Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 27, 2014

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 27, 2014

On February 27, 1922, the United States Supreme Court released an unanimous decision holding that the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is constitutional. The case, Leser v. Garnett, arose because of a challenge seeking to strike women’s names from the voter rolls in Maryland and asserting:

  • The power to amend the Constitution did not cover this amendment, due to its character.
  • Several states that had ratified the amendment had constitutions that prohibited women from voting, rendering them unable to ratify an amendment to the contrary.
  • The ratifications of Tennessee and West Virginia were invalid, because they were adopted without following the rules of legislative procedure in place in those states.

It might as well have asserted that sleeping on the couch for the rest of the plantiffs’ lives would be cold and uncomfortable.

On February 27, 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted in Fulton County Superior Court of murdering two adult males. Atlanta Police later said he was guilty of at least 23 of 29 child murders between 1979 and 1981. Williams was never indicted or tried on the allegations of child murder and maintains his innocence.

Today Under the Gold Dome

The Georgia General Assembly will return to Session on Monday, March 3, 2014, for Crossover Day. No Senate Committee meetings are scheduled for today.

HOUSE MEETING SCHEDULE

8:30 AM General Government Subcommittee of Governmental Affairs 506 CLOB
9:30 AM GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS 506 CLOB
10:00 AM WAYS & MEANS 606 CLOB
10:30 AM PUBLIC SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY 415 CLOB
11:00 AM INTERSTATE COOPERATION 515 CLOB
1:00 PM Environmental Quality Subcommittee of Natural Resources 515 CLOB
2:00 PM BUDGET & FISCAL AFFAIRS 415 CLOB

Yesterday, the House Health and Human Services Committee passed Rep. Allen Peake’s HB 885 (Substitute) unanimously, clearing the way for the bill to go before the Rules Committee and be voted on by the entire State House or Representatives. HB 885 is also known as “Haleigh’s Law” and would allow the medical use, by prescription, of medication derived from cannabis, and also allow strictly-regulated production of such medication, including growing of cannabis, in Georgia. From Peake’s hometown Macon Telegraph:

A bill that would legalize access to a cannabis-derived medicine in Georgia passed its first vote Wednesday, with a new provision for sourcing the illegal plant: in-state cannabis cultivation.

“We’ve tried to address the access problem that we clearly have by providing a cultivation option” at Georgia’s five medical research universities, state Rep. Allen Peake, sponsor of House Bill 885, said of his hours-old edits.

That’s meant to get around a major roadblock to his bill: how to find marijuana to synthesize the liquid that provides some children relief from severe seizure disorders. In Colorado, where cannabis is legal, several companies manufacture such medicine, but they cannot export to other states.

“I don’t want a bill that gives false hopes,” said state Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, chair of the committee, pointing out that cannabis is still not legal under federal law.

Cooper said as far as her research shows, no academic research institute can take something that is not FDA-approved and use it on humans without jeopardizing federal funding.

“No matter what this bill does, I will encourage children to apply for this expanded … testing” in the U.S. of the vetted British medicine, Cooper said. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Under the bill, the only five Georgia universities that could apply to grow and synthesize high-CBD liquid medical cannabis are Georgia Regents and the University of Georgia, plus Emory, Morehouse and Mercer universities. No school would be obliged to do medical marijuana work, but they would have the option.

Peake said Morehouse and Mercer have expressed interest if it becomes legal under state law. Both are private schools.

State Rep. Mickey Channell, R-Greensboro, said the bill isn’t perfect, “but we need to act on this.” It won’t extend every child’s life, he said, but it will improve “their quality of life while they’re still with us.”

I will take the liberty of here saying that I admire Rep. Allen Peake and hope that his constituents will recognize the leadership he has provided on this issue even if they do not agree with him. It’s not the issue that makes me appreciate Rep. Peake, it is his willingness to put his own political career in jeopardy to help some constituents. He has also worked diligently to honor and address the concerns of major stakeholder groups in Georgia as well as pave the path to allow his colleagues in the State House to vote on the basis of their own judgment and conscience and not anti-marijuana hysteria. I believe that Georgia should not in coming years move toward permissive laws allowing the smoking of marijuana unless sound medical data back any such proposal, and I would oppose attempts to legalize the recreational use, as Rep. Peake has said he would.

