The blog.


State Rep. Jason Spencer endorses Ted Cruz for President

Spencer Cruz

Today, State Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) sent out the following by email:

Dear Friends,

Today, I am officially endorsing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) for the presidency of the United States, and I ask all liberty loving conservatives to stand behind him.

It is time for conservatives to unite behind a true conservative that can win. That conservative is Sen. Ted Cruz.Continue Reading..


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 19, 2015

British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781,  ending the American Revolution.

On October 19, 1790, Lyman Hall, one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia, died in Burke County, GA. Hall was elected Governor of Georgia in 1783, holding the position for one year, and was an early advocate for the chartering of the University of Georgia.

On October 19, 1983, the United States Senate voted 78-22 to create a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., to be celebrated on the third Monday of January. The House passed the King holiday bill, sponsored by Reps. Katie Hall (D.-IN) and Jack Kemp (R-NY), by a vote of 338-90 in August. President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation on November 3, 1983.

This weekend, I learned an interesting fact about Martin Luther King, Jr. He was actually born Michael King, Jr., and his name was changed to Martin Luther King, Jr. when his father changed his name in 1934 to Martin Luther King to honor the German theologian. I learned this after the Sons of Confederate Veterans referred to Dr. King as “Michael King” in their press release opposing the addition of a King monument at Stone Mountain.

Therefore, monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists. The opinions of the park’s current neighbors and opponents are of no bearing in the discussion.

I had assumed it was a typo, as it didn’t have a link to more information about Dr. King’s birth name, nor any explanation. I apologize for my unwarranted assumption.

However, I did also look at the Georgia Code section that the SCV cites as authority that:

The act of the General Assembly which created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association specifically states the park, including both the mountain and all adjacent property, is to be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial (OCGA 12-3-191).

They left out a couple of important words, as the statute calls for Stone Mountain to serve “as a Confederate memorial and public recreational area.” And that last part about a public recreation area arguably opens up Stone Mountain to anything that could reasonably be considered part of a “public recreational area.” I’d even argue that currently, most people think of Stone Mountain first as a recreational area, and second, as containing a Confederate memorial.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The above video, which comes via Greg Bluestein of the AJC, is a video introduction by Georgia Senator David Perdue, apparently meant to be used to introduce Herman Cain at the Trump Rally in Atlanta. No idea why it wasn’t used, but I don’t recall seeing a large video screen at the Trump rally venue. Perhaps they couldn’t arrange one in time.

Last week, the SuperPAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign announced a $17 million TV buy that includes $2.6 million in Georgia. In the same story, the AJC Political Insider notes that Marco Rubio’s campaign has reserved $23,000 in TV time in Savannah and $17,000 in Augusta at the end of December and early January. The Rubio buy is probably more aimed at the South Carolina Primary on February 20, 2016.

The results are in for the Georgia Peanut Poll, now touted as the largest “straw” poll in the nation.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 19, 2015


Buster is a Yellow Lab mix who is available for adoption from Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA. According to the shelter, Buster is a sweet guy! Given the right family would be the best dog ever!! He is shy but he warms up outside of his kennel! Buster has a lot of energy and would love a home where he could spend time playing and running


Tanner is a young adult Yellow Lab who is available for adoption from Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.


Betty is a majestic adult female Treeing Walker Coonhound who is available for adoption from Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.


Pippa is a young female Black-and-Tan Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Yappy Hour

Georgia English Bulldog Rescue is holding a Yappy Hour fundraiser on Sunday, October 25, 2015 from 5 to 7 PM at Tin Roof Cantina, 8591 Briarcliff Rd in Atlanta.

English Bulldogs that come into rescue groups usually have suffered from neglect, as their physical issues are many and very expensive. So rescuing English Bulldogs is very expensive, and GEBR is a top-notch volunteer-driven organization. You can also support them by buying GEBR swag like a t-shirt or calendar, or making an online donation.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 16, 2015

The Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland was established on October 18, 1767.

