Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 27, 2018


Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for February 27, 2018

On February 27, 1922, the United States Supreme Court released an unanimous decision holding that the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is constitutional. The case, Leser v. Garnett, arose because of a challenge seeking to strike women’s names from the voter rolls in Maryland and asserting:

  • The power to amend the Constitution did not cover this amendment, due to its character.
  • Several states that had ratified the amendment had constitutions that prohibited women from voting, rendering them unable to ratify an amendment to the contrary.
  • The ratifications of Tennessee and West Virginia were invalid, because they were adopted without following the rules of legislative procedure in place in those states.

It might as well have asserted that sleeping on the couch for the rest of the plantiffs’ lives would be cold and uncomfortable.

On February 27, 1962, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy were tried in Albany for charges stemming from a demonstration on the steps of City Hall.

On February 27, 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted in Fulton County Superior Court of murdering two adult males. Atlanta Police later said he was guilty of at least 23 of 29 child murders between 1979 and 1981. Williams was never indicted or tried on the allegations of child murder and maintains his innocence.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Flu season appears to be trending downward, according to Georgia Health News:

Hospitalizations for flu in the eight-county metro Atlanta area were far lower in the week of Feb. 11 through 17 than in the previous week, down to 91 from 165.

The death toll in Georgia from the 2017-2018 flu season has now reached 98, including four pediatric deaths, the state Department of Public Health said Friday.

“It’s been a tough season so far this year, but this week we’re actually seeing the influenza-like illness activity beginning to drop,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, a top CDC flu expert, told NBC News. “It looks like the peak of the season may actually be behind us at this point.”

“We’re seeing that the weekly rate of hospitalizations is beginning to decline, and also the deaths,” he said.

Governor Nathan Deal yesterday announced the appointment of Pamela M. Bettis as the new Solicitor General for the Henry County State Court.

Under the Gold Dome


9:00 AM House Setzler Sub Judy (Non-Civil) 406 CLOB

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2:30 PM HOUSE Fleming Sub Judy (Civil) 132 CAP



Georgia State Senators removed a $50 million tax break on jet fuel yesterday, after Delta cut ties with the NRA. From the AJC:

The measure was effectively grounded for now after Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he wouldn’t support the $50 million tax exemption for jet fuel unless the Atlanta-based airline reverses its decision to end discounted rates for NRA members. He joined a chorus of conservatives who opposed the measure after Delta announced its decision Saturday.

Delta officials tried to stem the GOP revolt in a statement that circulated around the statehouse on Monday saying the company is a supporter of the Second Amendment with a “neutral” stance on a gun debate that sharpened this month after the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

“We need to see what Delta can offer us because they took a big misstep here,” said state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “And I hope they can find some way to rectify the situation.”

And House Speaker David Ralston signaled he could withdraw his support for the proposal, saying he was disappointed that corporate giants waded into the debate by “vilifying law-abiding supporters of Second Amendment rights.”

From 11Alive:

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston issued a statement saying he was “disappointed that certain corporations have chosen to engage in a sensitive debate by vilifying law-abiding supporters of Second Amendment rights. Likewise, I am troubled that this information was not made public until after the House of Representatives passed,” a bill including the jet fuel tax break.

In the state Senate, conservative lawmakers expressed astonishment at Delta’s stance, and its timing. “The major question is, why did you do it to the NRA? When the NRA has been good to you?” asked state Sen. Lee Anderson (R-Columbia County).

Crossover day is tomorrow, February 28th, marking the date by which bills must pass one chamber to be eligible for consideration by the other. From the Albany Herald:

For those unfamiliar with Crossover Day, Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, explains.

“This means that every Senate bill wishing to be turned into law this year must be vetted and passed on the Senate floor and sent over to the House before the Wednesday deadline,” Kirk said. “After that, we will only be reviewing House bills until Sine Die, when every bill passed by both the Senate and the House will be in its final step of being signed into law by the governor.”

Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg, said Saturday that he thought several non-education related bills would also be worth following on Wednesday.

“Two issues that will have a lot of interest are the funding for mass transit (mostly in the Atlanta Metro area) and justice reform relating to bail,” Rynders said. “I don’t know how many people down here are going to have any interest in mass transit funding, but it does have legs in metro Atlanta.”

State Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson) told the Gwinnett Daily Post she will not run for reelection.

“I have decided not to seek reelection,” Chandler told the Daily Post in an email. “I want to enjoy traveling with my husband and seeing my grandchildren much more than I do. It has truly been an honor and a privilege for me to serve the fine residents of District 105.”

Chandler said she will issue a press release sometime this week announcing her decision to not seek another term. News of her decision comes on the heels of the announcement by state Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, that he will retire at this year rather than run for re-election.

