Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2016


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 21, 2016

On November 21, 1620 (November 11 under the calendar used then), the first governing document of the English colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Mayflower Compact, was signed by most of the male passengers of the Mayflower.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

The Georgia Trustees outlawed rum in the colony on November 21, 1733 after James Oglethorpe wrote them that it was responsible for sickness and death in Georgia. Two-hundred eighty-three years later, Richland Rum is being distilled with Georgia-grown sugar cane in Richland, Georgia.

North Carolina ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789, becoming the twelfth state to do so.

On November 21, 1860 Governor Joseph Brown called a Secession Convention following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President.

November 21, 1922 was the first day of Rebecca Latimer Fulton’s service in the United States Senate from Georgia as the first woman to serve in that chamber.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Some fireworks sale tax money will fund trauma care at Georgia hospitals after passage of Amendment Four.

[Medical Center Navicent Health's Trauma Director Dr. Dennis Ashley] says they see about 2,800 trauma patients a year. “The only funding that trauma centers receive now from the state is through the super-speeder law which generates about $21 million a year,” said Ashley.

Ashley says that money is spread among 30 trauma centers in Georgia. That’s why he says the passing of Amendment 4 is so important. “If you look at all the things you need, all the personnel you have to have it’s about $6 million a year for a level 1 trauma center. That’s before you see the first patient. We receive about $1 million a year to support trauma center funding. You can see it doesn’t go a long way,” said Ashley.

The amendment says 55% of the existent 5% excise tax will be funneled to trauma care. 40% to Georgia firefighter standards and 5% local public safety.

The American College of Surgeons recently verified the Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon. as a Level I Trauma Center.

Cobb County election officials have certified the results in the November 8 General Election.

During the 2016 elections, Cobb experienced record early voting. According to Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler, the votes cast were almost evenly split between early voting and Election Day polls.

“Exactly 4,200 voters — less than 1 percent — more people voted at the polls than early voting,” Eveler said. “On Election Day, there were lines in the morning at most polls but after mid-morning, they reported just a steady stream of voters and no real back-ups. Some polls experienced an evening rush, but only three polls reported more than a 30-minute line at closing time.”

“There were 1,627 provisional ballots cast, and of those, 801 were counted,” Eveler said. “All provisional voters are notified after the election of the status of their ballot.”

The cost of the election in Cobb County remains untallied.

The cost of the 2016 general election will not be determined until all its bills are paid, but the previous two have cost more than $1 million each.

The final cost of the Nov. 8 election will not be discovered for about two more months after all the poll workers’ invoices and service fees are processed, according to Cobb Board of Elections Director Janine Eveler.

The 2012 general election cost Cobb more than $1.1 million while the 2008 presidential election cost more than $1.5 million. In 2004, the county paid more than $874,000 to hold the general election.

Cobb County Commission Chair-elect Mike Boyce spoke to a Republican group about preparing to take the helm.

Boyce told the 30 or so in attendance that his efforts ahead of taking office in January have included sitting down with business leaders and attending and speaking to Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, among other groups. Among the issues he highlighted with Republican Assembly members was the county’s pay study. Created by the Archer Company, a consulting firm, the study presented to the Cobb Board of Commissioners earlier this year contended that many county employees were making less than what their counterparts were making in other municipalities.

“I’ve said this on many occasions — (the employees) have been very patient, they have earned this pay raise, but I want to be sure that we all look at the pay study and see if we can’t come up with some other alternatives other than what Archer did to find a way to implement this without a tax raise, because I made it very clear in my campaign that the only exception I’m going to consider for a tax raise in 2017 is the parks bond,” Boyce said. “That’s because that bond is long overdue.”

“It’s the will of the people,” Boyce said, “and if you think that my campaign was a delayed referendum of two years, you can imagine what the people feel having waited eight years now for this bond. They wanted it, we’re going to pay for it, and if I’ve got to raise the millage rate to do it, then so be it. But nothing else is on the table for a tax increase.”

“What part of the T-SPLOST and the BRT being turned down don’t we understand? The people have spoken,” Boyce said, referencing both Cobb voters’ 2012 rejection of the proposed $8.5 billion tax increase for transportation known as T-SPLOST, and a proposed $494 million bus rapid transit line connecting Kennesaw State University with Midtown Atlanta, which saw more opposition than support from those offering input during a public comment period offered by the county last year.

“They don’t want (regional transit) here because we haven’t articulated an argument that if we give them the money, it floats all boats,” Boyce said. “That’s the problem we have — it isn’t that people are against regional transportation, we haven’t shown that their tax dollars aren’t going to benefit the few.”

State Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) was recognized by the District Attorneys’ Association of Georgia for his work on criminal justice legislation.

“Rep. Efstration is one of the hardest working members of the Georgia General Assembly,” Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council Executive Director Chuck Spahos said in a statement. “His tireless efforts during his relatively short time at the Capitol have proven invaluable.”

The organization particularly praised his work on the Criminal Justice Reform Act and a law that made it possible to charge people with human trafficking if they sexually exploit people with development disabilities.

“Gwinnett County is very proud of Efstration,” Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said in a statement. “He is a consensus builder who has proven both his leadership abilities and willingness to work across party lines to pass legislation that best serves the citizens of Georgia.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Tom Campbell dismissed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Sam Olens as President of Kennesaw State University.

“The Georgia Constitution expressly preserves the state’s sovereign immunity and makes clear that it ‘can only be waived by an Act of the General Assembly which specifically provides that sovereign immunity is waived and the extent of such waiver,’” Campbell said in his ruling.

