Your Washington Desk:
Rep. Gingrey votes to rein in IRS, protect First Amendment
Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D., today voted in favor of H.R. 3865, the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act,” a measure which passed in the House of Representatives by a 243-176 margin. The bill, which Rep. Gingrey co-sponsored, prohibits the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from finalizing their proposed regulations that significantly limit First Amendment rights of 501(c)(4) organizations.
“Even after being caught red-handed last year, the Obama administration still hasn’t learned its lesson,” said Rep. Gingrey. Continue reading
Your Georgia Desk:
From the Fulton County Republican Party
Fulton GOP Welcomes New Executive Director
2014 is an exciting and critical year for Fulton County Republicans, and we are pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph Cortes as Executive Director. Joseph brings with him over a decade of experience in Republican politics and public affairs. His diverse background, including work in New Mexico, Indiana, and Iowa will help drive results and recruit a broader base of volunteers and party members. Continue reading
Your Georgia Desk:
Deal appoints leader for prison system’s education initiatives
Push to increase number of inmates with high school diplomas is part of governor’s plan to reduce recidivism
Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Forsyth County School Superintendent Dr. L.C. “Buster” Evans will join the Department of Corrections as the assistant commissioner of Education effective July 1. In his capacity as assistant commissioner, Evans will lead education initiatives within the department and assist in the implementation of the governor’s criminal justice reforms.
“With 7 out of every 10 Department of Corrections inmates lacking a high school diploma or GED, it is of the utmost importance that while individuals are in our criminal justice system, Continue reading
Your Georgia Desk:
Senate Bill Passes Moving Georgia Away from “Common Core”
The Georgia Senate passed Senate Bill 167 on Tuesday by a vote of 34-16. The legislation provides an approach for withdrawing from the national education standards known as “Common Core” and specifies new protections for student privacy.
“SB 167 is a consensus piece of legislation that was developed by participants on both sides of the Common Core debate,” said Sen. Dugan. “The education of our youth is obviously important to all of us and I am proud that we were able to get all parties involved to jointly develop a plan for the state that will help us improve the quality of education.” Continue reading
Your Georgia Desk:
Senate Approves Autism Insurance Coverage Legislation
Senate Bill 397 passed the Georgia State Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 51-0. If adopted, this legislation will require insurers to provide coverage for children up to six years old who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
“Each year the Senate focuses on hundreds of bills throughout the legislative session, but voting yes to Senate Bill 397 is a day for the history books,” said Sen. Dugan. “Autism effects one in 84 children and one in 54 boys across Georgia. Although we cannot prevent autism we can enact legislation that lowers the financial burden for parents and provides additional resources for children with autism.”
Senate Bill 397 would require health care policies to include:
- · Coverage for any assessments, evaluations, or tests prescribed by a physician or psychologist to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder
- · Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment if deemed medically necessary
- · Unlimited doctor or specialized care visits
- · Up to $35,000 annually in coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) treatments
- · Prescription drug coverage if it is already provided by the policy or contract
Insurers who prove coverage would result in at least a one percent rate hike for all policies, or the costs associated with treatment would exceed one percent of the premiums charged over the experience period, would be exempt from providing coverage for one year.
The coverage requirements outlined Senate Bill 397 does not apply to plans for small businesses with less than 10 employees. Additionally, there is no requirement to provide coverage for autism spectrum disorder for any insurance plans offered through the health exchange.
If signed into law, Georgia would join 35 other states that currently provide some form of autism insurance coverage.
Senate Bill 397 now transfers to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Your GA 8 Washington Desk:
Congressman Scott Announces 2014 Congressional Art Competition
Encourages high school students from Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District to participate.
U.S. Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) today announced the start of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition. All high school students (9-12th grade) who reside in or attend school in the 8th Congressional District are encouraged to participate.
The winning entry from Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District will be displayed in the United States Capitol for a year alongside artwork from every congressional district across the country. Continue reading
The Temple City Council’s three-hour, 51-minute meeting earlier this month was a memorable one.
A boisterous, overflow crowd at city hall weighed in on a variety of issues throughout the night, filling the room with enough ideas and public comment that two full hours passed before the council took a first vote. Members of the audience did not need to give their names or addresses or come to a podium, and had no time limit, with some speaking more often than some of the council members that night.
The meeting caused the city’s rules of decorum to come under question.
Those rules state that public comment only happens during a certain part of the meeting, after the invocation and before invited guests are recognized. They also state that when audience members make public comments, “the speaker shall come to the podium and state their name and address … the speaker will have three minutes to speak and … a citizen may speak for or against agenda items during public comment by signing in before the assigned items for the meeting to begin.”
