Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for February 10, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections for February 10, 2014

On February 10, 1787, the Georgia House of Assembly named William Few, Abraham Baldwin, William Pierce, George Walton, William Houstoun, and Nathaniel Pendleton to the Constitutional Convention called to revise the Articles of Confederation at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

On February 9, 1825, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as President of the United States, despite his having received fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson. Congress voted for the President after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 election.

The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House.

Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party.

On February 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi received word that he was chosen as President of the Confederate States of America.

On February 9, 1926, the Atlanta Board of Education voted to prohibit teaching evolution in the Atlanta Public Schools.

On February 10, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust.


Gold Dome Today

Senate Committee Meeting Schedule


Senate Rules Calendar

SB 290: Dog Ownership; allow local governments to confer dog control authority upon multiple individuals (JUDY – 11th)

SB 305: Fire Protection and Safety; written notification prior to the denial of a permit; buildings/structures required to meet the state minimum fire safety standards (PUB SAF – 37th)

SB 322: Game and Fish; provide protection for certain wildlife habitats (NR&E – 7th)

SB 329: “Work Based Learning Act” (ED&Y – 50th)

House Committee Meeting Schedule

8-9:00 AM E-Discovery Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 132 CAP
9-10:00 AM Academic Innovations Subcommittee of Education 415 CLOB
9-10:00 AM RULES 341 CAP
9-10:00 AM Atwood Subcommittee of Juvenile Justice 515 CLOB
1-2:00 PM State Highways Subcommittee of Transportation 515 CLOB
1-3:00 PM Jacobs Subcommittee of Judiciary Civil 406 CLOB
1:30-2:00 PM Appropriations Higher Education 341 CAP
2-4:00 PM Academic Support Subcommittee of Education 415 CLOB
2-4:00 PM Resource Management Sub of Natural Resources 403 CAP
2-3:00 PM Life & Health Subcommittee of Insurance 506 CLOB
2-2:30 PM Appropriations General Government 341 CAP
2:30-3:00 PM Appropriations Education 341 CAP
3-5:00 PM Pak Subcommittee of Judiciary Non-Civil 132 CAP
3-4:00 PM Alcohol & Tobacco Sub of Regulated Industries 515 CLOB
3-3:30 PM Appropriations Economic Development 341 CAP
3:30-4:00 PM Appropriations Health 341 CAP
4-5:00 PM Welch Subcommittee of Juvenile Justice 415 CLOB
4-4:30 PM Appropriations Human Resources 341 CAP
4:30-5:00 PM Appropriations Public Safety 341 CAP


Open Rule

HB 645 – Insurance; electronic transmissions of notices and documents from an insurers to a party to an insurance transaction; provisions (Substitute)(Ins-Dollar-45th)

Modified Open Rule
HB 646 Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia; part-time chief magistrates may become members of such fund; provide (Ret-Fleming-121st)
HB 714 Labor; determination of eligibility for unemployment benefits of certain people performing certain services; provide changes (Substitute) (I&L-Hamilton-24th)
HB 835 Controlled substances; Schedules I, III, and IV; change certain provisions (JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)
HB 877 Motor vehicles; local authorities ability to regulate use of personal transportation vehicles on roadways and designated paths and lanes;
provide (MotV-Roberts-155th)
Modified Structured Rule
HB 741 Water resources; issuance of sludge land application permits; revise certain requirements (Substitute)(NR&E-Tanner-9th)
Structured Rule
HB 719 Sales and use tax; continuation of joint county municipal tax; provide (W&M-Tanner-9th)

Senate Week Four Summary

Political Potpourri

Today is one of those days in the Georgia General Assembly where most of the action will be in committees. The most attention is likely to be drawn to the State House Health and Human Services Committee meeting at 3 PM today, where HB 885 by State Rep. Allen Peake will be heard. That bill would legalize the use of some medications derived from cannabis (marijuana) under strictly-controlled circumstances.

The key to swaying the hearts of conservative lawmakers has been the stories of children suffering up to 100 seizures a day whose parents say they could benefit from access to cannabidiol, which would be administered orally in a liquid form. And proponents argue the cannabis oil is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes users feel high.

