Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 13, 2015


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 13, 2015

On March 3, 1736, the Spanish Governor of Florida complained to Georgia’s James Oglethorpe about English settlements and forts in areas claimed by Spain.

On March 13, 1868, the first impeachment trial of a United States President began in the Senate. President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the House for allegations based on his Reconstruction policies that allegedly violated federal law.

Sworn in as president after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, President Johnson enacted a lenient Reconstruction policy for the defeated South, including almost total amnesty to ex-Confederates, a program of rapid restoration of U.S.-state status for the seceded states, and the approval of new, local Southern governments, which were able to legislate “black codes” that preserved the system of slavery in all but name. The Republican-dominated Congress greatly opposed Johnson’s Reconstruction program and passed the “Radical Reconstruction” by repeatedly overriding the president’s vetoes. Under the Radical Reconstruction, local Southern governments gave way to federal military rule, and African-American men in the South were granted the constitutional right to vote.

In March 1867, in order further to weaken Johnson’s authority, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act over his veto. The act prohibited the president from removing federal office holders, including Cabinet members, who had been confirmed by the Senate, without the consent of the Senate.

On March 13, 1957, Governor Marvin Griffin signed a joint resolution by the Georgia General Assembly purporting to impeach United State Chief Justice Earl Warren and associate justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Thomas Clark, Felix Frankfurter, and Stanley Reed, and calling on Congress to impeach the Justices.

Under the Gold Dome Today

The House Rules Committee meets at 8 AM in Room 341 of the State Capitol; the Senate Rules Committee will meet upon adjournment. Either chamber’s Rules Committee is subject to meeting today depending on the throughput of their respective chambers.

Senate Rules Calendar

SB 63 – Alcoholic Beverages; provide for manufacturers of malt beverages to make limited retail sales of malt beverages under certain circumstances (As Introduced) (Substitute) (RI&U-6th)

SB 122 – Revenue and Taxation; special purpose local option sales tax; provide for additional purpose for the use of the proceeds of tax (As Introduced) (FIN-53rd)

SR 126 – Bill T. Hardman Hospitality Highway; Dawson and Lumpkin counties; dedicate (As Introduced) (Substitute) (TRANS-51st)

SR 441 – Gladys Knight Highway; Fulton County; dedicate (As Introduced) (TRANS-35th)

SB 185 – Health; program of clinical trails of cannabidiol-containing products; treating certain residents under 18 years of age who have medication-resistant epilepsies (As Introduced) (Substitute) (H&HS-37th)

SB 203 – Georgia World War I Centennial Commission; create; membership, powers, and duties (As Introduced) (VM&HS-6th)

SB 130 – “Smokefree Cars for Children Act”; any person in control of a motor vehicle who smokes; person under the age of 15 in vehicle; misdemeanor (As Introduced) (H&HS-14th)

SB 154 – Public Order and Safety, Offenses Against; provide for law enforcement officials to record in private places/during execution of a search warrant (As Introduced) (JUDYNC-23rd)

SB 145 – Board of Community Health; provide that one member of the board is member of the state health benefit plan (As Introduced) (H&HS-29th)

SB 138 – Social Services; provide for various reforms regarding the state’s child welfare system (As Introduced) (Substitute) (H&HS-49th)

SB 194 – Pharmacists and Pharmacies; certain provisions shall not apply; facility engaged solely in the distribution of dialysate, drugs; patients with end stage renal disease (As Introduced) (H&HS-17th)

SB 191 – Blasting and Excavating Near Utility Facilities; prohibit local governing authorities from adopting ordinances (As Introduced) (Substitute) (TRANS-37th)

SB 160 – Alcoholic Beverages; revise penalties for a violation of Code Section 3-3-23 (As Introduced) (Substitute) (PUB SAF-27th)

SB 190 – Bona Fide Coin Operated Machines; provide certain definitions; license fees and requirements for manufacturers and distributors (As Introduced) (Substitute) (RI&U-49th)

SB 36 – ‘Underground Water Supply Protection Act of 2015′; prohibit the injection of ground water into the Floridan aquifer in certain counties
(As Introduced) (Substitute) (NR&E-3rd)

SB 82 – Motor Vehicles; distribution of alternative ad valorem tax proceeds; revise and change certain provisions (As Introduced) (Substitute)

SB 127 – Ethics in Government; provide for waivers of certain civil penalties and fees incurred by candidates for local elected office (As Introduced) (Substitute) (ETHICS-17th)

SB 126 – Pharmacists and Pharmacies; expansion of certain medical professionals to prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine to authorized entity; emergency purposes (As Introduced) (Substitute) (H&HS-52nd)

