The blog.

14
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 14, 2017

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879.

S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, was born on March 14, 1921.

Elvis Presley played the Fox Theater in Atlanta on March 21, 1956.

The largest traffic accident in Georgia history occurred on March 14, 2001 on I-75 in Catoosa County, involving 125 cars, injuring 39 people and killing 5.

Happy Birthday to Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Groves has been honored with a memorial at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 33

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION (LD 33) CHAMBER

12:00 PM House Reeves Sub Jud’y Non-Civil 515 CLOB

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJ’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 406 CLOB

1:00 PM House Ed Sub Early Learning & K-12 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE MOTOR VEHICLES 403 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Ad Val Tax Sub 123 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE ECONOMIC DEV & TOURISM 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HS 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE HEALTH & HS 606 CLOB

2:00 PM House Setzler Sub 515 CLOB

2:00 PM House Kelley Sub Jud;y Civil 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE GAME, FISH AND PARKS 403 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Sales Tax Sub MEZZ 1

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE ENGERGY, UTILITIES, AND TELECOM 403 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE STATE PROPERTIES 406 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB


SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 58 – Motor vehicles; reference date to federal regulations regarding the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and carriers; update (PUB SAF-7th) Rogers-10th

HB 86 – Domestic relations; definition of sexual abuse; expand (JUDY-45th) Oliver-82nd

HB 157 – Medical advertising; certain certifying organizations; revise certain criteria (H&HS-45th) Kelley-16th

HB 174 – Insurance; insurer’s medium of payment of policy or contractual obligations; expand (I&L-14th) Lumsden-12th

HB 265 – Income tax; credit for establishing or relocating quality jobs; revise provisions (Substitute) (FIN-49th) Efstration-104th

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
SB 96 – Health; pronouncement of death by registered professional nurses; nursing homes and hospice care; authorize; county medical examiner’s duties after notice of suspicious death; make a conforming change
(H&HS-Cooper-43rd) Watson-1st

Modified Structured Rule
SR 95 – Sales and Use Tax; net proceeds; educational purposes; county school system; independent school systems; provide for distribution-CA (W&M-Nix-69th) Black-8th (AM 28 1573)


Erratum: yesterday, I referred to John Watson as “Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party,” when I meant to type “Candidate for Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party.” It was a mistake caused, I think, by Daylight Savings Time, also known as “the Devil’s Stupid Time,” not some clever subliminal ploy.

The Fiscal Year 2018 budget nears completion, according to the AJC.

The Georgia Senate is expected this week to back a record state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes pay raises for 200,000 teachers and state employees and more than $1 billion worth of new construction projects.

The plan also includes $485,000 so Senate committee meetings can be streamed over the internet. Currently, House meetings are streamed, but the Senate has in the past resisted making its meetings accessible to people who can’t attend live.

The Senate’s $25 billion spending plan for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1, follows much of what Gov. Nathan Deal proposed and the House has already approved. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the chamber’s plan Monday.

The total spending plan tops $49 billion when federal and other funds are included. Officials say, however, that when inflation and population growth are added to the equation, the state is spending about what it was at the end of the 1990s.

The Georgia State House passed Senate Bill 85 to allow beer brewers and liquor distillers to sell directly to consumers.

The Georgia House voted 147-41 on Monday to adopt an amended version of Senate Bill 85, which will provide for distillers and brewers in the state to sell a set amount of barrels of their products directly to the public each year. The state Senate passed its version of the legislation in a 49-2 vote on Feb. 2.

Because the legislation was amended to add in the language for distilleries, the bill needs to be agreed upon by the state Senate before it heads to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. If the governor signs the legislation, it would go into effect Sept. 1.

“This will finally put us on a level playing field with our surrounding states,” said Carly Wiggins, marketing and sales director for Savannah’s Southbound Brewing Co. and sitting president and membership chair of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild. “The ability to sell beer directly to the consumer will allow for breweries to bring in the additional cash flow needed for expanding and, frankly, just surviving.”

Once the law takes effect, Chris Haborak, co-owner of Savannah’s Coastal Empire Beer Co., said he expects to be able to quickly expand his operation.

“It’s fantastic news for us, and we’re very excited about it,” Haborak said Monday. “It’s going to allow us to hire more people immediately when this goes into effect. It will allow us to hire more sales people and just on down the supply chain. You’ll see tremendous growth, and you’re going to see a lot of new breweries open up in Georgia now.”

Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) discussed Senate Resolution 192, which would allow local school districts to elect their superintendents.

The Georgia Senate has already passed the resolution, which allows local school districts to choose if they want to elect a superintendent and have a school board appointed by a grand jury.

