Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 9, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 9, 2018

On February 11, 1733, the first military formation in Georgia was held, as male colonists assembled with their muskets.

On February 11, 1776, Georgia Royal Governor Sir James Wright escaped from house arrest in Savannah to a waiting British warship HMS Scarborough.

On February 10, 1787, the Georgia House of Assembly named William Few, Abraham Baldwin, William Pierce, George Walton, William Houstoun, and Nathaniel Pendleton to the Constitutional Convention called to revise the Articles of Confederation at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

On February 9, 1825, the United States House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as President of the United States, despite his having received fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson. Congress voted for the President after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the 1824 election.

The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House.

Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party.

Alexander Stephens was elected Vice President of the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861. On February 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi received word that he was chosen as President of the Confederate States of America.

On February 9, 1926, the Atlanta Board of Education voted to prohibit teaching evolution in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Burt Reynolds was born on February 11, 1936 in Lansing, Michigan, though some accounts say Waycross, Georgia. Beginning with Deliverance, filmed along the Chattooga River in North Georgia in 1972, Georgia rose to number three in the nation for film production while Reynolds’s star rose to prominence. Other Reynolds movies filmed in Georgia include The Longest Yard, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, and Sharkey’s Machine.

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles debuted in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.

On February 10, 1964, the United States House of Representatives voted 290-130 for passage of the Civil Rights Act.

On February 10, 1972, David Bowie made his first appearance as Ziggy Stardust.

On February 10, 2015, on the anniversary of the United States House of Representatives passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation proclaiming February as Black History Month.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

A new Public Service Announcement has been released, aimed at reducing youth suicide in Georgia, according to Fox5 Atlanta.

A startling statistic, 144 youths have taken their own lives in the past three years in Georgia.

That is part of a new public service announcement that will soon hit TV screens around the state. The PSA includes survivors who bravely share their stories about suicide attempts.

The Georgia Child Fatality Review Plan is behind that new ad. They were at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday to raise further awareness.

https://youtu.be/6mlpCG_SqO8

Georgia is ranked as the sickest state in the nation, due to widespread flu-like symptoms, according to WSAV.com.

“The first thing you do when you suspect an illness is you take your temperature, and we’re able to use that information to understand in real time where and when illness is spreading,” said Nita Nehru, a spokesperson for Kinsa Health.

Kinsa data shows flu-like symptom rising rapidly.

“Nationally, the country is about 5.6 percent ill. Which means there are around 18 million people in the country who have an influenza-like illness,” Nehru said.

The hardest hit state this week is Georgia at 7 percent, which means more than 700,000 people have flu-like symptoms. In a close second, is South Carolina at 6.7 percent.

Congress passed legislation that could mean $1 billion toward construction of the two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, according to a press release from Georgia Power.

Georgia Power today praised members of the U.S. Congress for voting to approve new legislation to extend the deadline for receiving advanced nuclear production tax credits. The approval follows extensive bipartisan efforts by Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson and other members of the Senate Finance Committee on the legislation which, if signed into law, will further reduce risk for continuing construction of Vogtle 3 & 4 while also providing approximately $1 billion in benefits for Georgia Power customers. The Vogtle nuclear expansion is leading the way for new nuclear construction in the United States and, once complete, will generate enough electricity to serve 500,000 homes and businesses.

“We are grateful to Senator Isakson for his leadership on this issue, and to the entire Georgia delegation for recognizing the importance of new nuclear generation and demonstrating renewed federal support for the Vogtle project,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “At Georgia Power, we are focused on delivering value to our customers every day and we’re committed to completing these new units, which will provide millions of Georgians with carbon-free energy and help keep electric rates low for 60 to 80 years into the future.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 created a credit for production from advanced nuclear power facilities commonly referred to as Production Tax Credits (PTCs). Under this law, the Vogtle project will qualify for the advanced nuclear facility federal income tax credit of 1.8 cents for each kWh of electrical energy produced and sold once the units come online. While PTCs do not impact the in-service cost of the units, they provide benefits to customers through a reduction in revenue requirements beginning when the units go into service and for many years beyond.

