The blog.


State rep introduces legislation for official state dog of Georgia

State Representative Joe Wilkinson (R-Atlanta), along with officials from the Atlanta Humane Society,,, and Georgia English Bulldog Rescue, held a press conference on Wednesday, March 4, to discuss legislation that would designate the official state dog of Georgia. Rep. Wilkinson’s legislation, House Bill 561, was officially in the House on Thursday and names “the adoptable dog” as the official state dog of Georgia.

“Georgia was founded by James Oglethorpe and became a place where people could go for a second chance at life,” said Rep. Wilkinson. “So, it is fitting that we recognize the importance of giving homeless dogs a second chance at life in this state.”

via State rep introduces legislation for official state dog of Georgia.


The Marietta Daily Journal – US Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. and Liberian governments have just begun the first formal patient testing of an experimental Ebola virus treatment that’s only been used on an emergency basis.

The drug, ZMapp, contains three genetically engineered proteins designed to hone in on a target on the surface of the deadly virus to stop the disease’s progression. ZMapp, developed by San Diego-based Mapp Pharmaceuticals Inc., is “grown” in tobacco plants engineered to make large quantities of the virus-blocking proteins.

Adults, as well as children of any age, will be enrolled in the study if they are admitted to Ebola treatment units in Liberia or are health care workers returning to the U.S. for treatment after being infected while serving in West Africa. That’s happened to seven U.S. medical and aid workers.

In addition, adults and children who may have acquired Ebola in the United States from contact with an infected person will be enrolled. That has happened to only two people — the nurses who treated patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who had traveled from Africa and died at a Dallas hospital.

via The Marietta Daily Journal – US Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug.


Georgia’s unemployment rate drops to 6.4 percent |

ATLANTA — State labor officials say Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6.4 percent, its lowest level since July 2008.

via Georgia’s unemployment rate drops to 6.4 percent |


$134.5M contract awarded to begin Savannah harbor expansion |

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The federal government has awarded a $134.5 million contract to begin deepening the shipping channel to the Port of Savannah, meaning the long-sought harbor expansion can start as soon as the contractor gets its equipment in the water.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday the first dredging contract has gone to Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company. The Army Corps says it’s unclear how soon the company will be able to start the job.

via $134.5M contract awarded to begin Savannah harbor expansion |


Ethics cases against 2 commissioners dismissed |

The DeKalb County Board of Ethics unanimously dismissed complaints Tuesday against commissioners Kathie Gannon and Jeff Rader.

The board heard the results of preliminary investigations into the charges, then found there wasn’t probable cause to move forward with the cases.

Gannon had been accused of improperly using taxpayer money to hire an attorney to appeal a zoning decision. Her office also allegedly used government funds to buy gift cards.

The board’s investigator, attorney Robert Browning, said he found that Gannon’s spending was for county business. The complaint against Gannon came from Lithonia resident Monica Parrott, who didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting and wasn’t reachable by Browning.

via Ethics cases against 2 commissioners dismissed |


DeKalb Ethics Board member resigns after argument |

A member of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics resigned Thursday after telling a county employee to “come outside” to settle their differences.

Ethics Board member Robert Blackman stepped down because of a heated argument Tuesday with Bob Lundsten, the chief of staff for ex-Commissioner Elaine Boyer, during the board’s meeting.

The spat occurred when Blackman questioned Lundsten about his allegation that Board of Ethics Chairman John Ernst had failed to be impartial.

via DeKalb Ethics Board member resigns after argument |


Proposed cities race toward passage in Ga. House |

Three would-be Atlanta-area cities are closer to becoming reality this week after Georgia lawmakers pushed proposals through preliminary votes with little opposition.

Efforts to form cities of LaVista Hills, South Fulton and Tucker could come to a vote before the full state House of Representatives next week. If approved, the measures calling for November referendums on cityhood would be considered by the state Senate next.

In rapid-fire succession, the cityhood bills were introduced Monday, passed by a subcommittee Tuesday and authorized by the House Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The committee signed off on all three of the measures, which allow residents in the boundaries of the proposed cities to vote on cityhood, within 10 minutes.

via Proposed cities race toward passage in Ga. House |


DA to seek indictment against Peachtree City police chief |

The district attorney in Fayette County said Thursday that he will seek an indictment against Peachtree City police Chief William McCollom for the shooting of Margaret McCollom.

Margaret McCollom was reportedly left paralyzed by the incident, which the chief said occurred as the couple slept.

Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard said he intends to present the case to a Fayette County Grand Jury on April 15, and will seek an indictment of misdemeanor reckless conduct.

The GBI investigated the incident and turned the results of the investigation over to the district attorney.

via DA to seek indictment against Peachtree City police chief |


Adoptable Georgia Dogs for March 6, 2015

By order of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Dublin/Laurens County Humane Society must find placement for 125 dogs (down from an initial 200, but subject to more dogs being brought in) by March 23, 2015 or the dogs will be euthanized.

