The blog.

23
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 23, 2019

Reilly Paulding

Reilly is a young female Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Regina Paulding

Regina is a 17-pound female Hound mix puppy who is available for adoption from Paulding County Animal Control in Dallas, GA.

Terrier Puppy Paulding2

This 5-month old, 14-pound, young female Terrier mix puppy is available for adoption from Jennifers Pet Rescue Inc. in Dallas, GA.

She is great with other dogs, cats and kids of all ages! She will be a wonderful addition to any family looking for a spunky playmate! We think she’ll weigh 15-18 lbs. when full grown, as she hasn’t grown much in the 2 months she’s been with the rescue group.

23
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 23, 2019

William Shakespeare was born April 23, 1564 and died April 23, 1616.

Lucius D. Clay was born in Marietta, Georgia on April 23, 1898, the son of Georgia U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay, who served in the Senate from 1896 until his death in 1910. Clay graduated West Point in 1915 and eventually rose to serve as Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Deputy for Military Government. During the Berlin Airlift, Clay helped keep Allied-occupied West Berlin supplied with food for almost a year after Soviet forces blockaded all land routes into the city.

Hank Aaron his his first home run in major league baseball on April 23, 1954, playing for the Milwaukee Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals.

New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will address the 2019 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta tomorrow and may be viewed via livestream begining at 1 PM tomorrow.

Northwest Georgia‘s population continues growing, according to Census estimates published by the Rome News Tribune.

Bartow and Paulding remain the fastest-growing counties in Northwest Georgia, according to population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Floyd, Polk and Gordon are showing moderate gains, picking up in recent years, and Chattooga registered a population increase after years of steady decline.

The Agriculture Census shows growth in micro farms despite losses of some classes of larger farms, according to GPB News.

The latest data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture showed Georgia lost more than 1,500 small and mid-size farms over the past five years. But it’s not all bad news.

While the number of small and mid-size farms has dropped, micro-farms, between one and nine acres, have increased to more than 4,500. That’s up from about three thousand in 2012.

Andrew Lucas with the Georgia Farm Bureau said they’ve also seen an uptick in consolidation of farms, which has led to an increase in large farms.

Gary Black, commissioner of the state’s department of agriculture, said overall, he’s pleased by the data, but farmers here still need help recovering from Hurricane Michael.

“I really am troubled to see what these numbers will be five years from now,” Black said.  “And you know, that’s not smoke and mirrors, that’s reality.”

Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to the AJC.

“My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” Trump tweeted. “I will respect his wishes. Herman is a great American who truly loves our Country!”

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr appears in a new public service announcement as part of Alcohol Responsibility Month, according to the Albany Herald.

“Underage drinking is not only harmful in many ways to Georgia’s children and teenagers, but it is also illegal,” Carr said. “Parents have the greatest impact on their kids’ decision to drink or not to drink alcohol, so I encourage parents to have conversations early and often about the risks of underage drinking.”

“April is Alcohol Responsibility Month, and as we continue our mission to eliminate underage drinking, we want to remind parents how important conversations with their kids are,” Dr. Ben Nordstrom, executive director of Responsibility.org, said in a news release.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, according to The Brunswick News.

“It’s impossible to prevent something that lives in shadows,” said Michelle Johnston, president of Coastal Georgia. “And it’s difficult to raise awareness about something that you’re not working towards solutions for.”

Open dialogue is necessary, she said, to stop sexual assault and to support survivors. Education, bystander training, access to resources and zero tolerance can help address sexual assault, Johnston said.

“One incident, one situation is too many,” she said.

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey read a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Rape Crisis Center hotline is available 24/7, and the number is 1-800-205-7037.

This week was proclaimed Georgia Procurement Conference Week by Governor Brian Kemp, according to The Brunswick News.

The Jekyll Island Convention Center will host the third annual Georgia Procurement Conference, bringing together more than 800 procurement professionals and suppliers from across the state and nation.

The focus will be on small business, especially in rural Georgia, to help create jobs and grow businesses, said Alex Atwood, state Department of Administrative Services commissioner.

The conference will also feature a video from Gov. Brian Kemp explaining the importance of the state’s procurement efforts and the value of public-private partnerships. The governor has also proclaimed April 22-26 as Georgia Procurement Conference Week.

“The Georgia Procurement Conference is an opportunity to connect small businesses with professionals who are responsible for ensuring that our state secures the best price and best value for goods and services for our citizens,” Kemp said in a statement. “We also are pleased that businesses from every corner of Georgia will be represented at the conference.”

House Bill 374 by State Rep. John LaHood (R-Valdosta) aims to speed the ability of some hospice patients to receive liquid morphine, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Currently, only a hospice nurse can give morphine to a patient in assisted living. LaHood’s bill was written to allow a certified medication aide at the assisted living facility to administer the medication when a hospice staff member is not on site.

“I consider HB 374 to be compassionate legislation that will enable hospice patients residing in assisted living communities to get the care they need in a more timely manner,” LaHood said.

Vicki Vaughn Johnson, chair of the Georgia Council on Aging, said the bill, championed by LaHood and LeadingAge Georgia and supported by the Georgia Senior Living Association and the Assisted Living Association of Georgia, should help hospice patients avoid long waits for pain relief.

“This is a carefully crafted solution to help those in the last stages of life deal with constant pain,” Johnson said.

LaHood’s bill, which is now on the desk of Gov. Brian Kemp, does not apply to hospice patients in personal care homes. It treats hospice patients in assisted living similarly to hospice patients who are being cared for at their homes.

The Georgia Municipal Association spoke to Hall County municipal officials, according to the Gainesville Times.

State House and Senate bills that would have prohibited local governments from adopting design standards for single-family homes or duplexes failed to leave each legislative chamber in time this year, which [GMA's Michael] McPherson called a win for municipalities.

“It would have preempted the local design standards to the point where only the national minimum would have been in place,” McPherson said.

Another bill that was considered in the House would have prohibited local governments from regulating short-term rentals, or homes rented out through sites like VRBO or Airbnb.

“We can’t roll over and let our zoning be completely defeated by this concept,” McPherson said.

From AccessWDUN:

Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan thanked GMA for fighting to preserve local control, allowing cities to decide how they want to handle issues on a local level rather than having statewide mandates that place all 530-plus incorporated cities in Georgia under one binding regulation.

