The blog.


Bill would reconfigure DeKalb County sales tax – Decaturish

Whenever a new city forms in DeKalb County, it eats into a special sales tax that funds infrastructure improvements.

Now state Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, has introduced a bill recommended by the DeKalb County Operations Task Force that’s intended to fairly distribute the 1 percent Homestead Option Sales Tax. It would designate the current HOST tax to property tax relief and levy an additional penny sales tax for capital projects, like paving roads.

Both would have to be approved by the voters, assuming the House Bill 215 passes in the legislature this year.

via Bill would reconfigure DeKalb County sales tax – Decaturish.


Two anti-bullying bills before House – The Newnan Times-Herald

Two anti-bullying bills are before the Georgia House of Representatives this year.

One, House Bill 131, “The End to Cyberbullying Act,” has a chance of passing.

To become law this year, the bill would need to be approved by the House on Friday, which is “Crossover Day.” That day, the 30th legislative day of the 40 day session, is the one by which a bill must have passed either the House or the Senate to have a chance of becoming law that session. Language of bills that don’t make the deadline can sometimes be tacked on to other bills.

The other bill, HB 40, hasn’t yet gotten a hearing this year, said Rep. Keisha Waites, D-Atlanta, author of HB 40 and a co-sponsor of HB 131.

via Two anti-bullying bills before House – The Newnan Times-Herald.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 12, 2015


Duke is a magnificent beast! A young male Bloodhound who will be available for adoption beginning March 15, 2015 at Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, GA.



Number 44077 is a young male Great Pyrenees who is friendly and available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 44058 is a young male Maltese who is friendly and available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 43867 is a young male Chihuahua who is available for adoption from the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Macon-Bibb County will open a new animal shelter on March 20th.

A replacement for the old shelter at 1010 11th St. has been needed for years. The special purpose local option sales tax passed in 2011 included $3 million for a new shelter, built at 4280 Fulton Mill Road. Some items were cut from original plans to save money, and some were added back after Macon-Bibb commissioners moved another $435,000 from other under-budget SPLOST projects to the shelter work. Even so, officials then asked for public donations of money and items to furnish and equip the new facility.

Assistant County Manager Steve Layson said this week that the new shelter already is taking in animals, with a dozen dogs and nine cats at that time. Fewer than 20 dogs remained in the old shelter, and animal rescue groups are working to get them adopted instead of moving them to the new shelter, he said.

The State Senate passed legislation to override local laws that regulate dogs by breed, according to the Macon Telegraph,

As for dogs, they need to be judged on the content of their character, not their breed, said state Sen. Ellis Black, R-Valdosta, of Senate Bill 184.

That bill says cities and counties cannot regulate a dog based on its breed. It passed in a 42-11 vote..

Local governments could still regulate dogs found to be “vicious” or “dangerous,” but they could not single out pit bulls or other breeds.

In Georgia, only the cities of LaGrange and Lawrenceville regulate dogs by breed, Black said.

Both bills may be heard by the House of Representatives as early as next week.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 12, 2015

On March 12, 1739, James Oglethorpe, recognized as the Founder of Georgia, wrote the Georgia Trustees, urging them to continue the ban on slavery in the new colony.

Juliette Gordon Low held the first meeting of the Girl Guides, which would later be renamed the Girl Scouts, in her home in Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912.

Gianni Agnelli was born on March 12, 1921 in Turin, Italy, and would come to be the wealthiest man in Italy, head and principal shareholder of Fiat, and recognized as an Italian Senator for Life in 1991. Among those who follow fashion, Agnelli has long been recognized as an archetype of the Italian approach to menswear.

His style was about more than clothes—it was an attitude, a philosophical response to absurdity. Watching him could tell you how to live, how to behave. In Italy, they call it sprezzatura, making the difficult look easy. Americans are gonzo, a spirit personified by Hunter S. Thompson, who defined it as a man who learns to fly by falling out of a plane. Agnelli might look gonzo—especially on nights when he showed up in boots and an ill-fitting tie—but was, in fact, sprezzatura; he knew how to fly all along. “When he was not perfectly dressed, it was contrived,” says Taki Theodoracopulos, the writer, columnist, socialite and son of a Greek shipping tycoon. Taki is one of the few surviving members of Agnelli’s social circle. “The tie askew, the unbuttoned shirt—nothing was an accident. Or, to put it another way, it was meant to be an accident, which made it even more stylish.”