Using the hashtag “Savethe200″ on its Facebook page, the organization hopes families will adopt the dogs before they have to be put down.

Hoping to increase the chances of adoption, the shelter will now stay open on Monday – Thursday from 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m.


24418628 is a young male Black Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society.


A24578788 is a year-and-a-half old Hound mix female who is available for adoption from the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society. Look at how sweet she is.


24767414 is a 7-month old Black Lab mix male who is available for adoption from the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society.


24855601 is a sweet 4-year old male Redtick Coonhound mix who is available for adoption from the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society.


24813603 is a 5-month old Retriever mix female who is available for adoption from the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society.

This Saturday, March 17, 2015 in Dublin, a Pet Contest will be held to benefit the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society.


On Saturday, Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare is holding an “Empty the Shelter Adoption Day,” which includes “Pardons” for adoptable dogs, meaning their adoption fees will be reduced.

From the Macon Telegraph:

In partnership with national animal-rescue advocate Shane Smith and former Animal Control Officer Van VanDeWalker, all the animals currently in the shelter will be “pardoned” in hopes of having them adopted, and adoption fees will be reduced during the four-day event.

On Monday there were 46 [now 27] dogs and cats in the shelter at 1010 11th St., said Assistant County Manager Steve Layson.

The adoption special is tied to Animal Welfare’s impending move to a new building at 4214 Fulton Mill Road, Layson said. The department wants to reduce the number of animals that must be moved, but organizers also hope to build momentum that will continue through the new Animal Welfare Center’s opening, he said.

The long-awaited move should begin next week, and the new center is expected to be open Feb. 16, though the current shelter also will stay open as employees and animals settle in, Layson said.

“We’ll have to run a parallel operation to the one we have now,” he said.

I’m told that even if you’re not planning to adopt this weekend, you’re welcome to come meet the animals.


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 6, 2015

On March 6, 1857, the United States Supreme Court published its opinion in Sanford v. Dred Scott.

the Court held that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court,and that the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. Dred Scott, an African American slave who had been taken by his owners to free states and territories, attempted to sue for his freedom. In a 7–2 decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, the Court denied Scott’s request and in doing so, ruled an Act of Congress in this case—the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north—to be unconstitutional for the second time in its history.

The decision would prove to be an indirect catalyst for the American Civil War and was functionally superseded by the post-war Reconstruction Amendments. It is now widely regarded as the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

One member of the Court that decided Dred Scott was Associate Justice James M Wayne, who was born in Savannah and served in Congress from Georgia from 1829 to 1835.

On March 7, 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention reconvened in Savannah to adopt a new state Constitution. A resolution offering to host the Confederate Capitol did not pass.

On March 7, 1965, a group of marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr., met Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick… I thought I saw death.”

—John Lewis, SNCC leader

As a student of Southern politics at Emory, we were immersed in reading about the Civil Rights Movement and its effect on Southern politics, and American politics. But it was not until years later that I saw the PBS series called “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1956-1985.” It’s chilling to see American citizens turned away by armed police from attempts to register to vote.

That’s John Lewis, now the United States Congressman from the Fifth District in the front row wearing a light-colored overcoat and backpack.

Earlier this year, Patrick Saunders of the GaVoice asked Lewis what was in his backpack that day.

What was in the backpack?

I remember very well. As a matter of fact I went to the Army surplus store and bought this backpack. I really thought we were going to be successful walking all the way from Selma to Montgomery. And somehow, someway I thought maybe we would be arrested and we would go to jail, so while in jail I wanted to have something to read. I had two books in the backpack. I wanted to have something to eat—I had one apple and one orange. One apple and one orange wouldn’t last that long. Being in jail, you know I had been arrested and been to jail before, the sad thing about being in jail for two or three days, you need to brush your teeth. So there was toothpaste and a toothbrush in there.

I don’t know what happened to that backpack, I don’t know what happened to the two books. I don’t know what happened to the trench coat. One of the books was by a professor of political science at Harvard and the other book was by Thomas Merton, the monk. I just wished I had them. The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress are always asking me what happened to them and I tell them I really don’t know.

Under the Gold Dome Today

8:30am – 9:30am Senate Appropriations Education – 310 clob
9:00am – 10:00am Senate Appropriatons Econ. Dev. – mezz 1
10:00am – 11:00am House Jacobs Sub of Judiciary Civil – 132 cap- Cancelled
10:00am – 11:00am Senate Appropriations Nat’l Resources – 450 cap
12:00pm – 2:00pm Senate Insurance & Labor – mezz 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm House MARTA Oversight Committee – 406 clob

Georgia Transportation Tax Bill Passes State House

House Bill 170, the Transportation Finance Act of 2015 passed the State House of Representatives yesterday by a 123-46 vote with four members present but not voting and seven members absent. Click here to see how your State Representative voted.Continue Reading..