce changes to Rep. Peake’s medical cannabis legislation, House Bill 1, for the 2015 legislative session.

“I have been in intense conversations with the Governor over the last several days about HB 1, and I view today’s progress as a huge step in the right direction,” said Rep. Peake. “After much discussion, it is clear that we need to conduct more research on setting an in-state growing scenario in order to provide the best and most effective infrastructure for our citizens. Last year, I made a promise to bring our families home and to give Georgians a chance to obtain cannabis oil in our state without fear of prosecution, and this has remained a priority. The changes that we have agreed upon for HB 1 vary slightly from the original version, but the bottom line is that we will be bringing Georgia families back home.”

Proposed changes to HB 1 include immediate decriminalization, upon the Governor’s signature of HB 1, for possession of cannabis oil containing between 3-5% THC for individuals with certain medical conditions who have obtained the cannabis legally in another state. Also included in the changes to HB 1 is the creation of a council whose sole charge will be to examine the future establishment of a regulatory model for an in-state growth and distribution infrastructure in Georgia. The committee will also be charged with making its recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2015.Continue Reading..

9
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 9, 2015

Segregated seating on Atlanta buses was held unconstitutional by a federal court on January 9, 1959.

Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter arrived in Athens to register at the University of Georgia on January 9, 1961.

After Julian Bond’s election to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, the chamber voted against seating him ostensibly because he had publicly state his opposition to the war in Vietnam. On January 10, 1967, after the United States Supreme Court held the legislature had denied Bond his right to free speech, he was seated as a member of the State House.

Georgia Politics

Dawsonville Ga Yellow Ribbons

Dawsonville, Georgia.

Brigadier General Joe Jarrard has assumed command of the Georgia Department of Defense, comprising the Georgia Army National Guard, Georgia Air National Guard, and the Georgia State Defense Force. The Marietta Daily Journal has a nice set of photos from the change of command ceremony.

Early voting in House District 50  will begin on January 20th for the February 3d Special Election Runoff. That is also likely the date for early voting to begin in the House District 120 runoff.Continue Reading..

9
Jan

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for January 9, 2015

Lolita

Lolita is a 1.5 pound female Chihuahua mix who is described as “a bouncy, curious, affectionate pup who’s about the size of a wind-up toy.” She is available for adoption at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control in Athens, Ga.

Rudy

Rudy, a 33-pound, 4-6 month old Pibble mix is a submissive and quiet little boy, but don’t be fooled – he lights up with gentle petting and loves to cuddle close. Like any puppy, he needs some training but because he’s very eager to please it shouldn’t be hard to teach him what you expect from him. Rudy has a beautiful coat and has been taken care of by someone, and he seems well-socialized with both people and dogs. He didn’t mind having his feet or ears handled and, in general, just seems like a laid-back pup. If you’re looking for a new family member who is old enough to sleep through the night, but young enough to still engage in puppy antics, you should come meet Rudy, who is available for adoption at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control in Athens, Ga.

Rufus

Rufus is a 70-pound, 9-month old Lab/Shepherd mix. These early pictures don’t do justice to how handsome, goofy and playful Rufus is. (His movie, which is coming shortly, represents him much better.) There’s still a baby brain in that big body, so he jumps up and runs around as if he were a little puppy, causing unintentional mayhem at times. But his puppy brain also makes him a real lover – when you pet him he’ll lean in, close his eyes and melt against you – and will stay that way as long as you let him. Although Rufus jumps up, he will eventually sit for a treat, so he may have some initial training and is just too new and excited to show it reliably. In addition to a happy, affectionate temperament, Rufus is extremely handsome, and looks a lot more shepherd than lab to me. He’s got that long shepherd snout with a big black rubber nose on the end. Rufus is a big precious oaf who will mature into an awesome adult dog with some loving guidance from a very lucky family!

He’s a puppy in a great big body, who loves to run and jump and play, and gives kisses when he takes a breather. Rufus is available for adoption at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control in Athens, Ga.

