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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 25, 2015

The first prisoners of war were moved to Andersonville on February 25, 1864.

The United States Congress pass the Legal Tender Act on February 25, 1862, allowing the government to pay its bills with paper money it printed.

On February 25, 1870, Hiram Rhoades Revels (R-Missippi) was sworn in as the first African-American Congressman in history.

In 1867, the first Reconstruction Act was passed by a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress, dividing the South into five military districts and granting suffrage to all male citizens, regardless of race. A politically mobilized African American community joined with white allies in the Southern states to elect the Republican party to power, which in turn brought about radical changes across the South. By 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and most were controlled by the Republican Party, thanks in large part to the support of African American voters.

On January 20, 1870, Hiram R. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature to fill the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy. On February 25, two days after Mississippi was granted representation in Congress for the first time since it seceded in 1861, Revels was sworn in.

On February 25, 1876, the first Georgia state law against abortion was passed.

On February 25, 1999, Johnny Isakson was sworn into Congress from the Sixth District, a seat vacated by the resignation of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Under the Gold Dome Today

As of the time of this writing, the House and Senate plan to convene today at 10 AM for Legislative Day 22 and to convene on Thursday for LD 23.

Governor Deal has declared a state of emergency beginning at 2 PM today for 50 counties, including Fulton, where the State Capitol is located.

Gov. Nathan Deal this evening ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon [today] and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m.

This may affect legislative committee meetings scheduled today and we won’t attempt to prognosticate whether Session will be changed from tomorrow.

8:00am – 9:00am House Appropriations Committee – 341 cap
12:00pm – 1:00pm Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Interstate Cooperation – 415 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Academic Innovations Sub of Education – 403 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Public Safety Committee – 310 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Insurance & Labor Committee – 125 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Education & Youth Committee – 307 clob
2:00pm – 2:30pm House Elections Sub of Govtal Affairs – 406 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Retirement Committee – 515 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Defense & Vets Affairs – 415 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm Senate Finance Committee – mezz 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm House State Properties Committee – 403 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate State Institutions & Property – 125 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Judiciary Non Civil – 307 clob
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Transportation Committee – 450 cap
3:00pm – 5:00pm House Fleming Sub of Judiciary Civil – 403 cap
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities – 310 clob
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate State & Local Gov’tal Ops – Mezz 1

Senate Rules Calendar Unavailable

House Rules Calendar

Modified Structured Rule

HB 59 – State tort claims; waiver of sovereign immunity for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Willard-51st)

HB 85 – Alcoholic beverages; sale or furnishing to patients or inmates of Central State Hospital and sale or possession near or upon the grounds; change certain provisions (RegI-Harrell-106th)(AM# 36 0490)

HB 211 – Controlled substances; Schedule I, III, and IV; change certain provisions (JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)

HB 261 – Alcoholic beverages; sale during certain times on Sunday in commercial service airports owned or operated by a municipal governing authority; provide (Substitute)(RegI-Harrell-106th)

Carly Fiorina at Underground Atlanta Reading..


Bill ending EV tax credits resurrected in House subcommittee |

Legislation ending Georgia’s lucrative tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles was resurrected Tuesday in a House subcommittee under curious circumstances.

House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, was voted down in the same Ways and Means subcommittee last week. But when the panel convened again Tuesday, it was announced that HB 122 had only been “tabled” last time, which is legislative-ese for being postponed.

After the bill was un-tabled it quickly passed by unanimous voice vote. No Democrats were present.

via Bill ending EV tax credits resurrected in House subcommittee |


Former DeKalb commissioner’s husband pleads guilty |

The chiropractor husband of former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to orchestrating a scheme that defrauded taxpayers of more than $80,000.

John Boyer admitted to a mail fraud conspiracy charge, and a judge will sentence him May 6.

Prosecutors wrote in court documents that he devised the kickback plan that ended the political career of his wife. Elaine Boyer resigned in August and pleaded guilty to similar charges. She is scheduled to be sentenced March 20.

via Former DeKalb commissioner’s husband pleads guilty |


Fading Christie Is Giving Bush Stronger Grip on G.O.P.’s Center –

Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions are in a lot of trouble. First he squandered his initial strength in national polls — he holds 6 to 7 percent of the vote among Republican contenders, down from about 20 percent before the scandal involving the closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Now a fairly broad set of reporting indicates that Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is struggling to build support among the donors, officials and operatives necessary to win the nomination.