“They’re trying to take away all our home rule,” Dunagan said.  “That’s exactly what they’re doing, little by little, every session.”

McPherson agreed with Dunagan’s assessment, saying some efforts by GMA to get legislation approved or defeated in recent years have seen over 100 lobbyists arguing on behalf of a giant corporation that stood to benefit if the legislation passed.

“Not all of our General Assembly members have local government experience at the city or county level,” McPherson explained.  “And because of that it’s important that we give them an understanding of what cities and counties have to go through day-in and day-out…to insure that you’re meeting the needs of your residents and the businesses in your community.”

Macon-Bibb County is considering decriminalizing marijuana, according to the Macon Telegraph.

The proposed ordinance calls for a fine instead of a jail time as a penalty for possession of less than one ounce of pot. The proposal follows suit with other places in Georgia, including Fulton County and the cities of Atlanta and Savannah, where officials have approved similar decriminalization measures.

The Macon-Bibb ordinance, sponsored by County Commissioners Al Tillman and Virgil Watkins, states that anyone arrested with less than one ounce would pay a $75 fine.

The marijuana decriminalization ordinance is on Tuesday’s County Commission committee agenda.

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said the ordinance would probably not change how his deputies handle those cases in most instances. It could mean that most of those cases would go through Municipal Court instead of State Court.

“On the enforcement piece, it’s really not going to effect what deputies do that much,” Davis said. “We don’t normally bring that many people to jail on just that charge. They’re typically issued a citation.”

Banks County will need financial assistance in dealing with flooding, according to AccessWDUN.

Banks County officials say state or federal help, in the form of disaster or contingency funding, will determine whether the county is able to properly correct an issue that resulted in flash flooding in the Banks Crossing area Friday.

Duckett said the repairs to Steven B. Tanger Boulevard alone could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The busy road connects U.S. 441/Ga. 15 with and is the main artery serving Tanger Outlets, Atlanta Dragway and numerous restaurants and businesses in both Banks and Jackson counties.

The cost of repairing the two-lane road could be higher, depending on the work that has to be done, including repair to at least one travel lane, Duckett said.

Duckett said a timetable on permanent repairs will depend on whether Banks County can get state or federal assistance with the costs.

A Floyd County Commissioner and the county manager spoke about passing their Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to Whitfield County, after Whitfield voters rejected a SPLOST last month, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

In a work session Monday evening, commissioners heard from Floyd County Commission Vice Chairman Wright Bagby — also a former mayor of Rome — and the county’s manager, Jamie McCord. The pair described the process used by the city and county to the southwest to handle SPLOST requests, which relies heavily on citizen input.

“I can’t tell anybody else what to do, but I can tell you what works for us,” Bagby said. “If you don’t have a strong citizens group vetting your projects and part of the process all the way through, the only ones that we have ever had to fail, we didn’t have that group in place, or the government overruled the citizens. That is just what works for us. We think it is extremely important for citizens to be active in the process before, during and after.”

“The three that failed were years ago, and we saw that was an ongoing issue,” Bagby said. “We empowered the SPLOST citizens committee to help us make all of the selections. We also agreed that whatever they come up with is what we are going to work with. We will not be messing with the projects. Does that mean that 100 percent of what the city or the county wants is going to make it in there? No. We were not going to tamper with their work.”

The last SPLOST measure in Floyd County passed with more than 60 percent in favor. The March vote in Whitfield County saw 57.94 percent of voters opposed to the measure.

Emory Healthcare is considering spending $20 million dollars to move administrative offices into part of the old Northlake Mall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Augusta Parks and Recreation Director Glenn Parker has resigned, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

ugusta Recreation and Parks Director Glenn Parker tendered his resignation Monday, on the heels of the resignations of two other top city officials and pending wrongful death litigation involving the recreation department.

Parker asked that his resignation be effective May 17 and that he receive 14 weeks’ severance pay, or approximately $28,000, according to his resignation letter, which gave no explanation for his decision.

His resignation follows those of City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson and city General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie last week. The Augusta Commission approved paying Jackson and MacKenzie a year’s salary and benefits to step down.

Suwanee Municipal Court will temporarily move into City Hall, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

22
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 22, 2019

Sophia Albany

Sophia is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Joe Albany

Joe is a young male Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

Chloe Albany

Chloe is a young female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Albany Humane Society/Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center in Albany, GA.

22
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 22, 2019

On April 22, 1891, Asa Candler bought the recipe for Coca-Cola for $2300 and eventually turned its marketing from a “brain tonic” into a plain old tasty beverage.

Adolf Hitler admitted defeat in World War II on April 22, 1945.

The Atlanta Braves won their first home game in Atlanta Stadium on April 22, 1966. The Braves beat the New York Mets 8-4. It’s interesting to look back at how the Braves landed in Atlanta.

During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen, Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, downtown businesses and major highways. Allen, along with Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher, attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. The deal, however, ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.

In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.

A verbal commitment by an unnamed team brought the Braves here.

The Blues Brothers made their worldwide debut on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. Two prominent Georgia musicians, Ray Charles (born Albany) and James Brown (died Atlanta) would co-star in The Blues Brothers movie.

Former President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.

The Macon Telegraph looks at ten middle Georgia historic sites worth visiting.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Lynne Homrich announced she will run for Congress from the 7th District, according to the AJC.

Lynne Homrich launched her campaign with an ad that featured a string of clips of Reps. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – who have fast become the favorite targets of Republicans – before flashing to Homrich.

“That’s the best they can do in Washington? If your kids behaved like these women, you’d ground them. If they worked in your business, you’d fire them,” she said. “We need more women in office with conservative values, common sense and real-world experience.”

She’s one of the first Republicans to enter the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, who is retiring after narrowly winning a fifth term last year. Former NFL player Joe Profit is also in the race, and state Sen. Renee Unterman is likely to soon join.

She was a Home Depot vice president for human resources and founded She’s a 10, a nonprofit that aims to prepare women for leadership roles. She and her husband David, the chief financial officer for Arthur Blank’s for-profit businesses, raised four children, who are spotlighted in her campaign ad.

In her announcement roll-out, Homrich made clear she’ll run as a conservative who supported Donald Trump.

It’s a funny way to have supported Donald Trump by never voting in a Republican primary election and never voting in a Georgia gubernatorial election.

The Georgia State Ethics Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission voted to raise contribution limits, according to the AJC.