Mink

Mink is a 5-year old, 61-pound hound mix who is called Mink because of his beautiful coat. He is a total gentleman – loves being petted (he has a sweet spot!) and never jumped up. Because he was so new he wasn’t that interested in treats or playing – he was still trying to figure out where he was, but he enjoyed being with us. Somebody must be missing this wonderful guy. He’s at a great age – past any puppy nonsense, but still in the prime of life. He’s a special guy.

Mink is available for adoption at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control in Athens, Ga.

 

8
Jan

Dawsonville, Georgia waits for their heros to return

Dawsonville Ga Yellow Ribbons

8
Jan

Derrick Grayson Announces His 2016 US Senate Campaign Exploratory Committee

According to an email we received this morning,

Derrick Grayson will be making an official announcement of his campaign Exploratory Committee for the 2016 US Senate election, at the upcoming Lanier Tea Party Patriots monthly meeting.

When: Thursday, January 15, 7pm – 9pm

Where: Gainesville Civic Center, Gainesville, GA, United States (map)

Description: Lanier County Tea Party meets every month to discuss the
important issues. We meet and greet at 6:30 and get down to business
at 7PM. Please join us and bring your family, neighbors and friends.

“Georgia doesn’t need another political “Yes” man; Georgia needs a Representative that will adhere to “100% of the Constitution, 100% of the time.”

I am deeply concerned with the apparent disregard of the core principles this nation was founded on. The erosion of personal freedom and liberty as a result of federal policy and legislation is alarming. Instead of encouraging job creation, current policies promote a culture of dependence on big government and welfare programs. Our current representatives have effectively diminished our economic and world leadership and by doing so have shifted world influence.

America’s course must be corrected. The days of self-serving politicians and those who seek enrichment by special interest are over. What we need now are strong and principled voices that will stand and represent the will of ‘We the People’ and who will honor
their oath to support and defend the Constitution. After careful consideration and many late night phone calls from people across the state, I am announcing our decision to form an exploratory committee, to seek election to the United States Senate.”

8
Jan

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for January 8, 2015

Lyman Hall, one of three Georgians who signed the Declaration of Independence, was elected Governor on January 8, 1783.

On January 8, 2007, R.E.M. was announced as an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If you go to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next year, I highly recommend visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You’ll recognize the guitars played by some of your favorites, see Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche, and read the hand-written lyrics to some of the best-known songs.

On January 8, 2014, Atlanta Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were announced as incoming members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Columbus, Georgia native Frank Thomas, a long-time Chicago White Sox outfielder.

Earlier this week it was announced that Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz will join Glavine and Maddux in the HOF. Smoltz is the first pitcher inducted who had Tommy John elbow surgery.

Georgia Politics

Senator David Perdue has launched a new Twitter account and a new Facebook page to help you keep up on his latest.

Senator Perdue used his father’s Bible for his swearing-in. Clearly winning the Bible contest, Congressman Barry Loudermilk used four different Bibles for his swearing-in.

Rep. Loudermilk took the oath of office with four bibles that each represented a member of his family, including his wife Desiree, daughter Christiana, and sons Travis and Michael.

It is not known if Rep. Jody Hice used an original stone tablet for his ceremony.

Sen. Perdue started his Senate career making good on a campaign pledge he made to introduce term limit legislation.

Yet another Special Election will be held, this one for the Augusta Commission District 7 seat vacated by Donnie Smith’s resignation. Qualifying opens Monday, January 12 and closes Wednesday, January 14 at noon.

On March 17, 2015, voters in the City of Atlanta will cast ballots on raising $250 million for infrastructure expenses.

Governor Nathan Deal announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for December 2014 were up 9 percent over December 2013.

State Senator Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) says that ensuring all current gas tax monies are dedicated to transportation as is Constitutionally-mandated, should be step number one in any discussion of additional money for transportation infrastructure.

Out of the 7 percent sales tax generally levied on gas in Georgia, 4 percent goes to the state and 3 percent to local governments. From the 4 percent, 3 percent goes to the Georgia Department of Transportation, but “the fourth penny has been going to the general fund,” Gooch said.

