The blog.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 23, 2016


Number 53569 is a male Chihuahua mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53569 is a female Chihuahua mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53586, “Taco,” is a young male Labrador Retriever who will be available for adoption beginning on November 26, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Number 53534 is a friendly male Dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier mix who will be available for adoption beginning on November 25, 2016 at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 23, 2016

President George Washington declared November 26, 1789 the first “public day of thanksgiving and prayer.”

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington


On November 23, 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman himself entered Milledgeville, where used the Governor’s Mansion as his headquarters. Sherman’s forces left the capitol city on November 24th.

On November 25, 1864, Sherman’s 14th and 20th Corps moved toward Sandersville while the 17th Corps fought briefly against a mix of Kentucky Militia, Georgia Military Institute cadets, and Georgia convicts.

On November 27, 1864, Sherman ordered the courthouse in Sandersville, Georgia burned.

On November 25, 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel filed a patent for dynamite. On November 25, 1895, Nobel wrote his will, leaving the equivalent of roughly $186 million (2008 dollars) to endow the Nobel prizes.

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Fourth Thursday in November as the modern Thanksgiving celebration.

[I]t was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

On the same day, a Japanese navy fleet left port headed toward Pearl Harbor.

President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

Construction on the Georgia Dome began on November 24, 1989.

On November 24, 1992, Republican Paul D. Coverdell defeated Democratic incumbent Wyche Fowler in the runoff election for United States Senate.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Voter turnout reached a new record, with more than 76% of registered voters making it to the polls for the November 2016 General Election.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced the final results Tuesday. His office had previously predicted turnout in the Nov. 8 general election would break a state record for votes cast in an election.

The turnout numbers were even higher in Hall County, where 78.5 percent of voters cast ballots, a total of 71,396 out of the 90,878 people registered.

Kemp says more than 4.1 million people voted early or on Election Day this year statewide out of 5.4 million active registered voters.

The record previously was more than 3.9 million votes during the 2008 fall elections.

“I am thrilled to see Georgian’s enthusiasm this cycle,” Kemp said. “Voters turned out in record numbers for the (March) SEC Primary, and that trend has continued all year long.”

Forsyth County voters turned out at more than 80% in the General Election.

More than 80 percent of registered Forsyth County voters turned out Nov. 8, voting to extend an education sales tax and pass a revision to the county’s homestead exemption.

The education sales tax passed with 63 percent of the vote. It establishes a one-cent sales tax for education that runs five years or until the cap of $195 million is reached. By law, special purpose local sales taxes imposed for schools can only be used for capital projects and to make payments on bonds. Forsyth County voters approved similar referendums in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011, with the current SPLOST expiring in June 2017.

The second major ballot issue was a senior homestead exemption which would reduce a property owner’s eligibility for school tax exemptions. Forsyth voters approved this measure with 60 percent in in favor.

In 2001, Forsyth voters approved a 100 percent senior, or age 65 and up, homestead exemption for school taxes. Since that time, Forsyth County’s population has grown from 98,407 to 212,500, and school enrollment has increased from 17,249 to 46,061. In 2015, senior exemptions amounted to over $19 million in lost revenue.

In the presidential election, Republican Donald Trump garnered 71 percent of the votes, while Democrat Hillary Clinton received 24 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson took 4 percent.

On the local level, incumbents District Attorney for the Bell-Forsyth Circuit Penny Penn, Probate Judge Lynwood Jordan, Superior Court Clerk Greg Allen, Tax Commissioner Matthew Ledbetter, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, Board of Education District 3 representative Tom Cleveland and Board of Education District 4 representative Darla Light all won their spots with 100 percent of votes.

Some new faces will be joining the county including Ron Freeman as sheriff, Lauren McDonald as coroner, Rick Swope as District 2 County Commissioner and Laura Smanson as District 5 County Commissioner.

The Board of Education District 5 seat was up for grabs, but incumbent Nancy Roche held onto that seat with 79 percent of votes.

Incoming Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry announced leadership changes that will become effective when he takes the lead at the agency.

Joseph W. Hood III, Andrew Johnson, and Kate Pfirman will serve as Deputy Commissioners, and Lisa Walker will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer.

“As I plan for my role as Commissioner of the Department of Community Health (DCH), I am pleased to announce the addition of several executives to the DCH leadership team,” said Berry. “The combined experience and knowledge-base of this team will be an asset to accomplishing the agency’s mission.”

Joseph W. Hood III serves as the Division Director of Public Safety at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Prior to his current position, he served as Comptroller for the Georgia Department of Public Safety. He was a staff member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council for more than 10 years, serving as the Grants Division Director for five years. He also served as an auditor with the Georgia Department of Human Resources and as Finance Director at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. Hood earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.

Andrew Johnson is currently Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities where he has served for four years. Prior to his service to the state, he worked with the office of Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D., for five years, as well as in the private sector as a mortgage banker.  Mr. Johnson studied Political Science at Kennesaw State University.

Kate Pfirman has been with the state over 20 years. She currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Public Health and has held a variety of roles including Division Director at the Governor’s Office of Planning (OPB), and Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Human Resources (DHR). Pfirman received her Bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and her Master’s degree in accounting from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Lisa Walker is currently the Division Director of Health and Human Services for the Office of Planning and Budget. She has worked in multiple state agencies during her 20 years of public service with the State of Georgia. She serves on the Board of Georgia Health Information Network. Walker earned a Bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgia State University and also holds a MBA with a concentration in finance.

The Fayette County Republican Party is considering putting together a bus trip to Washington for the Inaurgual, to leave on January 19 and return January 22, 2017. If you’re interested, get in touch with the county party’s leadership.

State Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire) will introduce legislation outlawing “upskirting” after the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the existing statute.

“It’s something we all recognize as unacceptable behavior,” said state Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, sponsor of House Bill 9.

But this year, a Georgia court reversed the conviction of a man for one count of criminal invasion of privacy for what’s called “upskirting.” That man, Brandon Lee Gary, admitted to police about three years ago that he had secretly snapped cellphone videos up the skirt of a woman shopping at the Perry Parkway Publix, where he then worked. He was pretending to tie his shoes.

But the Georgia Court of Appeals said that, technically, Georgia laws guaranteeing privacy don’t apply to the space under peoples’ clothes.

“All this (bill) does is patch that up, allow this to be deemed criminal behavior,” Blackmon said.

GPB News takes a look at wildfire-fighting operations in North Georgia.

“It was bad last night when it was flaming up real high,” [Dolores] Duncan said from her back porch the following morning. “First, it was coming down the mountain over there–you could see it coming down the mountain–so we went down to see how bad it was. I guess it was about 50 feet from the bottom when we went down, and that was before dark.”

As night fell, the fire moved up the hill, threatening Duncan’s home. That’s when rangers from the Georgia Forestry Commission arrived on the scene.

They worked through the night and stopped the flames about 100 feet from Duncan’s back door. The next day, their work continued.

Once a fire is contained within fire breaks bulldozers have plowed through the trees, rangers have to make sure it’s actually out: work known as “mopping up.”

“The duff layer out here–the actual leaves and the pine straw–are so thick that it’s not just burning on the surface. It’s actually burning underneath,” Evans explained. “So, we’re having to remove some of that fuel to get to the real heat, which is under the ground. We use different hand tools, try to put some water on it, and just at least cool it off so it won’t restart.”

“You know, we’ve got a lot of folks up here that’s going to miss Thanksgiving at home, but it’s part of the life,” said Byron Haire, who works for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Armstrong State University inked a research agreement with the United States Army to study injury prevention.

Health care spending is up in Georgia, partly because of increasing costs for prescription drugs.

In Georgia, average per capita spending was slightly above the national average, at $5,194, and average out-of-pocket spending per capita was $942, significantly higher than nationally.

Spending in Georgia, though, was less than the average for the South, which, at $5,240 per capita, was the second-highest-spending region.

