The blog.

6
Apr

Vicki Willard withdraws from campaign for Republican National Committeewoman

A statement from Vicki Willard:

VICKI WILLARD WITHDRAWS FROM COMMITTEEWOMAN RACE

There are few challenges in life greater than the job of taking care of an elderly parent. Very recently my mother moved in with my husband and me leaving us faced with the 24/7 care of her fragile health and well-being. When I started this campaign for National Committeewoman, my life was settled and my time was easily devoted to most things political. Today, that is not the case.

I have, therefore, decided it is necessary to withdraw from the race and devote my full time and energy to caring for my family. At no time would I want to balance the job of National Committeewoman with the job of being a caregiver to my mother, with one or the other necessarily coming up short.

This was an extremely difficult decision and I want to thank the many, many people who supported me, who considered voting for me and who actively helped with the campaign. I appreciate you and all you did for me. I am truly blessed.

6
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 6, 2016

Johnnie

Johnnie is a medium-sized adult male Pit Bull Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services in Atlanta, GA. All month long, Fulton Animal Services offers discounted $25 adoption for all dogs over 25 pounds or cats. You can also take Johnnie or any of the other dogs at Fulton Animal Services out in their “Dog for the Day” program.

Tyler

Tyler is an adult Australian Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix male who is available for adoption from STARS Save The Animals Rescue Society of Georgia Statesboro, GA.

Tyler is a very handsome young man. He is a very gentle and loving dog and good with other dogs. A bit shy around people he doesn’t know.

Billy

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

Billy is a tenderhearted little guy looking for true love. He may be a little reserved and timid at first, but give him a few treats and he will look at you like you hung the moon! Billy walks very well on leash – he will follow your lead even if you walk past something new and scary. Billy is great with other dogs and is learning how to play with toys. His best skill by far, however, is his ability to snuggle into your lap and take a snooze!
Henry

Henry is a young male Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Animal Ark in Columbus, GA.

Henry is a white and tan speckled Coonhound mix with one partially blue eye that’s all nose. Sniffing here, sniffing there, sniffing everywhere! Henry’s a guy that needs a job. Need help around the yard? Need someone to chase off the squirrels? Or maybe you just need a good hiking buddy. If so, Henry is your guy! And after a day’s work, he’s totally up for a good snuggle session.

Harrison Jones

Harrison Q. Jones is an adult male Labrador Retriever and Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who is available for adoption from Laskey’s Lucky Ones & Volunteers (LLOV) East Point, GA.

Harrison is a big handsome boy! He loves to go on walks. He lives with an 8 year old doggy foster sister, and loves to play with doggy friends outside. He is very good in the car and likes to go for rides. In the house, Harrison is quiet and mild mannered. He is a complete couch potato. This 3 y.o. love bug has learned commands as well as room and yard boundaries. He has been crate trained, but gets anxious when left alone for too long. Harrison wants nothing more then to be your lap dog!

It’s not a “perp walk,” but a “pork walk.”

Kudos to Peach County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Spielman who grabbed a leash, put it on a pig and walked the porcine wanderer back home.

As for the pig, a woman called 911 shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday about finding it in her backyard on Gracewood Road, a dirt road off not too far from U.S. 341.

“I’m thinking it’s a wild hog, like one of these feral hogs,” Spielman said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, I gotta deal with this,’ because those things are nasty.”

But Spielman instead found a friendly domestic pig that took a shine to him.

When the pig started to walk up the road, Spielman decided to walk with him. The deputy did not want the pig to get struck by a vehicle. He used a walking stick to keep the pig near the side of the road.

The pig, a family pet, had escaped from its pen and wandered away from its Norwood Springs Road home.

“Something just struck me as strange because he didn’t act like a farm animal,” said Spielman, who was glad he took the time to befriend the pig.

The deputy named the pig “Pork Chop” and posted photos on his Facebook page.

6
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 6, 2016

On April 6, 1776, the Continental Congress announced that all ports in America would be open to trade with other countries not ruled by the British. The action was taken several months after Britain passed the American Prohibitory Act which forbade trade with the colonies and was intended to punish colonists for the growing rebellion.

John Tyler was sworn in as the tenth President of the United States on April 6, 1841.

Tyler was elected as William Harrison’s vice president earlier in 1841 and was suddenly thrust into the role of president when Harrison died one month into office. He was the first vice president to immediately assume the role of president after a sitting president’s untimely exit and set the precedent for succession thereafter.

The first modern Olympic Games opened in Athens, Greece on April 6, 1896.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

If you think there’s a chance you might be out of town on May 24th or if you’d simply prefer to vote from the comfort of your own couch, you can apply for an absentee mail-in ballot.

Today is the first day absentee ballots can be mailed to Georgia voters for the General Primary and Nonpartisan Election set for May 24. To request an absentee ballot, voters can submit a written application to their local county registrar or log onto the office’s “My Voter Page (MVP)” to print the application and mail the completed form to their registrar.

“Through MVP, requesting an absentee ballot has never been easier in Georgia,” stated Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “I was proud to bring this new innovation to our state along with other helpful web-based platforms, such as the online voter registration system and the ‘GA Votes’ smartphone app. Georgia is a national leader in utilizing technologies to educate citizens about elections, voting, and the importance of participation in the electoral process for all levels of government.”

If you live in Sandy Springs City Council District Three and want to vote by mail, the procedure is different:

The Sandy Springs Special Election will not appear on the absentee ballot you get from Fulton County.

In order to vote by mail-in absentee ballot for the Special Election for City Council, you must request a City Council ballot directly from the city.

Here is the information on requesting a mail-in ballot for this election:

If you live in District 3 within the City of Sandy Springs, you can request an absentee ballot for the City’s Special-Called Election to fill the District 3 City Council seat by downloading the application and either:

If you also want a regular absentee ballot for the state and Fulton County offices, you must request that ballot separately also.

