Georgia Public Policy Foundation responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Contraception Mandate

Atlanta – Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, hailed the ruling today by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and against the Obama Administration, over the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. both argued that the 2010 mandate violated their religious freedom. Both companies believe that certain forms of contraception induce abortion, which violates the religious convictions of their owners.

“We are pleased by the ruling, which extends the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom to millions of employers,” McCutchen said after the 5-4 ruling.

“Next, we hope to see an even broader victory for taxpayers: that the courts favor the rule of law in the case of the government’s arbitrary and unjustifiable position that the law’s ‘premium-assistance tax credits’ for state exchanges apply also to federally run exchanges.”

Congressman Kingston Reaction to Hobby Lobby Decision

Washington - Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) issued the following statement after the decision in ​Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.​:

“This is yet another reason why Obamacare should be repealed – it is unworkable. I am glad the court recognized private companies should not be forced to violate their religious convictions. Religious liberty is a bedrock principle of the United States and should be defended fiercely by those elected to uphold the Constitution.”

Congressman Kingston is the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee which oversees funding of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Attorney General Olens Applauds U.S. Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” Ruling

Attorney General Olens issued the following statement regarding today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.

“Religious liberty is a fundamental principle upon which our nation was founded. I applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding this bedrock freedom, and I am proud to have joined an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby before the Court.”

The amicus brief can be viewed here.

Atlanta: Paulding airport would ‘breach’ land deal |

The city of Atlanta once considered starting a second commercial airport on land it bought in Paulding County. Now it’s threatening to sue Paulding for trying to start its own.

In the latest obstacle for Paulding’s airport ambitions, Atlanta officials have sent a letter warning the county they might go to court to block plans for airline operations at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

Some Paulding residents say they were surprised by plans to commercialize their new airport, potentially increasing noise and traffic.

Their argument: Part of the Paulding airport sits on a chunk of land the county bought back from the city several years ago, and the city understood it would be used only for non-commercial aviation. Plans for airline flights are “a material breach of contract,” Candace Byrd, Mayor Kasim Reed’s chief of staff, wrote in the letter.

Paulding Commission chairman David Austin’s response? “It’s just B.S.”

He noted that the Atlanta mayor delivered a speech touting regionalism to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce in 2011, telling the audience Atlanta is not an enemy, but a friend.

Now, Austin says, “The moment we start having success out here, they turn on us like a rabid dog, and say, ‘You’re not entitled to success.’”

via Atlanta: Paulding airport would ‘breach’ land deal |

Cherokee Tribune – Probate Court preps for carry permit changes

Cherokee County Probate Court is preparing for changes in how residents get a license to carry a firearm when Georgia’s sweeping gun bill, passed by the General Assembly, takes effect this week.

The Safe Carry Protection Act, which becomes law Tuesday, is known for lessening restrictions on where people can take their guns, but it is also causing large changes in how the court gives and renews permits, said Cherokee Probate Court Judge B. Keith Wood.

Essentially, Wood said, the new law opens the option of getting a license up to more people.

“I’m not saying that’s a bad thing,” he said Friday. “I think some of the stuff they did were things that should have been done anyway.”

Among the newly eligible carriers are individuals in the military, or who have been honorably discharged, between the ages of 18 and 20, who previously had to wait until they were 21 to get a license like everyone else.

via Cherokee Tribune – Probate Court preps for carry permit changes.

Cherokee Tribune – Early voting for primary runoff begins Monday

Early voting begins Monday for the July 22 general primary runoff election, and Cherokee County voters have two local races and several state and federal elections to help decide.

Voter turnout is expected to be light, said Cherokee Elections Supervisor Janet Munda.

“In 2010, we had about a 16 percent turnout. I am hoping we will have that or greater,” she said Friday. Munda said the U.S. Senate runoff between Jack Kingston and David Purdue and the 11th District race for Congress, pitting Barry Loudermilk against Bob Barr, could bring more people out to the polls.