In 1760, tired of border violence between the colonies’ settlers, the British crown demanded that the parties involved hold to an agreement reached in 1732. As part of Maryland and Pennsylvania’s adherence to this royal command, Mason and Dixon were asked to determine the exact whereabouts of the boundary between the two colonies. Though both colonies claimed the area between the 39th and 40th parallel, what is now referred to as the Mason-Dixon line finally settled the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes. The line was marked using stones, with Pennsylvania’s crest on one side and Maryland’s on the other.

Twenty years later, in late 1700s, the states south of the Mason-Dixon line would begin arguing for the perpetuation of slavery in the new United States while those north of line hoped to phase out the ownership of human chattel. This period, which historians consider the era of “The New Republic,” drew to a close with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which accepted the states south of the line as slave-holding and those north of the line as free. The compromise, along with those that followed it, eventually failed.

The Pennsylvania Gazette published a criticism against the British Tea Act on October 16, 1773.

The Tea Act of 1773 was a bill designed to save the faltering British East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as yet another example of taxation tyranny. In response, the “Philadelphia Resolutions” called the British tax upon America unfair and said that it introduced “arbitrary government and slavery” upon the American citizens. The resolutions urged all Americans to oppose the British tax and stated that anyone who transported, sold or consumed the taxed tea would be considered “an enemy to his country.”

Five thousand British and Hessian troops surrendered to patriot militia on October 17, 1777, ending the Second Battle of Saratoga, and leading to France recognizing American independence and sending military aid.

On October 19, 1791, General Cornwallis formally surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the American Revolution. Cornwallis claimed to be ill and sent his second-in-command for the formal surrender.

An editorial published pseudononymously by Alexander Hamilton on October 17, 1796, accused Thomas Jefferson, then a Presidential candidate, of having an affair with a slave.

Happy birthday to the Texas Rangers, created on this day in 1835.

In the midst of their revolt against Mexico, Texan leaders felt they needed a semi-official force of armed men who would defend the isolated frontier settlers of the Lone Star Republic against both Santa Ana’s soldiers and hostile Indians; the Texas Rangers filled this role. But after winning their revolutionary war with Mexico the following year, Texans decided to keep the Rangers, both to defend against Indian and Mexican raiders and to serve as the principal law enforcement authority along the sparsely populated Texan frontier.

On October 16, 1854, Abraham Lincoln, a candidate for Congress, spoke against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and called the practice of slavery “immoral.”

Lincoln, who was practicing law at the time, campaigned on behalf of abolitionist Republicans in Illinois and attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He denounced members of the Democratic Party for backing a law that “assumes there can be moral right in the enslaving of one man by another.” He believed that the law went against the founding American principle that “all men are created equal.”

On October 18, 1867, the United States took over Alaska from Russia and ran up Old Glory there for the first time.

Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska.

Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson‘s secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska. Agreeing to pay a mere $7 million for some 591,000 square miles of land-a territory twice the size of Texas and equal to nearly a fifth of the continental United States-Seward secured the purchase of Alaska at the ridiculously low rate of less than 2¢ an acre.

On October 16, 1918, visitors to the Southeastern Fair at the Lakewood Fairgrounds were required by the Georgia State Board of Health to don face masks in order to prevent the spread of the Spanish flu.

Paul Anderson, known as the “World’s Strongest Man,” was born in Toccoa, Georgia on October 17, 1932. From his New York Times obituary:

As the unknown substitute for the injured American champion at the first Soviet-American dual athletic competition, in Moscow in 1955, the 5-foot-9-inch Anderson was scorned by his hosts.

The scorn turned to snickers when Anderson called for a weight of 402.4 pounds, more than 20 pounds above the world record. The snickers stopped when the 340-pound Anderson lifted the weight. By the time he set another record, in the clean and jerk, he was being hailed by Soviet fans.

The stunning achievement at the height of the Cold War made Anderson an instant American hero, and it was largely an anticlimax when he set three more world records at the world championships in Munich, Germany, later that year.

Although virtually conceded the gold medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Anderson was stricken with a severe inner-ear infection.

Competing at 304 pounds and with a 103-degree fever, he fell so far behind his chief rival that on the final of three required lifts, he needed to clean and jerk 413.5 pounds, an Olympic record, to claim the gold. Twice he tried and failed. On the third attempt he asked God for a little extra help and got it.

“It wasn’t making a bargain,” he said later, “I needed help.”

