Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 1, 2017

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 1, 2017

Georgia’s Trustees decided on November 1, 1732 that the first settlement would be named Savannah and located on the Savannah River.

Parliament passed the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765 with an effective date of November 1, 1765, to fund British military operations.

The Stamp Act, however, was a direct tax on the colonists and led to an uproar in America over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation.

Passed without debate by Parliament in March 1765, the Stamp Act was designed to force colonists to use special stamped paper in the printing of newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, and playing cards, and to have a stamp embossed on all commercial and legal papers. The stamp itself displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word “America” and the French phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense—”Shame to him who thinks evil of it.”

Outrage was immediate. Massachusetts politician Samuel Adams organized the secret Sons of Liberty organization to plan protests against the measure, and the Virginia legislature and other colonial assemblies passed resolutions opposing the act. In October, nine colonies sent representatives to New York to attend a Stamp Act Congress, where resolutions of “rights and grievances” were framed and sent to Parliament and King George III.

Georgia Commissioners and Creek leaders signed a treaty on November 1, 1783.

Jimmy Carter ended his first Presidential campaign with a rally in Flint, Michigan on November 1, 1976.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Early voting continues today through Friday, though Ringgold municipal races are seeing light turnout.

This year’s Ringgold City Council race features four candidates vying for two at-large seats, in which the top two vote-getters will be the winners.

The race includes incumbents Randall Franks and Jake Haynes, as well as new candidates Rhonda Swaney and Kelly Bomar.

As of Tuesday morning, Oct. 31, officials with the Catoosa County Elections Office say 155 of the 1,751 active voters in the city of Ringgold have voted early, which comes to about 8.8-percent.

The 155 votes includes in-person and absentee ballots that were mailed out.

Governor Nathan Deal appointed a commission comprising Attorney General Chris Carr, Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston, and Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese to review an indictment of Worth County Sheriff Jeffy Hobby.

Click here for more information on the indictment if you’ve missed the story.

Gov. Deal also announced that Amazon will open a new fulfillment center in Macon-Bibb County, creating 500 new jobs there.

“Amazon’s continued investment in our state speaks to our dedication to improve, expand and modernize Georgia’s logistics and distribution network,” said Deal. “As a top national distribution hub, suppliers can reach 80 percent of the U.S. population from Georgia in just a 2-day truck drive or a 2-hour flight. Our robust technology network and world-class logistics infrastructure have been immeasurably beneficial in attracting new business to Georgia and spurring growth for companies already operating here. Georgia’s strategic location, skilled workforce and innovative spirit are a perfect fit for Amazon’s innovative approach to business, as the company’s needs align with many of our key industries, from technology to distribution to connectivity.”

Amazon currently has three operating fulfillment centers in Georgia located in Jefferson, Lithia Springs and Union City as well as a facility in Braselton that supports customer fulfillment. Employees at the new facility will pick, pack and ship large-sized items for customers including household furniture, sporting equipment and gardening tools.

“Georgia continues to be a great place for Amazon to do business and we look forward to adding a fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon vice president of North America customer fulfillment. “Our new fulfillment center in Macon will create hundreds of full-time jobs with competitive pay and great benefits. We’re glad to be a part of the community and provide a positive economic impact for the region.”

Area residents are talking about how the new Amazon fulfillment center will affect traffic.

Amazon will also open an brick-and-mortar bookstore in Lenox Square Mall.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp defended KSU’s elections center after it wiped an election system hard drive.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said Monday that Kennesaw State University’s elections center acted “in accordance with standard IT procedures” when it wiped data from a computer server shortly after a lawsuit was filed seeking to force the state to overhaul its election technology.

KSU  said that a server that had been examined by the FBI was wiped so it could be repurposed, and that the FBI had a copy of the data that was on the server. KSU officials did not disclose that information until several hours after stories on the data wipe became national news.

Sapelo Island residents can proceed with their civil rights lawsuit, a federal court ruled.

The Sapelo plaintiffs filed suit in December 2015 alleging unequal and discriminatory treatment by the county and state, going back decades, leading to a dwindling population among the Gullah-Geechee community, with people leaving the island for the mainland.

According to the complaint, the island “has no school, no firehouse, no medical services and no police. The county does not adequately maintain the roads and does not contribute to any water or sewer system.”

The plaintiffs in the case argue that not only white mainland residents, but white island residents receive better treatment than black residents in the Hog Hammock area on the south end of the island. The state and the county, though, dispute the contention that mainland residents are comparable, and that white island residents are subject to the same lack of resources as black residents.

Suwanee City Council candidates discussed growth, traffic, and related issues.

