The blog.

25
Feb

Sen. Bruce Thompson: Update from the Gold Dome

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Bruce Thompson 

Senator Bruce Thompson

Update from the Gold Dome

In four legislative days last week, the Senate passed a number of important bills and finalized the amended fiscal year 2015 budget. I’m also proud to say that my bill, Senate Bill 130 titled the “Smokefree Cars for Children Act,” has already received bi-partisan support.

SB 130 was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, where I will request a hearing and seek a “do-pass” recommendation for the bill.

As part of my work on the Senate Science and Technology Committee this week, we heard a Senate Bill 113 that would encourage the testing and development of autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, in Georgia. Currently, other states are moving past Georgia for these research and development dollars. Similarly, with several of the key players in this technology like Mercedes-Benz and Kia already headquartered in Georgia, our state is in a unique position for economic development around this exciting technology.

Here are some brief summaries of some of the bills that passed through the Senate this week:

  • Senate Bill 18 establishes policies for the Technical College System of Georgia to grant academic college-level credit for learning from military service, prior work experience or self-study. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 62 removes limitations on probate courts so that they now have jurisdiction over all fish and game violations. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division has historically filed these offenses with probate courts. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 58, called the “Georgia Leadership and Service Admission Act,” will allow every member of the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to recommend a student who meets HOPE Scholarship requirements to a college in the Board of Regents system if that student agrees to participate in Reserve Officer’s Training Corps while enrolled in college. I voted “yes”.
  • Senate Bill 79 expands the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s powers and duties for victim’s compensation claims. It raises the capped payout amount for funeral costs to $6,000 and expands the list of family members that can file for compensation. The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program helps victims and their families through the emotional, physical and financial aftermath of a crime. I voted “yes”.

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25
Feb

Sen. Rick Jeffares: An Update from the Capitol

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Rick Jeffaries

Rick Jeffaries

An Update from the Capitol

Snow flurries, ice and freezing rain threatened to stall business at the Capitol this week, but we were lucky enough to be able to travel safely to continue as scheduled. We passed quite a few bills this week designed to help support and protect the military service members in our state.

Military members past and present are the lifeblood to the workings of our nation. Without them, we would not have the freedoms and liberties we have today. This week we passed two pieces of legislation, SB 18 and SB 58, which will help us give back to the brave men and women who fight for our country.

On Tuesday, we unanimously passed Senate Bill 18, a bill that will allow the Technical College System of Georgia to accept previous military work experience for academic credit. The brave men and women who serve and protect our country deserve to be credited for the knowledge they acquired through their service.

In addition to helping those who have already served in the United States Military, we passed SB 58, a bill that will support the dreams of high school students who wish to obtain military training while earning a college degree. SB 58, which passed the Senate on Wednesday, will create the Georgia Leadership and Service Admissions Act. This act will enable each member of the General Assembly to provide a written recommendation to one student each year. This recommendation will be for high achieving students who exhibit leadership abilities to use for admission into a ROTC program at an institution in the University System of Georgia.

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25
Feb

Sen. P.K. Martin: 2015 Session Update

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator P.K. Martin

PK Martin state SEnate 9 Logo

2015 Session Update

After another busy two weeks under the Gold Dome, my colleagues and I have completed day 19 of the 2015 Legislative Session.  Next week will begin on Monday with legislative day 20, which means we will officially be at the halfway mark of the 2015 Legislative Session.

I am proud to announce I made a trip to Brookwood High School on Thursday to visit the Brookwood Entrepreneurship Academy and sit in on some of their classes. The Entrepreneurship Academy gives high school students the opportunity to learn valuable business skills and entrepreneurial knowledge so that when they graduate, they are fully prepared to enter their career pathway with confidence. Similar Entrepreneurial education programs have been implemented at Central Gwinnett and South Gwinnett High Schools. I would like to thank Brookwood High School and its staff, especially its principal, Bo Ford, for allowing me to visit with some of District 9’s brightest students and see the Brookwood Entrepreneurship Academy’s success.

Now that session is in full-swing, we’re hard at work examining legislation that will continue to make improvements in Georgia. Although skies were sunny last week, Georgia legislators were greeted on Monday of this week by a bout of ice and snow flurries, which resulted in all Georgia Legislative activities being canceled for the day.

