Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2014


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 5, 2014

On August 5, 1774, Royal Governor James Wright issued a proclamation banning assemblies to protest British policy.

President Abraham Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax on August 5, 1861 at the rate of 3 percent on all income over $800 per year

On August 5, 1910, Gov. Joseph Brown signed legislation outlawing betting on election outcomes.

The caravan transporting 43 ounces of gold from Dahlonega to the State Capitol to be used in gilding the dome arrived in Roswell/Sandy Springs area on August 5, 1958. At the current price of $1291.80 per ounce, that would be worth $55,547.40.

President Ronald Reagan began the process of firing all striking Air Traffic Controllers on August 5, 1981.

Divers raised the turret of USS Monitor near Cape Hatteras on August 5, 2002.

Senate Leadership Elections

Last night, Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) posted on Facebook:

I wanted to personally confirm to you that the report from my friend Jim Galloway at the AJC is accurate. After prayerful consideration and the support of both my family and a number of my fellow Senators, I have, with great humility, decided to stand for Majority Leader in the Georgia State Senate. Between now and Election Day, 100% of my political effort will be focused on helping to elect David Perdue – U.S. Senate and, of course, to help re-elect Governor Nathan Deall, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and our entire statewide Georgia Republican Party ticket.

I ask you to join me in support of this important effort working locally with the Hall County Republican Party and statewide with the great team at the Georgia Republican Party.

Earlier in the day, Senator Josh McKoon posted this:

While I am appreciative of the support from friends around Georgia to take up greater responsibility in the State Senate, now is not the time to campaign for positions in the 2015-16 legislative leadership. I am 100% focused on victory for the Republican ticket in November, including my own race for re-election. We all need to keep our attention on the Democrats.

McKoon told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that the “Draft McKoon” movement was not his doing.

“I know who is involved and it is not even a constituent,” McKoon said. “It is coming from outside the district.”

McKoon didn’t name who created the social media page.

In fact, McKoon said he is more concerned about winning the District 29 seat in November than a leadership position in the Republican Party. McKoon is facing Democrat Brian Roslund of Pine Mountain.

“I have got Democratic opposition, so I have to re-elected,” McKoon said. “I will worry about the other stuff after the election.”

There is also considerable speculation that a challenge to Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer will arise.


The Carroll County Board of Commissioners is considering putting package sales of alcohol on the November ballot – Times-Georgian.

The Gainesville Board of Education will reduce the millage rate – Gainesville Times.

Gainesville City Council will spend $12,500 of SPLOST money to study whether larger aircraft can land at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport – Gainesville Times.

The Richmond County Board of Education has selected a finalist for Superintendent – Augusta Chronicle.

Macon-Bibb County has opened a new Juvenile Justice Center – Macon Telegraph.

The case against former Gwinnett County Commissioner Keven Kenerly is likely to be resolved today – Gwinnett Daily Post.

Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace was recognized by University of Georgia in its 2014 40 under 40, following an appearance in Georgia Trend’s 40 under 40 last year – Cherokee Tribune.

Hot air

Two members of the Alabama Public Service Commission and one member-elect traveled to Atlanta last week to testify at the EPA hearings.

“We will not stand for what they are doing to our way of life in Alabama,” said PSC President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh. “We will take our fight to the EPA.”

At their news conference [] Cavanaugh and PSC commissioner-elect Chip Beeker invoked the name of God in stating their opposition to the EPA proposal. Beeker, a Republican who is running unopposed for a PSC seat, said coal was created in Alabama by God, and the federal government should not enact policy that runs counter to God’s plan.

“Who has the right to take what God’s given a state?” he said.

Cavanaugh called on the people of the state to ask for God’s intervention.

“I hope all the citizens of Alabama will be in prayer that the right thing will be done,” she said.

YellowHammer News covered this coal miner’s testimony before the EPA.

 In the end, most people here will not wonder or care what happens to my wife and kids if I no longer have a job.

No one is thinking about the burden my family and my co-workers will face if we no longer have a job, a steady paycheck, or if there are no more contributions to the UMWA health and retirement funds.

No one will care until the money runs out and the government… which is killing our jobs, must pay the price of unemployment benefits, welfare and public assistance, which is running rampant in our country today.

I am proud that I have been able to take care of my family because of the work I do. I am proud to be a miner. I have never asked for handouts from the people around me or from the government. I want to pay my own way. I want to work. I feel pride in my work. I want to be able to continue my profession and produce coal to power this nation. And I’m sorry that I get emotional, but I can’t help it.

In the end, I don’t see the Agency’s proposed policy as a real solution. We will lose what we have worked for all of our lives and our communities will struggle in poverty. How can the EPA call this a success story?

State Rep. Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) offers this Op-Ed on the proposed carbon rules.

Not surprisingly, busses of environmentalists were on hand for the hearings and many staged rallies showing their support for the EPA’s regulations were organized. It felt like a manufactured circus. But when you’re a deep-pocketed environmental group, creating such a scene isn’t hard—especially when you have the backing of our own president. I wonder if these environmentalists have looked at their electricity bills lately, or if, perhaps their personal budgets are so big that they don’t have to worry about rising energy costs.

In reality, most families and businesses do worry about the bottom line. Higher costs make a tangible difference in their daily lives. And with energy costs already on the rise because of EPA’s past regulations, more costly red tape spells disaster for Georgia.

Our communities cannot afford to pay more for electricity, which is exactly what these regulations would produce. We cannot afford to face potential power outages; again, a certain outcome of EPA’s plan. It was ironic, then, when a massive power outage forced a location change for the hearing in Atlanta.

My colleagues and I passed House Resolution 1158 (HR 1158) earlier this year, a measure that asserts our state’s primacy in setting energy policy, with resounding bipartisan support. Knowing EPA’s regulations were in the pipeline, we wanted to put forward our own commonsense approach that balanced cost and reliability concerns with the need to invest in new energy sources.

We wouldn’t try to legislate for Alabama or Florida, so why is the federal government forcing a “one size fits all” policy for Georgia?

Hotter than Georgia asphalt

Today at 9:30 AM, the Joint House-Senate Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding convenes in Room 606 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Among the testimony offered will be that of Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and “close friend” of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Here’s some background on the study committee from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Following a series of meetings between now and the end of October, the committee is expected to make recommendations in November. The recommendations will likely be a springboard for legislation for the 2015 session of the General Assembly starting in January.

Georgia ranks second-to-last among the states in per capita spending on transportation and sets aside very little funding for mass transit. As every metro Atlanta commuter knows, congestion on the region’s interstates and surface streets seems to worsen with each passing day.

“What we’re really talking about is economic development and jobs,” said Michael Sullivan, president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia and chairman of the Georgia Transportation Alliance, who will speak to the committee. “It’s Georgia’s opportunity to be competitive against neighboring states. And probably one of the biggest challenges we face when we are trying to attract new employers to Georgia is traffic congestion in metro Atlanta.”

Georgia relies on the federal government for about two-thirds of the money it spends on road and bridge construction projects. Yet federal funding has become increasingly uncertain as Congress has failed to pass a long-term transportation funding bill.

One idea to generate more in-state revenue for transportation projects is to claw back the fourth penny of Georgia’s 4-cents-per-gallon motor fuel sales tax. That penny adds up to about $180 million a year, but it currently goes into the general fund to be spent elsewhere.

The proposed switch is popular with conservatives.

“The fourth penny is an obvious one we all want to talk about,” said state Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Blue Ridge, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee and is co-chair of the study committee. “We want to see what the impact would be to our state budget if we roll that back into transportation like we think it should be.”


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