The commission voted last week to raise the limit on donations in statewide races — for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, etc. — from $6,600 for a primary, $3,900 for a primary runoff and $6,600 for a general election, to $7,000 for both primary and general elections, and $4,100 for a primary runoff.

Since primary runoffs are fairly common, someone planning to run for governor would be able to raise $18,100, rather than $17,100, from a single donor.

Candidates who wind up in one of the fairly rare general election runoffs could take in an additional $4,100 per donor.

Former United States Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) spoke to the Valdosta Lowndes County legislative luncheon, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Where do you see cyber security today?

Chambliss: “In the 2005-06 time frame, we had this director of national intelligence, a gentleman who would constantly bring this up in our classified briefings. People would say, ‘cyber security? I never heard of that.’ Their eyes would glaze over. Nobody had ever heard of it. They had no concept of it.”

“Well, it wasn’t long after that where we saw the public breaches at Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and other places, and all of a sudden, people all over the world started realizing this is a big deal.”

“There are … groups of folks who are the bad actors in the world of cyber security. You have nation states, primarily Russians, Chinese, Iranians and North Koreans. They are all getting more and more sophisticated, and today they are all very, very good at what they do – not good for us.”

Chambliss: “There is no question that our immigration system in this country is broken, and it needs a vast overhaul.”

“We tried on any number of occasions during my 20 years in Washington to make those changes through a comprehensive bill, and I will tell you that there is not a more emotional issue in America than the issue of immigration.”

Chambliss: “The biggest problem we have with respect to the bipartisan action – that we used to see on a regular basis – is that compromise has become a four-letter word.”

“We have more members of the House, as well as members of the Senate, on the far-right and you have more on the far-left. Their position is their position, and it is the only right position, meaning that’s the only thing they’ll accept. Well, that just doesn’t work.”

Floyd County is considering spending the last of the proceeds from a 2013 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on property for an industrial park, according to the Rome News Tribune.

Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said Georgia Power Co. economic development officials helped identify the properties that could be adapted for large operations.

“It’s hard to find a 100-acre site that’s not under conservation,” he said, referring to a tax category that essentially requires the land to remain undisturbed. “You can still do something with them, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome.”

The 2013 SPLOST package contains $8 million to create shovel-ready sites for job creation. No bonds were issued for projects, so they were done as the monthly collections came in.

“Everything was cash-flowed,” McCord noted. “We didn’t have that $8 million until a few months ago.”

His remarks came last week during an update to the 2013 and 2017 SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committees that drew about 50 people to the new recycling center on Lavender Drive. A tour of the SPLOST-funded facility that opened in December followed.

Rome City Commission is considering creating a Tax Allocation District for a former Kmart location, according to the Rome News Tribune.

If the TAD is approved, Rome-based Ledbetter Properties will get started on its plan to redevelop the vacant space at the East Bend Retail Center. The tract consists of three separate parcels totaling 19.7 acres and is currently valued at $3.77 million.

Under a TAD, the base value of a property is frozen for a specified number of years. In this case, likely 20. As the parcel is built out, the tax due on the improvements is funneled back into the project.

The Rome Redevelopment Agency is recommending approval. During a RRDA discussion earlier this month, City Manager Sammy Rich said the Ledbetters already have several retail tenants lined up that would be new to the Rome market.

Sales tax revenue from the planned East Bend Retail Center is estimated at $17.8 million over 20 years, according to the city’s consultants, Bleakley Advisory Group.

Cave Spring City Council is considering an overhaul to their alcohol ordinance, according to the Rome News Tribune.

The alcohol ordinance has been under review since at least February, when city voters approved liquor sales by the package and by the drink.

The vote cleared the way for two investors to move forward with plans to turn a vacant historic property downtown into a craft distillery using water from the city’s famed spring. In addition to making flavored spirits, they’d have a sipping room and store on site.

A City of Augusta administrator and the General Counsel will each receive severance packages after resigning, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The pair resigned Tuesday after the Augusta Commission spent over two hours behind closed doors negotiating severance packages with each. Both will receive a year’s salary and benefits – that’s more than $191,000 for Jackson and $152,000 for MacKenzie, and they’ll keep their insurance for the year.

Few were surprised to see MacKenzie go – the 10-member commission has a tradition of battling with the attorney when his legal opinions pleased some but not others on the panel.

“Andrew has been taking heat ever since I was down there right steadily,” former Commissioner Jerry Brigham said. “He was a lawyer – I didn’t always try to agree with him, but I didn’t try to practice law either.”

The Gainesville Times spoke to some property owners after Hall County adopted rules for short term rentals.

In March, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved changes to the county’s short-term rental rules that allow homes in all zoning districts to be short-term rentals, or to be rented out for two to 30 nights. Previously, only homes zoned Residential-I were eligible, and they had to be within 500 feet of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ line for Lake Lanier.

While the Platts were not eligible to operate a short-term rental under the old ordinance due to their home’s zoning, they can now legally operate and are praising the changes.

“This is a revenue source for the community,” Keith Platt said. “Not only does it bring more tax dollars in to Hall County and the community, it also brings in more revenue to restaurants, marinas, Road Atlanta, other areas.”

In 2018, the Hall County Marshal’s Office received 10 complaints about short-term rentals and issued six citations, according to reports obtained by The Times. Six of those were in the Hall County Board of Commissioners’ District 2, which includes portions of west and south Hall. Three property owners received citations for operating without a license, and one was cited for cars parked in the right of way.

The Glynn County Board of Elections will begin interviewing candidates for a new election supervisor next week, according to The Brunswick News.

“A lot depends on how many of the applicants we want to talk to and what the board (members’) schedules are,” Gibson said before the April meeting. “I would hope that by our May (14) meeting, we would be ready to make our decision.”

Elections staff sent out notices of three special-called meetings to take place this week and next — 10 a.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. April 29.

All three interviews are set to be held in closed sessions.

Georgia DOT will institute intermittent lane closures on the Sidney Lanier Bridge as they rehab the structure, according to The Brunswick News.

GDOT spokeswoman Jill Nagel said workers will be doing routine maintenance on the bridge joints starting Monday, replacing parts that need to be replaced.

Lane closures will occur intermittently during daylight hours on weekdays through July. Nagel said lane closures will typically occur only on one side at time, but workers may close a lane on each side on occasion.