SB 91 – Alcoholic Beverages; provide for local control of distance requirements for grocery stores; locations near school buildings; local governing authority (As Introduced) (RI&U-7th)

SB 169 – Highways, Bridges, and Ferries; revise what constitutes part of the state highway system; appropriation of funds to Dept. of Transportation (As Introduced) (Substitute) (TRANS-51st)

SB 143 – Insurance; require insurer providing services under state health benefit plan to include certain trauma centers in provider network
(As Introduced) (Substitute) (I&L-52nd)

SB 176 – “Deantre Gregory Turman Act”; require youth athletes participating in gridiron football; four star rating on Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings
(As Introduced) (Substitute) (ED&Y-35th)

SB 141 – Juvenile Proceedings; provide that minor violations of weapons in school safety zones are not considered Class B designated felonies
(As Introduced) (Substitute) (JUDY-10th)

SB 109 – Health; clarify the use and effectiveness of Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment forms (As Introduced) (Substitute) (H&HS-36th)

House Rules Calendar

Open Rule

HB 297 Professional licensing boards; make designations for the receipt and processing of applications for examination; provide (RegI-Beskin-54th)

Modified Open Rule

HB 21 Transit authority; creation of; metropolitan areas; repeal a population provision (Trans-Carson-46th)

HB 322 Foreclosure; provide for recording of deeds under power within a certain time after sale; provisions (Substitute)(Judy-Strickland-111th)

HB 474 Charter schools; enrollment priorities for educationally disadvantaged students and military students; provide (Substitute)(Ed-Kaiser-59th)

HB 510 Georgia Sports Commission Fund; create; provisions (ED&T-Stephens-164th)

Modified Structured Rule

HB 48 Special license plates; include surviving spouse of a sibling of service member killed in action; extend eligibility (Substitute) (MotV-Coleman-97th)

HB 131 The End to Cyberbullying Act; enact (Substitute)(Ed-Dickerson-113th)

HB 268 Child abuse; mandatory reporters; change provisions (Substitute) (JuvJ-Ballinger-23rd)

HB 342 Nursing homes; violation of certain regulations shall not constitute negligence per se; provide (Substitute)(Judy-Kelley-16th)

HB 343 Lamar County; Board of Education; members elected on nonpartisan basis; provide (IGC-Caldwell-131st)

HB 375 Motor vehicles; driving with suspended, canceled, or revoked registration; change provisions relating to plea of nolo contendre (JudyNC-Powell-171st)

HB 393 Motor vehicles fair practices; restrictions on ownership, operation, or control of dealerships by manufacturers and franchisors; provide exception (Substitute)(MotV-Martin-49th)(Rules Committee Substitute LC 39 1028S)

HB 436 Georgia HIV/Syphilis Pregnancy Screening Act of 2015; enact (Substitute)(H&HS-Clark-101st)

HB 443 Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act; enact (I&L-Dempsey-13th)

HR 36 Staff Sergeant Shaun J. Whitehead Memorial Bridge; Jackson County; dedicate (Substitute)(Trans-Benton-31st)

HR 215 Judge Ronald L. Newton Memorial Highway; Fannin County; dedicate (Trans-Ralston-7th)

HR 519 Mixon, Mr. Harry; Mr. Brad Dorminy; name building in their honor; recognize (Substitute)(SP&CA-Roberts-155th)

Structured Rule

HB 94 Ad valorem tax; certain members of armed forces from penalties for failure to timely pay tax; exempt (Substitute)(W&M-Williams-119th)

HB 369 Sales and use tax; distribution for educational purposes; change certain provisions (W&M-Nix-69th)

HB 426 Sales and use tax; provide new exemption only for limited period of time regarding tangible personal property to certain nonprofit healthcenters; provisions (Substitute)(W&M-Taylor-173rd)

HB 496 Ad valorem tax; the use of certain property for collection and conversion of solar energy shall not constitute a breach of conservation use covenants; provide (Substitute)(W&M-Hatchett-150th)

Predictions and pull quotes

The best explanation I’ve heard for what the Senate is likely to do is, “we’ll pass something completely different from what the House passed and then fight about it in conference committee.” Several Senators I spoke to didn’t want to be quoted on the transportation tax bill, with one calling it, “a moving target,” which suggests that the version that eventually makes it to the floor for a vote will be different from the House bill.