Federal support and constructive legislation continue to be an important key to success for Vogtle 3 & 4. Georgia Power recently announced that, due to new federal tax laws, as well as the positive impact of the receipt of the full amount of parent guarantee payments from Toshiba, Georgia electric customers will pay $139 million less than expected for the Plant Vogtle expansion in 2018. Additionally, the company holds a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for approximately $1.67 billion in additional loan guarantees for the Vogtle project. With a total of more than $5 billion in anticipated DOE loan guarantees, the company expects to be able to provide more than $500 million in present-value benefits to its customers.

The State House and Governor Deal recognized the Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly task force for their work against elder abuse, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

 Crimes Against the Vulnerable and Elderly was formed within months of District Attorney Natalie Paine’s appointment as the Augusta Judicial Circuit’s top prosecutor. Composed of prosecutors, district attorney investigators, sheriff’s officers, and representatives from the marshal, Hephzibah Police Department, coroner and fire department, CAVE has been instrumental in closing suspected unlicensed personal care homes, and prosecuting people suspected of exploiting and neglecting elderly and disabled adults.

The CAVE team, composed of members who volunteered to participate, is working closely with code enforcement and the Department of Community Health, the state agency charged with regulating personal care homes.

Navicent Health in Macon is discussing a potential merger with Charlotte-based Atrium Health, according to Georgia Health News.

If a deal is consummated, Navicent Health will become a part of Atrium Health, and will function as leader of a regional hub for Atrium Health outside the Carolinas.

Atrium, with more than 40 hospitals, has a substantial presence in Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., as well as Charleston, S.C., and smaller markets.

Atrium Health already has a small presence in Georgia. A spokesman said the company manages AnMed Health, which manages Elbert Memorial Hospital in Elberton. And a temporary mobile ER now based at Grady Memorial Hospital is an Atrium facility.

Ninfa Saunders, president and CEO of Navicent Health, said in a statement Thursday that Navicent “has a shared mission with Atrium Health to continuously improve health care in this region.”

“This is the first major partnership of its type in the Southeast region and ensures a Macon-based institution will continue to be the leading driver of health care in central Georgia and beyond, while continuing to elevate the care that is provided locally,’’ Saunders said. “We are excited to find a partner that shares in our vision for the future of health.”

The two organizations said in a statement that as a united system, they could address “the significant and disproportionate health disparities that face central and south Georgia residents by deploying innovative care delivery models.”

From the Macon Telegraph:

Thursday’s announcement comes as Atrium also is seeking to combine with another nonprofit, Chapel Hill-based UNC Health Care, in a plan announced last summer. The new public, nonprofit corporation is expected to be one of the largest hospital systems in the U.S., employing 90,000 people and operating 60 hospitals.

In a frequently-asked-questions memo to employees obtained by the Observer, Atrium said Navicent Health, which had $750 million in revenue in 2016, is financially strong but “facing stiff challenges in today’s marketplace.”

Many health systems like Navicent depend on the municipal bond market for financing, and bond-ratings agencies are requiring systems to have revenues in the $3 billion to $4 billion range to secure the best ratings, the memo says.

“Navicent Health is not at that revenue level and needs to combine with a larger organization to assure its long-term sustainability and to continue growing to serve the needs of central and south Georgia residents,” the memo says.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley spoke at a ceremony at Fort Benning yesterday, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Thursday afternoon Milley, the Army’s top general … activated a new unit, the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade during a ceremony at Fort Benning.

The brigade, which went from concept to reality in less than nine months, will waste no time getting to work. After spending the better part of January at Fort Polk, La., training, the unit will begin to deploy to Afghanistan next week.

“Today is not just any routine activation ceremony,” Milley said. “Today’s ceremony, in my mind, begins a new approach for the Army. A new asset for a critical mission that the U.S. Army has had for many, many years.”

The unit will, in Milley’s words, be a professional brigade that will laser focus on advising foreign forces.

“The mission of this brigade is to achieve U.S. national security objectives, by, with and through our indigenous security partners,” Milley said. “This brigade’s specific task is to train, advise, assist, enable, assure and accompany those indigenous forces in combat ground operations in order to help them build their confidence and provide them with the necessary access to U.S. and join collation intelligence, firepower and other support when necessary.”