In 2016, Chandler won reelection by 22 votes out of 24,600 ballots cast.

Senate Bill 309 by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) would create a uniform closing time for state elections and add party primaries for special elections. From the AJC:

A bill that would close polls in Atlanta an hour earlier and create party primary races during special elections has cleared the Georgia Senate.

State Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, said having polls in Atlanta close at 8 p.m. while voting ends at 7 p.m. at other Georgia precincts confuses voters.

Several Atlanta Democrats spoke against the bill, saying the loss of an hour of voting time reduces access for city residents.

[McKoon] said adding party primary races would give Georgia voters more choices in who would ultimately represent them. State law requires a candidate receive more than 50 percent of the ballots cast to win a race.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp campaigned in Peachtree Corners, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp told supporters in Peachtree Corners that the race for governor is about trust as his campaign for the state’s highest office passed through Gwinnett County Monday morning.

“This race, to me, is really like ‘Who do you trust?’” Kemp said. “Who do you trust to actually do what they’re saying on the campaign trail? Everybody is going to tell you things that sound great. Some of them sound so great, I doubt they’ll ever happen even though we would want them to and sometimes, when people say things like that, they’re really not being honest.

“But I can tell you I have a record of doing what I say and we have a plan any Georgian can really look at and say that is very reasonable to implement.”

Savannah legislators continue to push a bill to prevent felons from getting guns. From the Savannah Morning News:

On the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives recently, State Rep. Jesse Petrea told about a triple homicide that took place in Savannah in April.

“Expressly because he couldn’t purchase a weapon himself, that weapon was knowingly and intentionally purchased for him by his girlfriend,” Petrea told his colleagues as he introduced H.B. 657, which would make it a felony to “knowingly and willingly” provide a gun to a felon. It allows for a sentence of up to five years.

The bill passed out of the house Feb. 15 with a 156 to 3 vote.

District attorneys around the state and specifically Savannah’s Meg Heap requested the legislation to counter a “poorly written and ineffective” law that makes a straw purchase a misdemeanor. Because of that law, prosecutors are unable to charge the girlfriends, brothers and others who provide guns to felons with more serious crimes such as conspiracy, aiding and abetting or what’s described as party to a crime, Petrea said.

The Georgia House and Senate both approved bills to make credit report locks free for Georgia consumers. From the AJC:

Both bills would allow customers to freeze and unfreeze their credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Under current state laws, the agencies can charge a $3 fee each time customers lock or unlock their credit reports. A locked or frozen credit report can’t be changed.

Consumer expert Clark Howard testified in favor of the bill earlier this month, saying it was “ridiculous” for credit bureaus that have failed to safeguard consumer data to charge for the service.

A Wayne County jury found a Douglas City Commissioner not guilty of election charges, according to The Daily Yonder.

[Olivia] Pearson, an African American grandmother and city commissioner of Douglas, Georgia, was accused of falsifying a document she signed after showing a new voter – also African American – how to use the machine in the 2012 general election.

Pearson’s first trial, held in her hometown of Douglas in April 2017, ended with a hung jury. A defense motion for a change of venue resulted in state Circuit Judge Andrew C. Spivey moving the trial out of Coffee County to Jesup, Georgia, in Wayne County, about 60 miles east.

“The difference [between the first and second trial] was you had 12 people from Wayne County who wanted to do the right thing,” Pearson said in an interview with the Daily Yonder.

In the 2012 election, Pearson said a precinct worker asked her to sign a document saying she had assisted a voter. Pearson signed the document, which was later used as evidence that she had falsely claimed the voter was illiterate.

Cherokee County Chief Assistant Solicitor-General Todd Hayes has been endorsed by a local police organization in the eleciton for Solicitor General, according to

The Kermit C. Sanders Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #13 has endorsed Cherokee County Chief Assistant Solicitor-General Todd Hayes as their candidate of choice in the race to become Cherokee’s next Solicitor-General. With a membership in excess of 600 active and retired law enforcement officers, the Sanders Lodge is the largest Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Georgia, and serves police in the North Metro Atlanta area—including Cherokee County. Members of the Lodge voted to endorse Hayes following their monthly meeting on February 7, 2018, at which he and his opponent presented sharply divergent views of the role of the Solicitor-General in promoting Cherokee’s public safety.

“I am deeply humbled by the endorsement of the Fraternal Oder of Police,” said Hayes. “Solicitors-General can only be successful when they work hand-in-hand with the law enforcement agencies in their community, and I have done all I can to build positive relationships with all of the deputies, officers and troopers that serve in Cherokee. The fact that they have placed their confidence in me by deciding to stand behind me in this race is incredibly moving.”




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