He probably couldn’t have won the nomination in any case — because of his moderate positions on immigration, gun control and Medicaid expansion — but he seemed poised to earn substantial support from many self-described moderate voters, along with many donors in the Republican establishment. The severity of his challenge is therefore quite important, because it puts Jeb Bush in position to consolidate the moderate wing of the G.O.P.

Mr. Bush’s emerging sway among moderates might not seem like a big deal in a Republican Party dominated by conservatives — with most candidates seeming eager to run as far to the right as possible. But moderates play a much bigger role in the G.O.P. primary process than they do in Washington, and it would take a very strong conservative to defeat a candidate with a big advantage among moderates.

via Fading Christie Is Giving Bush Stronger Grip on G.O.P.’s Center –


Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post

SNELLVILLE — After more than a decade on the force, Chris is hanging up his badge.

The Snellville mayor and city council on Monday night honored the retiring K-9 following a storied career of service, including more than 900 drug searches and 175 arrests.

According to a proclamation approved by the officials, a highlight in the Belgian Malinois’ time working with partner Sgt. David Matson was helping police find more than 900 pounds of marijuana and $115,000 in cash hidden beneath a false floor in an RV. That was after human officers almost missed the contraband.

via Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 24, 2015

On February 24, 1803, the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall decided the case of Marbury v. Madison, enunciating the principle of judicial review under which the Court has authority to review Congressional action and hold them unconstitutional.

In writing the decision, John Marshall argued that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are not law and therefore are non-binding to the courts, and that the judiciary’s first responsibility is always to uphold the Constitution. If two laws conflict, Marshall wrote, the court bears responsibility for deciding which law applies in any given case.

Union troops under General George Thomas attacked Confederates led by General Joseph Johnston near Dalton, Georgia on February 24, 1865.

Casualties were light. Thomas suffered fewer than 300 men killed, wounded, or captured, while Johnston lost around 140 troops. The Union generals did learn a valuable lesson, however; a direct attack against Rocky Face Ridge was foolish. Three months later, Sherman, in command after Grant was promoted to commander of all forces, sent part of his army further south to another gap that was undefended by the Confederates. The intelligence garnered from the Battle of Dalton helped pave the way for a Union victory that summer.

The Atlanta Journal was first published on February 24, 1883.

On February 24, 1988, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, that the First Amendment protects publishers against claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the plaintiff is a public figure being parodied by the publication.

Carly Fiorina in Atlanta Today; Ben Carson visited Gwinnett

Former Hewlett Packard CEO, 2010 Republican candidate for United States Senate from California and possible 2016 Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be in Atlanta today to speak to the Capitol Club lunch hosted by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The lunch is at the Event Loft at Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama Street, Suite 007, Atlanta, Georgia.

Another potential 2016 GOP candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, spoke in Gwinnett County this past weekend. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

“If everything continues to go as planned,” the political novice will announce a presidential exploratory committee in “the next few weeks.”

“It just kept building and building,” Carson said.

The presumed presidential candidate was at the Gwinnett Center on Saturday evening to speak at the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation’s annual donor appreciation gala. His comments, made in front of a record-breaking crowd of 900, included medical anecdotes, parts of his own background and plenty of quips. They also followed a few familiar themes: a bashing of health care reform, stereotypes and a bit about “what all of us can do as Americans to fortify the future for those coming behind us.”

“We’re in the process of completely destroying any chance that (our children) will have for a reasonable future,” Carson said. “And that made me decide that maybe I should be speaking out more. Whether I run or not, I definitely need to speak out more.”

Carson believes he’s gained popularity because Americans are “responding to common sense.” He said his lack of political experience is actually a positive (“The people who have had a lot of experience have done a fine job, haven’t they?”) and took on another one of his favorite targets: the so-called “PC police.”

Under the Gold Dome Today

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 24, 2015

T-Bone Walton

It’s a good policy to always start your day with a puppy, so here’s T-Bone, a 3-month old, 12-pound puppy who was surrendered by his owner and is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA.

Champ Walton

Champ is a 1-year old, 40-pound low-rider mix who is affectionate with people and interact well with other dogs. He was surrendered by his owner and is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA.

Lucy Walton

“Lucy’ is a friendly and social year-old, 60-pound Black Lab who was found stray and whose owner has been notified but hasn’t picked her up. She came in with “Lola” below and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015.