Spending on prescription drugs grew faster than spending on any other health care service. In 2015, $649 per capita was spent on brand prescriptions, an increase of 11.4 percent from the previous year.

The average price per dose on brand-name drugs almost doubled from 2012 to 2015, Frost told []. Those increases were especially high for “anti-infective’’ drugs that treat conditions such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

“The only place we’re not seeing price increases is with generic prescriptions,’’ Frost told GHN.

David Howard, an Emory University health policy expert, when asked to comment on the report, said that “it’s striking how much of the spending increases is related to prices.”

He said a key factor could be the rampant consolidation of hospitals systems and physicians, sparked by changes in reimbursements from insurers and government programs looking to emphasize quality of care.  Bigger health systems, experts say, are able to pursue cost savings and also negotiate better pricing from insurers, an industry that’s also seeking to consolidate.

The payment changes were driven by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and repeal of the law, which Republicans have promised since their recent electoral victories, could ease the pressure of medical providers to merge, Howard said.

Camden County Commission Chair Jimmy Starline spoke about creating a technology corridor in Coastal Georgia.

Starline said the county’s strengths in coming years will be Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, sports tourism and a proposed spaceport.

While launching spacecraft is an important part of the county’s long-term plans, it is the support companies that have potential to have the biggest impact to the county, he said.

“The technology corridor is what we’re really after,” Starline said. “We have a real opportunity for a nice lifestyle here.”

He discussed the agreements between the cities and county such as mutual aid for fire protection, a shared health care clinic and a new pact with St. Marys to lower flood insurance rates as examples of positive changes locally.

Cobb County Commissioners will consider allowing open alcohol containers in and near the new Braves stadium.

Cobb commissioners at their work session Tuesday afternoon were presented with a draft plan that would designate the open container areas within and near SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, its adjoining mixed-use development. Under the proposed plan, which could receive commissioner approval next month, The Battery would be designated as an open container area where alcohol could be consumed outside as well as sold by properly licensed vendors.

Dana Johnson, the county’s community development director, said similar areas have been designated within the Cobb cities of Acworth and Smyrna, as well as other metro Atlanta cities, and within special event areas such as Six Flags Over Georgia in Cobb, the Avalon mixed-use development in Alpharetta and Atlantic Station.“This is not a new concept,” Johnson said. “This is something that has been done and managed appropriately throughout Cobb County and throughout metro Atlanta, and this is something we think will be a very big benefit to the visitors and the public as they come to enjoy a great ballgame.”

LaGrange City Council is considering changes to its sign ordinance.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 22, 2016

Dolly Parton is a young female adult Treeing Walker Coonhound who is available for adoption from BARC Brantley Animal Rescue Coalition in Nahunta, GA.

My name is Dolly Parton and I am a Treeing Walker Coonhound. I am young, about a year old, and am a very well behaved girl. I do very nicely with other dogs and cats. I am also use to ignoring horses at the farm where I am being fostered. I like the quiet farm life and am a gentle and loving girl. However, I do not like loud noises and will hide or run if you slam a door or yell.

Dolly Girl is a female Dachshund who is available for adoption from DREAM Atlanta in Atlanta, GA.

Dolly Girl is a standard doxie girl who is about 4 years old. Dolly does not care for other dogs in her space so would like to be in an only dog family. And no cats please! Cats are the bane of Dolly’s existence!

Dolly Girl doesn’t mind chilling out in her crate while her people are at work. A couple of toys, a stuffed Kong and a tv or radiio for company and she is totally content. When her folks get home, she wants to play fetch and run off some energy before settling down for some relaxation time with them.

Dolly is a young female English Bulldog & Staffordshire Bull Terrier Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pregnant Dog Rescue, Inc. in Griffin, GA.

Dolly is a typical puppy – happy, playful, and loving.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 22, 2016

The only major battle on Sherman’s March to the Sea occurred at Griswoldsville on November 22, 1864; on the same day, federal troops marched into Milledgeville.

President John F. Kennedy became the fourth President of the United States to be assassinated in office on November 22, 1963. The next day, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who had been arrested for shooting Kennedy.

On November 22, 1988, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was first unveiled publicly at Palmdale, California.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Georgia Ports Authority continues to set records for container traffic, according to

In fact, the port set an all-time GPA record for the month October, even after being completely shut down for several days during the height of Hurricane Matthew.

Of all the ports affected by Matthew, the Port of Savannah was hit the hardest, according to U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Amy Beach, commander of Marine Safety Unit Savannah and Captain of the Port. Because the full force of the storm struck Savannah’s outer harbor, aids to navigation were severely compromised and had to be restored before the port could be safely reopened.

With all that in play, the numbers surprised even GPA executive director Griff Lynch, who told his board Monday that the port handled more than a quarter-million loaded TEUs – or 20-foot containers – last month to set an all-time GPA record for October.

Governor Nathan Deal may parlay an appointment to Richmond County Superior Court into a second knock-on appointment.

One of the lawyers whose name was submitted for consideration to the Georgia Judicial Nomination Committee is District Attorney Ashley Wright, who was re-elected to a new four-year term Nov. 8. If Wright submits an application by Tuesday and the governor selects her to fill Roper’s term, her job as the top prosecutor for Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties becomes open.

Because Wright would be vacating the district attorney’s seat early in her term, the governor would appoint a local lawyer to to fill the vacancy, but that person would have to run in a special election in the next general election.

After the Judicial Nomination Committee receives the applications this week, the members will conduct interviews with the candidates in December and then narrow the list to up to five names to submit to the governor for his consideration.

Roper intends to leave office Feb. 5.

Low-income residents of Middle Georgia may get assistance in dealing with the complexities of healthcare.

Navicent Health, in partnership with Mercer University law school and Georgia Legal Services Program, is opening a MedLaw office at the Medical Center, Navicent Health, 777 Hemlock St., according to a news release. A ribbon cutting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29 at the new office.

The MedLaw office will offer a team of legal, social and medical workers who will provide free civil legal services to qualified Navicent Health patients. The patients it will serve would be those “whose, treatment or recovery is impeded by a legal need directly related to the patient’s health, when the patient has attempted to remedy the situation but has received an adverse response,” the release said.

MedLaw services will be available 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. To schedule a consultation, patients should call 478-633-8108.

Floyd Jones will serve as the new Fayette County Elections Supervisor.

The City of Tyrone has finalized the project list for a SPLOST election to be held next year, likely in March 2017.

Douglas County Commissioners continue to work on a 2017 budget that has become “tight” due to higher healthcare costs and lower ad valorem tax collections.

Political graffiti targeting President-elect Trump is becoming a problem in Douglas County.

As of early this week, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had received reports of six such incidents since the election, and the Douglasville Police Department had received one report.

In one instance, anti-Trump profanity was spray painted on a stop sign at the intersection of Campbellton Street and Hospital Drive near Douglas County High School, referencing President-Elect Donald Trump. A similar message was painted on the high school itself. The damage from both has since been repaired.

Another incident reported to the Sentinel involved profane anti-Trump messaging spray painted on a garage door in the Stewarts Mill subdivision.

The Newnan Times-Herald looks at how 2016′s events will affect state priorities in 2017.

First is the Trump plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, which eliminates any impetus for the Peach State to consider expanding Medicaid. Until the new Trump proposal is passed by Congress, all state-level health policy discussions will be silenced, including a vague plan pushed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for a sort of streamlined version of Medicaid expansion that legislative leaders were lukewarm about anyway.

Other state actions required to cope with regulations pushed by the Obama administration are also on hold, such as Georgia’s response to the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. Plenty of time and energy has been expended by bureaucrats and lobbyists on these types of state rules to implement federal regulations, so now they’ll have free time for other issues.

One other source of shudders on Election Day was the change of suburban Atlanta counties from red to blue, like Cobb, Henry, Douglas, Gwinnett and Newton, in a year when the Republican nominee beat the Democratic standard bearer by 5 percent in the overall state. Demographic trends foreshadowed the shift, but many observers thought they wouldn’t formally flip until the next presidential election.