“I’m an unlikely champion for this cause,” said Georgia Rep. Allen Peake, a businessman from Macon who attended the evangelical Dallas Theological Seminary. “Once people realize it’s not a 6-year-old smoking a joint, most folks realize this is the compassionate thing to do.”

Peake’s bill has already earned the backing of more than 80 state lawmakers, including several members of the House Republican leadership, who signed on as co-sponsors and the state’s largest professional association of doctors.

Broad changes to the way Georgia handles children in the state’s custody are moving swiftly through the legislative process, and that makes some folks uneasy.

Gov. Nathan Deal last week announced plans to turn over aspects of the state’s child-protection system to private organizations after revelations of widespread failings by the agency. A bill could be introduced this session that would call for changes as early as 2015, said sources familiar with the legislation.

The sleeper issue wasn’t expected to gain traction during this speedy legislative session, but a looming federal deadline related to foster care funding has ignited a sense of urgency. Rick Jackson, a Georgia executive and philanthropist pushing the change, said the state will need to get a spending waiver from the federal government this year to make privatization a possibility.

“It’s kind of a now-or-never proposition,” he said. “It’s forced us to evaluate whether this is right for Georgia.”

But some advocates aren’t sure it is right for Georgia. Melissa Carter, director of the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory University’s School of Law, said the waiver will give the state more flexibility on how it spends foster care dollars, but privatization isn’t the only way to make changes.

“There is not consensus from anyone who would be impacted in Georgia’s child welfare system that this is the right strategy to pursue,” she said. “The pace makes everyone anxious.”

I become uneasy any time the Georgia General Assembly starts speeding up, as the past years have shown a propensity for spending part of every session fixing things that got broken the previous session. Adverse weather conditions this week could further shorten and rush an already hasty drive to the finish line in mid-March.

Last week, legislators and other Capitol denizens had an opportunity to try Google glass, as the company seeks to familiarize legislators with the wearable-computer technology.

Lawmakers, interns and clerks got to try out pairs of the Google Glass wearable computer Thursday as representatives of the search-engine company sought to head off possible efforts to outlaw use of the technology while driving.

The gadget is worn like glasses with only one small lens that serves as the screen for viewing the internet, from video to newspaper websites and anything else that’s online. Commands are given either by voice or taps along the frame of the glasses, and manipulation takes considerable concentration for first-time wearers.

It is still in testing and isn’t available for purchase yet, so it wasn’t discussed four years ago when lawmakers passed Georgia’s law against texting while driving. The company says that means Google Glass isn’t prohibited.

“It’s hands-free. You use your voice. It’s heads-up,” said Wilson White, the corporate public-policy manager.

He argues that anti-texting laws haven’t succeeded in reducing accidents because now drivers take their eyes off of the road longer because they hold their cellphones lower to keep from being caught.

For now, it’s not asking for specific legislation or fighting to stop any already introduced.

“What we don’t want is premature legislation that will stifle innovation,” White said.

Back in the early 1990s, I worked in transportation policy and planning in Virginia, and one project my boss had us undertake was a comprehensive look at all laws and regulations our agencies administered with an eye to cleaning out some of the detritus that had accumulated in over a century of legislating and agency rulemaking. We found laws from the 1920s that clearly had no place in modern society, but had never been repealed.

At some level, the coming legislative issues over Uber and Tesla reflect a similar dynamic. Laws that were originally intended to foster competition or protect consumers have either failed to grow with the times, or been amended over the years into a means to stifle competition and protect incumbent businesses. I would suggest a legislative study committee designed to (a) identify and repeal outdated legislation and regulations that simply have no effect anymore; and (b) examine the state’s regulatory regimes for professions and businesses and decide whether current laws do more to hinder or promote competition.

Cobb County Superintendent Michael Hinojosa abruptly resigned in order to move back to Texas, and the Cobb School Board is unsure of its next step.