Savannah Alderman Julian Miller will not run for reelection this year, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Some Warner Robins residents fear low-income housing will bring more crime, according to the Macon Telegraph.

19
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 19, 2019

Miwok Barnesville

Miwok is a young female pug mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Each pup in this litter has been honored with a Native American name as unique and beautiful as they are.

Miwok means “people”. This pup has been handled daily since birth and is a “people dog”. She has a kind, gentle soul with lots of presonalilty. Miwok enjoys meeting new people, playing with other dogs, and working on learning puppy skills.

This litter of pups was born at Dolly Goodpuppy on November 30 2018.

Una Barnesville

Una is a young female pug mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Una means “remember” – this fuzzy, brindle beauty is simply unforgettable. She has a sweet, silly personality and can even impress you with some of her ninja-style belly crawl type moves. ;-)

Bradley Barnesville

Bradley is a young male Hound mix who is available for adoption from the Dolly Goodpuppy Society Inc in Barnesville, GA.

Bradley is one seriously handsome hound mix. When Bradley came to Dolly Goodpuppy he had an almost embedded collar; someone had used the looped handle of a leash as a collar, put it around his neck, and TIED HIM UP! Luckily, he was found in time, brought to Dolly Goodpuppy, and we were able to remove it without surgical intervention or permanent damage to his neck – now we just need to find him the perfect forever home.

Bradley is friendly and especially loves playtime and running. Chasing his big ball makes Mr. Bradley a very, very happy dog, and expends some of his plentiful energy. Have some high-energy kids you want to tire? They could be Bradley’s perfect, new best friends. While Bradley enjoys children, due to his large size he is best suited for a family with older children.

Bradley has been living in a home, has nice manners and is housebroken but he is best suited for a home where he can be an only pet.

19
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 19, 2019

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Rome was founded. The one in Italy, not the one in Floyd County.

On April 21, 1732, King George II signed the royal charter creating the colony of Georgia. The King’s signature did not make the charter effective as several additional steps were required.

On April 19, 1775, British troops entered Lexington, Massachusetts, encountering 77 armed Minute Men.

British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

Two hours later, another confrontation between the British and American patriots took place in Concord, Massachusetts.

On April 21, 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first Vice President of the United States.

On April 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the blockade of ports in “Rebellious States.”

Whereas an insurrection against the Government of the United States has broken out in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, and the laws of the United States for the collection of the revenue can not be effectually executed therein conformably to that provision of the Constitution which requires duties to be uniform throughout the United States; and

….

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, with a view to the same purposes before mentioned and to the protection of the public peace and the lives and property of quiet and orderly citizens pursuing their lawful occupations until Congress shall have assembled and deliberated on the said unlawful proceedings or until the same shall have ceased, have further deemed it advisable to set on foot a blockade of the ports within the States aforesaid, in pursuance of the laws of the United States and of the law of nations in such case provided. For this purpose a competent force will be posted so as to prevent entrance and exit of vessels from the ports aforesaid.

On April 20, 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission as a Colonel in the United States Army.

Union forces skirmished against The Worrill Grays, a Georgia Reserve Militia, at the Battle of Culloden, 30 miles west of Macon on a date generally believed to have been April 19, 1865, though it may have occurred later.

On April 21, 1904, Ty Cobb made his debut in professional baseball for the Augusta (Georgia) Tourists in the South Atlantic League in center field; Cobb hit an inside-the-field home run and a double.

Manfred von Richthofen, known as “The Red Baron,” was killed in action on April 21, 1918, shot by either an Australian gunner or a Canadian. At the time of his death, Richthofen has shot down 80 aircraft in aerial combat.

On April 20, 1982, the Atlanta Braves set a major league record, winning the first twelve games of the regular season.

Former President Jimmy Carter was appointed Distinguished Professor at Emory University on April 21, 1982. Carter holds an annual Town Hall in which he takes questions from students.

On April 20, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing a $165 billion dollar bailout for Social Security, saying,

“This bill demonstrates for all time our nation’s ironclad commitment to Social Security. It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future. From this day forward, they have one pledge that they will get their fair share of benefits when they retire.”

On April 21, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Israel. From the press statement released that day,

The MOA reiterates for the public record our long-standing relationship of strategic cooperation with Israel. Strategic cooperation can only succeed when there are shared interests, including the commitment to building peace and stability in the region. It reflects the enduring U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. That commitment will never flag. The U.S. commitment to peace will also not flag. The President knows that a strong Israel is necessary if peace is to be possible. He also knows that Israel can never be truly secure without peace.

On April 20, 1992, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation naming Pogo ‘Possum the official state possum of Georgia.

On April 19, 1995, Governor Zell Miller signed legislation declaring the peanut the Official State Crop.

On April 20, 1999, two students entered Columbine High School in Colorado and killed twelve student and one teacher, and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Democratic Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-6) told the AJC her campaign returned a contribution to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The McBath campaign told us this morning that the contribution was not accepted.

Omar is one of two Muslim lawmakers elected to Congress in 2018. She has recently been criticized by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who allege she recently spoke too lightly of 9/11 during a speech last month. She has also made remarks interpreted by many as anti-Semitic.

McBath’s rejection of the donation is more important than it may sound. The Sixth District has a significant Jewish population – particularly in Sandy Springs and east Cobb County.

Liberal group Better Georgia is closing down, according to the AJC.

Funded anonymously, but with clear ties to former Gov. Roy Barnes, Better Georgia conducted quick-strike ad campaigns (in 2015, to fend off a “religious liberty” measure) and commissioned polls (to encourage state Sen. Jason Carter to run for governor in 2014).

But Better Georgia has now shuttered its doors. The era of Democratic guerilla warfare is done, replaced by the direct assault of a state party now led by Stacey Abrams and her followers.

Democrat Andrew Yang visited Atlanta for his erstwhile campaign for President, according to the AJC.

Yang has a good chance of appearing onstage in the Democratic primary debates, since he says he has raised money from more than 100,000 individual donors — well past the benchmark to qualify for the debates.

Yang, 44, chose Georgia as one of the 15 states on his “Humanity First Tour,” another symbol of the Democratic energy aimed at Georgia ahead of the 2020 election. Several Democratic hopefuls have visited the state since launching presidential bids this year, including U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

Republican Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) spoke highly of Attorney General Barr’s release of the Mueller report, according to AccessWDUN.