What all this means is that conservative leaders have to be smarter. They can’t count on automatic passage of their every proposal any more. Timing contentious referenda will have to be strategic. And they will have to do a better job of convincing voters in the newly blue areas rather than just taking their agreement for granted.

Education funding will be an important and contentious issue in the 2017 General Assembly.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said funding for K-12 school remains an issue, even though most of the previous cuts have been restored. Legislation to change the distribution formula died last year, but he expects it to be resubmitted.

“I’m going to watch that pretty closely,” Hufstetler said. “It shifted funds around from county to county, but I didn’t feel it was a good thing for our schools. I want to make sure our schools come out OK on a new formula.”

Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, said it’s likely that some sort of school reform will be “on the menu” in 2017.

“I don’t know if we’ll come back to opportunity schools, but every year somebody is filing a bill to make school choice more robust and I expect to see that again,” he said.

Rep. Katie Dempsey, R-Rome, said she is focused on mental health and early intervention — catching it and starting treatment before the age of 5, if possible.

She met last week to go over priorities with officials from the Division of Family and Children Services and from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

“I’m also looking at our aging population, so both ends of the spectrum,” she said. “One of the great concerns of the Council on Aging this year is transportation — helping those who are older and on fixed incomes get to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, keeping them active and healthy as long as possible,”

First Lady Sandra Deal will be the namesake of a new Youth and Learning Center at Jekyll Island.

The board of the Jekyll Island Authority said it would name the auditorium, classrooms and labs at the Jekyll Island Youth and Learning Center after the former classroom teacher.

The new facility sits on what was once the Jekyll 4-H Center, which closed two years ago so the former motel, dining hall and education buildings could be demolished to clear the way for the new center. At the time, 4-H had just passed the 1 million mark in the number of students who had gone through its environmental education program.

Hoteliers expect to see religious liberty legislation on the slate for the 2017 session.

“I’ve not heard of any specific bills that are coming back forward, but my assumption is that we will see it be broken up into smaller issues,” said state Rep. Geoff Duncan (R-Cumming.) “To that point, it allows more information to be given out based on specific issues.”

Ron Tarson, general manager of the Westin at Peachtree Plaza and chairman of government affairs with Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association, said he expects religious exemption legislation to be back next year.

Tarson said he doesn’t want Georgia to be like North Carolina, which passed HB2, a controversial bill that bars transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“We know there’s huge impact because we’ve gotten business from North Carolina, and we don’t want our business to go somewhere else,” Tarson said.

Fulton County is getting a new youth services center.

The nonprofit organization Youth Spark partnered with the Junior League of Atlanta Tuesday for a ribbon cutting at the new youth services center.

According to officials, the center will screen at-risk children and adolescents for signs of abuse or sexual exploitation as well connect them with helpful services provided by Amendment Two.

A Gainesville ministry seeking to build housing for women exploited in sex trafficking is finding local opposition.

A Gainesville ministry’s heavily opposed plans to build a campus housing women involved in sex trafficking goes before the Hall County Planning Commission Monday evening.

Straight Street Revolution Ministries is hoping to build the campus on 50 acres off Weaver Road, a hilly area off Poplar Springs Road in southeast Hall County.

Opponents have said they worry such a development would raise safety concerns and lower property values.

Several residents said they applauded the group’s work but they simply don’t believe such a development belongs in a residential neighborhood.

One of the chief worries has been that sex traffickers might try to hunt down women at the complex.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 21, 2016


Bluebelle is a 4-month old female Wire Haired Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Bluebelle is a typical pup who loves to play and frolic and is good with other dogs and children.


Hildy is a 4-month old female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA.

Hildy is a sweet pup who loves to play and needs a home to call her own.


Ebi is a 4-month old Chihuahua mix puppy who is available for adoption from Coastal Pet Rescue in Savannah, GA. Ebi is good with dogs, cats, and children.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2016

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-three years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Some fireworks sale tax money will fund trauma care at Georgia hospitals after passage of Amendment Four.

[Medical Center Navicent Health's Trauma Director Dr. Dennis Ashley] says they see about 2,800 trauma patients a year. “The only funding that trauma centers receive now from the state is through the super-speeder law which generates about $21 million a year,” said Ashley.

Ashley says that money is spread among 30 trauma centers in Georgia. That’s why he says the passing of Amendment 4 is so important. “If you look at all the things you need, all the personnel you have to have it’s about $6 million a year for a level 1 trauma center. That’s before you see the first patient. We receive about $1 million a year to support trauma center funding. You can see it doesn’t go a long way,” said Ashley.

The amendment says 55% of the existent 5% excise tax will be funneled to trauma care. 40% to Georgia firefighter standards and 5% local public safety.

The American College of Surgeons recently verified the Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon. as a Level I Trauma Center.

Cobb County election officials have certified the results in the November 8 General Election.

During the 2016 elections, Cobb experienced record early voting. According to Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler, the votes cast were almost evenly split between early voting and Election Day polls.

“Exactly 4,200 voters — less than 1 percent — more people voted at the polls than early voting,” Eveler said. “On Election Day, there were lines in the morning at most polls but after mid-morning, they reported just a steady stream of voters and no real back-ups. Some polls experienced an evening rush, but only three polls reported more than a 30-minute line at closing time.”

“There were 1,627 provisional ballots cast, and of those, 801 were counted,” Eveler said. “All provisional voters are notified after the election of the status of their ballot.”

The cost of the election in Cobb County remains untallied.

The cost of the 2016 general election will not be determined until all its bills are paid, but the previous two have cost more than $1 million each.

The final cost of the Nov. 8 election will not be discovered for about two more months after all the poll workers’ invoices and service fees are processed, according to Cobb Board of Elections Director Janine Eveler.

The 2012 general election cost Cobb more than $1.1 million while the 2008 presidential election cost more than $1.5 million. In 2004, the county paid more than $874,000 to hold the general election.

Cobb County Commission Chair-elect Mike Boyce spoke to a Republican group about preparing to take the helm.

Boyce told the 30 or so in attendance that his efforts ahead of taking office in January have included sitting down with business leaders and attending and speaking to Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, among other groups. Among the issues he highlighted with Republican Assembly members was the county’s pay study. Created by the Archer Company, a consulting firm, the study presented to the Cobb Board of Commissioners earlier this year contended that many county employees were making less than what their counterparts were making in other municipalities.

“I’ve said this on many occasions — (the employees) have been very patient, they have earned this pay raise, but I want to be sure that we all look at the pay study and see if we can’t come up with some other alternatives other than what Archer did to find a way to implement this without a tax raise, because I made it very clear in my campaign that the only exception I’m going to consider for a tax raise in 2017 is the parks bond,” Boyce said. “That’s because that bond is long overdue.”

“It’s the will of the people,” Boyce said, “and if you think that my campaign was a delayed referendum of two years, you can imagine what the people feel having waited eight years now for this bond. They wanted it, we’re going to pay for it, and if I’ve got to raise the millage rate to do it, then so be it. But nothing else is on the table for a tax increase.”

“What part of the T-SPLOST and the BRT being turned down don’t we understand? The people have spoken,” Boyce said, referencing both Cobb voters’ 2012 rejection of the proposed $8.5 billion tax increase for transportation known as T-SPLOST, and a proposed $494 million bus rapid transit line connecting Kennesaw State University with Midtown Atlanta, which saw more opposition than support from those offering input during a public comment period offered by the county last year.

“They don’t want (regional transit) here because we haven’t articulated an argument that if we give them the money, it floats all boats,” Boyce said. “That’s the problem we have — it isn’t that people are against regional transportation, we haven’t shown that their tax dollars aren’t going to benefit the few.”

State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) was recognized by the District Attorneys’ Association of Georgia for his work on criminal justice legislation.

“Rep. Efstration is one of the hardest working members of the Georgia General Assembly,” Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council Executive Director Chuck Spahos said in a statement. “His tireless efforts during his relatively short time at the Capitol have proven invaluable.”