Qualifying reopens today and tomorrow for Republicans considering running for State House in District 3 (Upper left-hand corner around Ringgold) or District 52 (Sandy Springs). From the Georgia Republican Party,

Due to the withdrawal of the incumbent in State House District 52, the Georgia Republican Party will reopen qualifying for the May 24, 2016 Republican Primary for State House District 03 on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 and Thursday, April 7, 2016, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. on each day.

Qualifying shall take place at the Georgia Republican Party Headquarters, 3110 Maple Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30305, (404) 257-5559. Candidates must present a picture ID at the time of qualifying. The qualifying fee is $400.00.

In South Georgia’s House District 151, Democrat James Williams may be bounced off the ballot as the only challenger against Republican incumbent Gerald Greene.

[T]he Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — which keeps the official records used by political parties to qualify candidates — says its records were wrong about which district Williams lives in, likely disqualifying him from the race.

The mix-up apparently happened four years ago when the state last re-drew district lines in a statewide process known as redistricting, including around House District 151 which includes part of Dougherty County as well as all of Terrell, Calhoun, Early, Randolph, Webster, Stewart, Quitman and Clay counties.

State officials this week blamed local officials for the problem.

“During re-districting, Dougherty County elections officials incorrectly designated Mr. Williams as living in House District 151,” Georgia Secretary of State spokeswoman Candice Broce said in an email. “Mr. Williams lives in House District 154. When alerted to their error, county officials corrected their mistake.”

Lester Tate has resigned as Chair of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, citing legislative actions to change the JQC’s composition.

Tate, a Cartersville attorney, quit because he says legislative leaders are trying to take over the commission, in order to protect their friends on the bench.

“The bottom line is, judicial ethics and politics simply do not mix,” Tate said in an interview Tuesday with 11Alive News.  “And we have been subject to an onslaught of political interference and meddling” from all three branches of Georgia government, especially the legislature. “A large cloud of political pollution has gathered over the Judicial Qualifications Commission.”

The state constitution set up the Judicial Qualifications Commission decades ago as an independent commission responsible for 1) investigating complaints of judicial misconduct against judges — and anyone can file a complaint with the JQC — and 2) removing judges from office whenever the accusations are confirmed.

The legislature decided earlier this year to put the question to the voters in November — to abolish the independent Judicial Qualifications Commission.  The legislature would then create a new commission with members appointed by legislative leaders.

State Senator Josh McKoon has endorsed his colleague, Mike Crane, in the primary election for the Third Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland.

“I have had the honor of serving with Mike in the Georgia State Senate for the past 5 years. In that time Mike has been a friend, a brother in arms, and a true champion for the cause of conservatism,” said McKoon.

“It is imperative that we send a rock solid conservative to Washington. Someone who will hold fast to the principles we hold dear, who will be a champion for small government, lower taxes and less regulation. Someone who will be a champion for life and religious freedom; someone who can stand up to the pressure of the Washington cartel. Mike Crane is that man. I can personally attest to Mike’s character, his conviction, and his courage. He has stood up to the political class in Atlanta, and he will do the same in Washington,” said McKoon.

Dick Yarbrough has an interesting perspective on the religious liberty fight that took place rages on.

In a democracy, there are only two ways a political decision can be made: The application of pressure or the lack thereof. In other words, you either apply pressure on those who are making the decision or you keep the pressure off so they can come to the conclusion you desire.

It was obvious that in the case of the Religious Freedom bill, there was more pressure put on the governor to veto the bill than there was pressure to sign it. Most major companies in the state, along with chambers of commerce, the entertainment industry, the Atlanta professional sports franchises, the National Football League and a number of ministers strongly opposed the religious freedom bill and were vocal in predicting dire consequences if it was signed by the governor.

Having spent most of my life in a large corporation, I can tell you that the last thing a company wants is controversy. Management doesn’t like it and, most importantly, shareholders don’t like it. Big companies are an easy target for special interest groups and it was obvious that many of the corporations had heard from those opposed to the bill and not as many who were in favor.

That leads me to communications. The opponents of the bill were clear and succinct in stating the reasons why the bill should be defeated and if it passed the Legislature, why it should be vetoed.

In my opinion, proponents of the religious freedom bill did a poor job of communicating their case. They stayed on the defensive through much of the debate and seemed unable to clearly articulate the need for such a law.

Proponents of the religious freedom effort say they will be back at it again next session. If they hope to be successful, they need to do a better job than they did this session. Get an articulate spokesperson (someone like Ed Setzler, R-Cobb.) Get some clear and concise messages. Have some tangible examples to cite as to why the legislation is needed. Let businesses know that they will pay the price for their opposition. Threaten to boycott them and their services. Broaden your base of support. Make friends and allies. Talk to civic clubs. PTAs. Garden clubs. Run ads advocating the need for the bill.

I don’t agree with everything Dick writes in that column, but it’s not a requirement that I do in order to recognize some well-written points.

I can’t help but think that Jade Morey’s presence in the greater Warner Robins area is at least partly responsible for the incredibly patriotic new paint job on a Houston County water tower.

Macon-Bibb County could spend more than $800,000 for a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees on the county pension plan.

In Columbus and Muscogee County, an effort is underway to assess the impact of Fort Benning on the surrounding area.

A study is underway to determine the impact of the U.S. Army’s cuts at Fort Benning on the city and surrounding region, with a couple of “town hall” gatherings scheduled this week to solicit feedback from the general public.

The meetings on Thursday and Friday, which will take place at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, are part of an effort by the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Partnership Joint Development Authority to ultimately develop a plan for dealing with the downsizing of the military here.

“We really want the people to come out,” Gary Jones, the chamber’s executive vice president of military affairs, said of the two meetings that will include an update from Matrix Design Group, a Denver-based consulting firm with offices across the United States.

The crux of the dilemma facing Columbus and the surrounding communities is the U.S. Army’s reduction of its troop strength from 490,000 to 450,000 due to federal budget cuts. Several brigades are being inactivated, including the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning.