“My No. 1 goal this year is to find that fourth penny and get it out of the budget,” he said. “We need to move it back to where it belongs and that’s with the DOT.”

Gooch said he had heard about the “fourth penny” and “never thought much about it until the last two years, when we’ve been (discussing) how to restore some funding for DOT.

“The (state) Constitution clearly says that all taxes derived from the sale of motor fuel has to be put on transportation … so I think that, before we answer anything from anybody else, we have to go there first.”

“I think this (issue) is going to require a whole lot of debate and discussion among the House and Senate (members) and the governor to decide where and when we bite the bullet,” Gooch said.

Newly-elected State House member-to-be Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins) is planning to introduce a campus carry bill this year.

He plans to push legislation of his own, including a bill to allow college students with a firearms license to carry guns on campus.

Clark said, “I grew up in a military town (Warner Robins). We can ask young men and women to go away to a desert and give them a gun to defend our freedoms, but when they come back here to our classrooms, were gonna tell them they have to be defenseless.”

He believes he’s ready for the controversy that could stir, saying, “It’s something I promised during the campaign.”

You can also count Clark in for the Medical Cannabis bill that will be introduced by State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon).

The father of three says he supports legalizing a form of medical marijuana called Cannabis oil.

He said, “I don’t think there’s a parent out there that wouldn’t do whatever it takes to get treatment for their kids.”

Speaking of medical cannabis, Peake’s bill will be significantly expanded from earlier efforts in two ways. The first is that unlike last year’s version, it includes a workable means for ensuring availability of the medicine.

The path to access medical marijuana in Georgia would be similar the paths in other states, Peake said.

“You as a citizen would go to an approved physician … get a written recommendation,” then go to the Department of Public Health to get a card, Peake said. “Then you would be eligible to go to the retail center.”

At the retail center, “you’re not going to see plants … you’re going to see a bunch of vials of oil,” he said.

That’s because House Bill 1 loosens only the law for liquid medicine derived from therapeutic varieties of cannabis grown in a handful of licensed greenhouses.

There would be no whole plants and no growing marijuana at home.

The law would fix the compounds in each batch of medicine, checked for safety by independent labs. The medicine must be relatively low in THC, the chemical that causes a high.

Adult medicine would be capped at 5 percent THC with a minimum 1-to-1 ratio of cannabidiol to THC, according to Peake’s bill. Also called CBD, cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis that provides seizure relief to some people and that partially counteracts THC.

Childrens’ medicine would top out at 3 percent THC, according to Peake’s draft.

Several companies already are sniffing around the Peach State for medical marijuana opportunities. The bill will propose only about 10 licenses for the work of growing, manufacturing and retailing medical cannabis.

Peake’s 2.0 version of the bill also expands the diagnoses for which the oil would be available, and under some conditions, would allow it for adults.

The draft bill now being finalized covers cancers that cause severe pain, nausea or wasting; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; AIDS; Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS; multiple sclerosis; seizure disorders characteristic of epilepsy; Crohn’s disease and mitochondrial diseases, said Peake, R-Macon.

There are even more under consideration, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, Tourette’s syndrome and terminal illnesses, Peake said.

The bill also would create a medical board to advise the Legislature on cannabis policy.

Peake is trying to hit what he called a “sweet spot” between maximizing relief for people who have specific debilitating illnesses while locking the door against anything that could propel Georgia toward recreational marijuana use.

Some Brookhaven City Council members will be among the first in Georgia to receive training in combating human sex trafficking under a new program.

The training is part of the city’s “Not Buying It” pledge, developed by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families Statewide Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Task Force, and is designed to educate about the dangers of child sex trafficking.

The training scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 14 and 15 will be attended by Mayor J. Max Davis, Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams, Councilman Joe Gebbia, Councilman Bates Mattison, Councilman John Park and various city employees.

Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed January 2015 as “Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Month” in Georgia.

Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Month 2015

Georgia Republican Party Convention News

Ron Johnson announced last month that he will not run for re-election as Second Vice Chair of the Georgia Republican Party. Thanks to Ron for his service to our country as a Marine, and his service to the Georgia Republican Party.

Current GAGOP Assistant Secretary Debbie McCord quickly announced that she would run for that position and this morning I received an email that Michael Johnson, former Savannah Area Young Republicans Chair will also seek the Second Vice-Chair.

Education

I am disappointed that Georgia Perimeter College will merge with Georgia State and suspect that tuition will be raised, as GPC tuition is currently a third the cost of Georgia State. I’ve been accepted to Georgia Perimeter more than twenty years after graduating from the number one university in Georgia. I’m considering a graduate program that is math-intensive and would like to take Calculus again. Plus, it’s required for admission to the program I’m looking at. I didn’t take Calculus in college because I had taken it in high school, but I’ve contacted my high school who told me that my records are not available and they can’t even determine whether I graduated or not.

Lora Scarlet Hawk writes at CharterConfidential.com that school choice, like Uber, represents disruptions in the status quo.

Like Uber, school choice has optimized self-determination. No longer are students (or passengers) forced to take only one path, but they are given the ability of autonomy. Like the market for rides, there is competitiveness among schools and implicitly a constant reinvention, should the method of instruction not fit their students’ needs. This means of self-determination speaks to me of a new-wave Industrial Age that like its predecessor is market driven, and bold.

Disruptive technology has always been seen as avant-garde and often has been perceived as meant for risk-loving entrepreneurs only. Nevertheless, I think it is more that the market side of things offers no real alibi to failing schools—either you educate kids successfully, or you do not. If a charter school does not offer value to a student, the family may choose another school. The supply and demand of this educational market intrigues me and seems to be improving the educational marketplace as a whole. However, certainly one could not expect it to be welcomed by all.

Why should parents in this age of constant innovation not welcome more options for their children? Like Uber riders, school choice advocates set the tone, price, and course of their education. Again, like Uber, if they find their choice to be ill fitting, they can review the school and opt for another. Ultimately in both cases, the individual, not the provider, is in the proverbial driver’s seat. For any attentive parent this should be a dream come true. Now the question in both the Uber model and school choice model becomes not “Who is going to take me?” but, “Who is going to stop me?”

While Hawk takes a libertarian approach to school choice, Floridian Jon East writes a Liberal case for school choice.

Those of us who fought to desegregate schools also had to come to terms with the jarring contradiction, uncovered primarily through No Child Left Behind Act data, that the efforts in far too many cases produced no improvement in the achievement gap between races.

In the modern world of public education, even families from more affluent neighborhoods with high-performing public schools are taking advantage of new learning alternatives such as magnets and International Baccalaureate programs. It seems almost criminal that the children who need help the most – those challenged by poverty – tend to have the fewest options.

So I now work for a nonprofit that helps administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, which serves 69,000 students this year whose average household is only 5 percent above poverty. The 1,500 participating private schools run the gamut – from high-end preparatory institutions that accept a handful of students each year as a community service to dirt-poor religious schools for whom helping underprivileged children is their calling. In turn, the students who choose the scholarship are poor, mostly black or Hispanic and were struggling academically in the public schools they left behind.

For liberals like me, these are precisely the kinds of families who deserve our helping hand – whether that be with food and nourishment, medical care, legal aid or different education options.

Note: where it says, “for liberals like me,” that’s a quote, not my words.

State Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) has pre-filed legislation for a Constitutional Amendment that would allow a larger number of independent school districts, in case some enterprising new city should decide to try its hand at running a school system.

New DeKalb County School Board member Stan Jester has issued a challenge to his fellow Board members – put up or shut up.

Stan Jester refused the school system’s demand and disputed its legal interpretation that he had to be fingerprinted and undergo a background check to obtain an identification badge.

In doing so, he blistered the school board chairman, Dr. Melvin Johnson, in an email and criticized WSB-TV for what he called inaccurate reporting Sunday.