Paul Anderson Memorial Park in Toccoa is a private park supported by a 501(c)(3) organization.

Maynard Jackson was elected Mayor of Atlanta on October 16, 1973. Jackson was the first African-Amercian Mayor of Atlanta; he served eight years, and was elected for a third, non-consecutive term in 1990.

On October 16, 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned in Youngstown, Ohio.

On October 15, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to Georgia to support Gov. Nathan Deal’s reelection.

One year ago today, friends and family of the late Mack Burgess, a Republican staffer who died in a car wreck, gathered to memorialize his life. On that same day, separate visits by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, both supporting the GAGOP ticket, were announced.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Election

Peanut Poll Update

Later this morning, Secretary of State Brian Kemp will announce that voting in the Peanut Poll at the Georgia National Fair surpassed that of the Iowa Straw Poll.

Earlier this week, we offered some Peanut Poll swag that was liberated from Perry, in exchange for letting us know who you’re supporting and why. Here’s what we heard from eight readers, whose packages will be sent today.

I’ve removed some information that would identify the person writing it, and I’m not including criticism of other candidates at this time.

Cumming, GA – I would vote for TED CRUZ!  Ted is the most proven conservative with a track record of standing up to the establishment. He has argued before the Supreme Court (and won) and has a consistently conservative record.

Marietta, GAAt this point in the election cycle, please cast my vote for Ben Carson. I feel his lack of connection to Federal, state and local government is a big plus. He is probably the smartest man running.Continue Reading..


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 16, 2015


Piper is a 2-year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.




Carnelian is a 7-year old female Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.


Trace is a ten-month old Black-and-White Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare in Macon, GA


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 15, 2015

Friday, October 15, 1582 marked the beginning of the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar – the previous day was Thursday, October 4th.

George Washington left New York, the nation’s capitol, on October 15, 1789, embarking upon the first Presidential tour to New England.

The world’s first combat submarine, CSS Hunley, sunk during testing in Charleston Harbor on October 15, 1863.

The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution too effect October 15, 1933, changing the Presidential term of office to begin and end on January 20th following each quadrennial election and Senate and Congress to January 3d following biennial elections, both from March 4th.

Billy Graham launched his national ministry on October 15, 1949 in Los Angeles, California.

On October 15, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation creating the United States Department of Transportation. May God have mercy upon his soul.

Interstate 285 around Atlanta was completed on October 15, 1969.

The Omni opened in Atlanta on  October 15, 1972, as the Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a score of 109-101.

Former Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990

Georgia-born Clarence Thomas was confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court on October 15, 1991.

John Cleese and Eric Idle of Monty Python fame are currently touring the Southeast and stopped over in Savannah, where they’ll perform October 20th. The Savannah Morning News interviewed Cleese.

Cleese is up front about his own reason for touring.

“I suppose it’s because I still need money,” he says. “I haven’t much money, when I have to pay $20 million in alimony to an ex-wife. There’s a dent in my finances.”

The settlement was incurred after Cleese’s divorce from his third wife, American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger.

“The present system in the U.K. and the U.S. benefits the passenger and disadvantages the breadwinner, who has worked very, very hard,” he says. “I find that completely despicable.

“Now I’m married to an absolutely lovely girl and I want to be able to provide one or two of the luxuries in life for her, like holidays in the sun during dreary English winters.

“To do that, I need money,” he says. “What nicer way to do that than performing?”

But don’t ask him to take a selfie.

“It’s a question of if it happens four times a day or 40. It’s one thing if people I’ve never met before are asking, ‘Can I have a photograph?’

“I often say ‘No, I’m not doing them today, but why don’t you ask that man over there?’” Cleese says. “I always try to be as polite as possible and if the interruptions and people come up out of the blue, that’s fine, but if it happens 40 times a day, you just want to get on with your business.”

The duo will be in Atlanta later this month, performing at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. If you’ve got spare tickets to the Atlanta show, Mrs. GaPundit and I would be happy to take them off your hands for you.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Hillary Clinton will hold a public event in Atlanta on October 30th, according to the AJC Political Insider.

Donald Trump’s 757 receives its regular servicing from Stambaugh Aviation in Brunswick, Georgia.