The legislative Session resumed on Tuesday with the passing of Senate BIll 18. SB 18 allows the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) to accept prior work experience and skills learned through the Military for academic credit. SB 18 passed by a vote of 53-0. SB 18 also ensures that members of Georgia’s military have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained through their service to their academic careers. Our military men and women have made vast sacrifices for our country, and deserve to be credited for the skills and knowledge they have gained through their service.

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25
Feb

Rep. Buddy Carter: The Clock is Ticking

Your Washington – GA 1 – Desk

From Congressman Buddy Carter 

Congressman Budy carter

THE CLOCK IS TICKING

This week in Texas, United States Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered a halt to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, agreeing with Georgia and twenty-five other states that filed a lawsuit opposing the President’s unconstitutional attempt to rewrite our immigration system around Congress. This is a welcome announcement as the President himself said twenty-two times that he did not have the authority to move forward with his executive orders.

The decision temporarily prohibits the Obama administration from carrying out programs the President announced in November that would grant amnesty to as many as five million undocumented immigrants and cause irreparable harm. The most important decision made by Judge Hanen is that, contrary to the Justice Department’s claim, the states are legally allowed to bring this lawsuit because they are going to suffer concrete, measurable costs. For example, it will cost states millions of dollars in mandatory fees set by federal law when these states have to process additional driver’s licenses.

While I look forward to watching this case as it moves through the legal system, House Republicans have already acted to stand up to the President and restore the balance of powers when we passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and block the executive orders. However, Senate Democrats continue to block movement of this bill and are refusing to even let amendment debate begin. They are sending a clear message that they would rather grant legal status and work permits to those who have broken our laws and are in our country illegally instead of protecting the paychecks of the fine men and women who work to protect our homeland.

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25
Feb

Adoptable Georgia Dogs for February 25, 2015

Moose Augusta

Moose is a neutered Black Lab who is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Augusta Basset

This tan-and-white male Basset Hound is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

Brown Puppy

This little brown female puppy, described as a Chow mix (I’m skeptical) has been waiting for a new home for two weeks and is available for adoption from Augusta Animal Services in Augusta, GA.

 

 

 

25
Feb

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 25, 2015

The first prisoners of war were moved to Andersonville on February 25, 1864.

The United States Congress pass the Legal Tender Act on February 25, 1862, allowing the government to pay its bills with paper money it printed.

On February 25, 1870, Hiram Rhoades Revels (R-Missippi) was sworn in as the first African-American Congressman in history.

In 1867, the first Reconstruction Act was passed by a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress, dividing the South into five military districts and granting suffrage to all male citizens, regardless of race. A politically mobilized African American community joined with white allies in the Southern states to elect the Republican party to power, which in turn brought about radical changes across the South. By 1870, all the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the Union, and most were controlled by the Republican Party, thanks in large part to the support of African American voters.

On January 20, 1870, Hiram R. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature to fill the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy. On February 25, two days after Mississippi was granted representation in Congress for the first time since it seceded in 1861, Revels was sworn in.

On February 25, 1876, the first Georgia state law against abortion was passed.

On February 25, 1999, Johnny Isakson was sworn into Congress from the Sixth District, a seat vacated by the resignation of then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Under the Gold Dome Today

As of the time of this writing, the House and Senate plan to convene today at 10 AM for Legislative Day 22 and to convene on Thursday for LD 23.

Governor Deal has declared a state of emergency beginning at 2 PM today for 50 counties, including Fulton, where the State Capitol is located.

Gov. Nathan Deal this evening ordered state government offices in the affected areas to close at noon [today] and declared a state of emergency for disaster preparedness starting at 2 p.m.

This may affect legislative committee meetings scheduled today and we won’t attempt to prognosticate whether Session will be changed from tomorrow.