Local school superintendents are currently hired by elected school board members.

The House has to approve the resolution with two-thirds support, and Georgia voters would have to approve the constitutional amendment on the November 2018 election, said state Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, who wrote the resolution.

Then, local legislative delegations would decide whether to put the resolution before voters on a local ballot, which would then require at least 50 percent voter approval, said Tippins.

If a district does choose to elect a superintendent, Tippins said the superintendent candidates would have to meet election residency requirements in order to qualify for the race. That means candidates for superintendent would be limited to those who live in a particular school system.

State Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth) introduced House Resolution 565 urging the Gwinnett County Commission to hold a 2018 referendum on transit.

“The other day, I went to the Capitol and it took me an hour and 20 minutes to get from Indian Trail to the Capitol,” Marin said. “That’s nonsense and that’s on a good day … There are a couple of things that people are talking about. One is more diversity and more representation on the county commission, and the other is rapid transit.”

The filing of the resolution comes on the heels of county commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash announcing during her State of the County Address last month that a Comprehensive Transit Plan study would begin soon. She also said a referendum would happen, although she didn’t specify when.

Gwinnett County Transit is working with Google to develop a trip planning tool for transit options in the county.

New Augusta Judicial Circuit district attorney Natalie Paine was sworn in yesterday.

Paine, 34, replaced former District Attorney Ashley Wright, who was selected by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as a Richmond County Superior Court judge. Paine will have to run for election in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties in 2018.

The City of Lula is considering installing electric locks on public restroom doors.

Residents of Lula are crowing about chickens in residential areas.

With handfuls of calls coming in the last week, Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin spoke to one homeowner who said he was fed up with chickens in his neighborhood.

“He’s had it,” Bergin said. “He said the rooster wakes him up every dadgum morning.”

The City of Powder Springs will hold a Town Hall for citizen input on the municipal budget. The meeting will be at the Ford Center Reception Hall, 4181 Atlanta Street, Powder Springs, GA30127 from 7-9 PM.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Nongame Conservation Section surveyed Bald Eagle nests in Chatham County with strong results.

Former National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director (and former Georgian) Rob Simms assessed Democrat Jon Ossoff’s chances in the 6th Congressional District Special Election next month.

“It’s a possibility,” said Rob Simms, former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who’s now working for Handel. “How likely? I don’t know,” he added.

2018 Elections

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is gearing up for a run for Governor in 2018, according to the AJC Political Insider.

It’s unclear when Kemp will formally announce. He declined comment on Monday, though he’s been dropping hints for months that he’ll run and has been lining up staffers and donors.

“I am uniquely positioned to understand the challenges you face when it comes to running your business and, most importantly, having to deal with government red tape,” he said in recent remarks to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “There are too few business-minded people in office, and you can see how that impacts our government.”

State Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Gwinnett) followed up saying he’ll run for Secretary of State if the seat is open in 2018.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I’ve had great feedback. Assuming these reports are true and Kemp runs for governor, I’m going to run for Secretary of State,” said Brockway.

“I’ve worked on election law since I took office, and we need to make sure our elections run smoothly and everyone who wants to vote can vote.”

13
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 13, 2017

2017 Boots Barks Barbecue

Canine Pet Rescue will hold its annual Bikes, Barks, and BBQ Fundraiser on May 20, 2017 from 8 AM to 2:30 PM.

Click here for details and tickets.

Canine Pet Rescue - Layla

Layla is a 6-month old, 6-pound Chihuahua mix female who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

Layla loves other dogs – she lives with 2 very large German Shepherds as well as several small dogs. She enjoys running and playing, and has no fear! Her favorite place to sleep is next to you, under the covers, But she also does well in her crate. Due to her past abuse, she will be adopted to an adult only home.

Lenya1

Lenya is a 16-week old German Shepherd puppy who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

Lenya is the bravest, cutest little girl!  She has a strong drive and loves to play hard, so she’ll need an active owner and an adopter with previous German shepherd experience, particularly one who has experience with a dominant, high-drive female. Lenya will do fine with another large male dog, but no cats, no children under the age of 16 and no small dogs…no exceptions.

PierreCPR

Pierre is a 1.5 year-old, 12-pound male Boston Terrier who is available for adoption from Canine Pet Rescue in Dacula, GA.

My name is Pierre. My person died and now no one wants me. My person’s family wants to take me to a place called Animal Control. My person always called me her baby… so I’m not quite sure why I would go to an animal place? I’m a little boy Boston Terrier, kinda timid, I’m only 1 1/2 years old and about 12 lbs. I’m already neutered. I like other doggies. Can you help me find a new place to live so I don’t have to go to that Animal place ?