Clarence Thomas, originally from Pin Point, Georgia, was sworn in to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on March 12, 1990.

R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007.

Happy birthday to former Atlanta Braves slugger Dale Murphy.

Under the Gold Dome Today

Here’s an excellent brief interview of Speaker David Ralston by GPB’s Bill Nigut on the Transportation Finance Act and forthcoming political challenges.

10:00am – 11:00am House MARTOC – 406 clob
10:00am – 11:00am House Nat’l Resources & Env’t – 506 CLOB
10:00am – 11:00am Senate Transportation Continuation – 125 CAP
12:00pm – 1:00pm Senate Regulated Industries – 310 CLOB
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Science & Technology – 310 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Industry & Labor – 406 CLOB
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Interstate Coop – Canceled – 123 cap
2:00pm – 3:00pm Senate Finance – Canceled – mezz 1
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Nat’l Resources & Env’t – 450 cap

Matt Kempner at the AJC has a higher-level view of the legislature this year, making the case that much of this Session’s legislative action involves friction between free-market conservatism and the reality of government in Georgia.

From beer to solar panels and, now, $70,000 electric cars, state legislators are weighing whether to let Georgians buy what they want, the way they want, even if it comes at the expense of powerful businesses.

Three bills in particular this year are testing the Republican-dominated legislature’s resolve for a freer market versus protectionism. Backers say they want Georgians to be able to get more from young, innovative businesses.

Legislators usually are wary of irritating their most influential business constituents, such as car dealers that employ nearly 30,000 Georgians.

“Those are some of the heaviest hitters in your community,” Hooks said. “It is difficult for any member of the legislature to go against the tried and true business leaders.”

Legislation that challenges such entrenched interests “is not going to happen overnight,” Hooks said. “Ideas change slowly in the General Assembly.”

“Since consumers are empowered in this way, when they come across regulations and laws and so on that restrict their ability to buy … then they are going to be lobbying their representatives,” said Michael Crew, a Rutgers University professor of regulatory economics. “The people with the entrenched industries are going to be lobbying also, and they generally have more power.”

Said Crew: “The guy with the least weight is the individual consumer.”

This is an excellent article that is worth reading in its entirety.

This dynamic and the libertarian leanings of many Georgia voters is demonstrated by the GaPundit Online Survey results on some of the issues that article discussed.

BeerJobsSurveyResultsContinue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 11, 2015

On March 11, 1861, the Confederate Congress, assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Today the original signed manuscript of the Confederate Constitution is in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.

On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols shot and killed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and court reporter Julie Brandau in the Fulton County Courthouse, leading to a lockdown of the state capitol and a number of nearby buildings. Nichols killed two more before taking a young woman hostage in Duluth; that woman, Ashley Smith, would talk Nichols into surrendering the next day. Nichols was eventually convicted for four murders and is serving consecutive life sentences.

Happy Birthday to former Governor Roy Barnes, who served from 1999-2003, and lost to Republican Sonny Perdue in 2002, and to current Governor Nathan Deal in 2010.

Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times reporter Claude Sitton, who covered much of the Civil Rights Movement in the South, died yesterday.

One of his articles, in 1962, caught the attention of Robert F. Kennedy, the attorney general at the time. It described a south Georgia sheriff and his deputies intruding on a voting rights meeting at a church in Terrell County and menacing the citizens there. One officer repeatedly struck his palm with a large flashlight as if it were a club; another ran his hand over his revolver and cartridge belt.

Mr. Sitton began by quoting the sheriff: “We want our colored people to go on living like they have for the last hundred years.”

Kennedy sent a Justice Department team to Terrell County to sue the sheriff two weeks later.

“It was not that Claude was some flaming liberal or liberator,” Mr. Klibanoff told The Associated Press in an interview. “He just liked a good story and liked to have it first. And frequently he was reporting on injustice — and they knew, on the civil rights side, that if The New York Times wrote about it, it would get attention from important people.”