The Red & Black writes that Georgia has fewer women in office than most other states.

Martha Zoller, a former Georgia House of Representatives candidate, said qualified women do not win elections because of a general lack of financial backing for female candidates.

She said the biggest challenge during her candidacy was raising money.

Financial backing can really be a factor in a candidate’s success on the ballot, she said. And on many occasions, while women are taking time off to start families, they sometimes can suffer setbacks in their careers, resulting in a disadvantage against men.

“Women make up more than 50 percent of the electorate, and you want to see them involved in the decisions,” Zoller said.

Georgia uses a single-member district system, meaning that only one person per district can be elected. More women tend to be elected in states that elect more than one person [per district] to the state legislature.

I wonder what would happen in the analysis if you looked at the number of women running for office – perhaps part of the reason for fewer women in office is that fewer run, but I don’t have a knowledge base to make that comparison. I’ve also done polling in an election in which a well-funded female candidate received a smaller percentage of women’s votes than the male candidates. Perhaps that was anomalous, again, I don’t know.

The other day I mentioned a unique voting system in Rome, GA in which four candidates for a City Council post will run for three open seats with the top three vote-earners taking office. Now, I learn that Kingsland, Georgia voters will decide whether future elections will require only a plurality of the vote to win, as is now the case, or whether a majority will be needed, ushering in the possibility of runoff elections in the city’s future elections. Additionally, Kingsland voters will see a referendum to move municipal elections to even-numbered years in order to save money by holding them in conjunction with state and federal races.

I’m not saying it’s a Clown Car Election, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see red noses and long red shoes break out in Senate District 20. Two new candidates have entered the fray, which now numbers five.

Jon Martin, a Laurens County Commissioner and businessman will run as a Republican.

“I am not running to be a show horse in the state Senate, but to be a workhorse in Atlanta for our families and communities,” Martin said in a written statement.

Martin was first elected to the Laurens County Commission in 2012. Martin said leaders in Middle Georgia have done a good job making the area attractive for investors, and he wants to create that kind of business environment statewide.

Martin is a director at a Dublin pharmacy that works with long-term care facilities, and he has been a teacher and coach.

He is the fifth Republican to declare candidacy for the state Senate District 20 seat.

Brooks Keisler of Bonaire also entered the race as a Republican.

“I’m running to represent our community with honor and integrity,” said Brooks Keisler, who lives with his family in Bonaire.

He said some of the main planks in his platform will concern education and small business. It will be his first run for elected office.

The proposal to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. atop Stone Mountain is opposed by several civil rights groups.

“We will never agree to any aspect of Dr. King going to Stone Mountain among the Confederacy,” Southern Christian Leadership Conference president and CEO Charles Steele, Jr. said after the meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal. “The Confederacy, once and for all, should be buried in a museum.”

Officials with the SCLC and two local chapters of the NAACP met with Republican governor for an hour at his office, and later said he was “receptive” to their concerns. Deal may have the influence, if not the authority, to stop the process, Steele said.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Georgia Division previously released a statement opposing a King monument at Stone Mountain.

This decision by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is wholly inappropriate in that it is an intentional act of disrespect toward the stated purpose of the Stone Mountain memorial from its inception as well as a possible violation of the law which established the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and charged it with promoting the mountain as a Confederate memorial.

The act of the General Assembly which created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association specifically states the park, including both the mountain and all adjacent property, is to be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial (OCGA 12-3-191).   The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different.  The park was never intended to be a memorial to multiple causes but solely to the Confederacy.

The Savannah Morning News writes that City Council candidates discussed economic development at a forum last night.

In addition to public safety, a majority of the questions posed to candidates for mayor, the second district and both alderman at-large posts at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center sought out ideas for protecting and spurring economic growth.

All of the candidates will be on the ballot for the Savannah municipal election Nov. 3.

Mayor Edna Jackson and her challengers — Eddie DeLoach, Murray Silver Jr. and Louis Wilson — were generally in agreement that government did not have the ability to control private business by dictating wages, prices and hours.

The city can encourage developers to pay a living wage and hire locally, however, Jackson said.

“We get those who are benefitting on tax credits to sign off on that,” she said.