13
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 13, 2017

On March 3, 1736, the Spanish Governor of Florida complained to Georgia’s James Oglethorpe about English settlements and forts in areas claimed by Spain.

On March 13, 1868, the first impeachment trial of a United States President began in the Senate. President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House for allegations based on his Reconstruction policies that allegedly violated federal law.

Sworn in as president after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, President Johnson enacted a lenient Reconstruction policy for the defeated South, including almost total amnesty to ex-Confederates, a program of rapid restoration of U.S.-state status for the seceded states, and the approval of new, local Southern governments, which were able to legislate “black codes” that preserved the system of slavery in all but name. The Republican-dominated Congress greatly opposed Johnson’s Reconstruction program and passed the “Radical Reconstruction” by repeatedly overriding the president’s vetoes. Under the Radical Reconstruction, local Southern governments gave way to federal military rule, and African-American men in the South were granted the constitutional right to vote.

In March 1867, in order further to weaken Johnson’s authority, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act over his veto. The act prohibited the president from removing federal office holders, including Cabinet members, who had been confirmed by the Senate, without the consent of the Senate.

On March 13, 1957, Governor Marvin Griffin signed a joint resolution by the Georgia General Assembly purporting to impeach United State Chief Justice Earl Warren and associate justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Thomas Clark, Felix Frankfurter, and Stanley Reed, and calling on Congress to impeach the Justices.

On this date in 1992, 25 years ago, “My Cousin Vinny” was released.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETING SCHEDULE

8:00 AM SENATE APPROPS 341 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION (LD 32) CHAMBER

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJ’T 450 CAP

12:30 PM House Fleming Sub Jud’y Civil 132 CAP

1:00 PM STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS MEZZ 1

1:00 PM SENATE HIGHER ED 307 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY 606 CLOB

1:00 PM House Education Sub Administration & Planning 403 CAP

1:30 PM House Kelley Sub Jud’y Civil 132 CAP

2:00 PM EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

2:00 PM House Education Sub Education Innov & Workforce Dev 403 CAP

3:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS 415 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE INDUSTRY AND LABOR 506 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE RETIREMENT 310 CLOB

3:00 PM GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT 125 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE ETHICS 450 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE VETERANS, MIL & HOMELAND SEC MEZZ 1

4:00 PM SENATE SPECIAL JUD’Y 125 CAP


SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 41 – Architects; allow certain students to take examination; change qualifications (RI&U-27th) Harrell-106th

HB 260 – Special license plates; Georgia Electric Membership Corporation; establish (RI&U-51st) Powell-32nd

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Structured Rule

SB 85 – Malt Beverages; provide for limited sale at retail by manufacturers (Substitute)(RegI-Maxwell-17th) Jeffares-17th


 

House Bill 238 by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin) would allow landowners to install solar panels on land dedicated via conservation easement without paying a penalty for developing the land.Continue Reading..

10
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 10, 2017

Kini

Kini is a young female Labrador Retriever and Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Life is Labs Rescue in Temple, GA. Kini and her siblings, including her brother Koa, were found abandoned outside of an office building.

Remy

Remy is an adult male English Bulldog who is available for adoption from Life is Labs Rescue in Temple, GA.

My name is Remy and I am an English Bulldog. I am crate trained and I have been through the iWag training program. I love to chew on my toys and lay around on fluffy dog beds. I am up to date on everything, heartworm negative and already neutered. I love to have my back scratched and be petted. I would do best in an adult only home with no children. I would be a great companion for someone who just wants to hang out be with me. I am your typical English Bulldog. Those familiar with my breed will understand my personality and temperament. If you are interested in adopting me, please visit www.iwag.org to fill out an adoption application.

Kirk and Spock

Kirk and Spock are young Hound (and Lab?) mix puppies who are available for adoption from Life is Labs Rescue in Temple, GA. These two were found abandoned on the side of the road in Alabama.

Two therapy dogs from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Canine Assistants were welcomed to the State Capitol yesterday under Senate Resolution 387.

Sophie Bella 3d Floor

Sophie and Bella Sophie Todd Rehm Sophie Rostrum CHOA stuffed animal

Sophie (Golden Doodle) and Bella (Golden Retriever) also visited Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Sophie Bella Brian Kemp Tweet

10
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 10, 2017

On March 10, 1734, a group of German immigrants reached the mouth of the Savannah River, from where they would proceed on to Savannah. Today, the Georgia Salzburgers Society works to preserve the Salzburger heritage and traditions in Georgia.

On March 12, 1739, James Oglethorpe, recognized as the Founder of Georgia, wrote the Georgia Trustees, urging them to continue the ban on slavery in the new colony.