Sitton was an alumnus of Emory University and when I was at the College, he was a professor there, teaching the history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Under the Gold Dome Today

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 11, 2015

#Savethe200 is a group of volunteers trying to help the dogs and cats who are in Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society. They must all be out of the shelter by March 23 or they’ll be euthanized. You can help by fostering or adopting, or by visiting them on Facebook to sponsor heartworm medication for an HW+ dog to make them more adoptable.


Bailey (above and below) is a 1.5 year old Retriever mix female who is available for adoption from Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society in Dublin, GA.



24578967 is a one-year old male Yellow Lab mix who is available for adoption from Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society in Dublin, GA.


24850160  is an adult Chow mix (maybe Golden Retriever too?) who is available for adoption from Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society in Dublin, GA.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 10, 2015


This sweet 30-pound Lab mix is one of the #Savethe200 dogs who needs to be out of the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society before March 23d or he will be euthanized. He might have been someone’s Christmas puppy, but he came into the shelter on December 27th.


This pit mix is number A24918298 and he likes to be hugged. He is available for adoption from Dublin-Laurens Humane Society in Dublin, GA.

Two Labs

This sweet pair of Lab mixes, one male and one female, might be brother and sister, and they’re definitely best friends. The bigger one is more outgoing, while his buddy is more reserved. Their adoption fees will be waived for a home that takes them in as a pair. They are available for adoption from Dublin-Laurens Humane Society in Dublin, GA.

If you think that the Official State Dog bill is a waste of time, here’s something for you. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black will issue $200,000 of taxpayer money in the form of grants to local governments to help with spay and neuter.

“Often local communities have citizens that are burdened by the high costs of having their pets spayed or neutered,” Black said. “This grant will target and aid these communities across Georgia by keeping strays off the street and controlling the animal population in a humane manner.”

Since the inception of the program, the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program has been utilized to sexually alter over 100,000 companion animals. The funds for these procedures are obtained from the sales of the dog and cat sterilization program specialty vehicle tags, the income tax check off and from direct contributions to the program. In 2013, the Dog and Cat Sterilization Grant Program was established to allow for state licensed animal shelters and licensed animal rescue organizations with 501-c3 status to apply for grants from the program. The first round of grants; offered in May 2013, awarded $125,000 to a total of 19 organizations.

Our friends at work to raise money to fund low-cost spay and neuter programs for pet owners in Georgia like the free Clayton County Spay Day (actually about three weeks), from February 24-March 12, 2015.

FGP is bringing its resources to Clayton County Feb. 24 through March 12, offering free spaying and neutering. FGP works with local veterinarians and clinics who offer a discount for the surgeries. The program is funded through donations and Fix Georgia Pets uses the money to cover the cost of spaying and neutering for cats and dogs.

Judy Simon is the FGP spay and neuter day coordinator. She said they’ve already received hundreds of calls and that it points to a real need in the Clayton community.

“We did a lot of homework, studied the statistics and found that a good percent of the county’s residents are under the poverty level,” Simon said. “The county has always been in need and we determined Clayton was the best place to go next.”

Ginny Millner, founder of FGP, said in an email that “Clayton is the perfect example of the pet overpopulation crisis that Georgia faces. The number of surrendered and stray dogs is so high that there’s no place to put them.”

To register for the program, call the Spay/Neuter Hotline at 404-432-3618 or 404-647-1550 for Spanish-speaking residents.

Simon said callers should leave a short message with their location and phone number. She said residents will receive a call back with a schedule time and clinic location.

As of the beginning of their Clayton County campaign, Fix Georgia Pets had more than 700 pets signed up.

If you’d like to help Fix Georgia Pets, please consider making an online donation today and join them on Facebook to keep up with their activities.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 10, 2015

On March 10, 1734, a group of German immigrants reached the mouth of the Savannah River, from where they would proceed on to Savannah. Today, the Georgia Salzburgers Society works to preserve the Salzburger heritage and traditions in Georgia.

On March 10, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation allowing women to have bank accounts separate from their husbands as long as the balance was less than $2000; an earlier act set the limit at $1000.

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

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first speech over his new invention, the telephone.