The organization particularly praised his work on the Criminal Justice Reform Act and a law that made it possible to charge people with human trafficking if they sexually exploit people with development disabilities.

“Gwinnett County is very proud of Efstration,” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said in a statement. “He is a consensus builder who has proven both his leadership abilities and willingness to work across party lines to pass legislation that best serves the citizens of Georgia.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Tom Campbell dismissed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Sam Olens as President of Kennesaw State University.

“The Georgia Constitution expressly preserves the state’s sovereign immunity and makes clear that it ‘can only be waived by an Act of the General Assembly which specifically provides that sovereign immunity is waived and the extent of such waiver,’” Campbell said in his ruling.

Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise has been elected Chairman by his colleagues on the PSC.

State Senator John F. Kennedy (R-Macon) has joined the Senate Republican Caucus leadership.

As chairman of the GOP caucus, he’ll have a bigger role in Senate party business such as setting policy goals and recruiting and electing Republican senators.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to get to serve the folks in the 18th district and I look forward to being able to do that even more effectively in the position as caucus chair and I’m looking forward to serving in the Senate and making sure we keep the state headed in the right direction,” Kennedy said.

His election gives Middle Georgia a seat at the Senate leadership table. The other party officers, as well as Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, are all from north of Interstate 20.

State Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) will serve as Secretary of the Senate Republican Caucus for the 2017-18 terms of the general assembly.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve our caucus as secretary for another biennial term,” said Sen. Wilkinson. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the leadership team and the Senate to promote positive legislation designed to safeguard Georgia’s reputation as a great state to live, work and play.”

Wilkinson is currently the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee, and a member of the Appropriations, Assignments,  and Natural Resources committees.

Democratic State legislators will seek legislation for greater oversight of police.

A group of Georgia lawmakers say they are going to propose bills next year to require police body cameras statewide, increase reporting and training requirements for law enforcement officers and other policing measures.

“This hearing today is to address excessive force by law enforcement and to receive input,” said state Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, opening a state Capitol hearing where she and other Democrats asked the public what they would like to see in policing bills.

Scott said she and her allies plan to repeat some bills they’ve filed over the past few years: banning no-knock warrants, mandating police body cameras and requiring that out-of-town district attorneys handle cases involving police officers accused of wrongdoing.

Scott said her group of lawmakers will be looking for partners on the other side of the aisle. She said she’s hopeful she and her allies may have some common ground with a task force Republican Gov. Nathan Deal appointed this year to overhaul police training.

Alyssa Davis, a planner with the Gwinnett Place CID is the sole finalist for Executive Director of the new Sugarloaf CID.

Savannah-Chatham Public School Board approved a petition to open the Susie King Taylor Community School.

Susie King Taylor could open as early as next school year if the charter school petition is approved by the Georgia Department of Education.

Once approved by the state, Susie King Taylor would receive a share of the Savannah-Chatham Public School System’s funding to serve about 180 kindergarten through fourth-grade students in the first year. Fifth and sixth grades will be added in year two. Organizers will continue to add grade levels each year until the school includes ninth grade. They hope to eventually expand the school to include grades 10, 11 and 12.

The school was named after the first African American to teach openly in a school for Georgia’s formerly enslaved.

Helen, Georgia City Commission approved the purchase of a new fire truck and other firefighting equipment.

Laura Cochesne of the University of Georgia has been named a Rhodes Scholar.

University spokeswoman Stephanie Schupska said Courchesne plans to attend the University of Oxford in 2017 to pursue master’s degrees in social anthropology and politics research.

“I am fascinated with what influences non-violent populations to begin endorsing and engaging in violence, the strength of social bonds within violent organizations, how resources shape organizational structure, and the types of relationships non-state armed groups form with civilians,” Courchesne said. “There is an unseen human aspect to war and conflict that I aim to discover.”

James C. Pavur, an Atlanta native who attends Georgetown University was also named a Rhodes Scholar.

Brooks Coleman Middle School in Duluth won the first Innovation Fund Tiny Grant to deploy drones.

“The Innovation Fund Tiny Grant unites education leaders and students in order to provide Georgia’s students with the ability to engage in today’s most innovative academic areas,” said Deal. “Providing Georgia’s students with opportunities for growth and success is essential to ensuring our children reach new heights in educational achievement. Congratulations to Coleman Middle School on this award and we look forward to seeing the impact each Tiny Grant will have on the futures of its recipients.”

Programs and projects funded by Tiny Grants must align with one of three of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, development and replication of blended learning school models, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development. The grants will provide eligible organizations between $1,000 and $10,000 to implement small-scale pilot programs that directly impact students.

Working alongside the National Park Service and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, students at Coleman Middle School will study various aspects of the river including invasive species, temperature, pH balance and hazardous materials. This STEAM-focused project has the potential to impact both student achievement and the local environment and will provide students with a real-world, hands-on experience.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke sees Trump’s election as a potential boost to Chattanooga-Atlanta rail service dreams.

Berke said in a statement last week that Congress is talking about taking up a major infrastructure bill next year. Trump proposed spending $1 trillion on the campaign trail.

“As they move forward, we will work with Georgia on identifying potential opportunities if they are funded,” Berke said.

Dave Crockett, a former Chattanooga city councilman and a long time fast-train proponent, said that Trump’s interest is “our golden opportunity.”

“We have a president who is bold thinking,” he said. “This is one of his agenda items.”

Emory Healthcare is developing a mixed-use campus in the City of Brookhaven and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is expanding on the other side of North Druid Hills.

Emory University would develop a mixed-use campus on 70 acres at the south side of North Druid Hills in Executive Park with 2.3 million square feet of new development.

The massive project would include up new office space, residential development, retail space, and a hotel, according to master plans filed with the city of Brookhaven.

On the north side of North Druid Hills, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has filed plans with Brookhaven for an eight-story medical office building and 1,000-space parking deck. But sources familiar with the project say Children’s would expand in coming years to develop a health-care campus along North Druid that could be as large as what Emory is developing.

The combined developments could ultimately create a new health-care hub for Atlanta, similar to “Pill Hill” at Interstate 285 and Georgia 400.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 18, 2016


Maggie is a female Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

Hi! I’m Maggie. I am just a baby. I am sweet and cuddly. Please don’t make me grow up in the shelter.


Luke is a male Labrador Retriever puppy who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

My name is Luke and I am a lab mix puppy. I am just a baby and I am so sweet. I really need to have a furever home so I don’t have to grow up in the shelter.


Daisy is an adult female Coonhound who is available for adoption from Animal Rescue Foundation Inc in Milledgeville, GA.

Hello! My name is Daisy. I am a Coonhound and I am a very pretty girl! I am very friendly and could be a good hunting dog for you or a loving family pet!

Mrs. GaPundit calls our coonhound a “Couch hound.”


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 18, 2016

New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights on November 20, 1789.

Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 18, 1863; he delivered an 87-word speech at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

On November 19, 1864, as Sherman marched toward Savannah, the Georgia delegation to the Confederate Congress in Richmond, Virginia, sent a message to the state,

“Let every man fly to arms! Remove your negroes, horses, cattle, and provisions from Sherman’s army, and burn what you cannot carry. Burn all bridges and block up the roads in his route. Assail the invader in front, flank, and rear, by night and by day. Let him have no rest.”

Carl Vinson was born on November 18, 1883 in Baldwin County, Georgia. At noon on that day, U.S. and Canadian railroads implemented four time zones for the first time.

Efficient rail transportation demanded a more uniform time-keeping system. Rather than turning to the federal governments of the United States and Canada to create a North American system of time zones, the powerful railroad companies took it upon themselves to create a new time code system. The companies agreed to divide the continent into four time zones; the dividing lines adopted were very close to the ones we still use today.

Most Americans and Canadians quickly embraced their new time zones, since railroads were often their lifeblood and main link with the rest of the world. However, it was not until 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the supervision of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a black-and-white film called “Steamboat Willie” on November 18, 1928.