A federal judge enjoined deoirtation proceedings against Kennesaw student Jessica Colotl.

Cobb County’s Medical Examiner will receive a nearly $324k federal grant to pay for faster toxicology results.

“This will allow us to help grieving families get answers and death certificates faster,” said Dr. Gulledge, “and this will let us give law enforcement more real-time information about dangerous drugs causing deaths in our community.”

The grant will allow the Cobb ME’s office to send requests to a private laboratory that will provide test results in two weeks compared to an average wait time of around 90 days.

A La Mesa, California school board member faces trouble after having voted absentee in the November 2016 Georgia elections.

Rebekah Basson, the 25-year-old church secretary named to a La Mesa-Spring Valley School District vacancy in August, now faces questions of potential voter fraud.

The San Diego native lived in Georgia from age 12 to about three years ago, when she enrolled in a Murrieta Bible college.

“Her problem is she’s voting [in Georgia] quite a long time after saying she moved to California,” said David Lublin, an elections expert at American University in Washington, D.C.

“That’s a real problem,” said the Harvard Ph.D. “You shouldn’t be voting in a state where you do not live. … She has voted illegally though she’s no longer a resident of the Peach State.”

The AJC looks at the Special Election in Senate Ditrict 6, a rare potential swing district in the state legislature.

In 2012, Hunter Hill ousted four-term Democratic state Sen. Doug Stoner in a newly redrawn district, flipping the seat for the Republicans.

With Hill vacating his post in September to run for governor, three Democrats have joined the field of eight hopefuls and are trying to take back the 6th Senate District.

The socio-economically diverse district stretches from Smyrna to parts of Buckhead and has a pretty even mix of residents affiliated with the Democratic and Republican parties, candidates said.

The crowded race will also be an expensive contest, likely topping more than $1 million spent by the contenders. Combined, the candidates in the 6th District who filed campaign disclosures as of Tuesday have reported raising more than $950,000 for the contest.

Republican Houston Gaines is outraising his Democrat opponent in the Special Election for House District 117.

Republican Houston Gaines has raised nearly four times as much campaign money as Democrat Deborah Gonzalez in their race for the House District 117 seat in the state legislature.

Gaines’ campaign had used $62,514.79 of his $202,950.66 in campaign contributions, according to reports filed with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (formerly known as the State Ethics Commission). That left him with more than $140,000 in the bank 15 days before the Nov. 7 election.

Gonzalez’s campaign had raised $56,896.55 as of Oct. 25, including a $5,000 loan. She had spent $19,655.92, with $36,264.60 remaining.

Georgia State Senator Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) said that Medicaid waivers could be part of the upcoming legislative session.

A healthcare reform task force is expected to recommend that the Georgia General Assembly seek waivers next year to change some of the federal mandates under the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said they’re looking at different types of proposals to help uninsured people keep their health issues from escalating into chronic or serious conditions. If approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the waiver programs could act as alternatives to Medicaid expansion — which the state has rejected.

Hufstetler said that, in hindsight, the requests should have gone in during the last 40-day session, which ended March 31.

“We may have made a mistake in thinking the ACA would be repealed,” he said. “We said we have to wait and see what the federal government has done, but they haven’t done anything.”

At the group’s final hearing, held at Berry College Monday, a number of speakers said costs spiral out of control because many people wait until they’re sick enough to go to an emergency room.

“The overriding recommendation was preventative care,” Hufstetler said. “You’ve heard that out of me for several years and the lieutenant governor, who I believe will be elected governor next year, believes that too.”

Monty Veazey, president of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, showed a video of the lone physician working in Clay County, where the nearest small hospital is at least 20 miles away.

“All of rural Georgia has problems with poverty, transportation and access to good health care,” Veazey said.

The Muscogee County Tax Assessors are asking for additional budget in order to hire more workers to process property tax appeals.

“… Because of this historic number of appeals, we directed and dedicated all of our resources to processing and reviewing those appeals,” said Deputy Chief Appraiser John Williams, addressing councilors during a consent agenda/work session. “… As you would imagine, that four months of allocating all our resources to appeals has caused our normal workload not to be accomplished.

“So that’s one of the reasons why I’m here with you today,” he continued. “Unless we address this delay in our annual work, it would preclude us from timely submitting our portion of the tax digest to the Tax Commissioner by June 1.”

In order to meet the June 1 date, Williams explained, the Tax Assessor’s office would have to get notices of assessment out in April. He said the current 2017 tax appeal process is expected to continue until about that month, leaving very little time to start the 2018 tax assessment process. He said the request for more help only applies to the residential division, which is under-staffed.

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