The Gainesville Republican, in a statement released shortly after Barr released the report, praised him for working with the special counsel’s team to make “necessary redactions” to a report he is sharing with Congress in “good faith, not by mandate.”

“I look forward to examining the mountain of facts supporting the principal conclusions the attorney general and deputy attorney general shared last month: no collusion, no obstruction,” Collins, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, added. “I am encouraged by the Democrats and Republicans who have expressed their faith in Special Counsel Mueller’s integrity and ability.”

Republican Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Pooler) spoke to students at Brunswick High School, according to The Brunswick News.

Carter spent about an hour Thursday morning meeting with the freshman government classes at Brunswick High, answering their questions and explaining his priorities for the district he represents.

“We’ll see what happens with that [Mueller] report when it comes out in just a few minutes,” Carter said. “The whole world is going to be watching today. This is big. Today’s a big day in Washington, D.C., primarily because of this.”

The students asked Carter what he feels are the most pressing issues on his agenda today, and he said environmental protections and health care improvements are at the top of his list.

“I have been selected and appointed to a committee, a select committee on climate change,” he told the students. “I’m very proud and very happy to be on that committee. We’re dealing with climate change right now.”

Savannah has a $15.8 million dollar budget surplus, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The city ended last year with almost $15.8 million left to spend and is now planning on using those funds to bolster Savannah’s capital improvement program, shore up the reserve fund, and cover a compensation study’s recommended pay adjustments.

The surplus primarily stemmed from expenses coming in about $12.2 million below budgeted amounts after a hiring freeze and other cost-saving measures were implemented, according to a financial report presented to the Savannah City Council during a workshop Thursday.

In addition to investing almost $2.3 million into the city’s reserve fund, the city plans to devote $13.5 million from the surplus for capital expenses. The plan — which goes before the Savannah City Council for consideration Thursday — includes $5.8 million to construct a new base of operations for departments being relocated from the site where the city is building a new arena.

Tybee Island is bracing for Orange Crush, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Last year the city council voted unanimously to implement new traffic control measures that will assist with traffic flow. Those measures were in place March 16 and will be in place Saturday as well as April 27 and July 4. The next two Saturdays are the anticipated dates of the unpermitted annual Orange Crush celebration.

The dates were selected because the traffic flow onto and off the island showed distinctive patterns that correlated with increased demand on city services and increased frequency of drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, said Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen.

“April 20 and 27 present unique challenges because no one obtains a permit,” Gillen said about the unpermitted Orange Crush. “We have communicated in writing with the primary promoters to the effect that they will be held financially accountable for their continued promotions in the absence of any effort to secure a permit.

The traffic protocols are intended to maintain emergency services access to the entire island during times of high vehicular volume, according to officials.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar withdrew his application for a license to serve alc0hol, according to the Statesboro Herald.

As previously reported, he and his wife, Adrianne McCollar, plan to operate an event venue there called Peachtree on Main. But at least for now, it will not be licensed to sell and serve alcoholic beverages. After filing the application Feb. 12, Mayor McCollar said in mid-March that they hoped to open the business this week. But the application, like all new alcohol licenses, would have required City Council approval, and it did not appear on the agendas for meetings through March and into April.

“I withdrew it, and the reason I decided to withdraw that is because I didn’t think it was good timing for the city to have to go through this process,” McCollar said last week. “So at this time I just felt it was best to withdraw it and just really focus on the needs of the city.”

House Bill 218 by Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) changes eligibility requirements for some HOPE scholarship recipients, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.

“Sometimes life just gets in the way,” said Rep. Rick Williams, a Republican from Milledgeville, who is the sponsor. “And we need people to be able to have a little more time to complete their education.”

The measure gives would-be students a decade to take advantage of the lottery-funded scholarship program. Currently, they have seven years.

And time spent serving in the military would not eat up a person’s eligibility time.

“Whether it’s starting a family or military service or illness or whatever circumstance, this allows them to go back and get a degree, further their education and participate more in the workforce,” Williams said.

The extension would only apply to those who become eligible for HOPE starting this year, meaning the changes would not begin to have an impact until 2027.

18
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 18, 2019

Louise HSNEGA

Louise is a young female Black Mouth Cur mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

Pistol HSNEGA

Pistol is a young male Mountain Cur and Retriever mix who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

John Smith HSNEGA

John Smith is a young male Terrier mix puppy who is available for adoption from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville, GA.

18
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 18, 2019

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes mounted up on horseback to warn of British troops on their way to confiscate American arms and to warn patriots Samuel Adams and John Hancock, who the British sought to capture.

By 1775, tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts, where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of 1775, General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents. On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington.

The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured….

About 5 a.m. on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington’s common green. Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.

President William H. Taft learned on April 18, 1912 of the death of his military aide, Major Archibald Butts of Augusta, Georgia on RMS Titanic.

The honeybee was recognized as the official state insect of Georgia on April 18, 1975.

On April 18, 2006, Governor Sonny Perdue signed legislation establishing February 6 of each year as “Ronald Reagan Day” in Georgia and celebrating the date of President Reagan’s birth.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania will be in Atlanta to attend the 8th annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed House Bill 324, which will allow limited in-state cultivation and processing of medical marijuana, according to ABC News.

Current state law allows people with 16 specific conditions, including cancer, seizure disorders and Parkinsons disease, to possess cannabis oil with less than 5 percent THC, the chemical that gets users high.

Kemps spokesman, Cody Hall, said the law takes effect July 1.

It grants up to six growing licenses to private companies — two for larger organizations and four for smaller organizations. It also gives pharmacies priority for distributing the drug, but allows a state commission to seek out independent retail locations if it determines there is a need. The commission can also attempt to legally obtain the oil from other states. Two universities will be allowed to seek federal approval to research and produce the oil.

The Republican-controlled legislature approved the measure despite objection from many Georgia sheriffs, who absolutely do not support allowing so many private producers to grow marijuana to produce the oil, said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs Association.

From the Macon Telegraph:

It also gives state permission to grow and manufacture medical cannabis to two colleges: Fort Valley State University and the University of Georgia. The schools also may apply for federal licenses to become medical marijuana research schools.

It is unclear what the new law could mean for Fort Valley State University. Asked whether the school would pursue plans to grow cannabis, university spokeswoman Teresa Southern said, “at this time we have no comment regarding this matter.”