On March 11, 1779, Congress created the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

On March 11, 1861, the Confederate Congress, assembled in Montgomery, Alabama, adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Today the original signed manuscript of the Confederate Constitution is in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries.

On March 10, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed legislation allowing women to have bank accounts separate from their husbands as long as the balance was less than $2000; an earlier act set the limit at $1000.

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first speech over his new invention, the telephone.

Juliette Gordon Low held the first meeting of the Girl Guides, which would later be renamed the Girl Scouts, in her home in Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912.

Thomas B. Murphy was born on March 10, 1924 in Bremen, Georgia and would first be elected to office in the 1950s, winning a seat on the Bremen Board of Education. In 1960, Murphy ran for the State House facing no opposition and was sworn in in 1961. In 1973, he became Speaker Murphy and would hold the post until Bill Heath, a Republican, beat him in the November 2002 General Election.

Murphy held the top House seat for longer than anyone in any American state legislature. He died on December 17, 2007.

On March 11, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur obeyed the President’s order dated February 20, 1942, and left the Philippines.

Clarence Thomas, originally from Pin Point, Georgia, was sworn in to the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on March 12, 1990.

On March 11, 2005, Brian Nichols shot and killed Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes and court reporter Julie Brandau in the Fulton County Courthouse, leading to a lockdown of the state capitol and a number of nearby buildings. Nichols killed two more before taking a young woman hostage in Duluth; that woman, Ashley Smith, would talk Nichols into surrendering the next day. Nichols was eventually convicted for four murders and is serving consecutive life sentences.

R.E.M. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, 2007.

Happy Birthday on Saturday to former Governor Roy Barnes, who served from 1999-2003, and lost to Republican Sonny Perdue in 2002, and to current Governor Nathan Deal in 2010.

The last existing copy of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America will be displayed today in Athens, Georgia.

On Friday, the University of Georgia will offer the once-a-year opportunity to see the only remaining copy of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, in the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library at 300 Hull Street.

Because the document, which is more than 150 years old, is so fragile, it’s only on display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. The Confederate Constitution, which will be under a glass case, is a little more than 12 feet long when the animal skin it’s printed on is fully unfurled.

The handwritten document was one of two recovered by a journalist in 1865, according the library’s records. UGA purchased its copy from the DeRenne family in 1939.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 31

8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Tax Reform Sub 123 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

9:30 AM HOUSE FLOOR SESSION (LD 31) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJ’T 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE GA HEALTH CARE REFORM TASK FORCE 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION & YOUTH 307 CLOB

2:30 PM House Small Business Dev Clark’s Sub 403 CAP


SENATE RULES COMMITTEE

HB 183 – Community Affairs, Department of; Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council; recreate (NR&E-28th) Dickey-140th

HB 264 – Georgia World Congress Center Authority; revenue bond capacity; increase (FIN-9th) Efstration-104th

HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE

Modified Open Rule
HR 389 – House Rural Development Council; create (ED&T-Watson-172nd)

Modified Structured Rule
SB 102 – Emergency Medical Services; emergency cardiac care centers; designation; Office of Cardiac Care within Department of Public Health; establishment (H&HS-Hawkins-27th) Miller-49th


Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler released the latest jobs numbers yesterday.

https://youtu.be/9Y7OPIo5bjAContinue Reading..

9
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 9, 2017

Lightening PCAR

Lightening is a young female Rottweiler mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Malley PCAR

Malley is a female Dachshund mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

Austin PCAR

Austin is a young male German Shepherd mix who is available for adoption from Peach County Animal Rescue in Fort Valley, GA.

He is extremely shy and would do best in a home with other dogs. He has been with a professional trainer and knows commands and does very well on the leash for a young age. He needs to be with a family who understands and embraces his shyness and can continue to work with him.

Columbus City Council will vote next week on a tethering law for dog owners.

Canton City Council is considering a ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats within the municipality.

9
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 9, 2017

On March 9, 1862, CSS Virginia and USS Monitor, a Union ironclad, fought to a draw in the Chesapeake Bay.

On March 9, 1866, Governor Charles Jones Jenkins signed two pieces of legislation dealing with African-Americans, one recognized their marriages, the other legitimized children born to African-American couples prior to the act and required parents to maintain their children in the same way white were required.

Bobby Fischer, the Eleventh World Champion of Chess, was born on March 9, 1943 and is considered by many the greatest player of all time.

Governor Ellis Arnall signed two important pieces of legislation on March 9, 1945. The first created the Georgia Ports Authority, with its first project being the expansion of the Port of Savannah. The second authorized the placement of a referendum to adopt a new state Constitution (in the form of a single Amendment to the Constitution of 1877) on the ballot in a Special Election to be held August 7, 1945.