Silver said the mayor shouldn’t be telling businesses what to do when it comes to wages, but they can sit down with the owners who need council approval for a development and try to work out a deal for higher wages.

DeLoach said the city has no business in controlling wages.

“The fact of it is, when government gets into anything, everything goes wrong,” he said.

Savannah City Council will vote today on whether to repeal regulations that require tour guides to pass a history test and be licensed.

The Savannah City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposed repeal of tour guide regulations — in place since 1978 — that require all guides to earn a city license by passing a history test before they can take paying customers sightseeing. The repeal is expected to pass as the city faces litigation by tour guides who sued in federal court.

Attorney W. Brooks Stillwell, who represents the city, has advised council members to scrap the regulations before a federal judge decides the lawsuit.

“I’m disappointed,” said Councilman Van Johnson, who refrained from defending the regulations at a recent meeting. “But I also realize that when you come up against the U.S. Constitution, you lose.”

A small group of local tour guides sued City Hall in U.S. District Court last November, saying Savannah’s licensing ordinance violates the free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment by unfairly singling out tourism workers who talk for a living. To earn a license, guides must pass a 100-question test covering topics from Savannah’s 1820 yellow fever outbreak to the architects of its historic homes. The study guide for the test is a 111-page book produced by City Hall.

Mary Ann Whipple-Lue is both the Mayor of Gordon, Georgia, and the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city she was elected to lead, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Whipple-Lue hired an attorney last year to help her fight a lawsuit filed by two city councilmen and members of the Concerned Citizens of Gordon group who sought to have her removed from office.

The suit against Whipple-Lue alleged she violated the state’s Open Meetings Act and participated in other misconduct.

The Gordon City Council voted last month on whether to pay Whipple-Lue’s lawyer’s nearly $95,000 invoice. With the council members who sued the mayor sitting out the vote, the group decided not to pay the bill, according to the suit Whipple-Lue filed last week in Fulton County State Court.

The mayor contends the city is responsible for the bill and that the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency, the city’s insurer, breached its contract by not providing her with a lawyer.

A State House Committee heard about ways to prevent welfare fraud by tapping private databases to confirm eligibility information.

About one in 10 people getting state benefits aren’t legally entitled to them, according to Andrew Brown, senior fellow with the Foundation for Government Accountability based in Washington. Cutting them off could save taxpayers $175 million, he estimated.

“Not having some degree of knowledge-based authentication of benefits on the front door of benefits is not like having a lock on your front door,” said Trey Harrison, regional manager for LexisNexis.

The company’s store of records from credit bureaus, banks, government entities and other sources allows it to flag common frauds for investigators in states where it is contracted. A pilot project ongoing in Georgia triggered 3,464 questionable applications in May, and he expects it will save $180,000 per month.

A study by Georgia State and the Carl Vinson Institute found that child care and early learning centers have an economic impact of $4.6 billion per year, provide more than 67,000 jobs and support another 17,000 jobs, paying out  $374 million in federal taxes and $161.7 million to state and local coffers.

If you want to see a real live dumpster fire, or “sanitation conflagration,” just watch this interview by the head of DeKalb County’s sanitation department. Among the lowlights highlights:

DeKalb County sanitation director Billy Malone disputed the fact that one of his former employees was re-hired by his department just four days after pleading guilty to driving under the influence in a county vehicle.

“It wasn’t four days, for one thing. It goes through the procedure and I think it was like three months or six months, or something like that,” Malone said.

Malone is also under fire for allowing 25 of his drivers to operate garbage trucks with expired medical cards associated with their commercial driver’s license. One employee was driving on expired credentials for nearly two years.

When asked what happened when he wrecked a county vehicle and how many times it occurred, Malone said, “It has happened several times…I hit a bollard at the landfill, hit a parked car and that sort of thing.”

File under: things I already knew. Politicians enjoy spending and giving away other people’s money. The AJC reports that a number of politicians give money from their political campaigns to charities, which is perfectly legal under Georgia law. I would argue that in a number of those cases, the expenditure resulted in some benefit to the candidate, such as when sponsoring a charitable event that results in the candidate’s name being on signs or programs. In these cases, the campaign could make the expenditure as an “ordinary and necessary expense,” but might get caught up in the question of whether the expenditure was a fair market values. Anyway, something we knew already.

