The blog.

15
Jan

AUDIO – LG Casey Cagle: SB 2 – Education & the Workforce

Your Georgia Desk

Interview: Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle

Your Ga Pundit correspondent spoke to Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle about SB 2 which will allow 10th graders to take college entrance exam and earn degree and high school diploma simultaneously. LG Cagle understands that education and workforce development are critical for Georgia’s future success:

15
Jan

Doug Collins gets a possible primary challenge over his Boehner vote | Political Insider blog

WASHINGTON — We have preliminary evidence that there is some substance behind the conservative backlash against Georgia Republicans for unanimously backing Speaker John Boehner.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins might be getting a primary.

Al Gainey, a former Hall County Commissioner and conservative radio host, is “prayerfully considering” a run against the second-term Gainesville congressman. The Boehner vote was Gainey’s top motivation, he said in a phone interview Monday:

“I just cannot believe that we have had to put up with more of the same from everybody that goes to Washington from Georgia, from the senators in the past to the current congressmen for the most part. Paul Broun is about the only one from Georgia who held his ground up there. He was somewhat ostracized, in my opinion, but at least he held true.”

via Doug Collins gets a possible primary challenge over his Boehner vote | Political Insider blog.

15
Jan

AJC poll: Georgians back limited legalization of medical marijuana | www.ajc.com

Georgians overwhelmingly support the legalization of a form of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions, a new poll for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.

The poll, conducted Monday through Thursday by New York-based Abt SRBI, found that 84 percent of Georgians, as well as 84 percent of registered voters, agreed that the Legislature should legalize a marijuana-based medication. Such a medication — cannabis oil — has been the focus of lawmakers since last year, although they have yet to pass a bill legalizing it.

The oil is used to treat certain seizure disorders in both children and adults — afflictions that can cause hundreds of seizures a day and often lead to death. It is harvested from the marijuana plant but does not create the high that recreational users of marijuana seek.

via AJC poll: Georgians back limited legalization of medical marijuana | www.ajc.com.

15
Jan

First counter-proposal to gas tax plan revealed | www.ajc.com

The first proposal for changing how gasoline is taxed in Georgia will be introduced Thursday in the House.

House Bill 60, by Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, would eliminate the 4 percent sales tax on gasoline, create a lower, flatter state income tax and gradually raise the excise tax on fuel over the next eight years.

Efforts to reach Setzler late Wednesday were unsuccessful.

via First counter-proposal to gas tax plan revealed | www.ajc.com.

15
Jan

Adoptable Dogs for January 15, 2015

Dagwood

Dagwood is a male German Shepherd/Pit Bill Terrier mix, one of a litter of puppies, and is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter in Monroe, Ga.

McGuire

McGuire is his brother.

Woody

Woody also is part of the same litter.

Rosa

Rosa is a female Black Lab mix puppy who is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Shelter.

Grady

Grady is a majestic male Black-and-Tan Coonhound, with maybe a little bit of Bloodhound in his heritage; he is available for adoption from Walton County Animal Control.

15
Jan

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

An elected Provincial Assembly first convened in Georgia on January 15, 1751. The Assembly did not have the power to tax or spend money, but was to advise the Trustees.

The state of New Connecticut declared its independence of both Britain and New York on January 15, 1777. In June of that year they would decide on the name Vermont. Vermont would be considered part of New York for a number of years, finally being admitted as the 14th state in 1791.

The donkey was first used as a symbol for the Democratic Party on January 15, 1870 by cartoonist Thomas Nash.

democrat-donkey-cartoon

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia Politics Fact of the Day

In 2014, the only incumbent Georgia state legislators who lost their seats in the General Assembly were State Reps. Charles Gregory (R-Marietta), Sam Moore (R-Cherokee), and Willie Talton (R-Warner Robins), who all lost to GOP challengers, and Senator Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) who lost his Democratic Primary. That means that most legislators need not fear General Election voters as their only real contest is their party’s primary.

The predictable result is a highly-partisan General Assembly. This also means that any “revenue enhancements” to pass must gain the support of a large number of Republicans who will stand for re-election among GOP primary voters who have a history of punishing anything that can be construed as a tax hike.

Here’s a clip from our discussion of transportation taxes last night on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Lawmakers in which this political dynamic plays a part.

Georgia General Assembly Legislative Schedule

The House and Senate agreed yesterday on the following schedule going forward:

Today will be Legislative Day Four and there will be no Session tomorrow.

No session next week to allow for budget hearing.

Monday through Thursday, January 26-29 will see Legislative Days 5 through 8.

Monday through Wednesday, February 2-4 for Legislative Days 9 through 11.

Monday through Thursday, February 9-12 will see Legislative Days 12 through 15.

Georgia Politics – State of the State

Takeaways from the State of the State

1. Medical marijuana for children with seizure disorders, decriminalization of the high-CBD/low-THC oil, and a panel to recommend how and whether to move further;

2. “Opportunity School Districts” to take over some failing school districts;

3. Department of Community Supervision drawing from the existing Departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Pardons and Paroles to improve the administration of paroles and probation across existing programs that have redundancies and inefficies;

4. Georgia has a need for massive additional transportation funding.

On transportation, Gov. Deal described the consequences of failure:

“If we should choose not to maintain and improve our infrastructure, economic development would stall, companies would be unable to conduct their business efficiently, commuters would waste more time and gas sitting in traffic, and no one would be satisfied,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert said after Deal’s speech that no options have been removed from consideration, even tax increases despite being unpopular.