On March 9, 1970, Governor Lester Maddox signed legislation setting the Georgia minimum wage at $1.25 per hour.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The latest entry in the Sixth Congressional District air war: Republican Judson Hill.


COMMITTEE MEETINGS – LEGISLATIVE DAY 30

8:00 AM HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT 606 CLOB

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

10:00 AM HOUSE SESSION(LD 30) HOUSE CHAMBER

12:30 PM SENATE RULES – UPON ADJOURNMENT 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE REGULATED INDUSTRIES & UTILITIES – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY 307 CLOB

1:00 PM MILITARY AFFAIRS WORK GRP 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE BANKS AND BANKING 406 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Income Tax Sub 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE SCIENCE & TECH 310 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE HEALTH & HS 450 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE JUD’Y CIVIL 132 CAP

2:00 PM HOUSE TRANSPORTATION 506 CLOB

2:00 PM House Life & Health Sub of Insurance 406 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE EDUCATION – CANCELED 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE TRANSPORTATION 310 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE 310 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y 307 CLOB


SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 146 – Fire departments; purchase and maintain certain insurance coverage for firefighters; require (Substitute) (SLGO(G)-56th) Gravley-67th

HB 283 – Revenue and taxation; Internal Revenue Code and Internal Revenue Code of 1986; revise definitions (FIN-27th) Knight-130th

SR 195 – US Congress; call a convention; set a limit on number of terms; US House of Representatives and US Senate; request (RULES-52nd)

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

HR 170 – State agencies; work toward increasing research, clinical care, and medical education for myalgic encephalomyelitis; urge (H&HS-Cooper-43rd)

HR 281 – Water trails in Georgia; proliferation and use; recognize and encourage (NR&E-Frye-118th)

HR 361 – United States Congress; enactment of a Regulation Freedom Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; encourage (EU&T-Parsons-44th)

SB 69 – Packaging, Labeling and Registration of Organic Products and Certifying Entities; registration requirement; eliminate (A&CA-Williams-119th) Wilkinson-50th

SB 78 – Adulteration and Misbranding of Food; Commissioner of Agriculture to issue a variance to certain rules and regulations; authorize (A&CA-LaRiccia-169th) Anderson-24th


Governor Nathan Deal earlier this week released February revenue numbers.

Georgia’s net tax collections for February totaled approximately $1.17 billion, for a decrease of $70 million, or -5.6 percent, compared to February 2016. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $14.23 billion, for an increase of $498.4 million, or 3.6 percent, over last year, when net tax revenues totaled $13.73 billion.

The net decrease in individual income tax revenue as compared to February 2016 is largely due to the increase in refunds already released this year.

Speaker David Ralston took questions at the Atlanta Press Club yesterday, including about healthcare and rural Georgia.

“I am concerned that there is the potential in the [GOP federal healthcare] proposal to hurt those states that chose to exercise what I think is the prudent route of not expanding Medicaid,” Ralston told the Atlanta Press Club. “I’m a little concerned by that, but I don’t have enough details yet to address that specific question.”

Changes to federal health care policy could have major implications for Georgia.

“From a budget standpoint, we’ll be keeping a very close eye” on Congress, Ralston said.

“This fact is inescapable,” he said. “Rural Georgia has not seen the positive results of growth and faces challenges, very real challenges, to its future. We have talked about this for too long. It is time now to make a priority of rural economic development in Georgia.”

The House Rural Development Council will travel across the state to “give this the attention it deserves and needs.”

Ralston would not answer whether he’s considering a run for Governor in 2018.

The speaker on Wednesday, however, said he does not believe it appropriate to discuss such  matters while the 40-day legislative session is ongoing.

“Over the coming months, Georgians are going to start thinking about, talking about, what they’re looking for in the next governor,” he said. “I think they’ll be looking for someone who has a vision, such as a Zell Miller with the HOPE scholarship or Nathan Deal with economic development and criminal justice reform.”

As speaker, Ralston said, “sometimes though you bruise a few egos. and i get that. I get that the last speaker that went to the governor office was 85 years ago. And I think there’s some reason for that, probably.”

Andy Miller of Georgia Health News looks at potential Georgia effects of the GOP healthcare plan.

A spokeswoman Tuesday said Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, is reviewing the GOP congressional plan “and engaging with federal and state officials to assess its impact on Georgia.”

Tom Price, a Georgia physician and former congressman who is the new secretary of Health and Human Services, told reporters that the intent of the Republican plan is to contain the cost of premiums, spark insurance competition and offer “patient-centered” solutions.