Certificate of Need Laws

I mentioned in my first legislative preview for the 2016 campaign that Georgia’s Certificate of Need program will likely be the subject of one of the biggest legislative fights that nobody hears about or understands. So, in the spirit of educating myself my fellow citizens, I’ll be discussing what is referred to as CONs occasionally between now and the legislative session that starts in January 2016.

If you wish to understand legislation that impacts healthcare in Georgia, two of the best sources will be cited in the following paragraphs. Dave Williams of the Atlanta Business Chronicle writes more extensively about the business impacts of Georgia legislation than most of his reporter colleagues, and that alone makes the Business Chronicle a must-read in my opinion.

Dave writes about the current state of the CON fight.

Georgia health officials should remove a cap on in-state patients served by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) so its hospital in Newnan can serve more Georgians suffering from cancer, CTCA officials said Tuesday.

But hospital CEOs from across Georgia and their lobbyists at the state Capitol said exempting the facility from the Certificate of Need law that applies to all other Georgia hospitals would let CTCA “cherry-pick” the paying patients those hospitals need to offset the costs of treating the indigent.

“For us, this rule is about a patient’s fundamental right to choose where he or she should receive care,” said David Kent, the Newnan hospital’s chief operating officer.

But representatives of umbrella groups representing Georgia hospitals and individual hospital CEOs accused CTCA of looking to achieve through a change in state agency regulations what they haven’t been able to accomplish in the General Assembly. As recently as this year, legislation aimed at the CON law fizzled under the Gold Dome.

“This is clearly an end-around to the legislature’s authority,” said Earl Rogers, president of the Georgia Hospital Association.

Rogers and others also argued that CTCA hurts other hospitals’ bottom lines by turning away cancer patients on Medicaid and accepting only those with insurance.

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News provides healthcare content to a number of outlets across the state. His website is also a must-read for folks interested in health policy. He discusses the war of words over the CON requirement.

A patient’s right to choose. Legislative authority on health care. “Cherry picking’’ the privately insured.

These themes highlighted the vehement arguments made at a state agency hearing in Atlanta on Tuesday as advocates and critics clashed over a proposal to eliminate state requirements for a Newnan cancer hospital.

At the hearing, Rod Echols of Fayetteville told a packed audience that he received good care for his colorectal cancer at the Newnan facility, and he said he wants all Georgia patients to have the right to choose the hospital.

“A law should not dictate where we should go,’’ said Echols, 42. “We want others to have that option.”

Earl Rogers, president of the Georgia Hospital Association, said CTCA has the reputation of “cherry picking’’ patients with the best insurance coverage. He called the reclassification idea “an end-around”’ the General Assembly’s authority over health care. And Rogers noted that if CTCA converts to a general hospital, would not have to offer emergency room services.

“Not one [other] hospital supports this rule change,’’ he declared.

Jerry Fulks, CEO of West Georgia Health in LaGrange, said, “CTCA has not fulfilled their commitment to indigent care.”

And Dr. Doug Patten of the Georgia Hospital Association said some patients with Medicare coverage have been turned away by CTCA.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 15, 2015


Skylar is an adult female Hound mix who is available for adoption from Hart County Animal Rescue Inc. in Hartwell, GA.

Skylar is a hound mix that was all skin and bones when she came to her rescue group. She has been fostered with 6 other dogs of varying ages and 4 cats. Skylar likes to chase the cats, but does not hurt them. She can be a bit bossy with our smaller dogs, yet gets along great with the larger dogs. She is leash trained, house broken, and follows basic commands. She is very subtle about letting you know she needs to go out, so she may have an accident, until you learn her sign, which is her just walking to the door and standing there.

She is a big baby, loves to be on the couch or bed with you and lay at your feet. She will do well in any family setting. However, there isn’t a fence or enclosure that can contain her. Therefore she needs to be walked on a leash or monitored while she is outside. Her natural curiosity makes her wander, but she does listen and if we call to her, she returns immediately.

It is best she be crated when you are not around as she will get into the trash, but once she has learned your routine and you are comfortable, I believe she can be left out of her crate at night.

Skylar is a wonderful, faithful dog, who is going to make you a fantastic family pet.



Charlie is a gorgeous 5-6 year old male blond lab who is available for adoption from Hart County Animal Rescue Inc. in Hartwell, GA.

Charlie is a sweetheart in spike of the fact that he has had a very tough life…when rescued, he was only 40 lbs; was starved, abused, heartworm positive, and had had his vocal cords cut….but he’s a tough guy and has bounced back with lots of TLC.

Charlie has been fulled vetted, and his heartworms have been treated. He is now a healthy, happy, boiterous 85 lb lap dog and is great with everyone. He woul,d make a wonderful addition to any family. For more information on this super dog, please call Judy Partain @ 706-436-3476.


Horatio is a handsome 18 month old male brindle boxer mix who weighs 51 lbs. He is very smart and knows many commands.We do not know anything about his background, but he did have some training – he knew sit and shake and knows to kennel when told. He still needs a bit of training to undo unwanted behavior, although he has come a long way in the last few weeks. Horatio loves to walk on a leash and gets along with people and other dogs. He was afraid of cats when he first came, but has figured out that they are a lot smaller than he is, so we need to re-evaluate his attitude about them! He would do better with an experienced handler. An all-around great Dog!

Horatio is available for adoption from Colbert Veterinary Rescue in Colbert, GA.


Vinnie is a very large 6-year old miniature pinscher with tons of energy and attitude! He is acts like a puppy! He is very intelligent and learns quickly. He knew how to walk on a leash, but he will still try to pull you over if you are not careful! He will sit and stay and is very attentive when he is doing obedience. He needs to have a job to do! Assisting a runner would be great for him as he can walk over a mile and still want to go as far as you can take him! He does get along with dogs, but is more in tune to people. He would rather be with a person than play with a dog. He was an owner surrender to ACCAC and we were told that his person was deployed and no relative or friend would take over – how sad! He needs to have someone that can channel his energy! He certainly is a very happy fellow!

Keep in mind that a very large miniature pinscher is still going to be a small, compact dog.

Vinnie is available for adoption from Colbert Veterinary Rescue in Colbert, GA.


Gov. Deal: September tax revenues up 4.6 percent

Gov. Nathan Deal announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for September totaled nearly $1.97 billion, an increase of $83.4 million, or 4.6 percent, compared to September 2014. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled almost $5.13 billion, for an increase of nearly $438.7 million, or 9.4 percent, compared to last year, when net tax revenues totaled $4.69 billion.

House Bill 170, which introduced an array of tax reforms and new tax legislation beginning on July 1, generated transportation revenue of $74.3 million in September. As a result, the total revenue for September 2015 increased 8.7 percent over September 2014.

The changes below within the following tax categories contribute to September’s overall net tax revenue increase:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for September totaled roughly $1.01 billion, up from a total of nearly $949.9 million in September 2014, for an increase of $62.3 million, or 6.6 percent.

The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

•      Individual Income Tax Withholding payments were up approximately $48.7 million, or 6.4 percent.
•      Income Tax refunds, totaling $46.9 million during the month, were up $15.2 million, or 48.1 percent.
•      All other Individual Tax categories, including Estimated and Return payments, were up a combined $28.8 million.

Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales Tax collections deposited during the month totaled $865.2 million, which was an increase of $7.8 million, or 0.9 percent, over the previous year. Net Sales Tax revenue decreased $1.5 million, or -0.3 percent, compared to September 2014, when net sales tax totaled $445.6 million. The adjusted distribution of sales tax to local governments totaled $413.8 million, for an increase of $7.5 million, or 1.9 percent, compared to last year. Lastly, sales tax refunds increased by $1.7 million compared to September 2014.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for September increased by $2.5 million, or 1.4 percent, compared to September 2014, when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $184.6 million.

The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

•      Corporate Tax refunds issued (net of voids) were up $3.9 million, or 25.4 percent.

•      Corporate Income Tax Return payments were up nearly $4.1 million, or 30.1 percent.

•      All other Corporate Tax categories, including Estimated and Net Worth payments, increased $2.3 million.

Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees: Tag and Title Fee collections decreased nearly $1.7 million, or -5.4 percent, compared to September 2014. Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections totaled $79.7 million, for an increase of approximately $11.3 million, or 16.4 percent, compared to the previous fiscal year.


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for October 14, 2015

All dog and cat adoptions are free during the month of October at Lifeline Animal Services DeKalb and Fulton County Animal Shelters.

Colby is a 2.5 year old Yellow or Cream Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.


Blaze is a large 5-year old female Terrier mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.

Meet Blaze and her absolute favorite green squeaky toy. She hopes that whoever adopts her will let her bring her toy along too. Blaze is a 5 year old pittie girl who is the cuddliest of cuddlebugs. The first thing she does when she meets you is scoot as close as possible and ask for pets. This gentle gal has a low energy level and enjoys napping most of the day. She is overweight and her new family will need to help her work on her figure so she can be happy and healthy.

Blaze is completely house trained and will let you know when she needs to go outside. Blaze loves to follow you around the house and nap on the couch with you. Blaze is great with gentle children and is good with other dogs too! If Blaze is your perfect match, please come and meet her at DeKalb Animal Services. Her adoption includes her spay, vaccinations, microchip, and more! For more information please email [email protected]



Anise is a 2-year old female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from DeKalb County Animal Services.
Anise is a cheerful 2 year old Lab mix who greets everyone she meets with a tail wag and love. Anise is great with other dogs and probably wouldn’t mind having a dog friend in her new home. She already knows her sit command and is very eager to please. At 75 pounds, Anise is very overweight. Her adopters would need to help her work on her figure. Come meet this happy gal today at DeKalb Animal Services! Her adoption includes her spay, vaccinations, microchip, and more! For more information please email [email protected]


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for October 14, 2014

Georgia and American History

On October 14, 1735, John and Charles Wesley sailed with James Oglethorpe from Gravesend, England, for Georgia and John Wesley wrote the first entry in his journal that would eventually cover 55 years. On that date, John Wesley wrote,

Our end in leaving our native country, was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honour; but singly this, to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God.

The First Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Colonial Rights in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 14, 1774.

Then-former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912.

Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.

A.A. Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh on October 14, 1926. E. H. Shepard illustrated the Pooh books.


The War Department renamed Wellston Air Depot to Warner Robins Air Force Depot to honor Brigadier General Augustine Warner Robins on October 14, 1942.

On October 14, 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming Georgia’s first native-born winner.

On October 14, 1980, Republican candidate for President Ronald Reagan announced he would name a woman to the Supreme Court if elected.

To achieve those ends, we need the best people possible at the highest levels of Government regardless of sex, race or religion. I am also acutely aware, however, that within the guidelines of excellence, appointments can carry enormous symbolic significance. This permits us to guide by example, to show how deep our commitment is and to give meaning to what we profess.

One way I intend to live up to that commitment is to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. I am announcing today that one of the first Supreme Court vacancies in my administration will be filled by the most qualified woman I can find, one who meets the high standards I will demand for all my appointments.

It is time for a woman to sit among our highest jurists. I will also seek out women to appoint to other Federal courts in an effort to bring about a better balance on the Federal bench.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

As we noted last week, Vivian Childs has declared her candidacy for the Georgia Senate seat vacated by Sen. Ross Tolleson.

She is the third declared Republican candidate in the race so far. Kathleen businessman Larry Walker III announced his bid last week, as did Perry businessman Michael Reece.

State Senate District 20 covers most of Houston County plus all of Bleckley, Laurens and Pulaski counties.

The winner of the election will fill the roughly one year remaining in the term of state Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry. He will retire at the end of this month due to health reasons.

The state has yet to set the special election date or qualifying deadline.

The Augusta Chronicle has created a special section to highlight information and opinions on the SPLOST 7 penny sales tax, which will be on the ballot November 3d. Great coverage, highly-recommended reading for voters in the area.

The Chronicle also has an article about a forum for candidates in Grovetown and Harlem.

This isn’t Georgia-specific news, but it’s noteworthy in any discussion of politics. In California, a new or renewed driver’s license will come with automatic voter registration.Continue Reading..