Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 16, 2017


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 16, 2017

On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his archaeology party entered the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.

The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.

Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.”

On February 16, 1948, the United States Air Force renamed Robins Air Field to Robins Air Force Base. Robins AFB and the City of Warner Robins are named for Air Force General Augustine Warner Robins.

Fidel Castro was sworn-in as Prime Minister of Cuba on February 16, 1959.

On February 16, 1968, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representative Rankin Fite placed the first 911 call from Haleyville City Hall to Congressman Tom Bevill at the Haleyville police station.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections




8:30 AM SENATE FINANCE – Ad Valorem Sub 122 CAP



12:00 PM SENATE RULES- Upon Adjourment 450 CAP










2:00 PM HOUSE Life & Health Sub Insurance 403 CAP





3:00 PM HOUSE Telecommunications Sub Energy, Util & Telecom 605 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE Industry and Labor Sub 506 CLOB



4:00 PM SENATE FINANCE – Income Tax Sub 125 CAP




SB 15 – Crimes and Offenses; weapons carry license; add to the category of former law enforcement officers (Substitute) (JUDY-33rd)

SB 16 – Low THC Oil; definition; provisions relating to conditions eligible for use; change (Substitute) (H&HS-1st)


Modified Structured Rule

HB 1 – Georgia Space Flight Act; enact (Substitute)(Judy-Spencer-180th)

HB 160 – Mass transportation; create Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, provisions (Substitute)(Trans-Tanner-9th)

HB 198 – Elementary and secondary education; influenza vaccine; provide information (Ed-Dempsey-13th)

HB 214 – Crimes and offenses; consistent punishment for the unlawful manufacture, sale or distribution of a proof of insurance document; provide (Substitute)(JudyNC-Golick-40th)

HB 231 – Controlled substances; Schedules I, II, IV and V; change certain provisions (Substitute)(JudyNC-Broadrick-4th)

Structured Rule

HB 73 – Income tax credit; incentives to promote the revitalization of rural Georgia downtowns; provide (Substitute)(W&M-Houston-170th)

HB 125 – Sales and use tax; certain tangible personal property sold or used to maintain a boat; create exemption (Substitute)(W&M-Stephens-164th)


Governor Nathan Deal signed a $24.3 billion dollar FY 2017 Amended Budget.

The state appropriations within HB 43 are based on a 3 percent growth in revenues over FY 2016 collections. This additional funding will allow the state to implement initiatives in public safety and cybersecurity, address growth needs in education and human services, improve Georgia’s transportation network and make long-term strategic investments in economic development efforts.

“With this amended budget, we are investing in Georgia’s top priorities and addressing the most critical issues facing our state,” said Deal. “This budget reflects the solid economic growth that Georgia continues to enjoy and ensures that our communities will be safer tomorrow than they were yesterday. As we look to maintain Georgia as the No. 1 place in which to do business today, we are also looking to the future so that Georgia will lead the way in job creation and cybersecurity. I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who made this amended budget possible, as their quick and unified action will have a significant and lasting impact in the lives of Georgians.”

The Amended FY 2017 budget includes $50 million to establish the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center that will be located on state-owned property in Augusta. The partnership between state and federal agencies, as well as the private sector, will create a secure environment for cybersecurity education programs, testing and training. Already home to the Cyber Center of Excellence and the future headquarters of the U.S. Army cyber command headquarters, the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will promote modernization in cybersecurity technology for both private and public industries in Georgia and beyond.

An additional $36.5 million is included in the budget for the OneGeorgia Authority and the Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) program. These funds will be distributed as grants for economic development projects, further investing in the enterprises that create jobs across the state.

The amended budget also includes $27.3 million for a 20 percent increase in salaries for law enforcement officers, as well as additional increases for public safety trainers and criminal investigators. The salary increases went into effect on January 1 and were implemented to reduce turnover and improve recruitment. Since the increase was announced in September, the Department of Public Safety has received twice as many state trooper applications as usual.

Additional highlights of the Amended FY 2017 budget include:

  • $109 million for a mid-term adjustment to meet growth in the Quality Basic Education program for K-12 education
  • $108.7 million in new state general and motor fuel funds for transportation resulting from HB 170 (2015 Session), as well as an additional $10 million in one-time funds for the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank
  • $52.6 million in one-time funds to update and refresh vehicles, equipment and facilities at state agencies, including Forestry equipment to aid in preventing and combating wildfires and law enforcement vehicles for the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Juvenile Justice
  • $15 million for Forestland Protection Act grants, of which more than $8 million is expected to go directly to local school systems
  • $28.6 million to meet increased demand in child welfare services programs
  • $16.8 million for the Move On When Ready dual enrollment program to meet projected demand
  • $2.4 million to establish the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University

The Georgia Senate voted unanimously to ban “upskirt” photography and videography.

By a vote of 49-0, the Georgia Senate said loud and clear that sneaking photos under peoples’ clothes should be a crime in the state.

Georgia code doesn’t specifically state that this “egregious and reprehensible” behavior is illegal in a public place, said state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry, author of Senate Bill 45.