The legislation would preserve two of the most popular features of the 2010 health care law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with pre-existing health conditions.

People who let their insurance coverage lapse, though, would face a significant penalty. Insurers could increase their premiums by 30 percent.

Under the GOP plan, states would receive a set amount from the federal government for each person eligible for the program, under a “block grant.”

“With less federal money, costs would shift to the state,” Harker said. “As a result, Georgia would have to raise new revenue or have to make cuts to eligibility, benefits or reimbursement rates.

The new plan includes money for the states, such as Georgia, that have not expanded their Medicaid programs. It would provide $10 billion over 5 years to these “non-expansion” states for safety-net funding.

It’s unclear whether Georgia would be better off financially by accepting the safety-net money or by going through with expansion, which would remain an option for the time being.

Miller separately looked at health legislation that passed the General Assembly ahead of Crossover Day.

The surest bet on health-related legislation this year has already happened. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the hospital “provider fee,’’ a mechanism that draws an extra $600 million in federal funding for the state’s Medicaid program. And Gov. Nathan Deal has already signed the measure, a priority of his, into law.

Among the surprises early on was a quick compromise on the proposal to allow dental hygienists to practice in safety-net settings, school clinics and nursing homes without a dentist being present. The deal on House Bill 154, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, a Marietta Republican, avoided the conflict that erupted in last year’s General Assembly.

When it came to surprises, the problem of “surprise” medical billing got intense interest under the Gold Dome this year.

A Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, passed that chamber, while a House version, which takes a different approach to the problem, failed to make it through.

A major bill to fight Georgia’s opioid epidemic passed the Senate. It would codify Gov. Deal’s executive order allowing the sale of naloxone, an antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription, and would more closely track the prescribing of opioid medications.

And a second proposal, also approved by the Senate, would put more state oversight on the opioid treatment centers that have proliferated, especially in North Georgia. The centers offer medical-assisted treatment and counseling to help treat patients with addictions to heroin and other opioids.

Hancock County agreed to restore voters stricken from the rolls as part of settling a lawsuit.

Election officials in Georgia’s sparsely populated, overwhelmingly black Hancock County agreed Wednesday to restore voting rights to dozens of African-American registered voters they disenfranchised ahead of a racially divided local election.

About three-quarters of the people they removed from the voting rolls – nearly all of them black – still live in the voting district and will be restored to the county’s registered voter list under the settlement.

“We want to make sure that a purge program like the one that played out in the fall of 2015 never happens again,” said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which sued the county in federal court.

The lawsuit said board members and people close to them challenged the status of 187 people as a slate of white candidates sought to unseat black incumbents in Sparta, the county seat. It said the board deemed ineligible more than 5 percent of the city’s 988 registered voters, and “nearly all of those voters” are black.

The settlement lays out a process for handling voter registration challenges. Hancock County officials admit no wrongdoing, but do acknowledge “the supremacy of federal law where it conflicts with state law.” It broadly prohibits local election officials from denying “equal opportunity” to vote based on race, and requires “clear and convincing evidence” before ruling a voter ineligible.

The Savannah International Trade and Convention Center Board voted to support legislation converting it into a state authority.

House Bill 125 by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) would offer a sales tax break on repairs to high-end boats in order to attempt to create a yacht-retrofit industry in the state.

“Georgia is poised to become a significant force in the yacht repair and refit industry currently dominated by Florida,” said Rob Demere, president and CEO of the Colonial Group Inc., a multigenerational Savannah business that has grown to be one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.

“We have a facility — Savannah Yacht Center — that’s second to none on the East Coast,” he said. “Coupled with Savannah’s charm as a destination, it should be a slam-dunk.

“But we can’t attract any of this lucrative business unless we level the regulatory playing field with Florida, which limits sales tax to the first $1 million of a refit or repair, effectively capping it at $60,000.”

House Bill 125 specifies that a boat owner would get a sales tax break on parts, engines and other equipment for a refit or repair, but only after the first $500,000 is spent.

Sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, it passed the House with no problem and now goes to the full Senate, where it is sponsored by Sen. Ben Watson.

8
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 8, 2017

Wilbur MOAS

Wilbur is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Liam

Liam is an adult male Treeing Walker Coonhound or Foxhound who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

Tucker

Tucker is an adult male Labrador Retriever who is available for adoption from Madison Oglethorpe Animal Shelter in Danielsville, GA.

8
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 8, 2017

March 8, 1862 saw the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads, VA, take ninety-eight hits from Union warships without sinking. Virginia sank USS Cumberland after ramming it, blew up USS Congress, and ran USS Minnesota aground. It was the worst day in US Naval history at that time.

