Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for March 4, 2013


Georgia Politics, Campaigns & Elections for March 4, 2013

Election Alert – Voters in House District 71 in Coweta and Fayette Counties will head to the polls tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th, to choose between Republican candidates David Stover, who won the Special Election and Thomas Crymes, who came in second.

If early voting totals are any indication, turnout will be even lighter than it was for the special election.

Just 153 Coweta voters went to the Coweta Voter Registrar’s office to vote early for the runoff; there were 130 paper absentee ballots mailed out. There was only one week of early voting.

For the special election on Feb. 5, there were three extra days of early voting, with nearly 300 early votes cast.

The two candidates discussed gun issues:

[Georgia Gun Executive Director Patrick]

Parsons said Stover returned the candidate’s survey that he was “100 percent in favor of your right to keep and bear arms” which included a position that no permit should be required to carry a concealed weapon. Parsons also noted that Crymes had not responded to the survey that was mailed to candidates.

Also contacted Wednesday, Crymes said he did not receive the survey said to have been mailed to him. That said, Crymes noted that he is a lifelong advocate of the 2nd Amendment, an avid gun enthusiast and gun owner since he was young.

“I’m 100 percent in favor of the 2nd Amendment. I have the National Rifle Association, Georgia Carry and the Ga. Hunting and Fishing Federation’s highest ratings,” Crymes said.

Pertaining to another facet of gun ownership, Crymes in opposition to the Georgia Gun Owners position said he believes a permit to carry a concealed weapon is an appropriate requirement, adding that he has possessed a concealed carry permit for a decade.

Georgia General Assembly 

State Representative Brett Harrell wins the award for Legislative Newsletter Title of the Week for “Capitol Update, Week Seven – Ethics, Beer, and Guns.”

Today is Legislative Day Twenty-Eight. The Senate convenes at 1 PM and the House convenes at 10 AM. We have twelve bills in the Senate and 28 bills in the House.

This week will see the Thirtieth Legislative day, known as Crossover Day, when all bills must have passed one house of the General Assembly to be eligible for consideration by the other chamber. It’ll be a crazy week, as Walter Jones describe it:

To beat the Crossover Day cutoff, lawmakers will hold a flurry of quick, last-minute committee meetings on Monday timed to get bills to the full House and Senate by Tuesday or Thursday.

“Tuesday, we’ll go long (into the evening) and then take a break,” said Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone.

Wednesday will be a recess.

“It gives our members time to read all the legislation and catch up,” he said.

It also gives the clerks the time required to print, staple and collate copies of the all the bills so they’ll be on lawmakers’ desks when they arrive. Often late on Crossover Day, voting on bills added to the agenda will be delayed because the clerks have gotten behind in the heavy volume.

Two types of bills are exempt from the Crossover Day deadline, state budgets and local bills. The House Appropriations Committee hasn’t spent much time recently on the budget to free its members, who total nearly half of the House, to concentrate on committees with bills that are subject to Crossover.

House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire, predicted the House would pass the budget by March 20, which will leave the Senate five days to pass its version and negotiate the differences with the House.

Speaking of the Georgia State Budget, Speaker David Ralston spoke to the Atlanta Press Club and discussed the sequestration and the impact it will have on our state.

It’s going to have an impact two ways, the military part of the cuts are going to be very significant, which will impact Columbus, Warner Robins…

At the state level, we’re going to be hit, because, as you know, a significant percentage of our state budget is derived from Federal funds….the result is if sequestration hits at its fullest extent, we’ll see about a $240 million hit in our budget for FY 2014…

What we’re doing… Chairman [Terry] England and his colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee are developing some scenarios by which we can deal with the impact of the sequestration on our state budget here in Georgia, and they’re working with the Governor’s Office and others to respond…

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 76 by Senator Jackson and others – Returning Veterans Task Force; create; membership (VM&HS-2nd)

SB 96 by Senator Mullis and others – State Courts, Solicitors-General of; part-time solicitor-general; engage in private practice of law; not represent defendants in criminal matters in such solicitor-general’s state court (SJUDY-53rd)

SB 101 by Senator Ginn and others – Firearms; regulate the sale, use and possession in this state (JUDYNC-47th)

SB 156 by Senator Tolleson and others – Surface Mining; revise a definition (NR&E-20th)