The Senate’s version of medical cannabis legislation is on the floor for a vote today, and I believe it will pass in essentially the form it currently has. Last night on Facebook, Senator Ben Watson (R-Savannah) wrote, “The Chairwoman of HHS in the senate has said we are going to combine both bills.” The House Bill, HB 1, will be heard in Senate Health and Human Services on Thursday, March 19th at 1 PM or upon adjournment of the Senate.

I spoke to State Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta) about his bill to allow Tesla to sell a limited number of cars directly to consumers, and he said, “We have an agreement with the Georgia Automobile Dealers’ Association and the most effected party, which is Tesla, so we feel like we have a good chance of passing the bill on Friday.” I asked a follow-up on the bill’s chances in the Senate, and Martin said, “I have had conversations with Senators who have an interest in the issue, and they feel like if there’s agreement between the affected parties, that they believe it’s good for Georgia, so I feel it has a good shot in the Senate.”

I also asked Martin about the various efforts to repeal the state tax credit for Electric Vehicles, and he said, “I personally am an advocate for repealing the 17-year old tax credit. Technology and economics have moved to the point where it’s gone from being an incentive to being an entitlement. I don’t think the standalone bills are going to move through the House by themselves. The language is in the transportation [finance] bill, I believe it will stay in the transportation bill.”

Senate Bill 63, the watered-down “Craft Beer Jobs Bill” is on the Senate floor today and I suspect it’ll pass, but we may see a movement to amend it back in the direction from which it started.

Jim Kingston: Lessons from the 2014 Senate Campaign

Jim Kingston, son of former Congressman Jack Kingston, writes about lessons he learned on the campaign trail with his father’s 2014 Senate bid.

Freedom of speech is alive and well in the Peach State.

We can all relax. After 238 years, the first amendment continues to be well protected. If you want to hear some great, unfiltered political feedback, the Walton County GOP monthly meeting led by chairman Roy Roberts is a great place to start. County GOP BBQs, rotary club meetings, tea party rallies, and chamber of commerce luncheons across Georgia have some of the most strongly opinionated citizens in the country.

A lot of passionate people might come off as rude at first, and demand a lot of your time, but I think that you should not campaign to be a public servant unless you are ready to serve and answer to the public. Our team always made a point to return phone calls and show up to meetings even when if we knew it was not going to be a “Kingston-friendly” crowd.

While some argue that political correctness filters a lot of people from speaking their minds, my experience was that most do not mind telling a United States Congressman or their staff about how they feel about almost anything.

Experience is always a good thing, except in government.

I witness a lot of over-reactive spectators when it comes to football fans. When Mark Richt loses a game in Athens, everyone starts calling for him to be fired. Even after a single loss, the talking heads seem to forget the five SEC Championship appearances he has made, and how Georgia went twenty years without a Sugar Bowl appearance before his arrival. Nobody mentions who the replacement coach should be, or considers the growing pains of players adjusting to a new leader and a new system.

American voters are also impatient. They do not like what they see coming out of Washington, and they don’t see experience as a good thing. President Obama was elected as a fresh face and something different. He sold his lack of experience as an asset, not a liability, and somehow it worked.

It’s a good read and if you were neck-deep in the 2014 Senate campaign, helping any of the candidates, I think you’ll enjoy it.

Georgia Republican Party County Conventions Tomorrow

Tomorrow, your local County Republican Party will convene at 10 AM. That’s a hard start, not reception start, so I’d try to be at your location no later than 9:30 AM. Bring your checkbook, wireless device, sense of humor, and maybe some ibuprofen – you’ll be popular if the convention goes long.

I’ll be attending and voting in the DeKalb County Convention, and I am supporting Shawn Keefe for DeKalb GOP Chair because of the way he supported Nancy Jester, the Republican nominee for County Commission District 1. It’s helping candidates get elected that is the number one part of the job in my opinion.

If I lived in Cobb County, I would vote for Rose Wing for Chair and Justin Tomczak for whatever he’s running for First Vice Chair. As a classmate of Rose in Republican Leadership for Georgia, I got to know her on weekends spent with the class all across Georgia, through our discussions with RLG speakers, and at numerous meals. Rose has the temperament, experience, and has put in the years helping candidates and she has earned my support. Justin Tomczak is the guy you want running your grassroots operation. Period. Elect him and put him to work and you’ll see a fearsome Cobb GOP effort on behalf of our candidates in 2016.

If I lived in Fulton County, I would vote for Trey Kelly for Fulton GOP Chair. As with Rose, my support for Trey is built on the relationship we built during Republican Leadership for Georgia and I have no doubt that he is qualified to Chair a major Metro Atlanta County Party. The fact that so many of Fulton County’s elected officials, past and present, support him only solidifies my support.

Make of it what you will.

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