A University of Georgia spokesman referred comment to the University System of Georgia. Jen Ryan, spokeswoman for the system, said it is “reviewing the legislation and will work closely with the governor’s office, our institutions and other stakeholders regarding implementation of the law.”

Kemp called the new law a “carefully balanced” measure, saying it would expand access for patients in need without opening the door to recreational drug use.

From the AJC:

While medical marijuana sales are now legal, that doesn’t mean they’ll start anytime soon. It will likely take well over a year before state-sanctioned medical marijuana oil reaches the hands of patients.

The state government still needs to appoint members of an oversight board, create regulations and license up to six private companies to grow medical marijuana. Then seeds will have to be planted and harvested, and the government will have to approve dispensaries to sell the product.

At least three companies hired lobbyists to push the bill during this year’s legislative session.

It’s still illegal in Georgia to smoke or vape marijuana. Only marijuana oil with less than 5% THC, the compound that gives pot its high, is allowed.

“Now the hard work starts,” said Allen Peake, a former state representative from Macon who led the effort to legalize medical marijuana. “The implementation of the bill is crucial to making sure we get the process done efficiently and quickly, and get medicine to families as soon as possible.”

Governor Kemp is expected to sign three bills today against human trafficking, according to the AJC.

The first measure, House Bill 281, increases penalties for those convicted of pimping or pandering. A first offense would increase jail time from 24 hours to three days, a second offense would now be a felony and allow a judge to sentence up to 10 years in prison upon a conviction.

A second, Senate Bill 158, gives the state new powers to provide emergency care for a child victim of human trafficking without a court order or the consent of a parent or legal guardian, and bars authorities from prosecuting them for prostitution if they are under 18 years old.

And the third, House Bill 424, broadens the definition of criminal gang activity to include sex trafficking, giving authorities new powers to seek penalties.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined a multistate effort urging the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers to adopt new “Waters of the United States” rules, according to the Albany Herald.

“Our office has been leading litigation to prevent the implementation of the 2015 WOTUS rule for almost four years,” Carr said. “That rule would have given the federal government jurisdiction to implement complex federal mandates over state natural resources, including roadside ditches, streams and many other areas.”

“That’s unacceptable, and Georgia is proud to be at the forefront of these efforts to stand up for our farmers and landowners.”

“The new rule also respects the primary responsibility and right of states to protect their own water resources,” a news release from Carr’s office said.

In addition to this joint effort, Georgia currently leads litigation challenging the 2015 rule on behalf of an 11-state coalition. Last June, that coalition secured a preliminary injunction to block its implementation.

Congressman Austin Scott (R-Tifton) toured the Lowndes Advocacy Resource Center in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

LARC, an agency that serves individuals with disabilities, works to improve the quality of life of each person they serve, according to the agency’s website.

Based on the client’s choice, LARC provides support on the job, at home or at various sites in the community. Support and training are designed to enable people to experience success and pleasure in life.

“We’re down here with the Lowndes Advocacy Resource Center, seeing their facilities and meeting with their clients. It’s a wonderful organization and doing a lot to help people,” Scott said. “We have a lot of people out there with developmental disabilities, and certainly, we want to find ways to help them. It’s been a great opportunity to visit with them and see this operation.”

“We need to make it easier for people like this resource center to provide those services,” Scott said. “The people who work here have value and take pride in their work, and I think it is a wonderful mission.”

“The main thing you need to do is listen to them,” Scott said. “They are able to tell us where the rules and regulations are coming from and what the threats to them are.”

New locomotives producing lower emissions were rolled-out in Macon, according to the Macon Telegraph.

New locomotives at Macon’s giant Brosnan Yard rail hub have big implications for health and jobs in Middle Georgia and Robins Air Force Base.

The yard received its first Eco locomotive about a year ago, replacing decades-old engines that towed freight cars around the yard tracks. The yard now has six Eco locomotives with lower pollution emission, plus three “slugs” used to provide weight for traction.

The program cost $10 million, said Mark Duve, manager of locomotive engineering for Norfolk Southern. Federal and state funds secured by the Middle Georgia Clean Air Coalition accounted for $6.3 million.

According to a release, the EPA estimates that in the first six months of operation the Eco locomotives reduced particulate matter emissions by a rate of 3.44 tons annually, while nitrogen oxides were reduced by 100 tons. Particulate matter and nitrogen oxides are associated with smog and acid rain.

Augusta, GA and North Augusta, SC, appear to be preparing for a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the water level of the Savannah River, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

The cities of Augusta and North Augusta appear to be laying the groundwork for a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a proposed plan to remove New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam in favor of a rock weir fish passage, according to the joint comments filed by those cities.

The public comment period ended Tuesday afternoon on the Corps’ recommended plan for the lock and dam and the cities submitted a 32-page “Legal Comments” that lays out a number of arguments against the plan and how they believe the Corps violated federal law and its own policies and procedures in formulating that recommendation. Chief among them is that the recommended plan does not adhere to the relevant section of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 that the Corps is proceeding under.

“It is inappropriate, illegal and patently unfair to place such a significant impact on the Augusta region simply to permit benefits to another region,” they said.

Mayor Pro Tem Sean Frantom alluded to a potential need to file a lawsuit during an address Wednesday to the CSRA Home Connections Networking Breakfast, adding “I think we have some legal standing. As a region we are very concerned about it.”

He alluded to support for the cities’ position offered last week by Gov. Brian Kemp, and the city and Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis are working on setting up a further meeting with Kemp. But the city is also hopeful that the public comments and the arguments the cities put forward will convince the Corps to be more open to negotiation.

Floyd County Commissioners are moving toward placing a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation (T-SPLOST) on the ballot, according to the Rome News Tribune.

A transportation special purpose local option sales tax for individual counties has been allowed under state law since July 2017. Only communities that already impose a regular SPLOST may add a TSPLOST.

“Let the voters decide,” Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said, following a lengthy discussion at the board’s planning retreat held at the training room of FM Global Emergency Response Consultants in Coosa.

The issue is expected to be presented to members of the SPLOST Citizen Advisory Committees tonight, as part of an update on projects in the 2013 and 2017 packages.

The county’s parameters appear to mirror the standards Rome city commissioners backed during their informal discussion earlier this month: The TSPLOST would be for a short period and for a specific set of projects.