SB 160 by Senator Ginn and others – Public Employers; provide annual report relative to compliance with certain laws; provide for certain report to Dept. of Audits and Accounts (SLGO(G)-47th)

SB 168 by Senator Tippins and others – Public Contracts; contracting and bidding requirements (SLGO(G)-37th)

SB 179 by Senators Hunter Hill and Mike Dugan – Public Contracts; if sealed competitive proposal requested/price or project cost not a selection factor; no bid bond shall be required (SLGO(G)-6th)

SB 193 by Senator Cowsert and others – ‘Uniform Interstate Family Support Act’; update (JUDY-46th)

SB 194 by Senator Mullis and others – Natural Resources Dept.; include an exemption for restoration of certain barns; promote Georgia tourist destinations (NR&E-53rd)

SB 195 by Senator Hufstetler and others – Education; authorize public/private schools to stock a supply of auto- injectable epinephrine (H&HS-52nd)

SB 209 by Senator John Wilkinson and others – Electronic Transactions; provide that no entity shall be prohibited from making self-help documents; not a substitute for advice of a professional (AG&CA-50th)

SB 218 by Senator Gooch and others – Highways, Bridges and Ferries; annual commercial wrecker emergency tow permits; qualifications for issuance (TRANS-51st)

Senate Meeting Calendar


House Rules Calendar

HB 36 by Rep. Ben Watson and others – Game and fish; definition of “game fish”; revise (GF&P)

HB 94 by Rep. Andy Welch and others – Damages; reduction of earnings to present value; change provisions (Judy)

HB 139 by Rep. Mark Hamilton and others – Sheriffs; general qualification requirements; revise (Judy)

HB 192 by Reps. Rusty Kidd and Dexter Sharp – Podiatry; podiatric medicine includes the diagnosis and treatment of cosmetic conditions regarding the human foot and leg; provide (H&HS)

HB 207 by Rep. Jason Shaw and others – Licenses; issuance of a special turkey-hunting permit for young and mobility impaired hunters; authorize (GF&P)

HB 229 by Rep. Sam Teasley and others – Insurance; removing the insurer annual publication requirement; provide (Ins)

HB 256 by Rep. Harbin and others – Tobacco; regulation of cigar wraps; provide (JuvJ)

HB 268 by Rep. Buddy Harden and others – Agricultural products dealers; cotton and eggs from definition of “agricultural products”; remove (A&CA)

HB 271 by Rep. Jay Neal and others – Individual’s criminal history record information; revise definitions (JudyNC)

HB 297 by Rep. Debbie Buckner and others – State wild flower; designate the native azalea (A&CA)

HB 332 by Rep. Bruce Williamson and others – Georgia Board of Nursing; reconstitute; provisions (H&HS)

HB 337 by Rep. Fleming and others – Elementary and secondary education; public and private schools to stock supply of auto-injectable epinephrine; authorize (Ed)

HB 345 by Rep. Tommy Benton – Teachers Retirement System of Georgia; clarify and consolidate the definitions of the term “teacher” (Ret)

HB 45 by Rep. Ehrhart – Public property; writing off small amounts due to the state; change certain provisions (App)

HB 124 by Rep. Harrell and others – Local elections; votes cast for disapproval of Sunday alcohol sales by retailers shall not nullify prior election results; provide (RegI)

HB 125 by Rep. Hightower and others – Lawful presence; certain affidavit for persons under 18 years of age to be executed after attaining the age of 18; provide (JudyNC)

HB 131 by Rep. Valerie Clark and others – HOPE; dual credit courses; treated the same as advanced placement and international baccalaureate courses for determining elegibility; provide (HEd)

HB 146 by Rep. Weldon and others – Criminal procedure; the issuance of arrest and search warrants by video conference; change provisions (JudyNC)

HB 199 by Reps. Lindsey and Lynn Smith – Georgia Environmental Finance Authority; expand Georgia Reservoir Fund (NR&E)

HB 296 by Rep. Alan Powell and others – Motor vehicles; authorized to receive registration records; add certain persons (GAff)

HB 310 by Rep. Joe Wilkinson – Elections; ethics in government; revise definitions; provisions (Eth)

HB 317 by Rep. Sharon Cooper and others – Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia; administrative medicine licenses; provide (H&HS)

