Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 21, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday to Congressman John Lewis, who was born on this date in 1940 in Pike County Alabama. In 1963, Lewis became President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, based in Atlanta. In 1981, Lewis was elected to an at-large seat on the Atlanta City Council, and in 1986, he was elected to Congress, defeating Julian Bond in the Democratic Primary.

On February 21, 1958, Governor Marvin Griffin signed legislation creating the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to oversee construction and operation of a Confederate memorial and public park at the site.

On February 21, 1998, Julian Bond was selected as Chairman of the NAACP. Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, but the House initially refused to seat him due to his opposition to the war in Vietnam. The United States Supreme Court eventually ruled against the House and Bond was sworn in on January 9, 1967, serving there until his election to the Georgia State Senate. In 1986, Bond left the Senate to run for Congress.

Gold Dome Today


12:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Community Health Subcommittee 341 CAP
1:00 PM APPROPRIATIONS – Human Development & Public Health Subcommittee 341 CAP

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 235: Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund; change the definition of the term “firefighter”; creditable service (RET-56th)

SB 299: Natural Resources; provide flexibility for establishing watershed protection standards (NR&E – 51st)

SB 332: Magistrate Courts; increase the fine amount for contempt of court (JUDY – 23rd)

SB 343: Education; provide no high school which receives funding under the “Quality Basic Education Act”; shall participate in sponsor interscholastic sport events conducted by any athletic association (ED&Y – 53rd)

SR 847: Heritage Preserve; dedicated real property located in Rockdale and Henry Counties; authorize the change of use (SI&P – 17th)

HB 809: Commerce and trade; bad faith assertions of patent infringement; prohibit (B&FI – 49th)



8:00 AM RULES 341 CAP
8:30 AM Pak Subcommittee of Judiciary Non-Civil 415 CLOB
1:00 PM Environmental Quality Subcommittee of Natural Resources 606 CLOB
1:00 PM Setzler Subcommittee of Judiciary Non-Civil 132 CAP

House Rules Calendar

Modified Open Rule

HB 423 – Game and fish; live raccoons may be used in sanctioned organization field trial competitions under certain circumstances; provide (Substitute) (GF&P-Allison-8th)

HB 436 – Public officers; counties and municipalities provide by local law for district durational residency requirements; authorize (GAff-Turner-21st)

HB 610 – Insurance; licensing and regulation of public adjusters; provide (Substitute)(Ins-Williamson-115th)

HB 670 – Trade names; require registration with the clerk of superior court; provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Fleming-121st)

HB 834 – Bonded debt; population Act provision relating to dates of bond elections; repeal (Substitute)(GAff-Clark-101th)

HR 1161 – District attorney; active-status member of State Bar of Georgia from three to seven years; increase – CA (Substitute)(Judy-Caldwell-131st)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 783 Game and fish; provisions relating to rules and regulations used to establish criminal violations; update (GF&P-Hitchens-161st)

HB 943 Cancer Treatment Fairness Act; enact (Substitute)(Ins-Hawkins-27th)

Brian Kemp on the “SEC Super Tuesday”

Or, as I like to call it, the “Political Consultants Full Employment Act.”

Gold Dome Yesterday

Common Core

Yesterday, the Senate Education and Youth Committee unanimously voted to send Senate Bill 167 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) to the floor. From Walter Jones with Morris News:

The Senate Education & Youth Committee voted unanimously Thursday for legislation to force the state to retreat from the multistate education standards called Common Core.

Before the vote, the chairman of the House Education Committee announced his support for the measure and promised it would receive quick consideration there, too. About the same time, GOP political operatives released a poll warning that Gov. Nathan Deal could lose votes among Republicans for supporting Common Core.

Conservatives across the state have complained that the standards permit federal intrusion and jeopardize the privacy of students.

“We support this bill because we want to pull Common Core away from our children,” parent Carolyn Riley told the Senate committee.

Business and education groups have countered that safeguards prevent sharing of student information and that the standards were developed by states — with Georgia in the lead, not the federal government.

In the Savannah Morning News, Michael Moore editorialized that Common Core would be “the death knell for public education.”

Common Core is a by-product of the philanthropic-industrial complex that seeks to privatize education so the very wealthy can show that public education is falling apart and their tax monies should go to private schools.

Privatizing education in Georgia has been a goal of the state legislature for years. It looks like we’re finally letting them get to what would be the death knell for public education.

The irony is that to accomplish this stealth goal, these supposedly-conservative Republicans who are in charge must relinquish local control, follow Obama’s lead and embrace the federalization of education standards, known as the Common Core.

Michael Moore is a professor of literacy education at Georgia Southern University.

Uber and Lyft

Our friend, Greg Williams, writes that House Bill 907, by Rep. Powell is “a frontal assault on the free market.”

The Taxicab Monopoly Protection Act was brought up in the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee [Thursday].

HB 907 was brought up for discussion around 6 30 or so as Chair Alan Powell presented the latest rendition of the bill, hot off the presses. No one really had time to read it so Powell and a guy with the Limo Lobby gave the salient details.

Powell reiterated his fear of rampant “sex molesters” working as Transportation employees and the Limo guy talked about how great it was to have a “level playing field” by adding onerous regulations to RideShare companies Lfyt and Uber.

To their credit, both Lyft and Uber representatives said their companies maintain a strict No Tolerance policy for Sex Molesters….

After sitting there for 5 hours, they opened up the Public Comment (me and a bunch of other folks) and allotted speakers 2 minutes each…Testimony went late, I took full advantage of my two minutes but unfortunately the bill passed committee with only one dissenting vote (Scott Holcomb)…

I truly fear that none of the folks on the committee had time to digest the latest incarnation of the bill and many of the committee members asked questions that indicated they don’t really understand the RideShare business model. I look forward to continuing the fight and urge all House and Senate members to oppose the bill, as the “fixes” are insufficient half measures and the bill is a huge win for the Taxicab Monopoly…

From a political perspective, it is worrisome to me that we have a “Republican”-sponsored bill that places the Chairman of the Buckhead Young Republicans on the same side of a free market issue with Democratic Rep. Scott Holcomb. Holcomb’s House District is the only State House District that can realistically be taken over by a Republican in this year’s general election, and we’re giving him an issue where some members of the House Republican caucus appear to be less in favor of free markets than Democrat Holcomb.

This year, we have seen four different issues in which free market capitalism collides with Depression-era regulatory schemes that act to insulate an existing class of businesses at the expense of Georgia consumers or businesses. Uber and Lyft is one example. Craft beer brewers who wish to sell outside the existing three-tier system of alcohol distribution is the second example. Existing legislation that prevents Tesla Motors from selling more than 150 cars in Georgia is the third example. The fourth example is existing law that prevents homeowners from financing solar panel installation through a third-party power purchase agreement.

These regulatory issues usually bubble to the surface as the result of new technology or a new way of doing business arising. But we only really hear about them when the companies affected have the financial strength to raise the issue. Who knows how many other instances exist where existing business regulation stifles innovation and business development. It is my personal opinion that a comprehensive look is needed at Georgia’s business regulations to identify and remove as many impediments to business development and job creation as possible.

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