On March 8, 1946, a conference convened on Wilmington Island, near Savannah, that would lead to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, commonly called the World Bank.

On March 8, 1946, a special train arrived at Savannah’s Union Station from Washington, holding nearly 300 delegates, government officials, technical experts and reporters from 35 nations. Thousands of Savannahians watched as a 100-car motorcade rolled along flag-bedecked streets to the General Oglethorpe Hotel on Wilmington Island.

Treasury Secretary Fred M. Vinson headed the American delegation; the British were led by John Maynard Keynes, “the father of modern macroeconomics.”

The stakes were enormous.

Two years earlier, as World War II neared its murderous end, the winning Allies pondered the nature of the postwar global economy. The United States was emerging as the leader of the free world, largely supplanting the British Empire, gravely weakened by the war.

The IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (better known as the World Bank) were born at a July 1944 conference in Bretton Woods, N.H., where 44 countries established rules for the global monetary system.

The IMF was intended to promote international economic cooperation and secure global financial stability, providing countries with short-term loans. The World Bank would offer long-term loans to assist developing countries in building dams, roads and other physical capital.

The Bretton Woods agreements were ratified internationally by December 1945. Vinson, seeking a site for the new organizations’ inaugural meetings, sent Treasury agents around the country. “They made some fine reports on Savannah,” he later told the Morning News. He had never visited the city.

On March 8, 1982, President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “an evil empire” for the second time, in an address to the National Association of Evangelicals.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

The newest ad in the Sixth Congressional District comes from Republican Bob Gray.

End Citizens United, a liberal national organization, said it raised $250k to support Democrat John Ossoff in the 6th District.

End Citizens United (ECU) announced that 25,000 donors have given an average contribution of $10 to Ossoff’s campaign.

Ossoff is one of 18 candidates seeking to replace Tom Price, now the secretary of the U.S. Department of health and Human Services, running in a special election to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

“The corporate special interests and Washington insiders who believe this seat belongs to them are having a rude awakening,” said ECU Executive Director Tiffany Muller. “They’re panicked because Georgia families want to end the rigged system in Washington and the grassroots are mobilizing to elect a reformer.”

“ECU’s members will continue to stand with Ossoff to help him fend off the corporate spending that’s already flooding into the race to attack him.”

Last week, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Washington superPAC, launched a $1.1 million ad buy attacking Ossoff.

The election is quickly becoming a proxy battle among moneyed Washington, DC interests, in which the interests of 6th District voters are subsumed.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

8:00 AM HOUSE INSURANCE 606 CLOB

9:30 AM HOUSE ECON DEV & TOURISM Madision County, GA

9:30 AM House Setzler Sub Jud’y Non Civil 132 CAP

10:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Sales Tax Sub 122 CAP

10:00 AM House Sub 2A of Public Safety 406 CLOB

10:00 AM HOUSE JUVENILE JUSTICE 506 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE & LABOR – CANCELED 310 CLOB

1:00 PM SENATE NAT’L RESOURCES & ENV’T – CANCELED 450 CAP

1:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL OVERSIGHT 506 CLOB

1:55 PM SENATE FINANCE – Public Policy & Finance Sub 125 CAP

2:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 125 CAP

2:00 PM House Regulations Sub Regulated Ind 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS 606 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE BANKING – CANCELED 310 CLOB

3:00 PM SENATE SLGO – CANCELED MEZZ 1

3:00 PM HOUSE SPECIAL RULES 515 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER ED – CANCELLED 403 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUD’Y – Sub B 307 CLOB

The Most Interesting Committee Meeting today will be the House Economic Development & Tourism Committee, which will be taking a guided tour of Madison County, Georgia, departing the State Capitol at 9:30 AM.

The Most Interesting Committee Meeting title for yesterday goes to the House Health and Human Services Committee, which heard testimony on House Resolution 447 by Rep. Paulette Rakestraw (R-Hiram).

Governor Nathan Deal is in talks with Campus Carry proponents over legislation that passed the State House.

The Republican said this week that he is meeting with supporters on the legislation, House Bill 280, though he did not elaborate on what he said were his ongoing “concerns” with the measure.

“We’re receptive to continuing to talk with them, and hopefully they’re receptive to making some additional changes,” he said. “Perhaps. But whether they do or don’t, that’s their decision.”

“I do anticipate the Senate will take up the measure,” [Lt. Governor Casey] Cagle said, adding that he was mindful of Deal’s veto last year. “I look forward to working with the governor’s office to see if there’s a compromise there.”