HB 350 by Rep. Allen Peake and others – Group-care facility operators; persons otherwise issued licenses as provided by law; provide exceptions (JudyNC)

HB 354 by Rep. Valerie Clark and others – Early Care and Learning, Department of; provide certain information to owners of early care and education programs; require (Ed)

HB 361 by Rep. Lindsey and others – Labor organizations membership; provide for definitions; provisions (I&L)

HB 362 by Rep. Lindsey and others – Public works contracts; governmental entities and Department of Administrative Services; provide certain contracting and bidding requirements (I&L)

HB 365 by Rep. Hitchens and others – Safety belts; definition of the term “passenger vehicle” to which the safety belt law applies; modify (MotV)

HB 34 by Reps. Don Parsons and Richard Smith – Income tax credit; clean energy property; include certain commercial geothermal heat pumps (W&M)

TBD Floor Session (LD28) HOUSE CHAMBER (10:00am)
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM General Government Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs 606 CLOB
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Income Tax Subcommittee of Ways & Means 133 CAP
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM RULES 341 CAP
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM Public Finance Subcommittee of Ways & Means 133 CAP
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM RETIREMENT 415 CLOB
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Utilties Subcommittee of Energy, Utilties & Telecommunications 515 CLOB
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM BANKS & BANKING 506 CLOB


The Senate passed stricter boating laws when it voted unanimously to pass SB 136.

Boaters will have to observe stricter alcohol limits, training requirements and life-jacket rules.

Senate Bill 136 came from the new Lake Lanier legislative caucus, which met in December with users of that lake who requested the legislation.

“I know that Senate Bill 136 is a statewide bill, but in particular Lake Lanier, because of the urbanization of the area and the encroachment in direct relationship with Atlanta, we have an overpopulation, especially on holidays,” said Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford. “Unfortunately, we’ve had several instances of boating accidents and boating drownings.”


Events Calendar

You can visit our Events Calendar to find Republican and Conservative-oriented events near you, or email for information on how to have your events included. I always recommend checking with the event contact to make sure the date, time, and location are correct. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

County Conventions March 9th – Double check your county start time, and location and remember that the start-time will be enforced strictly, with the doors closing and no admittance after the posted start time.

Here’s an updated version of a document originally created by U.D. Roberts, that describes the Convention process.

Today at noon – Bacon County Republican Luncheon at noon at the Blueberry Inn, 174 Plantation Dr, Alma, GA, 31510

Tuesday night with events at 5:30, 6 and 6:30 PM- Reception with George P. Bush at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, 659 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA, 30308

Tuesday at 7 PM – Cobb County Young Republicans Meeting with Senator Judson Hill and Rep. John Carson at Johnnie MacCracken’s, 15 Atlanta Street, Marietta, 30060

Tuesday night at 7 PM, Henry County Republican Party Meeting at the Henry County Government Annex, 116 South Zack Hinton Pkwy., McDonough, 30253.

Wednesday at 11:15 AM, North Metro Republican Women Meeting at Heritage Sandy Springs, 6110 Blue Stone Road NE, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328

Wednesday at 11:30 AM Savannah Area Republican Women Meeting at Johnny Harris Restaurant, 1651 E. Victory Drive, Savannah, GA, 31404

Thursday at 7 PM Buckhead Young Republicans Happy Hour at Fado Irish Pub, 273 Buckhead Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30305

Water and Weird

Start handing out raises and next thing you know, everyone’s got their hands out.

How much are Augusta’s elected officials worth? Taxpayers are about to find out, as four more extend a hand for a local supplement to their state-mandated minimum salaries.

Joining Richmond County’s sheriff, solicitor-general, tax commissioner and others in seeking higher pay are the presiding and chief judges of civil and magistrate court, the clerk of court and new Probate Judge Harry James.
A divided Augusta Commission recently approved raises requested by Sheriff Richard Roundtree and Solicitor-General Kellie Kenner-McIntyre and has paid Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick’s supplement for four years, despite never approving it. An elected official’s pay can’t be reduced while he or she is in office, according to City Administrator Fred Russell.

Lake Allatoona’s water level is the highest since 2005 and Lake Lanier is within 4.21 feet of full pool, its highest level in two years.

Brad Carver continues his quest to bring a new source of water to north Georgia and Atlanta.