For the first week of early voting, the only location where voters can cast a ballot is the Cherokee Elections office in downtown Canton. Early voting will be Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office will be closed July 4 for the holiday.

Early voting will continue Monday through Friday during the weeks of July 7 and July 14 at the Canton location.

Voting will again be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

via Cherokee Tribune – Early voting for primary runoff begins Monday.

Cherokee Tribune – House Bill 60 A detailed look

In 2014, the Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 60 which, in addition to expanding the locations where a firearm could be carried by persons with a Georgia Weapons Carry License, also modified the process for obtaining the license itself.

In order to assist the public, what follows are some highlights of some of the changes in the licensing part of the statute, as well as a listing of the requirements for obtaining a WCL in the Cherokee County Probate Court beginning July 1.


The Legislature did away with requiring fingerprints to be taken on license renewals, which previously existed under O.C.G.A. §16-11-129. However, what actually constitutes a “renewal” was left undefined. After reviewing the current usage of the term, especially in terms of the Temporary Renewal License, along with discussions with Legislators, the Cherokee County Probate Court will consider the renewal period to run from the date the license is issued until 30 days after the license has expired.

Based on an opinion of the attorney general, renewals will also only be available for licenses previously issued by Cherokee County.

Licenses for persons 18 to 20 years old

Before July 1, one had to be 21 years old to receive a WCL. Under the new law, these licenses are also available to persons 18 to 20 years old, but only if the applicant has completed basic training and is either actively serving in the U.S. military or has been honorably discharged from the service.

via Cherokee Tribune – House Bill 60 A detailed look.

Cherokee Tribune – 20 year lease passed for Cherokee Charter building

The board governing two Georgia charter schools approved a 20-year lease that begins Monday for the building now housing Cherokee Charter Academy, with a base rent about 60 percent higher than last year.

Board members on the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, responsible for governing and funding Cherokee Charter Academy, unanimously approved the 20-year lease agreement during a meeting Wednesday, with a base rent of $1.16 million a year, according to the final lease document.

The rent expense went up 59.9 percent, from $726,000 in fiscal 2014, to $1.16 million for fiscal 2015, and GCEF member and Cherokee Charter Local Governing Councilman Danny Dukes said the rise in rent costs for the building was anticipated.

“The increase was from a below market lease rate to a market lease rate of $12 per foot,” Dukes explained. “This facility was in foreclosure when we moved in. The owner was looking for cash flow out of the property. They have now sold the property, pending a closing, and the new buyer/investor was seeking market rent.”

via Cherokee Tribune – 20 year lease passed for Cherokee Charter building.

Cherokee Tribune – Local man files ethics complaint against Cummins

CANTON — A resident in the Great Sky community has filed a complaint against Councilman Glen Cummins, claiming the councilman’s candidacy for city manager puts him in violation of Canton’s ethics ordinances.

Andy Potts, who said he has about 50 of his neighbors behind him, sent the complaint to Mayor Gene Hobgood on Tuesday. The complaint accuses Cummins of abusing his role as a council member and interim city manager to become the finalist for the city manager job.

“These charges against Mr. Cummins are a clear violation of the most sacred roots of our democracy,” Potts wrote in the complaint, citing city code. “Elected officials should never be allowed to participate in a process, or have direct influence in a process, that allows them to benefit financially and receive taxpayer dollars.”

via Cherokee Tribune – Local man files ethics complaint against Cummins.

Cherokee Tribune – Ball Ground council to lower tax rate consider sign ordinance amendment

The Ball Ground City Council plans to roll back the city’s millage rate from 6 to 5.375 mills, or a 4.4 percent reduction, officials said.

The council approved a $1.89 million 2014-15 budget at its last meeting in May, which called for a rolled back millage rate from 6 to 5.625 mills, to remain revenue neutral.

However, Ball Ground City Clerk Karen Jordan said Wednesday City Manager Eric Wilmarth planned to recommend the council set the millage rate at 5.375 mills, “representing a tax decrease of 4.4 percent.”

via Cherokee Tribune – Ball Ground council to lower tax rate consider sign ordinance amendment.

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