Republican Attorney General Chris Carr now has an announced Democratic opponent in this year’s General Election, according to the AJC.

An anti-gang prosecutor with plans to significantly increase law enforcement pay and create a new state unit to attack organized crime announced a challenge Thursday to Republican Attorney General Chris Carr.

Democrat Charles Bailey said he would also immediately sue large pharmaceutical companies on grounds that they intentionally marketed drugs that fostered the opioid epidemic and that he would join litigation seeking to block the Trump administration’s plan to open Georgia’s coast to offshore drilling.

He’s the first known challenger to Carr, who is seeking a full four-year term in November. He’s lined up support from dozens of prominent Democrats, including Jason Carter, the party’s 2014 nominee for governor, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard and House Minority Leader Bob Trammell.

Georgia Court of Appeals Judge John Ellington announced he has raised more than $515,000 in his bid for an open seat on the Georgia Supreme Court. From a campaign press release:

After filing his latest disclosure Wednesday, Judge John Ellington reported today that his Georgia Supreme Court campaign has $515,000 cash on hand.

“From the start of this campaign, we’ve aimed to raise enough to communicate effectively with the Georgians who’ll go to the polls May 22,” said Ellington, who serves on the state Court of Appeals. “We are on target to meet our fundraising and organizational goals. I’ve spent the last year listening to voters throughout the state and organizing campaign committees in all of Georgia’s judicial circuits. I’m forever grateful to the leaders in this state who have shown their support to me and this campaign.”

In this nonpartisan judicial race, Ellington has attracted the bipartisan support of leading figures throughout Georgia, including Gov. Nathan Deal.

“It’s clear that the business, political and legal communities have chosen Judge Ellington as their candidate for the Supreme Court,” said Republican state House Speaker David Ralston. “Georgians want a judge on the Supreme Court who inspires confidence in the judiciary – that’s John Ellington.”

“All politics is local. That’s why mayors, city council members and county commissioners all over Georgia are overwhelmingly supporting Judge John Ellington for the state Supreme Court,” said Democratic DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond. “Like me, they trust and respect his intellect, common sense and good judgment.”

Ellington is running for an open seat on the Supreme Court. The statewide election will take place on May 22.

Ellington is a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia School of Law. He presided in Municipal Court, State Court and Superior Court before his appointment and multiple re-elections to the state Court of Appeals. Ellington’s campaign is chaired by David M. Ratcliffe, former president of Georgia Power and CEO of Southern Co. Ellington and his wife live in Soperton.

State Rep. Randy Nix (R-LaGrange) announced he will run for reelection, according to the Carrollton Times-Georgian.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms retreated from an earlier position that city employees should be able to carry guns while working, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Randy Toms said after talking with City Council members, he doesn’t believe there are enough votes to enact such a policy.

Toms said the spate of violence prompted him to consider asking for a change in policy so employees could have firearms in government buildings and vehicles to protect themselves.

Gwinnett County is fixin poised to begin work on an expansion of the Mall of Justice Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

After years of planning, a nearly $75 million expansion of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center is about to begin.

County commissioners got a look at the planned design for the expansion, which will be funded largely by the 2009 SPLOST, earlier this week.

The expansion will add more parking through construction of a new parking deck and offer a bigger jury assembly area and additional courtrooms.

“When you think about what’s being built, it’s important for, first, our citizens,” County Administrator Glenn Stephens said. “We have grown tremendously since this building (was built thirty years ago).”

The expansion project has been in the planning stage for years. Stephens said money for it was included in the 2009 SPLOST, but it was put on hold during the Great Recession because, despite having funds to build the expansion, the county didn’t have money to operate it at the time.

Two candidates have announced campaigns for President of the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education.

David K. Lerch will seek the post currently held by Jolene Byrne. Byrne has stated she will not run for another term.

Also in the running for school board president is Larry Lower, District 6.

Lerch served as the District 4 school board representative from 2001 to 2005.

District 8 representative Ruby Jones has also announced she will run again for her seat.

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