On November 18, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled from Washington, DC to Savannah, Georgia by train for Georgia’s Bicentennial and delivered a speech at Municipal Stadium.

Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee on November 20, 1946.

The first issue of National Review magazine was published on November 19, 1955.

President John F. Kennedy lifted the naval blockade of Cuba on November 20, 1962, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Carl Vinson was honored on his 81st birthday in Milledgeville, Georgia on November 18, 1964; Vinson did not run for reelection in 1964 and retired after 50 years in office.

President Richard M. Nixon flew into Robins Air Force Base for Carl Vinson’s 90th birthday on November 18, 1973; on the trip he announced the next American nuclear supercarrier would be named USS Carl Vinson.

On November 20, 1975, Ronald Reagan announced he would run for President of the United States against incumbent Republican Gerald Ford. On May 4, 1976, Reagan won Georgia’s Presidential Primary with 68% over Ford.

President Ronald Reagan met for the first time with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on November 19, 1985.

On November 18, 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey signed the Abortion Control Act, the first abortion restrictions enacted after Roe v. Wade.

Newt Gingrich was reelected Speaker of the House on November 20, 1996.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is asking liberals people upset about the Presidential election results to leave Georgia’s electors alone.

On December 19, 2016, Georgia’s 16 Republican Presidential Electors will convene under the Gold Dome to cast votes for the next President and Vice-President of the United States. In light of recent reports, Secretary of State Brian Kemp strongly urges Georgians and others to refrain from using threatening or disparaging language to manipulate electors.

“The Presidential election is over but, unfortunately, the vitriol remains,” stated Secretary of State Brian Kemp. “Our office has received numerous reports of individuals hurling insults and threats at Georgia’s electors because they are unsettled with America’s choice for President of the United States. This is absolutely unacceptable and those participating in or encouraging these efforts should stop. The electoral process in America has worked, and everyone – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others – should respect the will of Georgia’s voters and the Electors who represent them.”

Kemp also issued a press release noting that five candidates – four Republicans and an Independent – qualified for the Senate District 54 Special Election to succeed Charlie Bethel, who was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

“As shown through his work in the General Assembly, I am confident my friend and colleague, Charlie Bethel, will serve Georgians well on the bench,” stated Secretary Kemp. “This appointment by Governor Deal is a testament to Bethel’s integrity and dedication to public service.”

Qualifying closed at 2 p.m. [Thursday]. Four Republican candidates – Conda Goodson, Charles “Chuck” Payne, Michelle “Shell” Underwood, and William Vinyard – qualified for the seat. Debby Peppers also qualified as a nonpartisan candidate. Senate District 54 covers Gordon, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield counties.

To take part in this contest, eligible Georgia citizens must have registered or already be registered to vote on or before Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. A run-off election, if needed, will be held on January 10, 2017.

The Dalton Daily Citizen has more details on the election.

The 54th District includes all of Whitfield and Murray counties and parts of Gordon and Pickens counties.

Early voting begins on Nov. 28. Eligible Georgians must have registered or already be registered to vote on or before Nov. 15 to vote in the special election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13. A runoff election, if needed, will be on Jan. 10, 2017.

The League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area and The Daily Citizen will host a candidates forum for the District 54 seat on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at Dalton City Hall. The public is invited. For more information, call Jackie Renfroe at (706) 278-8166 or Virgelia Meek at (706) 226-6774.

Governor Nathan Deal has upgraded the response to drought across Georgia.

Gov. Nathan Deal approved a Level 2 Drought Response designation for more than 50 counties. Faced with worsening drought conditions in about three-fourths of the state, 52 counties have been raised to Level 2 Drought Response and an additional 58 counties have been designated as Level 1.

“During this prolonged period of severe drought in Georgia, we are bolstering the state’s drought response in more than 100 counties,” Deal said. “I would like to remind Georgians that there are specific guidelines and prohibitions to follow during a Level 1 and Level 2 Drought Response. We urge these communities to act accordingly, use good judgment and avoid outdoor burning and watering while we continue to work with the EPD and pray for rain across the state.”

This week marks the 24th week of continuous severe drought in northwest Georgia, the 22nd week for the Atlanta metro area, the 21st week in northeastern parts of the state and the 15th week in central Georgia.

“Today’s declaration is driven by an extended period of little or no rain and increasing dryness in the impacted areas,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn. “What’s more, there is little hope for relief as weather forecasters expect an unusually warm, dry winter across most of the state.”

Prohibited outdoor water uses include:
·    Washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks.
·    Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains.
·    The use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety.
·    Non-commercial washing of vehicles.
·    Non-commercial pressure washing.
·    Fundraising car washes.

Those counties assigned a Level 2 Drought Response are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Athens-Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.

The additional counties assigned a Level 1 Drought Response are: Baker, Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Columbia, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Elbert, Franklin, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDuffie, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee, Oglethorpe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Rabun, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Seminole, Stephens, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Terrell, Towns, Twiggs, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilkes and Wilkinson.

The Valdosta Daily Times writes that outdoor watering is restricted but not banned.

The order restricts outdoor watering to an odd-even schedule. Even-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and Saturday between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m., while odd-numbered addresses may water on Thursday and Sunday between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.

State Senator Jesse Stone was recognized as a “Champion of Georgia’s Cities” by the Georgia Municipal Association.

State legislators who most actively support GMA’s initiatives and goals are given this award at the end of every two-year legislative term.

“It is an honor to be recognized as ‘A Champion of Georgia Cities’ by the Georgia Municipal Association,” said Sen. Stone. “I want to thank GMA for all the work they do to improve communities all across the state.”

“Sen. Stone has always been accessible; he listens and is responsive to the needs of his district and truly cares for the well-being of his constituents,” said GMA Director of Governmental Relations Tom Gehl. “His efforts have resulted in a more sustainable and economically efficient state.”

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 520 member cities.

State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) has withdrawn House Bill 3, which was referred to as a “burqa ban.”

“After further consideration, I have decided to not pursue HB 3 in the upcoming 2017 legislative session due to the visceral reaction it has created.

“While this bill does not contain language that specifically targets any group, I am mindful of the perception that it has created. My objective was to address radical elements that could pose a threat to public safety. However, further consideration dictates that other solutions will need to be considered.  In conclusion, anti-masking statutes have been upheld as constitutional (State v Miller, 1990), and HB 3 would withstand legal scrutiny, but not political scrutiny.”

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer (R-Duluth) had earlier delivered a stinging rebuke against HB 3, via the AJC Political Insider.

Shafer’s assessment of Spencer’s proposal:

“The government has no business preventing Muslim women from wearing face scarves in public.  Too many people on both sides of the religious freedom debate only want to protect freedom when it comes to their own beliefs.

“Freedom is a meaningless concept if it does not apply to all beliefs, even the ones, especially the ones, you do not share.”

Shafer is the first Republican leader in the Legislature to speak out publicly on the matter.

The AJC Insider also pitches Geoff Duncan as a potential statewide candidate.

The Cumming Republican appears likely to run for lieutenant governor if Casey Cagle makes a play for the open governor’s seat, a prospect few Capitol insiders are betting against. But he also didn’t rule out a run for any of the other statewide posts open in 2018.

“We continue to receive encouragement from around the state to consider running for a statewide office in 2018,” said Duncan. “My wife and I have begun the process of looking into a decision of that magnitude but are in no rush to make a decision.”

He adds: “One clear message we continue to hear from the voters across Georgia is they are no longer looking to just elect the next person in line for a leadership role, they expect much more.”

His proposal to require all bar bouncers to be 21 or older – dubbed Michael’s Law after the death last year of an 18-year-old bar staffer – passed last year with little opposition.

He also backed legislation that allows residents or corporations to get a state tax credit for donating money to a rural hospital, a measure pitched as a way to help struggling rural facilities. It passed despite criticism from some Democrats, although top lawmakers are worried some of the funds could be siphoned to consultants.