But his reading between the lines told him Deal isn’t laying the groundwork for a tax hike.

“I will assure you that most of my constituents are not in favor of any tax increases, and it sounded like what the governor is suggesting – and which we’ll flesh out during this legislative session – is a more efficient use of the funding that we’re doing now,” said Cowsert, R-Athens.

Despite the confusing signals, the governor is offering sufficient leadership on the issue, according to Don Grantham, the Augusta-area’s representative on the State Transportation Board.

“It’s to the point where he’s not saying, ‘This is what you should do’ and ‘This is what I think.’ He is saying, ‘The options are there for you, and I support what you do.’ His support and information is going to be very helpful for us,” Grantham said.

Re-read those quotes from Senator Cowsert in light of the fact highlighted above about most legislators facing real opposition in party primary elections and you’ll understand the challenge that faces any bill to raise more revenue from state taxpayers.

We also have more reactions, in the form of audio interviews by GaPundit.com Associate Editor Jeff Breedlove:

Rep. Allen Peake on Gov. Deal including HB 1 in the State of the State

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Cowsert on Cannabis Oil bill and Transportation

Rep. Jay Roberts, House Transportation Chair: On The State of the State Address

 

Elections & Job Openings

Three candidates qualified for the March 17 special election for Augusta Commissioner District 7.

Sean Frantom, starting his third year as development director for Ronald McDonald House Charities, joined Augusta businessmen Louis “Hap” Harris and Sonny Pittman in qualifying to seek the 21-month commission stint.

Avondale Estates has a contested special election for Mayor, as John Pomberg qualified for the race.

“I’m running for mayor for a number of reasons, because the position is available and it needs to be filled,” Pomberg said.

Pomberg joins Paul Brown, an architect who serves on the city’s Board of Appeals, in the race to replace former mayor Ed Rieker who resigned in October to pursue a university teaching job.

(If elected), my first day is to kind of keep the momentum on the annexation going and to keep people informed on that, as Mr. Giager has done so well in the few months he’s been in charge of that,” Pomberg said. “I’m also very interested to see how the redevelopment of the Fenner Dunlop property is going to shake out.”

Dr. Ricardo Azziz is expected to announce his resignation as President of Georgia Regents University in Augusta.

In the Special Election for House District 50 in Johns Creek, we received this last night regarding former Johns Creek City Council Member Kelly Stewart, who is in a runoff election:

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Contact: Lynn Doss, County Attorney, Fannin County, GA

Former Employer Warns Johns Creek Voters About Candidate for House Kelly Stewart

Candidate is “making false employment claims on her resume”

(Blue Ridge, GA)–“It has come to our attention that candidate for State House Kelly Stewart is currently and repetitively making false claims on her resume as to having been the County Administrator of Fannin County. Mrs. Stewart never held the role of County Administrator in our county, and her claim is patently untrue,” said Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss Wednesday.

“Fannin County has never in its history had a County Administrator form of government.   Stewart was an administrative assistant (a secretary) in the office of the Board of Commissioners, “said Doss Wednesday.

“Kelly Mull Stewart’s pattern of deceit was major contributing factor as to why she was terminated by the County in 1999,” said former Commissioner Yvonne McNelley, who served as a Fannin County Commissioner at the time.  Apparently, this pattern continues.

Stewart’s use of the job title, which she apparently has used for many years both to gain employment and to embellish her political resume in political campaigns, can be seen here:

http://www.countylinemagazine.net/0414/files/inc/4d2e03ad8b.pdf

and here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20130313083813/http://www.johnscreekga.gov/about/council/post5

Stewart also used the title of County Administrator on her official biography found on the City of Johns Creek website.

“We ended Stewart’s employment because of this issue as well as the fact that she had a pattern of abusing taxpayer dollars, including using taxpayer funds to make purchases that were clearly personal in nature,” said Commissioner McNelley.

“We investigated Kelly Stewart’s abuse of taxpayer dollars and found that she had made multiple unauthorized expenditures for personal items included self-help videos, unauthorized expensive meals, and gift purchases,” said Commissioner McNelley.

“Voters in Johns Creek can make their own decision. However, Mrs. Stewart may not make false claims or embellish her resume about her employment here, nor the reasons for her dismissal, without our setting the record straight,” said McNelley. “The actions of Stewart ultimately contributed to an election recall and defeat of then-Chairman Cline Bowers.”

14
Jan

AUDIO – Rep. Jay Roberts: On The State of the State Address

Your Georgia Desk

The State of the State Address 

Your Ga Pundit correspondent spoke with House Transportation Chair Representative Jay Roberts on his reaction to Governor Nathan Deal’s State of the State Address and transportation:

 

14
Jan

AUDIO – Rep. Allen Peake: On Gov. Nathan Deal Including HB 1 In State of the State Address

Your Georgia Desk

The State of the State Address 

Your Ga Pundit correspondent spoke with Representative Allen Peake on his reaction to Governor Nathan Deal’s inclusion of HB1 in the State of the State Address 

14
Jan

VIDEO – Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute Day Three – State of the State

Your Georgia Desk

From The Senate Press Office

Day Three –  Senate in a Minute: State of the State

14
Jan

AUDIO – Senate majority Leader Bill Cowsert: On The State of the State Address

Your Georgia Desk

The State of the State Address 

Your Ga Pundit correspondent spoke with Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert about his perspective of the State of the State Address from Governor Nathan Deal: