President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction on December 8, 1863.
First, it allowed for a full pardon for and restoration of property to all engaged in the rebellion with the exception of the highest Confederate officials and military leaders.
Second, it allowed for a new state government to be formed when 10 percent of the eligible voters had taken an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Third, the Southern states admitted in this fashion were encouraged to enact plans to deal with the freed slaves so long as their freedom was not compromised.
On December 8, 1899, Georgia Governor Allen Candler signed legislation to levy a tax on all dogs older than four months.
The United States declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Montana Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin, the first female elected to the United States House of Representatives, cast the sole dissenting vote.
John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980.
Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections
CANDIDATE FORUM TONIGHT FOR HD50 SPECIAL ELECTION: The Johns Creek Community Association is hosting a Candidate Forum today, Monday, December 8, 2014 for the special election to fill the Georgia House District 50 seat. The election will be held on January 6, 2015 and early voting begins on December 15 at the Johns Creek Environmental Center.
This forum will be your only opportunity to hear all 5 candidates answer your questions. The Forum will be held at the Thornhill Clubhouse.
You can meet the candidates at 6:30 PM and the Q&A will begin at 7:00 PM.
Former President George W. Bush (43) was in Valdosta last week at Moody Air Force Base, signing copies of his book, 41: A Portrait of My Father.
Hundreds of people lined up at Moody’s Base Exchange for hours, just to get the opportunity to shake George W. Bush’s hand and get a signed copy of his new book.
“It’s an opportunitiy of a lifetime to come and get the chance to shake his hand and thank him for his service to the country”, says Marla Haag, a Book Signing Attendee.
“I’m most excited to hopefully shake his hand. That was my ultimate goal”, says Staff Sergeant, Kyle Pantermoller.
41: Portraits Of My Father is the Former President’s second book, and is a biography of his father, George Bush Senior. Though politics aren’t discussed in the book, it gives a unique look in to presidential life… which is one reason why Staff Sergeant Pantermoller says he was excited to read it.
“I actually enlisted under President Bush because I believed in his policy and his programs overseas. And it was important to me to serve under President Bush at the time”, he adds.
George W. Bush spoke to each of the Airmen as they got their book signed and shared his memories of Valdosta. As a young Airman, Bush also served at Moody while he was in training.
New Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods will focus on elementary-level reading and math education. From the AJC:
Speaking Friday to a group of school board members from across the state, Woods repeated many of the campaign promises that won him the state’s top education job in the November election. He floated the idea of advancing the cutoff date for kindergarten registration so children would be older when they enter school. Now, Georgia law says a child must be 5 years old by September 1.
The former Irwin County educator wants local control, improved morale for teachers, decreasing the emphasis on testing and tailoring graduation requirements to the interests of students. He says he’s been meeting with the governor, state lawmakers and policy groups in the weeks before his official start date to build relationships and get buy-in for his priorities.
“We’ve got to work together and that’s my commitment, to work together,” he told school board members. “Our kids do not gain if we are at divisive ends.”
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) predicts that the Georgia General Assembly will take up some form of regional transportation infrastructure funding this coming session.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed predicts another run at a regional transit effort sometime next year, saying leaders shouldn’t be discouraged by the 2012 failed T-SPLOST referendum.
Speaking at a forum in Washington sponsored by Politico Magazine, Reed also said he plans to make early childhood education a priority for 2015.
Reed said Atlanta is thriving with an influx of millennials and baby boomers, adding that businesses are following the migration into the heart of the city.
“Suburbs are continuing to have an appropriate place, but cities are the center of where the action is,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a greater blend of the population because I think that smart people, wherever they are, talented people, wherever they are… are moving increasingly to cities.”
The mayor spoke about failed T-SPLOST penny sales tax referendum, noting boosters had their “heads handed to them at the ballot” when voters shot down the effort in 2012. But Reed said it takes time to persuade voters and believes regional leaders will begin working on a similar project sometime in 2015.