The town hall meetings will be held 6-8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-noon Friday at the Convention and Trade Center, inside Room 104. The overall effort has been dubbed, “Community Impacts Associated with Army Personnel Reductions.” For more information, visit www.fortbenningciar.com.

DeKalb County

Yesterday around 9 AM, Emory University announced it had purchased some 60 acres and 400,000 square feet of office space in Executive Park in the City of Brookhaven.

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said, “We are pleased that Emory has acquired Executive Park. We expect Emory’s presence to be a catalyst for revitalization of this great area, which the city welcomed into Brookhaven less than a year and a half ago.”

And it would be only a matter of hours before we learned how much revitalization would be coming with the purchase. At 2 PM, the Atlanta Hawks and Emory announced a joint development for the site.

The Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare on Tuesday announced plans to partner as well as build a first-of-its-kind training and sports medicine center on Executive Park Drive in Brookhaven, which will serve as the team’s official practice site.

The privately-funded facility will feature the most advanced technology in sports medicine and athletic care built within a state-of-the-art training center with amenities. The team expects to break ground this summer on the 90,000-square-foot facility, and the Hawks Basketball Operations Department will be housed in the facility upon its completion.

The entire roster of doctors, surgeons and specialists from Emory’s current Sports Medicine Center will also make Brookhaven its permanent home and treat patients inside the new facility.

“When we became owners, one of our top priorities was to provide the resources necessary to build a world-class training facility—a key element of being a first-class franchise that consistently competes at the highest level,” said Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler. “We are thrilled with the partnership that Steve and Bud have forged with Dr. Boden and the Emory team in developing a new facility that will be at the forefront of how professional teams approach integrating sports medical technology in their training centers,”

Additionally, the new Hawks/Emory facility will bring new jobs to the area.

The 90,000-square-foot facility will be located on about five acres at 22 Executive Park Drive, and is expected to bring at least 200 permanent jobs to the city. The development of the Brookhaven site will not require any rezoning action by the city’s planning commission.

“The city of Brookhaven is proud to be home to the Atlanta Hawks and Emory Healthcare,” said Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst. “This innovative training and sports medical facility fits within our city’s vision for smart growth and a high quality of life. Bringing an elite athletic franchise and world class healthcare to Brookhaven fosters investment, visibility and well-being for our vibrant community.

“We welcome the Atlanta Hawks, Emory Healthcare and their visitors to Brookhaven.”

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin was impressed by Executive Park’s location.

“The location of the facility was a significant factor in our search and Brookhaven stood out as an area that perfectly fit many of our needs,” Koonin said. “It is central to many of our players and basketball operations staff and a thriving young community,.

“I would like to thank Mayor Ernst and the city of Brookhaven for how they have welcomed our project and I look forward to working together to create a community partnership.”

Contrast that to the proposed location of a professional soccer facility elsewhere in DeKalb County that cratered. This development will likely see an investment at least equal to that of the soccer field proposal, with taxpayers picking up the tab for none of the costs, while the soccer deal would have cost county taxpayers at least $12 million.

Speaking of taxpayer dollars for athletic facilities, the Warner Robins City Council is considering a proposed sports complex that would cost $22 million, and include 9 outdoor baseball fields, two indoor basketball courts, and an indoor track.

Commissioners Nancy Jester and Larry Johnson are co-hosting a Town Hall for Businesses with Complaints about county government.

Commissioner Larry Johnson and Commissioner Nancy Jester will co-host a countywide Town Hall for DeKalb County taxpayers to discuss and offer public input on businesses who have repeatedly and willfully ignored code violations and businesses which fail to uphold community standards which can have a negative impact on county property values, can propagate criminal activity and can weaken the County’s overall economic development efforts.

This Town Hall falls under the authority of the Study Group appointed by CEO Lee May to study Businesses Facing Numerous Citizen-Initiated Complaints of which Commissioner Larry Johnson and Commissioner Nancy Jester were appointed to.

Wednesday 27 April, 2016, 6:30 PM to 8 PM
Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive
Decatur

No word on whether a Festivus Pole will accompany the Airing of Grievances.

Georgia Power Considers New Nuclear Plant

That’s likely a bit of an overstatement – they’re actually considering studying the possibility, but doing so costs millions of dollars and takes years, so the company is laying the groundwork to study the issue and maybe later think about a new plant. From the estimable Walter Jones, reporting for the Augusta Chronicle,

Georgia Power is seeking permission from regulators to look at constructing a new reactor.

“We are committed to preserving the option to build new nuclear generation to meet customers’ electric needs in the most reliable and cost-effective manner,” said company spokesman Jacob Hawkins, noting that Georgia will have an estimated 2.4 million added residents by 2030.

Commission Chairman Chuck Eaton stressed Tuesday that no ultimate decision on additional reactors will be made in the vote on the plan that Georgia Power filed this year.

“The important thing to keep in mind is that if we do ultimately vote on that topic in the IRP, it will be a vote just to study it,” he said. “It’s not a vote whether we move forward or chose not to construct new nuclear in the future.”

The planning request is just to allocate funds to keep the nuclear option open, insiders say.

“It’s not a decision on whether there will be new nuclear,” Eaton said. “It’s just a decision on whether to study, which the costs associated with that are not insignificant.”

5
Apr

Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch

Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst said, “We are pleased that Emory has acquired Executive Park. We expect Emory’s presence to be a catalyst for revitalization of this great area, which the city welcomed into Brookhaven less than a year and a half ago.”

via Emory Buys Brookhaven’s Executive Park | Patch.

5
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 5, 2016

President George Washington exercised the veto power for the first time on April 5, 1792.

The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states. After consulting with his politically divided and contentious cabinet, Washington, who came from the southern state of Virginia, ultimately decided that the plan was unconstitutional because, in providing for additional representatives for some states, it would have introduced a number of representatives higher than that proscribed by the Constitution.