In Matthew 16:26, we are asked, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” and this is a verse that all politicians should regularly revisit. An elected official who puts his or her own political interests ahead of doing what he or she believes to be the right thing for their constituents has already lost the battle and is incapable of moral leadership.

In related news, a poll of members by the Gwinnett County Republican Party found 63.2% in favor of passing HB885/Haleigh’s Law and 16.8% opposed. We’ll be talking more about this poll later.

Campaigns and Elections

The email/internet poll by the Gwinnett County Republican Party also had a question about the race for State School Superintendent:

If the primary election for Georgia State School Superintendent were held today, who would be your first and second choice?

Candidate           1st Choice    2nd Choice
Nancy Jester           32.1%         9.8%
Richard Woods        8.3%        17.6%
Fitz Johnson             6.0%         9.8%
Sharyl Dawes            3.6%         2.0%
Kira Willis                  1.2%         7.8%
Mike Buck                  1.2%         2.0%
Undecided               47.6%        51.0%

And the Gubernatorial Primary:

If the primary election for Georgia Governor were held today, who would you choose?

Nathan Deal:              58.1%
David Pennington:    21.5%
John Barge:                   1.1%
Undecided:                 19.4%

Congressman Jack Kingston is the first candidate in the 2014 Senate race to go on television with a significant statewide buy.

+2 for footage of his 1996 Buick wagon. That year of Roadmaster wagon carried the 350 LT-1 that also made its home in the C4 Chevrolet Corvette, the Impala SS, and the Impala Police Package.

And then there were three. Candidates in Senate District 16, to replace Senator Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone), who is retiring. Attorney James Clifton announced his candidacy, joining previously announced Republican candidates David Studdard, and Marty Harbin.

Also hosting at least three candidates is Senate District 27, where incumbent Senator Jack Murphy is defending his seat in the Republican Primary. Taking on Murphy are Michael WIlliams and Jack Schiff.

Yesterday, Williams sent out an email saying that he had received an anonymous packet of opposition research material on himself, including documents related to a past divorce and a business bankruptcy.

Republican Michael Williams of Cumming is challenging incumbent Jack Murphy for Senate District 27 which covers Forsyth County.  Murphy has held the seat for 12-years and is intent on holding onto it.

Several weeks back, a package with no return address arrived on the front steps of the Williams home in Cumming.  Michael’s wife, Virginia, opened the package to discover a mysterious message typed in large black type with no signature or indication of the sender.  The typed letter informed the receiver that he (Williams) should reconsider his bid for State Senate or the anonymous sender would attempt to discredit him through misinformation and half-truths.  The package also contained divorce records for Williams’ previous marriage as well as documents concerning a bankruptcy that he went through with a previous business.  The package made it clear that these documents as well as several other veiled allegations would be made public if Williams did not withdraw from the race.  What you cannot see in an old bankruptcy filing is that Michael, though not required by law, has paid back much of the money from the bankruptcy and is continuing to pay it off. Michael believes this is the right thing to do regardless of not being legally required to do so. This is what integrity looks like, doing the right thing without force. This is the same integrity that Michael intends to bring to the State Senate.

Senator Murphy responded via email:

As Ronald Reagan once said, here we go again. It seems my announced opponent has decided to take to email and the internet to spread his delusional conspiracies.

While I am unaware of the circumstances surrounding this alleged and likely mythical mail package, I have been deeply disturbed by my opponent’s recent conduct and his personal history. Allow me to share some facts.

As you well know, the recent economic downturn hit me pretty hard, as it did many people throughout my district and our state. I did not declare bankruptcy. I have paid all my debts and lived up to all my obligations. There have been radicals in my community and liberals in the media who have tried to turn this into something nefarious. It’s clearly not.

My opponent though has some very serious questions swirling around him that need to be answered. He has declared bankruptcy and has not been living up to his personal obligations in many ways. Yet, he miraculously has $150,000 of his own money to spend on a political campaign? That’s not just puzzling. It’s simply wrong.

He’s worked himself up into some kind of unbalanced frenzy about alleged attacks that I doubt ever happened and casting all sorts of insults around. I’m not going to sit back and take these attacks this time. In this election, we will be forcefully and aggressively speaking the truth about the choices in this election.

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