Gasoline in South Carolina is as low as $2.20 per gallon and could be headed under two dollars by the end of the year.
Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman for AAA South, said the majority of the $2 gas in their market, which covers three states including Georgia, will likely be seen in Tennessee markets, where gas is already selling for around $2.24.
Augusta prices average more at $2.60, which is still 60 cents cheaper than people paid for gas last year. Some stations, however, are already selling for about $2.43, according to AAA’s Fuel Price Finder.
Two parts of South DeKalb County are also getting in on the cityhood movement.
Unlike the aspiring municipalities of Tucker and LaVista Hills to the north, which emphasize their need for local control and better services, many people in the less affluent southern parts of the county view cityhood as an economic development tool: Prettier streets, careful planning and a political voice, they say, will result in businesses moving in.
They’re also motivated by the fear of being the one of the last unincorporated areas in DeKalb, possibly causing their county taxes to rise.
Stonecrest would contain about 50,000 residents surrounding its largest commercial property, Stonecrest Mall, while sprawling South DeKalb would include about 294,000 people, making it the second-largest city in the state after Atlanta. The two potential cities have already agreed on shared borders, avoiding the kind of conflict that’s ongoing between Tucker and LaVista Hills.
Thursday night, Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) will hold a candlelight vigil at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta supporting passage of “safe harbor” legislation for child victims of human trafficking.
Nancy Jester will be sworn-in as DeKalb County Commissioner for District One at 10:30 AM today at Maloof Auditorium
1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur, Georgia. At 7 PM, she will host a toast to the supporters in her successful campaign at Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody.
Chatham County legislators heard about local priorities at a pre-legislative conference, according to the Savannah Morning News.
“We get to hear their presentations, which are basically educational,” said state Sen.-elect Ben Watson (R-Savannah). “Many times they have legislation or appropriations needed on a local basis. We hear that in front of the whole delegation so we’re all on the same page.”
The General Assembly will convene Jan. 12 in Atlanta.
Grabbing attention in the morning was the Savannah Professional Firefighters, a local firefighters’ union.
Vice president Robert L. Millie II made the case for legislation supporting a broadening of worker’s compensation for firefighters to include coverage of job-related cancers and infectious disease.
Lawmakers expressed support for the legislation, saying a previous bill failed in part because it tried to cover too many public service professions. They urged that the scope of the new bill be limited to firefighters.
“I believe we should have some protective mechanism in place for these men and women who put their lives at risk every day, especially when it comes to health issues,” said state Sen. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah).
The legislators heard from 27 groups in all. They ranged from tiny — Bacon Park Neighborhood Association — to quite large — Southern Company. Most were allotted 15 minutes to make their case, though Southern Company, the parent of Georgia Power, was scheduled for a full hour.
Meanwhile, Cobb County legislators weighed in on legislation. My favorite comments were from State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta).
“I think that we have a tendency to make bad laws when we react to specific situations too quickly, and it would seem like that type of bill is being introduced because of the situation in Missouri. In those situations, I think when people pass legislation on an emotional basis, they tend to go overboard,” Cooper said.
She said filing bills before the legislative session doesn’t have a lawmaking benefit.
“Pre-filing them just gets publicity for the bills. It doesn’t give them any other advantage because they have to be, in essence, re-filed for them to become official bills for consideration when the Legislature starts. The only advantage that would be gained would be if the press picks up on them, and they get extra press,” Cooper said.
Cooper added it’s difficult to give a hard stance on an issue or a pre-filed bill because the actual bill could execute a good idea in a bad way. Additionally, as a part of the legislative process, add-ons to the bills can turn a supporter away.
“It is extremely important that you don’t make a final decision on any bill until you’ve watched it go through the political process,” Cooper said. “A concept may be interesting, but the way that ends up in the bill that goes up for a vote may be totally different or have aspects in it that are just unacceptable.”