In the upcoming legislative session, Duncan said he is aiming to overhaul the state’s complicated title tax, which requires newcomers moving to the state to pay a one-time 7 percent sales tax on their car’s value. That measure replaced the state’s annual “birthday tax” for cars purchased after 2013.

Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford) has pre-filed the first Senate bill of the year, Senate Bill 8, called the “Surprise Billing and Consumer Protection Act.”

State Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) retained the lead in House District 105 after a recount.

Results from the recount showed the only change in the results was that Chandler, R-Grayson, received one more absentee vote that had somehow not been counted the first time. That means she received 12,411 votes while the number of votes for her Democratic opponent, Donna McLeod, remained unchanged at 12,189 votes.

Chandler’s margin of victory was 222 votes, or 50.38 percent to 49.48 percent.

“I commend the elections board for their very diligent work and hard work on this, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to serve all of the people in District 105,” said Chandler, who did not attend the recount.

“It’s been a long, tough election and now I’m looking forward to getting on with the business of working on some legislation that I want to get done in the General Assembly,” Chandler said.

Maggie Lee of the Macon Telegraph writes about the current state of politics in Georgia.

“It is essential, I think, that we unite now as a caucus,” Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said to the state House Republicans who gathered for officer elections Monday. “The other side is the enemy, it’s not our people. They, I think, have gotten a little emboldened.”

The “emboldened” other side he was talking about are Georgia Democrats.

Republican Donald Trump carried Georgia’s presidential vote, but Democrats have spent the meantime crowing about previously red places that voted blue, including Hillary Clinton’s wins in suburban Atlanta’s Cobb and Gwinnett counties. Those came with relatively little spending from her campaign.

“If you looked at the counties we flipped, it’s because we had diverse candidates running, and we were not only talking to those who normally vote in elections, but particularly in House races, we reached out to communities and candidates that were not the norm,” said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta.

“What saved Trump in Georgia is he wrapped up rural areas,” said Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.

He said the blue votes in Cobb and Gwinnett were one of the most interesting “tea leaves” of the election.

“I doubt that it has many ramifications for Georgia,” said Bullock. For any fundamental change in Georgia politics, he’s looking toward the 2020s, when many expect the state to be bluer.

Congressman Tom Graves says Republicans have big plans for the next session of Congress.

Graves said having a Republican president for the first time since 2009 puts Congressional Republicans in position to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare; and enact a plan to reduce the tax and regulatory burdens on small business owners.

He said “right out of the gate” Americans will see “a Republican jobs plan that is going to be really incredible.”

The “heart” of the plan will be tax cuts “for the small business owners, the job creators and their employees” that will “reduce the tax and regulatory burden that is stifling our economy right now,” Graves said.

“That’s where I think our initial focus should be, and will be right out of the gate with President-Elect Trump, in addition to repealing Obamacare and addressing our national security issues,” he said.

Columbia County unveiled an economic development plan that aims to leverage investments in the Army Cyber Command facility at Fort Gordon.

The five business sectors with the most potential to “build wealth” in the county were listed as: cybersecurity/government contracting; high-value professional services; innovative manufacturing; entrepreneurial/retail development and health services.

Given the growth of Fort Gordon’s expanding cybersecurity missions, and that the industry’s average annual wage is $115,000 and boasts a 10-year growth rate exceeding 20 percent, focusing on cyber-related contractors, businesses and entrepreneurs is a no-brainer, Garner said.

“We were just wowed by the activity that has occurred there,” Garner said of Fort Gordon, which on Nov. 29 is having a ground breaking ceremony for the Army Cyber Command facility. “We’ve done a lot of work at military installations, but this is really a shining star in the various commands, and I’m not sure if everyone understands that. It’s a huge, huge asset in the community.”

Though Fort Gordon is located in Richmond County, about 70 percent of its off-post population live in Columbia County, according to installation estimates.

State education legislation may come to the forefront of the 2017 legislative session after voters rejected the Governor’s gambit for the Opportunity School District.

The governor’s Education Reform Commission, chaired by former University of Georgia President Charles Knapp, submitted its recommendations a year ago, but rather than trying to develop and push through new laws in 2016, Deal elected to come back in 2017 to “provide ample time to vet the full report,” he said in January as the state legislature’s annual session began.

Legislation affecting how teachers are evaluated and paid, how school systems are funded, school choice and more are likely to be introduced this time, Angela Palm, director of policy and legislative services for the Georgia School Board Association, told a committee of the Clarke County Board of Education this week.

Much of the talk was about a proposed new funding formula to replace the 30-year-old “Quality Based Education” model when Palm met with the board’s legislative affairs committee Tuesday.

Cobb County homeowners on lots smaller than 2 acres may be able to raise chickens after the County Commission granted a couple’s request for a zoning variance.

In favor were Commissioners Lisa Cupid, Bob Ott and Bob Weatherford. Opposed were Commission Chairman Tim Lee and Commissioner JoAnn Birrell.

For one year, Michael C. and Christina Disser were granted a land use permit for their four hens on Mitchell Road – used for egg production and education for their homeschooling family.

Georgia Healthcare

Congressman Tom Price (R-6) spoke to reporters about moving forward on ObamaCare repeal.

Price, who is being floated as a possible Health and Human Services Secretary in the next administration, said that he expects Republican in the House to move on Medicare reforms “six to eight months” into the Trump administration.

Privatization of Medicare has been a central feature of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for years, and the House GOP has voted in favor of it multiple times. Ryan himself said last week that Medicare would be on the table in the new Congress, signaling it could be taken up early in the new year. Price’s comments suggest privatization won’t be part of the first round of legislative initiatives rolled out by the Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress.

Price also noted that Republicans are eyeing using a tactic known as budget reconciliation to make the change. That process allows Republicans to pass bills with a simple majority in the U.S. Senate.

When asked by TPM about timing for changes to Medicare, Price said “I think that is probably in the second phase of reconciliation, which would have to be in the FY 18 budget resolution in the first 6-8 months.”

Price is scheduled to be in-studio for GPB’s “Political Rewind” this afternoon, beginning at 3 PM on your local GPB radio station or you can listen online.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center announced it will implement a residency program beginning in 2019.

Known as GME, or Graduate Medical Education, NGHS President and CEO Carol Burrell explained to members of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting exactly what GME is.

“GME starts after a person finishes medical school,” Burrell said.  “So when they come to us they will actually be in effect physicians, looking to then fulfill their residency for a period of four-plus years.”

“Residencies are essentially hands-on training in a number of specialties,” she added.

Six areas of specialty will be initially offered according to Dr. Sam Johnson, Chief Medical Officer for NGMC: internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, OB/GYN, psychiatry and emergency medicine.

Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for the GHCC said the projected fiscal impact to the area will be considerable.

“In September…we reached out to the Carl Vinson Institute of Government (at the University of Georgia) to help us quantify the economic impact of the NGMC Graduate Medical Education program.” Evans said.

“The initial year (2019) the program could see as many as 33 residents…those positions would bring with them an estimated labor income of over $10-million,” Evans said.  “That is a significant boost to our local economy.”

Evans added, “By the fifth year (2024) the GME could grow to 170 residents.”

Availability of residency programs has been identified as a weakness that could lead to a shortage of physicians in Georgia.

The U.S. could face a shortage of 95,000 physicians in the next ten years, according to a recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The association also predicts Georgia could have the fewest number of doctors per capita by the year 2020 if it doesn’t expand its medical education programs.

In 2014, a Georgia House committee studied the shortage. To fix it, the committee decided the state should increase its number of residency slots and offer loan forgiveness for medical students.

The residency shortage is more acute in rural areas of Georgia, which already suffer shortages of medical professionals.

“Even if they all wanted to stay in Georgia, we didn’t have enough slots for that,” [associate dean for graduate medical education (GME) at the Medical College of Georgia Shelley] Nuss said. “If you want a return on investment with med students, you’ve got to keep them in-state and doing their residency in Georgia.”