The Brown Thrasher was first recognized as the official state bird of Georgia on April 5, 1935 through an Executive Order signed by Governor Eugene Talmadge. Later the designation of official state symbols through executive fiat was challenged and the General Assembly would recognize the Brown Thrasher again as official state bird in 1970.

On April 5, 1962, Governor Ernest Vandiver called a Special Session of the Georgia General Assembly to revise the state’s election code following a decision by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Baker v. Carr.

On April 5, 1977, Wyche Fowler won a runoff election over John Lewis for the Fifth Congressional District, following the appointment of Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations. Fowler would win election to the United States Senate in 1986, and ironically, lose his seat in a 1992 runoff election to the late Paul Coverdell.

On April 5, 1980, the band that would come to be known as R.E.M. played their first show as Twisted Kites in Athens, Georgia.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld redistricting based on total population rather than only considering eligible voters. From the Washington Post,

The case, Evenwel v. Abbott, was considered one of the most important on voting rights this term, and a decision the other way would have shifted political power away from urban areas, where Democrats usually dominate, and toward more Republican-friendly rural areas.

The court’s ruling left open the possibility that other methods of reapportionment might be constitutional. But the decision was clear that using anything other than total population would face certain Supreme Court review.

“What constitutional history and our prior decisions strongly suggest, settled practice confirms,” Ginsburg wrote. “Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries.”

She added, “As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote.”

The general population contains millions of people who aren’t eligible to vote: children, legal and illegal immigrants, prisoners, and those who are disenfranchised. Except for prisoners, they are largely concentrated in urban areas.

Unfortunately, the City of Snellville has not seen the end of its days in the headlines for unflattering stories. From the Gwinnett Daily Post,

Snellville Mayor Tom Witts is under investigation for possible tax evasion and improper use of campaign funds, authorities confirmed Monday night.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said the case, which also involves the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, began after a complaint accusing the mayor of falsely swearing he wasn’t delinquent on taxes when filing to run for office.

“Search warrants have been executed at his house and his business. He has not been arrested or charged at this point,” Porter said. “The investigation is ongoing and I would expect that if we develop the evidence, we’re going to present it to the grand jury.”

“We’re looking at his personal income taxes, we’re looking at if he was withholding taxes from contractors’ or employees’ checks and not paying it to the state,” the DA said. “We’re also looking at campaign account irregularities. There appears to be some commingling of funds, that campaign funds are being used for personal expenses.”

Tomorrow morning, Facebook will be in Gainesville for a “Boost Your Business” event that includes an address by Ninth District Congressman Doug Collins (R) on the importance of small businesses.

Wednesday, April 6, 9:30AM – 12:00 Noon

Gainesville Civic Center
830 Green St., NE
Gainesville, GA 30501

Uber says the Masters golf tournament will drive high usage in Augusta this week, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Orientation meetings filled an Augusta hotel conference room two days last week with a “ton” of Uber-partner drivers seeking to sign up for the service and learn the critical details for shuttling around thousands of Masters patrons, a spokesman said.

Uber now has a contract with Augusta Regional Airport, which is supplying a parking lot for drivers to stage, and Uber has another staging area for pick-ups near the tournament, in the Friedman’s Jewelers and Southeastern Armory parking lot at 2745 Washington Road, where Uber representatives will give out merchandise starting today.

Airport Operations Manager Tim Weegar negotiated a contract with Uber owner Raiser LLC that pays the airport $2 per ride or $300 a month, whichever is higher, in exchange for use of the long-term parking lot.

Weegar said, however, he expects most Masters guests to board “the next cabbie in the queue” rather than arrange an Uber on a smartphone.

The Augusta airport contract allows Uber drivers to stage only in the designated holding area and not in the taxi queue.

On Monday morning, the app estimated a fare from Augusta Regional Airport to Augusta National Golf Club at $14 to $18.

By comparison, Augusta cab drivers are permitted under a 2012 Augusta Commission action to charge up to $65 for a ride from the airport to the golf club.

After losing the Special Runoff Election for Chatham County Sheriff, Roy Harris has withdrawn from the May 24 election for a full term.

“It was a hard decision,” Harris said Monday afternoon.

The 66-year-old lawman was sworn in late last year to serve as sheriff until a special election could be held to replace Al St Lawrence, who died in office at 81.

Harris soon filed to be a candidate in the special election and for the next four-year term as sheriff. But on March 29, he lost the special election’s runoff to Wilcher by 22 percentage points. On Monday, he withdrew from a May 24 primary that would have led up to the November general election, leaving Wilcher as the lone Republican on the ballot.

In the March 1 special election to finish St Lawrence’s term, Harris and Wilcher were the top two vote-getters out of five candidates, with Harris getting 33 percent of the vote and Wilcher 29 percent.

But Harris’ lead disappeared in the March 29 runoff when Wilcher, a 40-year sheriff’s department employee who retired in 2014 as a member of command staff, came out with 61 percent of the vote.

“I appreciate Roy Harris’ distinguished career in law enforcement, and I wish him and his family the best,” Wilcher said Monday. “I think Roy is an outstanding person, and I have nothing against him personally.”

David Benjamin will run as a write-in candidate for Decatur County Sheriff, according to the Post-Searchlight.

Climax, Georgia will need a new City Council member after voting to accept the resignation of council member Elizabeth Phillips. The city was named “Climax” because it stands at the high point of the railroad running from Savannah to the Chattahoochee River.

The Board of Macon Charter Academy met yesterday to address news that the state Department of Education will move to revoke its charter, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Board President Ed Grant said his first knowledge of the potential closure came last Thursday at the same time media outlets were made aware.

“Prior to that, I had no knowledge or understanding that they were going to do that,” he said.

Principal Tahisha Edwards also indicated that she had not received notice from the state about the potential action prior to media reports.

The Cobb County Republican Party held a Fish Fry this weekend in advance of the 2016 Primary elections, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Cobb GOP Chair Rose Wing said the party was faced with a conundrum when Georgia moved its primaries to May 24. In years past, the annual Fourth of July barbecue was the event for constituents to meet candidates ahead of the primary.