Senator William Ligon says he’s working with Governor Deal to move the state away from Common Core standards, but they may  not be on the same page with respect to timing.

By September, state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) said the Cobb Board of Education will have the ability to opt out of the Common Core standards.
Ligon, who tried to pass a bill last year repealing the controversial national standards from state schools, said he is now working with Gov. Nathan Deal to write a new law, which would give local school boards the power to choose curriculum.
Deal thanked the students, staff and bus drivers at Hickory Hills Elementary School in Marietta Friday morning for their tireless work keeping students safe during last Tuesday’s “unexpected sleepover” at the school.
On his way out of the school, Deal paused to say he wasn’t in any hurry to repeal the Common Core standards, which were implemented in state schools for math and English classrooms in fall 2012. Deal said he doesn’t think he will be repealing the controversial Common Core standards any time soon, and it was still too early to tell what kind of an impact the standards would have on Georgia students.
“I think it would be ill-advised to just simply abolish the standards without having anything to to take their place. That would leave students and teachers in a very vulnerable situation,” Deal said.

Some chickens (aka Freedom Birds) are coming home to roost in Cobb County Commission District Three, where Commissioner JoAnn Birrell wants to revoke a measure passed last year to allow chickens to be raised on lots under 2 acres.

Chickens were not allowed on lots with fewer than 2 acres until the Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 last year to lift the ban, with Commissioner JoAnn Birrell and county Chairman Tim Lee voting no.

Unsatisfied with that vote, Birrell and Lee are trying to bring back the bird ban this month — at least on lots smaller than 2 acres.

Joseph Pond of east Cobb, who led the charge to pass the ordinance last year, saw his application rejected by the zoning board.

Some who want to raise hens become frustrated with the lengthy application process and cost, he said, and end up calling it quits.

Pond maintains it’s an issue of property rights and an overzealous local government. He announced on Thursday his intention to challenge Birrell for her seat on the commission and said the matter of property rights “opened up for me” a new world.

“It’s our right. It’s an example of our property rights,” Pond said. “In the city of Atlanta, you can have 25 chickens on your property.”

Manuel’s Tavern, an Atlanta bar, raises chickens on its roof and is certified to sell its eggs in the restaurant. Chickens and other fowl are allowed in the city of Atlanta. An Atlanta ordinance states 4 square feet is needed for every individual chicken and up to 75 are allowed on a “single premises.”

Political consultant Dave Simons is running for Chatham County School Board.

Simons isn’t abandoning his political consulting career. His only concession: He won’t run any school board campaigns except his own.

“Some people seem to think you have to be unemployed, underemployed or retired to be eligible to run,” he said. “That would rule out a lot of very capable people.”

Simons sees no conflict between the political nature of his work and his prospects for being an effective board leader.

“It’s a business,” he said concerning his profession. “I’m good at compartmentalizing. I can disagree with someone on something and work with him on other issues.”

Simons isn’t especially well-known except to people who follow local politics. But neither are the other people who are running as I write this.

Meanwhile, his positions and connections bode well for support from the business community — and a well-financed campaign.

And there’s at least one more reason to think Simons will do well in the May 20 election: He’s a Republican.

Sure, the race is non-partisan, and Democrats typically at least hold their own in countywide races. But two other considerations may matter more.

The first is that — at least to some extent — voters’ partisan or ideological leanings spill over into non-partisan elections. Moreover, the school board president election is on the same day as partisan primaries.

The Republicans’ include a widely watched U.S. Senate nomination battle and vigorous local ones for vacant seats in Congress, the state Senate and the State House.

In contrast, no serious competition is shaping up in local Democratic primaries. And no statewide Democratic primary looms as a strong magnet for local voters.

Bottom line: Local turnout on May 20 likely will be skewed toward the GOP; advantage Simons.