“I think the general public was pretty shocked that it wasn’t already against the law,” Walker said on the state Senate floor.

Walker filed his bill after the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled last year in a Houston County case that such creepy photography is not technically illegal. Brandon Lee Gary was convicted of invasion of privacy for sneaking videos up a woman’s skirt at the Perry Parkway Publix in 2013. The court reversed his conviction.

The State House passed House Bill 61, which aims to increase sales tax collections for online transactions.

The House voted 157-11 Wednesday for House Bill 61, which would force online retailers with at least $250,000 or 200 sales a year in Georgia to either collect and remit to the state sales taxes on purchases or send “tax due” notices each year to customers who spend at least $500 on their site.

Copies of the notices would go to the state Department of Revenue so it would know who owes at least some of the taxes.

[State House Ways & Means Committee Chair Jay] Powell told colleagues Wednesday: “This allows us to collect a tax that is already due. It is not a new tax, it’s an existing tax.

“We already have retailers in the state of Georgia who are paying sales taxes, who are paying salaries, who are paying ad valorem taxes, who are supporting our schools, supporting local charities, and they are at a competitive disadvantage when a retailer can sell the same item and not have to pay sales taxes,” Powell said.

A state fiscal analysis suggests collecting those taxes could mean an extra $274 million in revenue for the state and $200 million for local governments. The combined figure could hit $621 million by 2022.

State Rep. Heath Clark (R-Warner Robins) convened a subcommittee of House Public Safety & Homeland Security to hear testimony on eight gun-related bills. From the AJC:

The meeting was a surprise to most. Even sponsors of the bills said they were given an  hour or less to prepare. In the end, subcommittee Chairman Heath Clark, R-Warner Robins, said no votes would be taken.

Still, the subcommittee heard sometimes emotional testimony on a handful of the bills before ending testimony after an hour to make way for another committee’s scheduled start.

Clark, the subcommittee chairman, said another hearing will be held soon were additional testimony will be taken.

 Some Henry County residents are exploring incorporating a new City of Eagle’s Landing.

Georgia Sen. Rick Jeffares (R) is planning to introduce two bills in the General Assembly in the coming weeks that could change the city of Stockbridge’s proposed property annexations and city boundaries through the creation of a new city to be called Eagle’s Landing.

But the Stockbridge City Council is moving forward with property annexation plans that include areas Eagle’s Landing cityhood proponents have intended for the new city.

Just this month, the Eagle’s Landing Educational Research Committee reached out to Henry County’s legislative delegation seeking assistance in the creation of a city of Eagle’s Landing. Much of the group’s proposed map area is in the city of Stockbridge or in Stockbridge’s proposed annexation areas, which currently lies in unincorporated Henry County.

Jeffares said a study is being conducted by the Andrew Young School of Public Policy to determine the financial effects and revenues on the city of Stockbridge, Henry County and the proposed city of Eagle’s Landing. The report is expected to be completed in two weeks and a bill is expected to be presented in the General Assembly shortly after.

Congressman Rob Woodall (R-Gwinnett) defended President Trump during a telephone Town Hall.

Congressman Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) is answering his own phone during an onslaught of angry phone calls from lefties.

Collins, the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, said he understands that Republicans in less conservative districts than his might find town hall meetings a bit rough these days. But avoiding constituents is not the answer, he said.

“I’m not going to get into an argument,” but he hears out protesters and people with opposing views, he said.

If all of his staff is busy and he has a free minute, he picks it up himself, he said. He will also take over difficult calls from overwhelmed interns and staffers. That takes many callers by surprise, he said.

“I’ll say, ‘This is Doug Collins,’” and usually the person on the other end is confused and will ask if he is the congressman, he said, adding it usually helps disarm potentially angry callers.

He won’t fight with callers but he’ll “hear them out and then explain my position,” he said.

Macon-Bibb County Tax Commissioner’s Office will host a seminar on property tax issues tonight from 6 to 8 PM at the Macon-Bibb County Government Center, located at 700 Poplar Street.

Cave Spring City Council will hold a Town Hall to discuss a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

The 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax collection runs through March 31, 2019, and elected officials throughout the county want to schedule a vote to extend it before it expires.

Floyd County Commission Chair Rhonda Wallace asked her board Tuesday to consider putting it on the ballot this November. It’s unclear if there was a consensus, but all agreed it’s time to start assembling a package of projects.

For the 1-percent sales tax to continue without a break, a SPLOST extension would have to be approved by November 2019.

County Manager Jamie McCord and Rome City Manager Sammy Rich plan to gather a citizen SPLOST committee to vet proposed projects.

Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization fears losing its local planning authority if USDOT rules draw it into Metro Atlanta.

The Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce is supporting passage of s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for Education (E-SPLOST).

Cook Medical Center and local county officials continue discussing a way to keep local emergency medicine access.

In January, Tift Regional Health System, which operates Cook Medical, announced the Cook hospital’s emergency room — the only ER in the county — would close at the end of February, citing millions of dollars in losses during a number of years. On Feb. 10, Tift Regional officials met with representatives of Hahira to discuss moving the hospital there.