“We wanted an opportunity for our Republicans to meet those candidates that are running in the primary, so this is how the Fish Fry came about,” Wing said. “(It’s) an opportunity to hear all our Republican candidates and our nonpartisan (candidates). We have a lot of people running in our judicial races, and people don’t get an opportunity to meet them … this is an opportunity to hear from those individuals running in the judicial races, too.”

The Kennesaw City Council voted to eliminate retirement benefits for elected officials.

Previously, the mayor and city council were automatically vested after taking office, and accrued benefits with each year of service. Under the approved measure, the city’s current council and mayor will not accrue benefits or participate in the retirement plan going forward, while those who were already participating— current or former council members — will still be eligible to receive the benefit. Future elected officials will not be eligible to enroll in the program.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Mayor Derek Easterling said following Monday’s meeting. “Everybody that ran in November wanted it done away with, and we’re taking actions on our promises.”

Councilman Jim Sebastian, the only councilmember remaining from the last council, previously said he was automatically enrolled but had pledged not to collect his pension.

One of the highlights of the convention cycle is the Ninth Congressional District Republican Party dinner the night before their convention. This year’s will be held at the Convention Center of the Dillard House on Franklin Street, Dillard, Georgia 30537.

9th_District_Invite

Presidential Politics

In Wisconsin, Donald Trump told a crowd, “If I didn’t have Kasich, I automatically win,” according to an AP report.

5
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 5, 2016

Cookie

Cookie is a 4.5 year-old, 45-pound female Catahoula Leopard Dog mix who is available for adoption from Catahoula Rescue Southeast in Augusta, GA.

She is great with children and other dogs, NO farm animals. She loves chasing squirrels, makes the best bed or couch partner and sleeps in the bed with the owner. She loves to ride in the car/truck with her head out the window. She has been to hundreds of schools with her owner and she has visited with special ed classes on a few occasion. Cookie loves water (but actually doesn’t care for swimming pools), she loves to ride in boats and loves to ride jet ski’s. She fetches, sits, shakes, and plays dead.

She does pretty good on a leash walking but does especially well when she is jogging wit the owner. So if you want a best friend for the beach, boat or to go jogging with then Cookie is your girl. Please EMAIL [email protected]

Toby Keith

Toby Keith is a 5-year old Chihuahua who is available for adoption from CSRA Chihuahua Rescue, Inc. in Martinez, GA.

He needs a home where he can get the special attention he deserves because he is rather shy and tends to hide from all the activity of the other dogs in his current situation. He is particularly fond of men because his previous owner was a man.

Beat

Beat is a young female Greyhound who is available for adoption from Greyhound Crossroads in Martinez, GA.

Beat is a beautiful, young, red, female greyhound that just arrived from Julia Ward’s farm in Abilene Kansas. She just wasn’t interested in racing or chasing the lure so she stayed on the farm and never completed the registration process and doesn’t have a racing name. Her littermates, WW Don’t Touch, WW’s RightWithme and WWs Scramble are all racing now. Beat’s sire is Gable Sour Cream and her dam is WWK Cold June. She is young and just turned 2 on December 23rd. Beat was also uninterested in chasing cats so easily passed her cat and small dog tests. She travels very well and just laid down and didn’t seem to mind other dogs and humans stepping over her. She seems like a calm friendly girl.

4
Apr

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for April 4, 2016

Rolo

Rolo (above) and Siggy (below) are Coonhound and Lancashire Heeler mix brothers who are available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Siggy

Samuel

Samuel is a Coonhound or Foxhound mix male who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

Riley

Riley is a small adult Jack Russell Terrier mix who is available for adoption from PAWS Humane in Columbus, GA.

4
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 4, 2016

Georgia began its love affair with the regulation of what can and cannot be sold on April 3, 1735, when James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, helped gain passage of “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Permission was also required to sell beer, wine, and ale.

On April 3, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized “privateers” holding a letter of marque and reprisal to attack British ships. This essentially legalizes what would otherwise be considered piracy. Issuing letters of marque and reprisal is among the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, though they have seldom been used. Thus, I hope to someday see the Jolly Roger flying at Tea Party rallies alongside the Gadsden flag.

President William Henry Harrison died in office on April 4, 1841, a month after his inauguration.

At the inauguration of America’s first Whig president, on March 4, 1841, a bitterly cold day, Harrison declined to wear a jacket or hat, made a two-hour speech, and attended three inauguration balls. Soon afterward, he developed pneumonia. On April 4, President Harrison died in Washington, and Vice President John Tyler ascended to the presidency, becoming the first individual in U.S. history to reach the office through the death of a president.

On April 3, 1898, President William McKinley called on Georgians to contribute 3000 volunteers for the Spanish-American War.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by Georgians Hosea Williams and Ralph D. Abernathy, was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a strike by sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. He delivered what is known as the “Mountaintop Speech.” On April 4, 1968 King was shot in Memphis. James Earl Ray would later be arrested and plead guilty to the assassination.

“[L]ike anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron hit home run 714, tying Babe Ruth’s record.

On April 4, 1988, the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly was recognized as the official state butterfly of Georgia.

The Atlanta Braves played their first game in Turner Field on April 4, 1997, defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Denny Neagle started on the mound for the Braves and Mark Wohlers earned a save. Atlanta’s Michael Tucker hit the first homerun in the new stadium.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Legislation awaits Governor’s signature

Voters on both sides of the guns on campus debate are waiting for an indication whether Governor Deal will sign campus carry legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Rep. Buzz Brockway, a Republican from Lawrenceville, co-sponsored the bill, but said he did not want to predict which way the governor would lean.

Brockway also said he did not think the veto of the religious exemption bill earlier this week would weigh into Deal’s decision.