On the surface, the story of his refusal appeared vexing to parents. But through his website and emails, Jester made his case that he was not endangering children, but challenging a bureaucracy.

“Let’s get the facts straight,” Jester wrote Monday morning. “I completed a background check before Christmas, sent the report to the board chair and posted it on my website.”

Jester added that all the board members and administrators should place their background checks online for all to see.

His objection was to the interpretation of board policy. It is common practice for board members to be fingerprinted by the DeKalb system’s police department. That group then runs the background check.

Jester’s reading of board policy and state law contends the rationale of board members being system employees is incorrect. He points out that the board oversees the school system so it is a conflict of interest for it to investigate him.

8
Jan

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for January 8, 2015

Major Tom

Major Tom is a medium-sized, young male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Harris County in Hamilton, Georgia.

Bobby

Bobby is a male Labrador/Pointer mix about six years old, weighing 56 pounds.

I’m a very sweet and soulful dog that will bond deeply with my family. I love to snuggle, am super handsome and will be very loyal! I have good potty manners in my foster home, like going for walks and car rides and I’ll sit on the seat next to you like a person. I’m a calm boy who would do best in a peaceful home with gentle children and adults. Kisses on my forehead and sleeping with a nice big pillow are my favorite! If you want a buddy to watch TV with or curl up with a book next to, I’m your guy. I’m looking for a person or family that’s home most of the time as I crave companionship and am very sad when you leave. A house instead of an apartment would be best for me so my possible crying doesn’t disturb anyone. I do well with other calm and secure dogs and one in the home may help me while you’re away, but I’ve never been interested in playing with them. Crating me while you’re away is important so I don’t try to come looking for you. It only took a few days with initial supervision to get used to the 2 kitties in my foster home and now we’re fine together, I even share my open door crate with them when they come to rest near me.

Bobby is available for adoption from Mostly Mutts in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Bobby Santa

Christmas Bobbie is an adult male Pibble mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services. Bobby is a non-stop tail wagger! This boy is always happy to be with you. If you are looking for a loving companion, Bobby is your boy! He didn’t mind being dressed up and looked great in his sweater.

John Henry1

John Henry (above) and his sister Essie (below) are four-year old Shepherd/Basset Hound mixes who are deeply bonded and are looking for a home they can share with a forever family. This playful pair can be reserved when they first meet you but are friendly and loving. John Henry and Essie are available for adoption from Heart of Georgia Humane Society in Macon, GA.

Essie

7
Jan

The Marietta Daily Journal – U S Rep Loudermilk votes for Boehner as Speaker

MARIETTA — U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R–Cassville), who made a campaign pledge to vote against Rep. John Boehner (R–Ohio) as speaker of the U.S. House, ended up voting for him on Tuesday.

Loudermilk was one of the 216 votes that got Boehner re-elected. Twenty-five Republicans voted for other candidates or voted present. Runner-up Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received 164 votes.

Tea party activists blasted Loudermilk on social media following the vote for breaking a campaign promise.

Loudermilk has been making negative statements about Boehner’s leadership style since his campaigning days last summer. He told the MDJ in July, for example, that Boehner’s time as speaker should be up.

Tea party activist Dr. Bill Hudson of Marietta said he originally supported Loudermilk for election, but he’s outraged after seeing him vote for Boehner on Tuesday.

“Especially when people work so hard to send you up there to do the right thing and then you go up there and do the wrong thing. It’s very disappointing and frustrating,” Hudson said. “I think that Washington is terminally broken.”

The Internet was alive Tuesday with remarks on Loudermilk’s character, including a Facebook post from Debbie Dooley, a member of the board of directors of the Tea Party Patriots, calling Loudermilk a “liar.”

“I am fed up with politicians that lie to voters on the campaign trail to get elected,” Dooley wrote. “We need to stop voting for these politicians both in the primary and general election. Until we do, they will continue to play us for fools and lie to us.”

via The Marietta Daily Journal – U S Rep Loudermilk votes for Boehner as Speaker.