Another problem, according to Nuss, is that two-thirds of Georgia’s residency slots are in urban areas, leaving fewer opportunities to expose residents to the state’s rural health care needs.

Creating more residency slots — which are funded largely by Medicare, the state, medical schools, and hospitals — isn’t easy. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly, is the largest public source of revenue, helping to cover the roughly $150,000 a year AAMC estimates that it costs to train each resident. However, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 caps the number of residencies Medicare can fund. That leaves hospitals and states to pick up the slack.


Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for November 17, 2016


Snoopy is a young male Labrador Retriever & Basset Hound Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

This sweetheart of a pup found himself in quite the bind in a GA shelter when he was picked up as a stray with a horrible embedded collar! He was in dangerous shape when Animal Control got him. Lucky for Snoopy, he was scooped up by Pibbles & More Animal Rescue and has been nursed back to health in a wonderful foster home. Snoopy is a great pup—he is housebroken and crate-trained; he is a dream on a leash; knows some basic commands; plays really well with other dogs; and has never met a stranger.

Snoopy is 5-6 months old and this little low-rider is just about the perfect size. He has short legs for his long body so we think he might be a Bassador! Fully grown, we expect him to hit around 40 lbs. You just have to meet this kid—he will sweep you off your feet!


Gracie is a young female Pit Bull Terrier & Hound Mix puppy who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

Darling little Gracie had a rough start to life but she seems to be doing a-okay these days. Born on October 6th, 2016, Gracie’s first day in the world was spent on a cold GA shelter floor. Regardless, she has been an absolute delight and has grown into quite the roly poly puppy!

Gracie is available for pre-adoption as she is currently too young to be vetted.


Sully is a young female Plott Hound mix who is available for adoption from Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Decatur, GA.

You must meet Sully!

This little girl is as charming as they come! She had a rough road at first when she and her littermates contracted parvo. She lost her sister but the rest of the litter pulled through! Sully loves to play with other dogs and is a big time snuggler. She is good on a leash and GREAT with kids.

This doll is 7 months old and fully house trained and crate trained. She is long and lanky and has the most velvety coat.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 17, 2016

On November 17, 1732, the first English headed to colonize Georgia set off from Gravesend, England, down the Thames. Their supplies included ten tons of beer.

On November 17, 1777, Congress submitted the Articles of Confederation to the states for ratification.

Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of the Gettysburg Address on November 17, 1863.

Herman Talmadge was sworn in as Governor of Georgia on November 17, 1948, ending the “Three Governors” controversy. Click here for a review of the “Three Governors” episode by Ron Daniels.

Richard Nixon declared before a television audience, “I’m not a crook,” on November 17, 1973.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The Trump Transition team will ask current lobbyists seeking administration jobs to terminate their activities and all appointees will be asked to pledge not to work as lobbyists for five years after leaving the administration.

Any ban on lobbying, however, depends on how it is written and enforced. A common practice in Washington is for key power players not to register as a lobbyist, but instead work as a consultant or adviser — allowing them to take their experience and contacts to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on K Street.

Two top Republicans working with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team told reporters in a phone call Wednesday evening that they’re taking steps toward one of Trump’s campaign promises — to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

Trump communications director Jason Miller and Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer announced anyone being vetted for a high post in the administration must provide a termination of lobbying form if they are a registered lobbyist.

“Not only will people will not be able to registered state or federal lobbyists, but when they leave government, they will be banned from being a registered lobbyist for five years,” Spicer said.

Fortune looks at the question of whether lobbyists can be part of a government reform designed to “drain the swamp.”

The most realistic reformers are those who know how the system works, and therefore how it can be changed.

If fundamental change is the goal, who better to effect it than those who know the system best? When lobbyists move from the private sector to the government, they do not necessarily bring with them the desire to advance the interests they championed in their previous roles.

Corporations have understood this principle for years. When they hire lawyers, they often hire those who have most effectively opposed their interests in the past, either as government lawyers working for agencies that regulate them or attorneys working for competitors. Lawyers are professionals who can be counted on to advance the interests of their clients, and they will use the same skills that allowed them to stymie a corporate interest in the past to now advance that interest in the service of their new employer.

Franklin Roosevelt had an astute understanding of the transformation that can overcome someone in the private sector when they are recruited to work in the public sector. Committed to imposing a new regulatory system on Wall Street that would better protect the average American, Roosevelt chose Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK’s father) to head the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission. Progressive reformers howled in protest, given Kennedy’s history of stock market manipulations, but Roosevelt simply replied, “Set a thief to catch a thief.” Roosevelt was right—Kennedy became a champion of the small investor, insisting on greater honesty and transparency in stock market practices.

I’d also note that most large scale building demolitions require architects as advisors.

Click here to see the full Transition Team Ethics Code.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is reportedly a candidate for Secretary of Energy, leading the department he forgot he wanted to abolish.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reportedly being considered for a Cabinet position as President-elect Donald Trump‘s transition team seeks to solidify its list of candidates.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Perry is now being evaluated for a potential job as Energy Secretary.

During a presidential debate in 2011, Perry forgot the Energy Department as he tried to list the three agencies that he pledged to eliminate as president.

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: commerce, education, and the uh … what’s the third one, there? Let’s see… The third one. I can’t,” he said, adding “Oops.”

Congressman Tom Price (R-6) spent about an hour at Trump Tower yesterday, though he’s not talking about what he did there.

Price left Trump Tower roughly an hour after he arrived, according to the press pool.

He didn’t respond to reporters’ questions about whether he spoke to Trump or if he’s interested in joining the administration, and it’s been crickets from Price’s press shop about why he was there.

Back in Georgia, possible successors for Price’s 6th District congressional seat are already lining up. State Sens. John Albers and Brandon Beach are options, as is state Rep. Chuck Martin, former secretary of state Karen Handel and state Rep. Betty Price, the wife of the current congressman.

Price was also noted in a list of six members of Congress whom Donald Trump trusted back in June.

Whether at the helm of HHS or not, Price will be at the center of Republican efforts to address campaign promises about repealing Obamacare.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing confident that they can begin to repeal Obamacare once President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, along with a pledge to replace it later.

Republicans say repeal efforts will start in January. They are considering whether to swiftly repeal the biggest pieces of the law through a complex budget process called reconciliation that Democrats cannot block. If they go that route, Republicans would likely pass the repeal — but delay the effective date for a year or two until a replacement could theoretically be enacted. That would shield the GOP from an immediate backlash from taking away insurance. They are even considering passing the bill through Congress in early January so that Trump could have it on his desk within minutes of swearing the oath of office.

The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees have informally signed off on a plan to do both a 2017 and 2018 budget early in the Trump administration. That would give the GOP two opportunities to enact legislation that doesn’t allow a filibuster. (The House Budget chairman, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, is being considered for HHS secretary.)

At the same time, they expect the Trump administration to use its executive powers to immediately start to peel apart other pieces of the law. The Senate Republican Policy Committee on Wednesday circulated a document that said regulatory relief would come “on Day One” from the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“Most of those 20 million [who gained coverage under Obamacare] got bronze policies with a great big deductible and not much insurance, so I don’t know that there’s going to be a big backlash,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). “There are some minefields out there but we can deal with them.”


Taking a step back to that list of potential candidates in Price’s Sixth District, we’d note that would accelerate the exit of a number of senators and jumble committee chairmanships. Sen. Charlie Bethel, who has been appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals vacated the Chairmanship of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee. If the dominoes fall the way suggested, the Chairs of Economic Development and Tourism (Beach) and State and Local Governmental Operations (Albers) would also become vacant.

Speaking of Judge Bethel, qualifying for his former Senate seat closed yesterday with no new qualifiers and three candidates for the December 13th election.

Georgia Republican electors have been receiving hundreds of emails asking them to cast their electoral votes for someone other than Donald Trump. From the AJC:

Petitions are circulating urging them to withhold their vote for the president-elect and back Hillary Clinton or another candidate instead. Leaflets handed out at anti-Trump protests include their names, addresses and contact information. Their phone lines and in-boxes are jammed with pleas to defy Trump.