“Basically, we could drought-proof the state of Georgia, and that’s the way we take care of the fluctuations in Lake Lanier,” said Brad Carver, who has spearheaded the move.

“What this project would propose to do is keep Lake Lanier full … in a way that, without the Tennessee River, is going to be impossible to do, going forward.”

Georgia has turned to its neighbor to the north in recent years as a way to solve longstanding drinking water issues in fast-growing metro Atlanta, particularly as “water wars” with Alabama and Florida had been hung up in the courts.

The dispute stems from an 1818 survey that improperly placed the Georgia-Tennessee boundary one mile south of the mutually agreed-upon border at the 35th parallel.

Tennessee ratified the incorrect boundary, but Georgia never did, Carver has said.

A bill in the Georgia General Assembly would, in effect, allow Tennessee to keep 66 square miles and Georgia to take in 1« acres and give access to the Tennessee River.

Carver, who is with the Hall Booth Smith firm in Atlanta, has championed the move for several years.

He envisions a pipeline with a permitted capacity of 264 million gallons per day flowing water to Georgia, especially when the Tennessee River basin is at one of its frequent flood stages.

The project ultimately could help Hall County’s proposed Glades Farm and other large reservoirs “get off the ground,” Carver said.

“They could be kept full with Tennessee River water,” he said.

“It would actually be a good augmentation and good storage location. … I think that reservoirs are complementary to an interbasin transfer like this.”

State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, who voted for the measure, said one upside to the resolution is that it doesn’t involve Tennessee residents — they would remain in that state, which doesn’t have an income tax.

“That has been the problem with some of the past years’ legislation,” he said. “Now, whether Tennessee is going to accept this — that’s the question.”

Dave Smith, spokesman in Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s office, issued a terse statement when pressed on the matter last week: “The governor will continue to protect the interests and resources of Tennessee.”

Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, has not pitched support or opposition to the proposal, but he has said he has met with the lawyers behind it.

The issue “is one that I think has some merit attached to it,” he said.

Why don’t we sue the taste out of Tennessee’s mouths? Anyone?

The General Assembly is considering amendments to state law to protect the Flint River:

Enacted in 2000, the Flint River Drought Protection Act offers to pay lower Flint farmers in times of extreme drought to forgo using their permitted irrigation withdrawals from the river.

But it’s been a hollow offer for most of its life: The Legislature has not set aside any money for it.

Last year’s serious drought and impotent act led to this year’s proposed edits.

Changes include mandating water use efficiency of up to 80 percent on some farms, depending on the age and type of irrigation equipment. It also sets up studies on the river’s flow.

Gordon Rogers, the Albany-based Flint Riverkeeper, lamented a river with a falling flow from beginning to end, barely fed by some tributaries that are now so low that “you can’t have a swim or a fish or a baptism” in them. He asked the committee to amend the bill to take a hard look at municipal and industrial water use on the upper Flint.

Drought conditions in middle Georgia are easing with the rains.

Since Feb. 1, 12.87 inches of rain fell at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport which is 8.51 inches above historical normal for the second month of the year.

The deluge that brought a 24-hour rain total of 2.77 inches on Feb. 10-11 helped wash away exceptional drought conditions that had a grip on the midstate for at least a year.

On Saturday, 1.73 inches of rain broke Macon’s record of 1.48 inches for that date set Feb. 23, 1994.

The heavy downpours are credited for erasing all remaining pockets of extreme drought in Georgia.

If you can’t get accepted to Augusta National, maybe the next best thing is owning a green jacket. Just don’t try to sell it.

Dr. Steven Pyles, a Tampa, Florida collector of golf memorabilia, bought a green jacket he believes was worn by Art Wall, Jr. when he won the tournament in 1959. After paying $62,000 for it, he wants to sell it through Heritage Auctions of Dallas for a profit.Five days before the auction was scheduled to begin, Augusta National Incorporated moved to halt the sale. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday in Dallas.The collector told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the jackets and any memorabilia from the premier tournament are in high demand and sell for thousands of dollars. He contends that winner’s jackets are available for sale. A green jacket belonging to the famed Bobby Jones sold at auction in 2011 for $311,000.Augusta National Incorporated claims in its lawsuit that all green jackets are the property of Augusta National and that this particular jacket was stolen from its clubhouse.

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