“I don’t think folks like retribution, or revenge in politics, so if he chooses to disagree, we will just roll up our sleeves and work harder,” he said.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams said she could not speculate on a reaction from Deal’s supporters on the right, but said the core group that lobbied for the bill would be impacted. She then said that the bill was not brought to the table by the entirety of the Republican base in the House, but by a smaller special interest group.

“I can say (Deal) raised some thoughtful and important concerns expressed both by House and Senate Democrats about the expansive nature of the legislation,” said Abrams, D-Atlanta. “There is no urgency to the passage of this bill.”

Legislation to reduce the burden of testing on teachers and students was passed by the state legislature and takes its place on the waiting list for Gov. Deal’s signature or veto.

The legislation passed by the General Assembly would cut the number of required tests from 32 to 24 and would reduce the percentage those test results make up of a teacher’s evaluation from 50 percent to 30 percent. The bill also reduces the effect on administrators’ evaluations from 70 percent to 40 percent.

The legislation would cut the number of required tests by eight. Reductions in Milestones tests would be for science and social studies at the third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades.

One of the immediate questions is what replaces that 20 percent of the evaluation that was based on test results.

“What is the growth measurement for that seventh-grade social studies teacher who no longer has tests results” that are as large a chunk of the evaluation, Ray asked.

Bell and Ray said that question has been raised with the state Department of Education, but answers are not expected until after Deal signs or vetoes the bill.

The reduction in the percentage that test results count toward a teacher’s evaluation also are likely to be more accepted than the 50 percent in current law, Bales said. He said most comments he has heard agree the 30 percent that test results would count in the evaluation “are relatively fair numbers.”

State Rep. Brett Harrell has three bills on Gov. Deal’s desk awaiting signature.

House Bill 935 would let referendums be held on creating exemptions to ad valorem taxes on fulfillment centers in an effort to attract online merchants.

House Bill 936 would require employers to pay workers in newly created positions more than the average salary of the county with the lowest such average to receive tax breaks on those jobs. It also creates a tax credit for companies that hire parolees.

House Bill 937 would add three years on to the sunset for sales and use tax exemptions given out for construction projects that have regional significance.

“This tax package will benefit all Georgia citizens, ranging from those hiring parolees, to enhanced job opportunities for individuals exiting incarceration, to the creation of 1,800 new Georgia jobs and a capital investment of roughly $650 million through the sunset tax extension,” Harrell said in a statement.

House Bill 402 by State Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Rome) will give business owners a 5% discount on workers compensation premiums if they participate in an apprenticeship program with local schools.

“The problem always is getting enough businesses to partner with the students,” Lumsden said. “It works well for 18-year-olds, but it’s hard for them to take on 16- and 17-year-olds because of workers comp issues.”

Locally, dozens of Floyd County Schools students get to have hands-on, real-world working experience every year through the Floyd County College and Career Academy’s work-based learning program.

The bill, now awaiting the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, caps the premium discount at $2,500, but Lumsden said it should be enough to alleviate employers’ concerns about safety.

“The more partners we can have in the program, the more opportunity we can provide for our students,” he said. “A lot of kids — unless you get them engaged and involved, thinking about work and where their skills and interests lie — they’re behind when they graduate from high school.”

Lumsden, who has no opposition in November for a new four-year term, said he maintains an interest in encouraging work-based learning.

Last week, Governor Deal signed five local bills. You can monitor the bills he signs or vetos by clicking here.

Local Issues

At Morehouse School of Medicine last week, United States EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she wants her agency to be known as a out-of-control bureaucratic job-killing machine “public health agency.”

Gwinnett County will hire and train several thousand poll workers for the upcoming May 24, 2016 Primary Elections, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“We have several busy elections ahead of us and with more than 150 polling precincts in the county, it will take several thousand poll officials to staff just one election,” [Gwinnett County Elections Director Lynn] Ledford said in a statement.

There are certain criteria a person must meet to be a poll official. They include being at least 16, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the county, not having a felony conviction on their record, never having been declared mentally incompetent by a judge and be able to read, write and speak English.

Transportation is a must, as is computer access so they can go through an online training program.

They will also be expected to work a 14-hour day, beginning at 6 a.m., on election days and to take advantage of advance or absentee voting. Although they could be assigned to their home precinct if possible, assignments are based on vacancies and no guarantee is made that a person will be assigned to their voting precinct.

Attorney General Sam Olens fined the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County $500 for violating the Open Meetings Act and will require board members to undergo training in state transparency laws.

Former Carroll County Commission Chair Bill Chappell, trying to make a comeback against incumbent Marty Smith, who beat Chappell in 2012, will not participate in a debate hoted by the League of Women Voters.

“Oh I am very much able to participate,” said Chappell. “I’ve participated in many forums in the past and they are worthless. The incumbent needs to go there and explain why he hasn’t done anything. I have no intention of going there and attacking him. When you go there, you’ll see it’s not many people and they are already predetermined. They can judge me on what I have done in the past or judge the other candidate on what he has not done.”

On Friday morning, a tornado hit Warner Robins and a State of Emergency was declared.

Presidential Politics

Donald J. Trump wants Ohio Governor John Kasich to drop out of the presidential primary, according to the Associated Press.

Trump said it wasn’t fair for Kasich, who has won only his home state, to continue his campaign. He suggested instead that Kasich, who has pledged to make it to the summer convention, follow the example of Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush — candidates who quit after lagging behind.

“He doesn’t have to run and take my votes,” he said.

“I said, ‘Why is a guy allowed to run?’ All he’s doing is just he goes from place to place and loses,” Trump told reporters at Miss Katie’s Diner in Milwaukee, where he stopped for breakfast. The state holds its presidential primaries Tuesday.

This weekend, North Dakota Republicans chose 25 delegates (the ND STate Party Chair, Republican National Committeewoman and Committeeman are also delegates) to the National Convention, all of whom are unbound to any candidate. Of the 25 delegates chosen, 18 appeared on a slate promoted by the Ted Cruz campaign.