Three members of Cobb County’s legislative delegation will be new to the Gold Dome, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
Cooper advised Reps.-elect Bert Reeves (R-Marietta) and Erica Thomas (D-Austell), as well as Sen.-elect Michael Rhett (D-south Cobb) to take their time learning and making allies before they “strike out with ambitious goals.”
“They don’t have to pass a bill their first year. Sometimes just working to stop bad bills is useful, and they need to take time to learn the process so they don’t make silly remarks or make ridiculous moves that then make their colleagues wonder about their credibility,” Cooper said.
Valdosta’s legislative delegation spoke to their local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club about the upcoming Session.
Local State Senator, Ellis Black, and State Representatives, Amy Carter and Dexter Sharper spoke at the event.
The session covered the issues of transportation, education, and unemployment. Ellis Black touched on the topic of transportation funds and how slow the process of receiving them can be.
“I think and I hope we see a good demonstration of the power of the governor’s office. I went into the House of Representatives in 2001 and we spent 10 years in the legislature trying to come up with the funding for transportation,” Black said. “You’ve got to keep in mind when you’re talking about transportation you’re talking about something that is long ranged.”
Amy Carter covered multiple issues with education, including funding, testing, and dual enrollment.
“One thing that has been announced is a definite re-look at the QBE formula, which is what we use as systems, how we get our funding for students,” Carter said. “Although we have had committees that have studied it even in the last few years, there is still a good bit of outdated information in it…1983 was a long time ago and we need to update that based on the current economy.”
Dexter Sharper covered the topic of employment by expressing the importance of education in the Valdosta community. He believes that employment opportunities will come here once there are more people being educated past high school.
School funding is likely to be an issue in the legislature during the session, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.
“The governor has been pretty open that he is going to push for a review of the formula for funding education,” said Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, a member of the House Education Committee and a former educator and school system superintendent.
The governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has already started looking at the issue.
“Legislation will be required to make whatever changes they come up with. The formula is statutory,” Dickson said.
The formula that determines school funding is very complex, and local lawmakers said the issue is so large that it may take more than one session to address school funding.
“I gather that they are looking at a very robust look at K-12 education, looking at the whole picture. Budgeting and funding will be a huge part of that, but not the only part,” said state Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton. “We’ll see a lot of activity and maybe some movement. But 40 legislative days doesn’t seem like enough to do something of the magnitude of what they are talking about. I would not be surprised if we have to come back to it next year.”
The legislative Biennial Institute at UGA continues today and tomorrow.
In Sunday’s 10 a.m. primer on state government, Institute of Government staffers Paul Burks and David Tanner, both veterans state government planners, shared basic facts on the state, state government and a little bit of how the budget process works in a two-hour session.
Here’s some of what Burks and Tanner told them:
• The number of state employees is down by nearly one-fifth in six years — about 67,500 today versus 83,000 in 2008.
• Most of Georgia’s annual state budget goes to three kinds of expenditures: education (54.1 percent), health, including public health and Medicare (23.1 percent) and safety, such as police courts and prisons (8.4 percent). Georgia pays about 5.4 percent of its annual budget ($20 billion this year) for debt service.
• Georgia sets a limit of 10 percent of the state budget for debt, but in practice, Georgia leaders have observed a 6 percent limit — low compared to many states. That low debt load is a big reason Georgia has a AAA bond rating, which allows the state to get the lowest possible interest rates when it issues bonds for building projects such as the University of Georgia’s $45 million Student Learning Center.
• Georgia state revenues come mainly from two sources — sales tax (25.2 percent) and individual income tax (45.8 percent). Corporate income tax accounts for about 4.1 percent. One kind of tax, gasoline tax, can only spent in for roads and bridges — and not for purposes such as mass transit.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Department is asking for funding for 100 body cameras in the FY 2016 budget.
November was among the coldest ever in Georgia.
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