Walton Lola

“Lola’ is a friendly and social year-old, 60-pound female Yellow Lab who was found stray and whose owner has been notified but hasn’t picked her up.She came in with “Lucy” above and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015.

Generic Bulldog

No photo is available yet, so we improvised. Number 2015 0213 (A1) is a 5-year old, 50-pound English Bulldog female who was found stray and will be available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA beginning Friday, February 27, 2015. Check out the Walton County website for a photo and more information when it becomes available.

Today, in honor of Governor Nathan Deal’s proclamation of February 2015 as Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and today, February 24 as World Spay Day, Lifeline Spay and Neuter Clinics in Avondale Estates will be paying for 50 pit bulls and pit bull mixes to be spayed or neutered free of charge in their “Fifty Pit Mix.”

According to LifeLine CEO Rebecca Guinn, spaying and neutering is critical in reducing the number of homeless animals, especially unwanted pit bulls. “The number of abandoned pit bulls that come into our shelters is staggering, and the main reason is because people are not fixing their dogs,” she says. “By eliminating financial barriers, and encouraging residents to get their pit bull dogs fixed, we hope to see a reduction in the number of these dogs entering our shelters.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed the month of February as Spay Neuter Awareness Month in Georgia, stating in his proclamation, “Each year shelters must euthanize millions of animals, many that are adoptable and healthy, because there aren’t enough homes… All of Georgia’s pets should be assured loving homes and a lifetime of care… The citizens of Georgia have a responsibility to spay and neuter their pets.”


Cotton, the State of Georgia’s sixth and longest-serving arson dog has died after more than ten years service to the state and her citizens.

“We’ll always remember Cotton as a valuable employee in the fight against arson,” [Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph] Hudgens said. “Without his special abilities, hundreds of suspicious fires in Georgia may have gone unsolved.”

Cotton was born on February 9, 2001, and began his training as an arson detection Labrador retriever in August 2003 at the Maine State Police Training Center in Alfred, Maine. He came to work for the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s office in September 2003 as the sixth arson canine in the state to serve the law enforcement and fire service communities.

Between September 2003 and January 2014, Cotton and his handler, Investigator Bruce Gourley were involved in more than three thousand fire investigations. Cotton’s specialized training in sniffing out petrochemical products allowed him to determine if accelerants were used to start a fire. This ability led to the convictions of 250 arson suspects, which included six arrests for murders that involved arson.

Senator Curt Thompson lost most of his worldy belongings and several pets in a home fire.

I lost my home today in a house fire. I lost everything in the way of personal belongings I own but I’m safe.

Family pets: Stein (the St Bernard hero), mr 3 cats, Rosie, Nieves, Ms Kitty, my bird Mufalda, and the fish all perished. May peace be upon them in their next journey. They will be missed.

One family member, my dog ChaChi, gratefully, did survive thanks to Stein.

Thanks Sarah Haynes and Dorel Bud for calling the fire department, Jay Trevari and Jeff Thomas for contacting me and being there, Tony Morgan from State Farm for driving out personally, and to everyone else who checked in, called or pitched in.

Thanks also to my Senate colleagues and friends who checked in and offered help.

An online fundraiser has been set up to help Sen. Thompson. Lobbyists should check with their legal or compliance advisers before donating.


VIDEO – GA Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute: Day 20 with Sen. Josh McKoon

Your Georgia Desk

From The Georgia Senate Press Office and Senator Josh McKoon

Senate in a Minute: Day 20

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VIDEO – Sen. Josh McKoon: The End of the British Slave Trade

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Josh McKoon

Sen. McKoon: Point of Privilege – The End of the British Slave Trade


Gov. Deal releases Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee report

Immediate action to be taken in order to meet the needs of rural hospitals across state, governor says 

Gov. Nathan Deal today released the final report of recommendations from his Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, which was created last April to identify and provide solutions for the needs of Georgia’s rural hospital community.

“When a rural hospital struggles, a community struggles,” said Deal. “Back in April we stood at a critical juncture for some of our state’s rural health care systems, and this committee was just one of the paths taken to ensure that Georgians, no matter where they live, have the ability to receive adequate care. These recommendations, a result of countless hours of dedicated analysis and review of a system that affects not only our citizens’ wellbeing, but also our local economies, will serve as a strong starting point toward providing high-quality health care throughout rural Georgia.”Continue Reading..