Hall County is now home to 200,000 residents, according to the Gainesville Times.

Savannah is considering dropping prices for parking in some downtown areas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Dredging at Jekyll Creek has begun, according to The Brunswick News.

The plan, announced several weeks ago, is to take around 3 percent of the dredged material and spray it in thin layers over a nearby marsh in order to, hopefully, find a beneficial reuse for it. A pipeline extends from the Dredge Rockbridge, initially above the water, then submerged, and it comes back out of the water further north along the marsh bank.

“It’s going to come to a nozzle, and it sprays — it rainbows — in the air, and then as they’re doing that, at different points of time this week, they’re going to move it around to different places,” said Tyler Jones, communications specialist with CRD. “So, they’ll be between 3 inches and up to a foot in sediment that will be deposited here, and they should be done with that by Sunday.”

Three candidates qualified for a special election for Flowery Branch City Council, according to WDUN.

17
Apr

Adoptable (Official) Georgia Dogs for April 17, 2019

Duchess WR

Duchess is a female Labrador Retriever mix who is available for adoption from Warner Robins Animal Control in Warner Robins, GA.

Duchess is a very smart girl. She is sweet and well mannered. She will sit and shake on command and she loves to play fetch.

Cinnamon WR

Cinnamon is a female Husky who is available for adoption from Warner Robins Animal Control in Warner Robins, GA.

Cinnamon is a very happy girl. She loves to play and she is looking for the perfect family. She deserves to find her happy, forever home! Can you make her dreams come true?

Drax WR

Drax is a young male Terrier mix who is available for adoption from Warner Robins Animal Control in Warner Robins, GA.

17
Apr

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for April 17, 2019

The Trustees of the Georgia colony learned on April 17, 1737 that Spain had 4000 soliders and two warships in Havana, Cuba and was planning on invading Georgia or South Carolina. Thus began the rivalry between then-Spanish occupied Florida and Georgia. Floridians would have to wait until after the 1873 invention of blue jeans by Levi Strauss to develop their modern uniform of jean shorts.

On April 17, 1944, a fifteen-year old Martin Luther King, Jr., a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, traveled to Dublin, Georgia to give a speech in a contest sponsored by the local black Elks club. During the bus ride to Dublin, King and his teacher had to give up their seats to white riders and stand for much of the ride. King won the contest, delivering his oration, “The Negro and the Constitution.”

On April 17, 1950, the United States Supreme Court dismissed South v. Peters, a complaint against Georgia’s County Unit System of elections.

Each county is allotted a number of unit votes, ranging from six for the eight most populous counties, to two for most of the counties. The candidate who receives the highest popular vote in the county is awarded the appropriate number of unit votes. Appellants, residents of the most populous county in the State, contend that their votes and those of all other voters in that county have on the average but one-tenth the weight of those in the other counties. Urging that this amounts to an unconstitutional discrimination against them, appellants brought this suit to restrain adherence to the statute in the forthcoming Democratic Party primary for United States Senator, Governor and other state offices. The court below dismissed appellants’ petition. We affirm.

On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang debuted at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. The world has been a better, if somewhat louder, place ever since.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Former State House Majority Leader Larry Walker has written a new book about his region of Georgia, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Walker, a lifelong Perry resident who served 32 years in the General Assembly, is author of “Tales From Georgia’s Gnat Line.” The gnat line, he explains, is an imaginary line that runs from Columbus to just south of Macon, to Augusta. Below it, he says, gnats are abundant.

But he offers another, and possibly more important, explanation from a fellow state representative, Marcus Collins. Collins, a south Georgia farmer, in the 1970s kept complaining “We never get any money south of the gnat line.” State Rep. Joe Frank Harris, who would go on the become governor, finally heard enough.

“One day, in an exasperated tone, Appropriations Committee chairman Joe Frank responded ‘Exactly where is this gnat line?’” Walker recalls in the book. “Marcus retorted in his deep southern drawl, ‘Well, it’s that line below which we never get any money.’”

The Perry Area and Chamber of Commerce and The Perry Arts Commission will hold a book signing for Walker Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Perry Arts Center at 1121 Macon Road. The book will be available for $30, and is also available at Amazon. The book is published by Mercer University Press.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) spoke to the White County Rotary Club, according to the Gainesville Times.

On Tuesday, Georgia’s 9th District Congressman Doug Collins told the White County Rotary Club the investigations have pretty well dominated this year’s congressional session.

“The Mueller report is already out – we’ve already got the findings,” Collins said. “The full report coming out Thursday is going to say the same thing that the summary said.”

Collins told the group he sees Congress working on meaningful legislation the remainder of the year.

“The presidential cycle has already started,” Collins noted. “It seems like everything is viewed through a political lens, so we are going to focus on things we think we can get done – hopefully, infrastructure, hopefully, work on immigration doing the things that can get done and then we’ll have to live through the rest of the political cycle.”

The Brunswick News looks at the most recent campaign disclosure reports.

2018 1st Congressional District Democratic nominee Lisa Ring already announced she would seek the nomination again to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter. She lost in November by 15.4 points — a difference of 38,799 votes out of 250,683 cast — but in doing so notched a generationally high performance for a Democrat in that district. By taking 42.3 percent of the vote, Ring topped the percentage by every Democratic nominee going back to 1992.

However, as with 2018, Carter comes into this election cycle with a decided edge. The Cook Political Report shows the 1st District with a nine-point GOP advantage. That’s not a closed door — a Democrat represents the 6th District, which has a eight-point GOP lean, and Dems have their eyes on the 7th District, which has a nine-point lean.

The campaign lost money according to its end-of-year disclosure and first quarter 2019 disclosure, ending March with more than $1.123 million on hand. That’s mostly because of refunds and a significant amount of continued spending in relation to money raised. Ultimately, from the post-election report through the first quarter of this year, are $251,241 in contributions, taking into account $9,950 in refunds in the year-end report.

On the consulting front, Carter spent $129,668 with Kansas City, Mo., firm Axiom Strategies, $50,059.38 with D.C. firm High Cotton Consulting, $18,739.51 with The Lukens Company of Virginia, $16,878.48 with Monroe Marketing of Savannah, and $13,500 with McLaughlin & Associates of New York.