In a statement released Wednesday, Cook Medical CEO Michael Purvis said Tift Regional has been in discussions with Cook County officials since 2015 on the development of a replacement facility in Adel and that it was Hahira officials who approached Tift Regional about possibly relocating.

Hahira City Manager Jonathan Sumner said he understands there is concern in Cook about getting a new facility there because of possible trouble with the county and the city of Adel.

Finding a suitable location for a replacement facility in Cook and receiving financial assistance from the city and county to offset the growing expense of indigent and charitable care has been discussed with Cook/Adel officials, Purvis said.

Tracy Hanley dropped out of the Special Election for Roswell City Council.

The race is now down to four candidates: Lori Henry, Shelley Sears, Marie Willsey and Shawn Wright. Jay Small, a member of the Roswell Recreation Commission, initially announced his plans to seek the seat, but suspended his campaign.

The special election will be held March 21, and a runoff — if necessary — is set for April 18.

Candidate for Mayor of South Fulton Rafer Johnson has been attacked for being gay in an ad sent via text and email to voters.

Underneath a photo of Johnson and his husband, a purple band proclaims “Husband and Husband,” and beneath that an altered version of Johnson’s campaign logo, which now reads “Welcome to our new city of South Fulton.”

“They literally sent this out as a text bomb, which I had no idea you could even do. People started getting texts on their phone with the image attached. Subsequently, they sent it as an email,” Johnson said. “On Friday, they actually littered an elementary school with it, and these were print-outs this time.”

South Fulton was approved as a city during the November 2016 election, so a campaign trail and election to elect its first mayor has been quick, Johnson said. South Fulton is the first majority black city to be created, and it will also be the second-largest city in Fulton County.

Sixth Congressional District Qualifying Closes

For today, I’ve bolded the candidates who qualified yesterday, the last day to sign up.

David Abroms | website | Facebook | Twitter
Mohammad Ali Bhuiyan | website | Facebook | Twitter
Keith Grawert | website | Facebook | Twitter
Bob Gray | website | Facebook | Twitter
Karen Handel | website | Facebook | Twitter
Judson Hill | website | Facebook | Twitter
Amy Kremer | website | Facebook | Twitter
Bruce LeVell | website | Facebook | Twitter
William Llop| website | Facebook | Twitter
Dan Moody | website | Facebook | Twitter
Kurt Wilson | website | Facebook | Twitter

Ragin Edwards | website | Facebook | Twitter
Richard Keatley | website | Facebook | Twitter
Jon Ossoff | website | Facebook | Twitter
Rebecca Quigg | website | Facebook | Twitter
Ron Slotin | website | Facebook | Twitter

Alexander Hernandez | website | Facebook | Twitter
Andre Pollard | website | Facebook | Twitter

Kyle Wingfield of the AJC spins a yarn about what he thinks will happen in the Sixth District race to succeed Tom Price.

So, imagine waking up on the morning of April 19 to read that a Democratic candidate has made the inevitable runoff in this special election — perhaps ahead of the leading Republican. Should we attribute such an outcome to Trump troubles? Trump fatigue? A Trump backlash?

Nope. When it happens, as I expect it will, you’ll be able to chalk it up to one simple thing: math.

We are talking about, at worst for Republicans, a 60/40 district. Price’s 2016 race was his worst performance since first running for Congress; he still won 62 percent of the vote. Two years earlier, he won 66 percent. Two years before that, 65 percent.

[H]alf a dozen viable Republican candidates, plus about as many also-rans, will be fighting for roughly 60 percent of the vote.

But assuming [Democrat Jon] Ossoff can emerge as the consensus candidate among five Democrats, he can expect a large chunk of that other 40 percent of the vote.

And when the Democrat loses the runoff, despite all the breathless talk, remember you read it here first.

Here are two other possible scenarios: first is that one of the two independents might make the runoff. With eighteen candidates, it could require only low double-digits to get the second ticket to the runoff. In November 2014, independent Holmes Pyle made a runoff in DeKalb County Commission District against Nancy Jester, one of four Republicans competing for a roughly 74% of votes.

Nancy Jester won the runoff handily, consolidating Republican votes and taking 76% of ballots cast.

With only one Independent in the 6th District, that candidate would have a better chance than with the two who signed up in the race, but it’s still a chance.

William Llop is the most-experienced Congressional candidate in the race, though his experience is all in the Eleventh Congressional District. Llop came in third of five GOP Primary candidates in 2016, taking 9.8% of the vote and in 2012, came in third with 9.2% against then-incumbent Rep. Phil Gingrey. If he can improve on his finishes in the 9% range, while the other GOP candidates shred each other, he could conceivably pull out a ticket to the second round.

I could spin hypotheticals all day, but ultimately I think Kyle’s scenario is the most likely. Though I would add to his analysis that the GOP in the areas of the 6th District have a strong history of running strong turnout campaigns in runoff elections.


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