The rules state that the mayor can waive the three-minute requirement or allow an open forum “by a majority vote of the council” and that the mayor “shall enforce Robert’s Rules of Order.”
No vote was taken during the Feb. 3 meeting regarding public comment.
But there are different opinions as to whether those rules are still in effect.
Temple Mayor Lester Harmon, who took office Jan. 1, said they are not.
“They had rules of decorum that were with the old charter,” he said. “When the new charter came into effect (in 2010) all of that stuff was changed. We now go by the new charter. The new charter states the mayor presides over and runs the meeting. … They cannot pass anything contrary to what the mayor has in that charter. Anything contrary to that is not going to fly.”
Harmon said he’s open to having speakers walk to a podium and give their name and address, but stood firm on his power to run the meetings. The charter says the mayor shall “preside at all meetings of the city council.” Preside is defined as “holding a position of authority, acting as chairperson or president and possessing or exercising authority or control.”
via Lengthy meeting brings Temple’s rules of decorum into question – Times-Georgian: News.
Carroll County voters will have to wait until Nov. 4 to decide if they want Sunday alcohol sales in the unincorporated county.
They will also likely get a chance to decide, on the same ballot, about weekday and Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages by the drink.
Commission Chairman Marty Smith confirmed Monday that a resolution for the referendum won’t be on the agenda for the March 4 Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting. A March BOC resolution would be needed to get the issue on the May 20 primary ballot.
Both Smith and Michelle Morgan, who represents a group of convenience store owners seeking Sunday sales, reached a mutual decision to push for a November vote, when the voter turnout will be higher.
“I think it’s more fair to vote in November, when more people will come out to vote,” Smith said.
Smith said County Attorney Cynthia Daley also recommended the issue of liquor by the drink be added to the resolution since the county currently doesn’t have sales by the drink.
via Sunday sale for county won’t make May 20 ballot – Times-Georgian: Local News.
Buried amid the 900-plus pages of the new federal farm bill is a provision that would allow low-income families to double their food stamp benefits if they buy fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.
According to a recent story in The Washington Post, the program will be called Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive and is designed to encourage people to buy nutritious foods with their SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) and address the obesity problem.
“This program helps families buy healthy food from their local farmers markets, which also helps family farmers and boosts the economy,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee, who was instrumental in introducing the plan.
When contacted Monday, organizers of the local Cotton Mill Farmers Market in Carrollton said they’re not familiar with the details of the planned federal program, but they began offering similar incentives last year through private donations.
“The challenge with taking SNAP benefits (often called “food stamps”) for the farmers market is we’re out in the middle of a parking lot with no electricity,” said Wendy Crager of Crager Hager Farm and one of the Cotton Mill founders. “You have to use cell phone service, have a special machine and pay for the transaction fees. Individual farmers can’t possibly take SNAP on their own.”
However, Crager said Cotton Mill was recently able to get government assistance, which paid for the equipment.
“A person with a SNAP card can go to our hospitality tent, tell how much they plan to spend at the market and swipe their card,” she said.
She said providing this service made it more convenient for SNAP recipients, but natural and organically grown foods are more expensive, so card holders still tended to buy fast food or from grocery stores with their cards.
However, the Alice H. Richards Foundation came forward with a dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP recipients so they can get twice as much for their money.
“With only $20 deducted from the card, a person could receive $40 in food,” Crager said. “Then it became more enticing for people on food stamps to shop at the farmers market, since we were doubling the value of their food stamps.”
via Farm Bill includes incentives to shop at farmers markets – Times-Georgian: Local News.
Todd Rehm, publisher of the Georgia Pundit website, said the shorter election calender does hurt incumbents in campaigning, because even those who live close to the Capitol, don’t have much time left in the day when they get home.
“The challengers can be out having events, going door to door and raising money,” Rehm said. “At some level, it may help level the playing field, although the incumbents still have a lot of advantages. I think what’s driving a lot of the legislation now is the desire to get out. The incumbents will be two to four weeks behind. It’s a whole new ballgame to what we’ve seen in the past.”
Candidates for elected office at the local level, county or city, must qualify at the county election office on College Street, said Leslie Robinson, county elections supervisor. This year, the only local races on the ballot are for three seats on the non-partisan county school board and three seats on the county Board of Commissioners.
Candidates for state House and Senate races and U.S. House and Senate races must qualify at the state Capitol in Atlanta during the qualifying dates.
via Candidate qualifying begins March 3 – Times-Georgian: Home.