In getting things started for her 2020 run, Ring gave $5,500 to her campaign in the last two reporting periods, and ended March with $24,558.59 on hand. Her post-election report showed one contribution for $25 from Glynn County, four for $379 from Camden, and three for $118 from out-of-state. However, it also didn’t list a location for 19 contributions.

From the AJC:

All told, candidates for Georgia’s two most competitive U.S. House seats raised more than $1.5 million over the past three months. And U.S. Sen. David Perdue, up for another term in 2020, tallied nearly $2 million in what’s expected to be the most expensive Senate race in state history.

One of the most watched reports came from U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, who is both the newest member of Georgia’s congressional delegation and its most vulnerable. She raised more than $481,000 during the first three months of the year, a formidable sum for this stage in the election cycle.

Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, who announced her comeback bid late last month, raised nearly $240,000 in about a week. That includes donations from groups affiliated with U.S. House Republican allies, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Her Republican opponent in the 6th District race, state Sen. Brandon Beach, said he’ll report about $125,000 in contributions — largely from a pair of fundraisers he held during the legislative session. Georgia law prohibits state officials from raising cash during the session, but not federal candidates.

Next door in the 7th Congressional District, three Democratic candidates combined to raise about $500,000. But this is but the opening salvo: No high-profile Republican has entered the race yet, and more Democrats could also join the contest.

Democratic State Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D-Albany) has taken issue with a fellow Democrat over legislation, according to the Albany Herald.

Sims and other Democratic state legislators were part of a study committee last summer that looked into the financial issues that confront the state’s historically black colleges and universities: Albany State, Fort Valley State and Savannah State universities. The committee put together its findings for use in a resolution, a legislative tool used to urge action.

Senate Bill 273, a measure that calls for the creation of a Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University System that would, in essence, make Albany State, Fort Valley and Savannah State separate entities from the University System of Georgia. The newly named colleges (Albany A&M, Fort Valley A&M and Savannah A&M) would be governed by a 19-member board comprising 11 members appointed by the governor, one member each appointed by the presiding officer of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, and two members each appointed by the board of trustees of each institution.

“When I saw that there was indeed a bill, not a resolution, I was incensed,” Sims said. “Every person on the study committee went to an HBCU, and we could not believe (Savannah state Sen.) Lester Jackson went behind our backs and did this. There’s no way any of us would have signed onto this bill without discussing it, but he put our names on the bill.”

“Lester and I have been friends for years; we’re suitemates at the Capitol,” Sims said. “For him to betray the trust I and others on the committee had with him is just unspeakable. I’m still having to struggle to manage the anger I feel.”

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved tuition rates that are up 2.5%, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The increase, which takes effect starting this fall, will support professional advising, supplemental instruction and data analysis with a goal of improving student outcomes. It’s also expected to help retain workers and will cover the university’s portion of the 2 percent merit increase for workers contained in House Bill 31. Without it, Georgia Southern University would be expected to pick up about 25 percent of the merit increase to cover benefits.

The Board of Regents held tuition flat for two of the past three years, and over the past five years, tuition increased about 1.7 percent total. Graduate tuition is expected to remain flat with the current year at Georgia Southern and Savannah State, though it will rise at some University System of Georgia schools.

The Regents said 92 percent of student fees across the University System of Georgia will remain unchanged.

The Regents also agreed to update the minimum freshman admission requirements.

Effective this month, the minimum SAT scores for freshman are 480 for evidence-based reading and writing and 440 for math. The evidence-based reading and writing section is new but not expected to affect admissions. “Based on all data presented, [it] will lead to admission for the same students with the similar outcomes once enrolled,” said Amy Smith, associate vice president and division of enrollment management at Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern requires at least a 1030 SAT total for admission on top of the other minimums.

Voters in Atlanta Board of Education District 2 will fill a vacancy on the board in a September 17, 2019 special election, according to the AJC.

Gwinnett County will continue accepting applications for a new elections supervisor after Lynn Ledford announced she will take a new job. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

After some debate Tuesday night — which was the deadline for hopefuls to send in their applications for the position — the Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections opted to continue taking applications. The application window had been open for three weeks although news that a search was taking place did not surface until last week.

[Elections Board Chair John] Mangano said 42 people have applied for the position. That is twice the number of applicants that he told the Daily Post had applied as of late last week.

A new nonprofit will provide housing and services for human trafficking victims, according to The Brunswick News.

Hall County is moving forward with SPLOST VII, a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax expected to be on the ballot in November, according to the Gainesville Times.

A Georgia Tech economist has projected revenues for SPLOST VIII, which could go to voters as a referendum on Nov. 5, at $232 million, Propes said.

But officials have trimmed that amount to $216.9 million “because we wanted to be conservative,” [Hall County Financial Services Director Zach Propes] added.

The SPLOST is 1 percent on items also subject to state sales tax. If SPLOST VIII is approved, it would be in effect July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2026.

Propes said that in May “we’ll begin the process of involving community groups, such as the (Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce), and beginning to educate everyone on what is the SPLOST VIII program.”

Columbus City Council will consider allowing horse-drawn carriages in uptown Columbus, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The ordinance has been requested by District 1 Councilor Jerry “Pops” Barnes, and two businesses have approached the city in the hopes of being able to provide rides for a fee on Broadway, Front Avenue and Bay Avenue.

According to the draft ordinance, the horses and carriages would only operate on Broadway between 4th Street and 13th Street, on Front Avenue between 6th Street and 14th Street and on Bay Avenue between 9th Street and 12th Street.

A public hearing was held last July about the same issue, and more of the people there were against the idea than those who were proponents, said Ross Horner, president of Uptown Columbus.

“Our board has not taken a position on this,” Horner said. “I don’t know if they actually would, they haven’t come up against it. They just kind of wanted to see it play out and see how the public felt as well.”

Mark Barber signed a contract as City Manager for Valdosta after a year on the job, according to the Valdosta Daily News.

Gainesville and the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission will work together to apply for a grant to renovate the Olympic rowing venue, according to the Gainesville Times.

Three candidates qualified for an open seat on Flowery Branch City Council, according to AccessWDUN.

Flowery Branch City Clerk Melissa McCain confirmed Ed Asbridge and Chip McCallum qualified on Monday, April 15 for the post left vacant by the resignation of Mary Jones in December. Melissa Brooks filed her qualifying paperwork on Tuesday, April 16.

The qualifying period for the special election runs through 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.