8:00am – 9:00am House Appropriations Committee – 341 cap
12:00pm – 1:00pm Senate Rules Upon Adjournment – 450 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Interstate Cooperation – 415 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm House Academic Innovations Sub of Education – 403 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Public Safety Committee – 310 clob
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Insurance & Labor Committee – 125 cap
1:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Education & Youth Committee – 307 clob
2:00pm – 2:30pm House Elections Sub of Govtal Affairs – 406 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Retirement Committee – 515 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm House Defense & Vets Affairs – 415 clob
2:00pm – 3:00pm Senate Finance Committee – mezz 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm House State Properties Committee – 403 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate State Institutions & Property – 125 cap
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Judiciary Non Civil – 307 clob
3:00pm – 4:00pm Senate Transportation Committee – 450 cap
3:00pm – 5:00pm House Fleming Sub of Judiciary Civil – 403 cap
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities – 310 clob
4:00pm – 5:00pm Senate State & Local Gov’tal Ops – Mezz 1

Senate Rules Calendar Unavailable

House Rules Calendar

Modified Structured Rule

HB 59 – State tort claims; waiver of sovereign immunity for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Willard-51st)

HB 85 – Alcoholic beverages; sale or furnishing to patients or inmates of Central State Hospital and sale or possession near or upon the grounds; change certain provisions (RegI-Harrell-106th)(AM# 36 0490)

HB 211 – Controlled substances; Schedule I, III, and IV; change certain provisions (JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)

HB 261 – Alcoholic beverages; sale during certain times on Sunday in commercial service airports owned or operated by a municipal governing authority; provide (Substitute)(RegI-Harrell-106th)

Carly Fiorina at Underground Atlanta

http://youtu.be/QZIMF6hhUeAContinue Reading..

24
Feb

Bill ending EV tax credits resurrected in House subcommittee | www.ajc.com

Legislation ending Georgia’s lucrative tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles was resurrected Tuesday in a House subcommittee under curious circumstances.

House Bill 122, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, was voted down in the same Ways and Means subcommittee last week. But when the panel convened again Tuesday, it was announced that HB 122 had only been “tabled” last time, which is legislative-ese for being postponed.

After the bill was un-tabled it quickly passed by unanimous voice vote. No Democrats were present.

via Bill ending EV tax credits resurrected in House subcommittee | www.ajc.com.

24
Feb

Former DeKalb commissioner’s husband pleads guilty | www.ajc.com

The chiropractor husband of former DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to orchestrating a scheme that defrauded taxpayers of more than $80,000.

John Boyer admitted to a mail fraud conspiracy charge, and a judge will sentence him May 6.

Prosecutors wrote in court documents that he devised the kickback plan that ended the political career of his wife. Elaine Boyer resigned in August and pleaded guilty to similar charges. She is scheduled to be sentenced March 20.

via Former DeKalb commissioner’s husband pleads guilty | www.ajc.com.

24
Feb

Fading Christie Is Giving Bush Stronger Grip on G.O.P.’s Center – NYTimes.com

Chris Christie’s presidential ambitions are in a lot of trouble. First he squandered his initial strength in national polls — he holds 6 to 7 percent of the vote among Republican contenders, down from about 20 percent before the scandal involving the closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Now a fairly broad set of reporting indicates that Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, is struggling to build support among the donors, officials and operatives necessary to win the nomination.

He probably couldn’t have won the nomination in any case — because of his moderate positions on immigration, gun control and Medicaid expansion — but he seemed poised to earn substantial support from many self-described moderate voters, along with many donors in the Republican establishment. The severity of his challenge is therefore quite important, because it puts Jeb Bush in position to consolidate the moderate wing of the G.O.P.

Mr. Bush’s emerging sway among moderates might not seem like a big deal in a Republican Party dominated by conservatives — with most candidates seeming eager to run as far to the right as possible. But moderates play a much bigger role in the G.O.P. primary process than they do in Washington, and it would take a very strong conservative to defeat a candidate with a big advantage among moderates.

via Fading Christie Is Giving Bush Stronger Grip on G.O.P.’s Center – NYTimes.com.

24
Feb

Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post

SNELLVILLE — After more than a decade on the force, Chris is hanging up his badge.

The Snellville mayor and city council on Monday night honored the retiring K-9 following a storied career of service, including more than 900 drug searches and 175 arrests.

According to a proclamation approved by the officials, a highlight in the Belgian Malinois’ time working with partner Sgt. David Matson was helping police find more than 900 pounds of marijuana and $115,000 in cash hidden beneath a false floor in an RV. That was after human officers almost missed the contraband.

via Snellville officials honor retiring police dog | Gwinnett Daily Post.