“It’s the God-given right that people have to not be a victim in the state of Georgia,” said Ballinger, a Canton Republican who described herself as a victims’ advocate. “States that have enacted campus carry measures have become safer. And we just want to afford that protection to all Georgians.”

Speaker David Ralston is looking for creative solutions to issues for rural Georgia.

“I want this council to look at the big picture and recommend legislative actions that can empower our rural areas,” said House Speaker David Ralston, explaining House Resolution 389 to a House committee on Tuesday.

The legislation would create the House Rural Development Council, a group of 15 lawmakers to be appointed by Ralston.

“We lost a hospital in Ellijay just last spring, one of several rural hospitals to close in Georgia in recent years,” Ralston said. “However, this Friday afternoon I’m going back home to reopen a new emergency room facility as part of a new ‘micro hospital’ with fewer than 10 patent beds in that town. This is the kind of creative approach to addressing issues in rural Georgia that I want this council to explore.”

Problems in rural communities can include population loss, lack of doctors or hospitals, poor infrastructure, slow or nonexistent internet connections, less educational opportunity, job scarcity and overall lack of growth. Ralston brought to the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee a study from Georgia State University that shows most rural counties had fewer jobs in 2014 than in 2007.

“I am not interested in government creating jobs,” said Ralston. “Rather, I want to create an environment in which private enterprise can create jobs in rural Georgia.”

State School Superintendent Richard Woods says that school turnarounds proposed under House Bill 338 should be under his guidance.

Georgia’s elected school superintendent argues that he should be in the middle of any major school turnaround effort as lawmakers consider a bill that focuses on struggling schools.

House Bill 338 by Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville …. creates the position of “Chief Turnaround Officer,” overseeing state intervention in the lowest-performing schools.

Tanner chose to have the officer report to the state Board of Education, which is appointed by the governor, rather than to the state superintendent, who is elected. Asked why at a hearing of the Senate Education and Youth Committee Monday, Tanner said it’s because the board sets policy for the state Department of Education.

“So the real power base is with that state board,” he said.

But the superintendent is in charge of the education department and its staff of roughly 600. They have deep experience and direct access to funding. Richard Woods, the superintendent, said the turnaround chief would be better off reporting to him.

“Having this individual fully incorporated with the structure of DOE is very imperative,” Woods said.

The AJC also looks at groups supporting and opposing the legislation.

Neither the Gwinnett County Commission nor the Ethics Board it created has the power to remove a member of the Commission, according to an attorney for the County.

“It’s important to note that the ordinance restricts the board’s ability to remove one of its members from office because it says ‘as provided for by Georgia law,’” County Attorney Bill Linkous told the commission. “In this instance, the Board of Commissioners does not have the power under Georgia law to remove one of its sitting members from the Board of Commissioners.”

“The Georgia Constitution does not give the power to remove an elected official to the BOC,” county spokesman Joe Sorenson said, citing Article IX, Section 2, Subsection C, Sub-subsection No. 1 of the state Constitution. “Further, the legislature did not give the BOC the power to remove an elected official in the enabling legislation.”

Initially, Linkous only told the commission it could not remove Hunter from office, but he elaborated more on what he felt state law prevented them from doing after he was questioned by Commissioner John Heard about it.

“In the event the ethics panel comes back and makes a recommendation to the board for a temporary suspension, would that be within — would state law dictate on that?” Heard said.

Linkous responded: “Yes, it would. State law does not grant to the Board of Commissioners the ability to suspend one of its members from office.”

Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs says the Hall County municipality has a role to play in area transit plans.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert cast the deciding vote on a controversial local ordinance.

The 5-4 vote came after Commissioner Mallory Jones questioned the gender identity portion of the measure, which he said opposed traditional values.

The resolution was a call of support for the March on Macon that will be held Saturday. The rally is to support state Senate bill 119 that would ban employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The rally is also to show favor for expanding anti-discrimination language in the county code, according to the resolution.

Jones said his concerns were about the impact of someone using a public bathroom that was different from the gender on their birth certificates.

“This impacts our children, our teenagers, our mothers, our grandmothers in a negative, compromising way,” Jones said.

The Cobb County school system will unveil the latest demographic predictions, including nearly 2000 additional students expected in south Cobb schools in coming years.

Cobb County transportation officials said toll lanes will increase in the future.

First Lady Sandra Deal read to first grade students at St. Anne School in Columbus.

Floyd County schools will recoup $112k of $4 million stolen in a spending scandal.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/news/local/article137061298.html#storylink=cpy
7
Mar

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for March 7, 2017

Looloo Macon

Looloo is a female Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Libby Macon

Libby is a female Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.

Louis Macon

Louis is a male Black and Tan Coonhound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.