Senate Majority Caucus Supports a Second Term for President Pro Tempore David Shafer

ATLANTA (November 17, 2014) | Sen. David Shafer (R – Duluth) has released the following statement on the vote today by the Senate Majority Caucus nominating him for a second term as President Pro Tempore:

“I am grateful to my fellow Republicans in the Senate for their vote of renewed confidence today. I look forward to working with Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert and our new Caucus leadership team in making Georgia the best place to work, worship and raise children.”

Ga. lawmakers press forward on medical cannabis | savannahnow.com

[State Rep. Allen] Peake said recently he expects to have a draft bill soon and it will allow for a limited number of businesses to obtain a state license to grow and process marijuana for the sole purpose of providing the cannabis oil under a system in which people of all ages with certain medical conditions would be able to obtain it under the supervision of a doctor. The amount of the psychoactive compound known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, would be limited and facilities would be subject to regulations, lab testing and security measures.

“I feel very confident that my colleagues want to move forward with a public policy that provides a very tightly restricted, very regulated delivery system for cannabis oil in Georgia,” Peake said, adding he’s aware of 15 families who have left Georgia for Colorado and other states for access to the cannabis oil and three children have died while lawmakers have been debating the issue. “We can’t move fast enough.”

Law enforcement’s top concerns include security at the facilities and specific civil and criminal penalties for violators. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association also indicated they would oppose a bill if law enforcement agencies weren’t granted warrantless access to the facilities for monitoring. Association President, Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin, said members worry the bill could send mixed messages to the public.

“We want to be there to help,” Griffin said at an Oct. 1 hearing. “That is our job to help people, but we are also very, very concerned about the perception that this bill would lead to people thinking you could smoke marijuana for medical purposes.”

Peake said he feels confident the bill will address those concerns. Much more difficult might be confronting concerns of some in the medical community who first want to see the results of various clinical trials underway nationally and soon in Georgia. Dr. Cynthia Wetmore, director for clinical and translational research at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, advised lawmakers to be cautious.

“To give something as powerful as cannabidiol oil really needs to be done initially within the confines of a clinical trial so there are medical professionals able to help these children monitor liver function, monitor their psychiatric outlook so we are able to do it safely,” Wetmore said at a Nov. 12 hearing. “I would only do it within the realm of a clinical study until it’s proven safe.”

via Ga. lawmakers press forward on medical cannabis | savannahnow.com.

County Republican vice chairman files complaint against commissioner-elect – The Brunswick News: Local News

The vice chairman of the Glynn County Republican Party has filed a state ethics complaint against Glynn County Commissioner-elect Mark Stambaugh, his brother and business partner Scott Stambaugh and outgoing Commissioner Mary Hunt for what he says are violations of the state’s campaign contribution laws.

Jeff Kilgore, 1st vice chairman of the Glynn County Republican Party, filed the complaint last week with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission alleging that the Stambaughs’ three separate contributions of the maximum of $2,500 to Hunt’s campaign through three different corporate holdings exceeded what is allowable by law because he contends the businesses are affiliated.
Mark Stambaugh disputes that.

“I disagree with his interpretation of common ownership,” Mark Stambaugh said.

Stambaugh said each of the three companies is owned by a different group. Stambaugh Aviation Management is owned by his brother Scott Stambaugh and his wife Audrey. Mark said he and his wife Emelia own EJC Investments, LLC and he and Scott own Aviation Sales and Maintenance, Inc.

“There are four people involved here, not just two,” Mark Stambaugh said.

via County Republican vice chairman files complaint against commissioner-elect – The Brunswick News: Local News.

Savannah City Council eyes water rate hike | savannahnow.com

City of Savannah residents will pay more for water service and garbage collection next year, while Savannah-Chatham police will have additional opportunities for advancement and increased pay under the city’s proposed 2015 budget.

Residents will pay an additional $1.50 a month, on average, for water and sewer, Chief Financial Officer David Maxwell said during the second day of the City Council’s budget retreat Thursday.

The revenue is necessary to cover the cost of infrastructure needed to serve an increased need for treated surface water, due to additional restrictions on ground-water use, Maxwell said.

Also, sanitation rates will go up by $1.50 a month to pay for a $17 million landfill expansion that’s expected to begin next year, Maxwell said.

via Savannah City Council eyes water rate hike | savannahnow.com.

Tybee Island council considers public swimming pool vote | savannahnow.com

Tybee Island officials want to let the voters decide if the town should build a public swimming pool.

The city council on Thursday discussed a resolution that, if backed by the local delegation to the Georgia General Assembly, would place a referendum on a ballot sometime in 2015. As proposed, the referendum would give Tybee voters a voice in whether they would support city officials moving ahead with finding sources of funding to build the pool.

Mayor Jason Buelterman said the vote would mark the second time voters weighed in on a public pool for Tybee. The first vote in 2004 was paired with a millage increase. Tybee voters said no.

via Tybee Island council considers public swimming pool vote | savannahnow.com.

Plans for Savannah Canal District drawing enthusiasm, questions | savannahnow.com

With litter-lined embankments and the occasional rusty pipe stretching across the murky water’s surface, it’s unlikely someone would look at the Ogeechee-Springfield canal on Savannah’s west side and think about kayaking.

Images of a swamp monster rising from the muddy depths would be more likely.

But some city officials have a different vision in mind.

Instead of serving as a tributary full of trash, the canal would transport boaters past a future arena as couples take leisurely strolls along the waterway.

Surrounding the canal, new businesses would serve the influx of visitors transported there via sidewalk-lined roads, biking paths and a streetcar system.

Altogether, the city’s proposed Canal District, located north of Gwinnett Street and west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, is being touted as an extension of the downtown Historic District and a future draw for tourists and residents.

The plan is in its conceptual stages now, but city officials have begun taking steps to make the vision a reality.

via Plans for Savannah Canal District drawing enthusiasm, questions | savannahnow.com.

Mali added to Ebola screening list at Atlanta, other airports | www.myajc.com

With new cases of Ebola confirmed in Mali, airline passengers from that West African country will be subject to the same screening as people flying from other Ebola-affected nations beginning Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday added Mali to the watch list that already includes Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Passengers from those nations are subject to “enhanced entry screening” and three weeks of monitoring when they fly into the United States at one of five airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

via Mali added to Ebola screening list at Atlanta, other airports | www.myajc.com.