Public Service Commissioner Stan Wise has been elected Chairman by his colleagues on the PSC.

State Senator John F. Kennedy (R-Macon) has joined the Senate Republican Caucus leadership.

As chairman of the GOP caucus, he’ll have a bigger role in Senate party business such as setting policy goals and recruiting and electing Republican senators.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to get to serve the folks in the 18th district and I look forward to being able to do that even more effectively in the position as caucus chair and I’m looking forward to serving in the Senate and making sure we keep the state headed in the right direction,” Kennedy said.

His election gives Middle Georgia a seat at the Senate leadership table. The other party officers, as well as Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, are all from north of Interstate 20.

State Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) will serve as Secretary of the Senate Republican Caucus for the 2017-18 terms of the general assembly.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve our caucus as secretary for another biennial term,” said Sen. Wilkinson. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the leadership team and the Senate to promote positive legislation designed to safeguard Georgia’s reputation as a great state to live, work and play.”

Wilkinson is currently the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  He is also the Vice-Chairman of the Education and Youth Committee, and a member of the Appropriations, Assignments,  and Natural Resources committees.

Democratic State legislators will seek legislation for greater oversight of police.

A group of Georgia lawmakers say they are going to propose bills next year to require police body cameras statewide, increase reporting and training requirements for law enforcement officers and other policing measures.

“This hearing today is to address excessive force by law enforcement and to receive input,” said state Rep. Sandra Scott, D-Rex, opening a state Capitol hearing where she and other Democrats asked the public what they would like to see in policing bills.

Scott said she and her allies plan to repeat some bills they’ve filed over the past few years: banning no-knock warrants, mandating police body cameras and requiring that out-of-town district attorneys handle cases involving police officers accused of wrongdoing.

Scott said her group of lawmakers will be looking for partners on the other side of the aisle. She said she’s hopeful she and her allies may have some common ground with a task force Republican Gov. Nathan Deal appointed this year to overhaul police training.

Alyssa Davis, a planner with the Gwinnett Place CID is the sole finalist for Executive Director of the new Sugarloaf CID.

Savannah-Chatham Public School Board approved a petition to open the Susie King Taylor Community School.

Susie King Taylor could open as early as next school year if the charter school petition is approved by the Georgia Department of Education.

Once approved by the state, Susie King Taylor would receive a share of the Savannah-Chatham Public School System’s funding to serve about 180 kindergarten through fourth-grade students in the first year. Fifth and sixth grades will be added in year two. Organizers will continue to add grade levels each year until the school includes ninth grade. They hope to eventually expand the school to include grades 10, 11 and 12.

The school was named after the first African American to teach openly in a school for Georgia’s formerly enslaved.

Helen, Georgia City Commission approved the purchase of a new fire truck and other firefighting equipment.

Laura Cochesne of the University of Georgia has been named a Rhodes Scholar.

University spokeswoman Stephanie Schupska said Courchesne plans to attend the University of Oxford in 2017 to pursue master’s degrees in social anthropology and politics research.

“I am fascinated with what influences non-violent populations to begin endorsing and engaging in violence, the strength of social bonds within violent organizations, how resources shape organizational structure, and the types of relationships non-state armed groups form with civilians,” Courchesne said. “There is an unseen human aspect to war and conflict that I aim to discover.”

James C. Pavur, an Atlanta native who attends Georgetown University was also named a Rhodes Scholar.

Brooks Coleman Middle School in Duluth won the first Innovation Fund Tiny Grant to deploy drones.

“The Innovation Fund Tiny Grant unites education leaders and students in order to provide Georgia’s students with the ability to engage in today’s most innovative academic areas,” said Deal. “Providing Georgia’s students with opportunities for growth and success is essential to ensuring our children reach new heights in educational achievement. Congratulations to Coleman Middle School on this award and we look forward to seeing the impact each Tiny Grant will have on the futures of its recipients.”

Programs and projects funded by Tiny Grants must align with one of three of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, development and replication of blended learning school models, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development. The grants will provide eligible organizations between $1,000 and $10,000 to implement small-scale pilot programs that directly impact students.

Working alongside the National Park Service and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, students at Coleman Middle School will study various aspects of the river including invasive species, temperature, pH balance and hazardous materials. This STEAM-focused project has the potential to impact both student achievement and the local environment and will provide students with a real-world, hands-on experience.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke sees Trump’s election as a potential boost to Chattanooga-Atlanta rail service dreams.

Berke said in a statement last week that Congress is talking about taking up a major infrastructure bill next year. Trump proposed spending $1 trillion on the campaign trail.

“As they move forward, we will work with Georgia on identifying potential opportunities if they are funded,” Berke said.

Dave Crockett, a former Chattanooga city councilman and a long time fast-train proponent, said that Trump’s interest is “our golden opportunity.”

“We have a president who is bold thinking,” he said. “This is one of his agenda items.”

Emory Healthcare is developing a mixed-use campus in the City of Brookhaven and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is expanding on the other side of North Druid Hills.

Emory University would develop a mixed-use campus on 70 acres at the south side of North Druid Hills in Executive Park with 2.3 million square feet of new development.

The massive project would include up new office space, residential development, retail space, and a hotel, according to master plans filed with the city of Brookhaven.

On the north side of North Druid Hills, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has filed plans with Brookhaven for an eight-story medical office building and 1,000-space parking deck. But sources familiar with the project say Children’s would expand in coming years to develop a health-care campus along North Druid that could be as large as what Emory is developing.

The combined developments could ultimately create a new health-care hub for Atlanta, similar to “Pill Hill” at Interstate 285 and Georgia 400.

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