Thomas B. Murphy was born on March 10, 1924 in Bremen, Georgia and would first be elected to office in the 1950s, winning a seat on the Bremen Board of Education. In 1960, Murphy ran for the State House facing no opposition and was sworn in in 1961. In 1973, he became Speaker Murphy and would hold the post until Bill Heath, a Republican, beat him in the November 2002 General Election.

Murphy held the top House seat for longer than anyone in any American state legislature. He died on December 17, 2007.

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 9, 2015


Bishop is a 10-month old Rottweiler/Hound mix male who is available for adoption from Southern Souls Rescue in Harlem, GA. (I think they called him a Rotweiller mix because of his coat, though he looks like a Hound to me.


King is an adult male Husky who is available for adoption from Releashed Rescue in Cumming, GA.

King came to the rescue when his owner decided he could no longer care for him. He has spent his whole life living in a pen outdoors so everything is new to him. He’s still a little on the shy side but is making huge strides in learning to adjust to his new found love and attention. King loves long walks and keeps a loose lead (very unusual for a husky). King loves to have his ears rubbed and is learning to play with his foster brothers and sisters. King deserves a loving family of his own that can nurture his confidence and show him the love he’s been craving. King is up to date on shots, microchipped, neutered and heartworm free. Come meet King and give him the home that he deserves. For more information: [email protected]


Queenie is an adult female pit bull terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA.

There is nothing quite like an adorable doggie smile! Queenie has hers perfected! Queenie is a super sweet girl who loves treats, people, and everything else. This happy, waggy girl can’t wait to join your family. Come meet her today! Her adoption fee includes her spay, vaccinations, microchip, and more! For more information email [email protected]


Queenie (Chatsworth) is a sweet senior female American Bulldog, very gentle, looking for a new home. She is available for adoption from Murray County Humane Society in Chatsworth, GA.

Lonely Pup

This little guy is the last remaining puppy who urgently needs a home at Dublin-Laurens Humane Society in Dublin, Ga. He has a little skin issue, which is being checked out, so he might be best as an only dog until he’s treated, but he’ll love your family like nobody’s business.


#SaveThe200 is an urgent effort to clear out the Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society before March 23, when all remaining animals will be euthanized.


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

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time. On the next day, March 9, 1862, Virginia and USS Monitor, a Union ironclad, fought to a draw in the Chesapeake Bay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The stakes were enormous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Friday, March 6, 2015, former Fulton County Commissioner Tom Lowe died, having served more than 40 years in office from his election in 1974 as the first Republican member of the Commission until this past December.

Famously cantankerous, Lowe carried a pistol to meetings in the mid-1980s after he learned a fellow commissioner was also packing heat. He said at the time he would “be damned if I’m going to be overgunned.”

After earning a civil engineering degree at Auburn University, Lowe worked in heavy construction, building highways, railroads and dams. In 1957, he founded Lowe Engineers Inc., a civil engineering firm. He later developed commercial and industrial properties in metro Atlanta.

The Tom and Bettye Lowe Lobby and Grand Foyer at Auburn University’s Shelby Center for Engineering Technology was named in recognition of the Lowes’ support of the Samuel Ginn School of Engineering.

Would anyone care to join me at the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds for a memorial round of skeet or trap in his honor?

Under the Gold Dome Today

Today is the 28th Legislative Day of the 2015 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. Day 30, called Crossover Day, will be Friday.

To maintain a chance of becoming law, bills must be approved by the chamber they originated in by midnight Friday. Yes, that’s Friday, March 13. No, legislative leaders say, that’s not symbolic.

Alan Riquelmy of the Rome News-Tribune writes of the pace as we hurtle toward Crossover Day.

Crossover Day is the 30th day of the legislative session. This year it falls on Friday. Lawmakers from across the state will push, pray and plead to get their bills to a vote by this day. Otherwise their legislation must wait until next year’s session.

“We’ll be hearing these bills all day long,” said state Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee. “It will be very intense.”

It’s the same on the other side of the Gold Dome.

“Crossover Day is always a busy time,” said state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome. “I think we’ll be there late on Friday, as everyone tries to get their bills through.”

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