Georgia’s 16 GOP electors are all but guaranteed to vote for Trump — each of the dozen reached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution this week said they would support him — and their ranks are filled with the stalwart party activists who spend much of their free time fighting for Republican causes.

“I’m getting deluged,” said Michael McNeely, an elector who is also vice chairman of the Georgia GOP. “But for all the efforts of those sending those out, there’s no wavering at all. I’m fully supporting Donald Trump, and I’m not concerned any of us will flip.”

Some of the messaging borders on harassment. Linda Herren, a Republican national committeewoman said she’s starting to get irritated by the constant phone calls, texts and emails wanting her to be a “faithless elector” and cast her ballot for Clinton.

“Especially the phone call that came in at 6 a.m. yesterday,” she said.

Bobbie Frantz, a longtime DeKalb County GOP volunteer tapped as an elector, sounded a similar note. She said she received 177 emails through Tuesday morning — and probably an additional 30 while she was at lunch — all urging her to change her vote.

“They are trying to get us to vote for Hillary — or for anybody but Trump,” Frantz said. “But the people have spoken. Donald Trump is our president-elect. And I’ll be voting for what the people of Georgia want — Donald Trump.”

Georgia’s ports have a large economic impact as far inland as Gwinnett County, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Port of Savannah and the autoport at Brunswick may be far enough away from Gwinnett County that they would seem like they have no local impact, but there are 25,144 people who would say otherwise.

That’s the number of full- and part-time jobs that Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griffith Lynch said exist in Gwinnett County because of the authority and the cargo that passes through the state’s ports and heads inland.

“(The Georgia Ports Authority) is not an asset that belongs to Savannah or Brunswick,” Lynch said. “It belongs to the entire state of Georgia.”

Gwinnett county Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said a Georgia Tech study shows Gwinnett will see the second largest inland impact from the Port of Savannah’s expansion behind Fulton County. She said Interstate 85 and Georgia Highway 316 are major freight corridors in the state.

“A lot of people don’t think of us as being a large distribution area, actually imports and exports, both directions, but it’s a huge deal for Gwinnett County,” she said. “Of course, it’s going to have an impact for the state as a whole, but we’re going to see concentrated impacts here in Gwinnett.”

The head of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce will visit Germany looking for prospective deals to bring jobs to northwest Georgia.

Much of the visit would be focused on the automotive sector to see if Hodge can generate any additional business for several automotive suppliers in the Rome area. It will also entail the recruitment of new suppliers, which could be related to VW in Tennessee, BMW in South Carolina or Mercedes- Benz in Alabama.

“Additionally we are working with various German-based prospective employers and we are going to participate in a German-contact program. A series of appointments have been scheduled, so we are following through on those opportunities,” Hodge said.

Congressman John Lewis (D-Atlanta) won a National Book Award.

Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, shared the prize for young people’s literature for a graphic novel about his civil rights activism.

No speaker moved the crowd more than Lewis, who collaborated with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on a trilogy of illustrated works titled “March.” Cited Wednesday for the finale, “March: Book Three,” the 76-year-old Lewis became tearful as he remembered a librarian in his native Alabama who refused to let him borrow books because of his skin color. He then remembered an elementary school teacher who told him “Read, my child, read!”

“And I tried to read everything,” he said.

Happy birthday to the United States Army’s Third Infantry Division, “The Rock of the Marne,” which calls Georgia home.

That history was on display Tuesday evening during the Twilight Tattoo ceremony at Fort Stewart, where the 3rd ID Band sounded off to soldiers re-enacting each era of the division’s history in combat. One by one, soldiers walked across Cottrell Field dressed in uniforms from both world wars, the Vietnam, Korean and cold wars, Desert Storm and the War on Terror.

All told, the 3rd ID has suffered more than 35,000 wartime casualties and more than 50 of its soldiers have been awarded the Medal of Honor. In the past 13 years alone, more than 460 names representing soldiers killed in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have been added to Warriors Walk.

“The 3rd Infantry Division is celebrating 99 years of doing our part to keep America free, to keep this the greatest country in he world,” Maj. Gen. Jim Rainey, the 3rd ID’s commander, said at the ceremony. “I promise you that is not going to change any time in the future.”

A University of Georgia Environmental Engineering professor writes in the Athens Banner-Herald that the United States should lead the world in low-carbon and no-carbon energy production.

A key U.S. policy response to this global issue is EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which proposes to reduce power plant emissions by displacing coal with natural gas (which the power sector already is doing) and providing financial incentives for zero-carbon, intermittent solar and wind to the exclusion of zero-carbon, baseload nuclear.

However, this preference for solar and wind, which can’t substitute for nuclear, won’t prevent the scheduled closure of nuclear plants nor incentivize the development of additional nuclear capacity to sustain CO2 reductions over the long-term

This is where the United States should provide global leadership, through development of advanced zero-carbon and low-carbon technologies for deployment in the United States and abroad. Nuclear power and highly efficient combined-cycle natural gas plants offer near-term alternatives to coal in developing economies, whereas carbon capture and storage is needed for long-term management of CO2 in regions where fossil fuel consumption continues unabated. This would accommodate the necessary baseload for aggressive development of renewable energy, which by itself cannot scale up to meet the economic needs of billions.

U.S. industry is up to this challenge, but it needs a sensible investment climate in countries where financial risk is high, regulatory frameworks are complex, and governments are inefficient and often corrupt. To this end, U.S. policy should include high-level diplomatic strategies abroad and corporate tax reform in this country to stimulate investment in regions where advanced technologies are most needed and the business climate is perilous.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Water Coalition opposes more nuclear power in Georgia.

Georgia Power Co.’s studying whether to build a nuclear power plant on the Chattahoochee River in South Georgia drew harsh criticism in the Georgia Water Coalition’s sixth annual “Dirty Dozen” report released Wednesday.

The report says such a facility would further burden the river at the heart of the 26-year-old water wars between Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

There are no simple answers in energy policy, which is part of what makes it such a fascinating topic.

Doug Collins states his vision for how the Republican Party should lead, on the occasion of his election to House leadership.

“As the blue wall crumbled, it reminded everyone that support for conservative principles is deep and wide,” Collins said in a news release. “Together, we will show the American people that ours is the party of compassion, freedom and fairness. Now, Republicans have a mandate to make room for hope and opportunity for all Americans, and it’s my honor to share in that responsibility.”

State legislators told the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce that job growth will remain a priority in 2017.

Republican State Rep. Jesse Petrea (R-Savannah 166) praised the state’s ranking of the number one place to do business – an honor the state has held since 2013 – as well as the accumulation of a $2 billion rainy day fund.

“… We now have a $2 billion rainy-day fund to prepare us for whatever the next strike is, maybe another recession, who knows, we’ve got to be responsible and we are pro-business, right to work conservative fiscal state and I’m very proud of that.” Petrea said.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah 164) said going forward it would be a learning process in terms of what to do in order to keep Georgia the number one place to do business.

“How do you improve on that? Do we add more incentives or consider the ones we’ve already got and throw some out, I’m just not sure,” he said.

State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) has dropped legislation for the 2017 session to ban the wearing of veils in driver’s license photos.

State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said the proposed legislation, House Bill 3, is the result of a recent conversation with constituents at a lecture on religious freedom.

“I was asked if people can wear a mask when getting a driver’s license,” he said Wednesday in a phone interview.

While he doesn’t know of anyone being issued a Georgia driver’s license wearing the traditional female Muslim garments, Spencer said there are no laws specifically prohibiting someone from demanding such a photo. He said a woman in another state demanded to wear a veil for her driver’s license photo. He wants to make sure the state doesn’t experience a similar issue.

“Our law just says a color photo is required on a driver’s license,” he said. “What is the point of a color photo identification if you can’t identify the person? Right now, Georgia law is unclear.”