Events Calendar

Athens – Clarke County GOP: Meeting with Gary Gerrard, Eugene Yu, & David Dwyer

February 10, 2014 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Country Inn & Suites, 236 Old Epps Bridge Road, Athens , GA 30606

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We will host Congressional Candidate Gary Gerrard and US Senate Candidate Eugene Yu. We will have a special presentation on Downtown Athens by David Dwyer

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Georgia Tech College Republicans: Meeting with Karen Handel

February 10, 2014 from 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Piedmont Room in the Student Center, 350 Ferst Dr, Atlanta , GA 30313

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Join us this Monday night in welcoming the former Secretary of State for Georgia, Karen Handel! She is currently running for US Senate and if elected she will be the first female US Senator for Georgia! Hope to see everyone there!

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Happy Birthday – Congressman Rob Woodall

February 11, 2014

Happy Birthday – Congressman Rob Woodall

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Cherokee YR: Happy Hour

February 11, 2014 from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Sixes Tavern, 3568 Sixes Road, Canton, GA 30114

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We may have been snowed in for our January meeting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good drink among friends!

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Atlanta YR: Happy Hour with Rep. Tom Graves

February 13, 2014 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Ri Ra, 1080 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta , GA 30309

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AYR and Congressman Tom Graves are teaming up for a joint Young Professionals Happy Hour. We will meet on Feb. 13 at Ri Ra in Midtown (1080 Peachtree St NE #1, Atlanta, GA 30309). We’ll begin gathering at 7 p.m. We will post more information about the event closer to Feb. 13.

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Greater Fayette GOP Women’s Club: Meeting with Gardner, Yu, & Handel

February 13, 2014 from 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Tyrone Depot, 847 Senoia Rd, Tyrone, GA 30290

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We look forward to hearing from guest speakers Art Gardner, Eugene Yu, and Ms Karen Handel, candidates for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.  A light supper will be provided by GFRWC.  All Republicans are welcome to attend.  For more information, please contact Debby Dickinson, 404-376-4132 or [email protected]

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Valentines Day

February 14, 2014


Savannah Area GOP Women: Valentine’s Day Fashion Show

February 14, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Plantation Club At The Landings, 71 Green Island Road, Savannah, GA 31411

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Tickets: $40 per person. Tables of 8, 10 or 12 available. Business Sponsorship’s Available Cash Bar and Silent Auction at 11:00 a.m. Lunch at 12:00 p.m. Tickets: Contact Louise Armstrong Grotheer [email protected]

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Hall County GOP: Breakfast – Theme: Heart of Republican Politics

February 15, 2014 from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Denny’s Restaurant, 1701 Browns Bridge Rd,, Gainesville, GA 30501

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Theme: Heart of Republican Politics Join us at Denny’s Restaurant – 1701 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. Meet for breakfast at 8:30am (or earlier if you like), and the meeting will start at 9:00. Speakers will be: Michael McNeely – GAGOP 1st Vice Chairman Leonardo Smith – GAGOP Dir of Minority Engagement Brad Hughes – GAGOP Political Director For planning purposes, please RSVP to [email protected]

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Conservatism Outside the Box

February 15, 2014 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Buford Community Center, Town Park & Theatre, 2200 Buford Hwy, Buford , GA 30518
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In today’s political climate, it is easy to feel alone, like “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” The purpose of this conference is to show that we are not alone. There are many conservatives out there who we might not ordinarily connect with but need to if this is to remain a free republic. So please open your hearts and your minds as you attend this conference. I promise that you will leave feeling renewed in your…

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David Perdue – U.S. Senate: Meet and Greet

February 15, 2014 from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Wingate by Wyndham, 560 Greers Chaple Drive, Kennesaw , GA 30144
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  We have all said it before…We want someone with real business experience to run for office. We want someone who understands the free market system and knows how to get our economy moving. Join David Perdue – U.S. Senate as he discusses why he is running for Senate and how you can make a difference.

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Senator John Albers: Johns Creek Town Hall

February 15, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Newtown Community Center, 3150 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek, GA 30022
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Senator John Albers: Johns Creek Town Hall

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Senator Johnny Isakson: Town Hall

February 15, 2014 from 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
PC Admin Center, 1266 East Church Street, Jasper, GA 30143
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Senator Johnny Isakson Town Hall

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