Details on the next steps in delegate selection for Georgia are trickling out. Over the weekend, an email from the Athens-Clarke County Republican Party contained details.

The Tenth District “CALL” letters have been mailed to all Delegates and Alternates to the Tenth District Convention. They should be arriving in your mailbox early next week.

However, the deadlines for submitting Nominations to be a Delegate/Alternate to the National Convention, and submitting Resolutions and Rules has been set for Thursday, April 7th.

Presidential Delegate/Alternate Slots:

The presidential delegate/alternate slots for the tenth congressional district have already been determined by the 2016 presidential preference primary.

There are a total of three delegate and three alternate slots in the tenth congressional district. The only available delegate/alternate slots to run for are as follows:

Two (2) delegates and two (2) alternates for Donald Trump

One (1) delegate and one (1) alternate for Marco Rubio

You cannot run to be a delegate/alternate for any other candidate. This is based on the rules and laws regarding the 2016 Georgia presidential primary as established by the Georgia GOP.

What Will Be Required Of Each Applicant?

1.) Letter of intent: why should you be chosen as a delegate/alternate to represent the tenth district GOP?

2.) Up-to-date political bio/resume: detailed description of your involvement in the Republican Party

3.) Eight copies of the documents listed in items #1 & #2.

4.) Send copies to:

Tenth District Republican Party
Nominating Committee
PO Box 933
Greensboro, GA 30642

5.) Documents must be received by April 7th

7.) Be prepared to be interviewed in person by the committee on a date(s), and time, and location as determined by the chair of nominating committee

What Will Be Required Of Each Delegate/Alternate Once Elected By The Convention Delegates At The Tenth District Convention?:

1.) You will be responsible for all the costs related to the 2016 national convention. This includes convention fees, transportation to and from Cleveland, Ohio. All food expenses, incidental, and entertainment expenses. All hotel fees, parking fees, tips, baggage fees and any costs associated with your stay in Cleveland.

2.) These fees have been guesstimated to be anywhere between
$4,000-$6,000. Please note this is only a guess. Regardless of the amount, you are 100% responsible for all your costs associated with the 2016 national convention.

3.) The tenth district gop will not be providing any delegates/alternates with any financial assistance

4.) You must stay in the hotel designated for the Georgia delegation. You cannot stay at you’re “uncle bob’s house” in Cleveland. The hotel has not yet been determined.

I would expect similar processes to be in place in most Districts. This probably favors Ted Cruz, as his campaign appears to have the most extensive delegate whip organization in Georgia. Under Georgia Republican Party rules, delegates are unbound after the first ballot at the Republcian National Convention.

Gwinnett County Democrats will select delegates to the Democratic National Convention on April 16, 2016.

Delegates must be registered to vote in their respective congressional district, be a Democrat and declare which presidential candidate — Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders — they want to pick delegates for.

The Seventh district delegates will be picked during a meeting from 9 a.m. until noon at Norcross High School, 5300 Spalding Dr., in Norcross. The county party said this district will have four delegates, to be split between two men and two women.

Three of them will be voting for Clinton while the other will vote for Sanders, based on the results of the March 1 presidential primary.

Meanwhile, the Fourth District delegates will be picked at Stronghold Christian Church, 724 Rock Chapel Road in Lithonia. Registration runs from 10 a.m. until noon. This district has six delegates, which will be split three women and three men.

2
Apr

Lawsuits question Paulding airport commercialization plan | [email protected]

A recent flurry of lawsuits is raising questions about the effort to commercialize Paulding County’s Silver Comet Field as the second commercial airport in metro Atlanta.

Three separate lawsuits — filed by Paulding County, a group of residents and the airport authority’s development partner — each ask whether the Paulding County Airport Authority had the legal right to apply for commercial certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Another skirmish influencing one of the lawsuits is a decision by the airport authority’s development partner Silver Comet Terminal Partners to pull out of airport bond payments in January, citing a dispute with the county. That left it to the county to make the $401,140 bond payment due Feb. 1, and led to a letter last week from an attorney representing the county, alleging that Silver Comet’s move was a breach of contract.

via Lawsuits question Paulding airport commercialization plan | [email protected].

1
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 1, 2016

In perhaps the most fitting historical tidbit ever, the United States House of Representatives first met on April 1, 1789 in New York City. Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first Speaker of the House. Georgia’s first Members of Congress were James Jackson, Abraham Baldwin, and George Mathews.

On April 1, 1870, Robert E. Lee, President of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Lee’s career in the United States Army began with his first assignment at Cockspur Island near Savannah. While in Savannah for the 1870 trip, Lee was photographed with former General Joseph E. Johnston, who was in the insurance business there.

Happy Birthday to Phil Niekro, who turns 76 today. Niekro pitched for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves for twenty years, earning five trips to the All-Star Game, five gold gloves, led the league in wins twice, and came in second in balloting for the Cy Young award in 1969. In 1997, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The next election in Georgia will be a Special Runoff Election in House District 162, held on April 26, 2016.

The Chatham County Board of Elections announced this week a runoff has been scheduled for April 26. Any voters in House District 162’s 19 precincts can cast ballots in the runoff, as long as they were registered to vote by March 7.

Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia writes that a Donald Trump nomination could jeopardize Georgia’s standing as a red state in November’s Presidential election. Here’s the sum total of what he wrote about the Peach State in his most recent column,

[H]ere is our extra-early, ridiculously premature projection of the Electoral College map in a possible Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump matchup.

In fact, four normally Republican states (Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri) would be somewhat less secure for the GOP than usual.

The polling averages for a Clinton-Trump face-off show roughly a 10 percentage point lead for the Democrat. RealClearPolitics has Clinton up about 11 points and HuffPost Pollster gives Clinton a lead of about nine points. Again, this suggests that one or more states currently rated Likely Republican (Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri) might slip into the Democratic column.

Cruz could firm up the GOP’s chances in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Missouri, and he could turn some of our Leans Democratic states back into Toss-ups.

Sabato’s suggestion that Georgia could go blue in 2018 assumes, of course, that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, which I think is less certain today than it was two weeks ago.

But fret not for Johnny Isakson’s reelection. So far, the Democratic party’s favorite hope, Jim Barksdale, has only the bare minimum of a website, and we aren’t aware of his having spoken to the media or voters yet, and Isakson has historically attracted broader support than any other statewide candidate I’m aware of.

More surprising to me was that the Democratic Party of Georgia failed to even field a candidate for the Public Service Commission, the only other statewide office on the ballot this year.

A group called Everytown for Gun Safety is running ads in Atlanta asking Governor Deal to veto campus carry legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, says it will spend $25,000 on ads running Thursday through Monday in metro Atlanta.

The ad highlights opposition by campus law enforcement officials and says guns, alcohol and students “don’t mix.”

State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) was disappointed by the veto of HB 757, the Religious Freedom compromise bill.

Beach said Friday that similar legislation has been passed in a number of other states over the years and many of them have won bids to host tournaments and championship games since.

“I also don’t think the movie industry is going to leave,” he said. “They like to make money and save money and it is a lot less expensive to film a movie here than it is in California.”

It appears highly unlikely that an override session of the legislature will be called, according to the AJC.

House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Thursday that they would not push to overturn Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a “religious liberty” measure this year, but both vowed to unite behind a new version of the controversial legislation next year.

In an exclusive joint interview, the leaders of the two legislative chambers told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they are ready for a fresh start on the debate over the measure, which would extend legal protections to opponents of same-sex marriage, and are heeding the calls of religious conservatives clamoring for more safeguards for faith-based organizations.

Some conservative legislators have called for a “veto session” to summon lawmakers back to Atlanta, a move that would require three-fifths support in each chamber. Overturning his veto would face a higher bar — two-thirds support in each chamber — a threshold the vote failed to reach in March.

Both said they would oppose a veto session, with Ralston saying it “has the potential to be counterproductive.” Cagle didn’t close the door on an attempt to override the veto next year, though Ralston said he would rather devote his energy to trying to reach a consensus among lawmakers than reversing the governor’s decision.

“I don’t know that the votes would be there to override the veto,” Ralston said. “My preference would be to come together and focus on the substance of the bill rather than the rhetoric that’s out there — and reach a resolution.”

McClatchyDC takes a look at the dynamics of a GOP challenge to incumbent Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton).

A truck-driving Macon businesswoman and a former sheriff’s deputy with a history of crossing party lines are trying to oust Republican Austin Scott from his three-term seat in Congress as Georgia’s 8th district U.S. representative.

It’s the second time that Republican Angela Hicks, owner of Stuff It Mobile Storage, has crossed paths with Scott in the sprawling district that runs south from central Georgia to the Florida border.

And for Scott, the strong favorite to retain his seat, he’ll have to show he can withstand a growing anti-incumbent sentiment and the possible downstream electoral drag of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz GOP presidential nomination.

“If the people give me the privilege to serve again,” Scott said, “I’m going to continue to do my job, with regard to constituent services locally, as the only Republican (from Georgia) on the Armed Services Committee in the House or the Senate, and I’m going to do my job to support agriculture and our farmers and our agricultural economy.”

[Angela] Hicks doesn’t consider herself part of the Republican Party’s tea-party faction: “I really hate to lump me to them or them to me,” she said.

With a self-funded campaign, Hicks has put up several dozen billboards throughout the district attacking Scott’s conservative bona fides and casting him as an establishment Republican who votes the party line – even when it goes against conservative principles.

Yesterday in Gwinnett County, a rag-tag ad hoc group of state legislators heard about business investment opportunities and issues.

“That idea of an incubator and direct support for the entrepreneur is something that’s going on all across the state,” said Atlanta Technology Angels board members Dan King, who also worked to start a Gwinnett Angels group. “There’s aggressive support by the chamber here and the communities around here, themselves, have started their own investment incubators.”

“I spend a lot of time going out to various organizations, to meetings all over the region, and the thing I hear consistently … is that in the metro Atlanta area and in Georgia, capital is the thing that consistently it’s said there’s not enough of,” Partnership Gwinnett Director of Entrepreneurship Mark Farmer said.

“Entrepreneurs all need the same things. They need customers, they need a place to work, they need mentoring, assistance, education and knowledge, but they also need money to make money.”

A study of rattlesnakes in South Georgia shows the state’s population holding steady.

DNR commissioned the survey because Eastern diamondbacks are being considered for protected status under the Endangered Species Act. Findings will help inform U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decisions on whether to list this native, the largest venomous snake in the region.

While Eastern diamondbacks have experienced significant decline in Georgia from habitat loss and from people killing them, Stevenson said the current population is solid. Study authors looked at 15 years of DNR and Orianne Society records and supplemented that information with reported sightings from a DNR Biotics web site as well as museum collections. In all they compiled close to 400 occurrence records.

Georgia Public Broadcasting looks at the issue of part-time legislators under the Gold Dome.

The old way the General Assembly was supposed to work back when they came up with this scheme is that they met during the winter quarter when the state university system was on quarters and it was when the crops … the fields were dead. And so you came after the harvest and you left right before planting time and that’s how it was supposed to work originally and that’s no longer where we live in the state.

Is that antiquated? Is that outmoded at this point? Do they need to be full time?

Well there’s there’s a case that could be made for full time legislators a number of states have the New York, California, Illinois … all have full time legislators. This is their career this is their job this is what they invest in. I think one of the big problems for us is that, yeah, it works for folks that are still are in farming career.

But today so few of our population work in agriculture, and are on the agricultural cycle there’s a lot of citizens that get left out of the chance to serve as a citizen legislator and there’s []ways you could do that we could still have part time legislators that stretch the season such legislative session around the year to do different things but this session the way it’s structured is pretty difficult to recruit ambitious politicians to want to invest in a lifetime in it.