Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2018

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 2, 2018

On March 4, 1762, legislation was passed by the Georgia General Assembly requiring church attendance on Sundays.

On March 3, 1779, the British Army met America forces in Screven County, Georgia. The rout of Americans by the British at Brier Creek was a considerable setback that changed the momentum in the Brits’ favor and gave them control over Georgia, which they would retain for three years.

The first Session of the United States Congress was held on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. Congress would not have a quorum for another month.

On March 2, 1807, the Congress passed legislation outlawing the importation of slaves from Africa or anywhere outside the United States.

On March 3, 1820, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise.

In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored.

Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators.

The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years.

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

Texas Flag 1836-39

On March 3, 1845, Congress overrode a Presidential veto for the first time.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would “hold, occupy, and possess” its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation’s common heritage:

“In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it… We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Also on March 4, 1861, the Confederate Congress adopted a first national flag.

Confederate 1st National Flag 1

This flag is depicted with varying numbers of stars – originally adopted with seven stars, by December 1861, a version with thirteen stars was flying.

Confederate 1st National Flag 2

The United States Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.

On March 2, 1874, Gov. Smith signed legislation allowing anyone fined for a criminal conviction to arrange for a third party to pay the fine in exchange for the convict’s labor.

On March 3, 1874, Governor Joseph Brown signed legislation permitting persons or companies to lease Georgia prisoners for terms from one to five years, with the Governor setting the rates.

The act required the humane treatment of convicts and limited them to a ten-hour work day, with Sunday off. Equally important, leases had to free the state from all costs associated with prisoner maintenance. Once all state convicts were leased, the law provided that all state penitentiary officers and employees be discharged.

Just think of how much progress Georgia has made with privatizing the justice system — now, instead of leasing convicts, we have private probation companies overseeing released prisoners.

On March 2, 1950, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the beginning of construction of Buford Dam, which would create Lake Lanier.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married on March 4, 1952 in Los Angeles, California.

President Lyndon B. Johnson attended ceremonies at Lockheed in Marietta for the first C-5A aircraft to come off the assembly line on March 2, 1968. President Johnson’s remarks can be read here.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

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Governor Nathan Deal appointed a committee to investigate charges against Macon County Sheriff Charles M. Cannon, II and report back to the Governor.

Vice President Mike Pence will be the featured guest at the Georgia Republican Party’s Presidents Day Dinner on March 23, 2018, according to the AJC.

Pence will speak at the state party’s annual Presidents’ Day Dinner on March 23. Tickets range from $200 for entry into the event to $50,000 for a seat at the vice president’s table during the dinner.

Pence is no stranger to Georgia. He stumped across the state during the 2016 campaign and he traveled to the north Atlanta suburbs last year to boost Republican Karen Handel’s successful bid for an open U.S. House seat.

He also has close ties to the Georgia Republican apparatus. His top aide, Nick Ayers, was a longtime aide to former Gov. Sonny Perdue and a Watson confidante.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp both campaigned for Governor in Columbia County on Thursday, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle held his Augusta Area Town Hall at That Flippin’ Egg. Secretary of State Brian Kemp made a stop on his 50-county Putting Georgians First Bus Tour at the Monterrey Mexican restaurant.

About 70 people packed the restaurant for Cagle, including area state legislators Sens. Lee Anderson and Jesse Stone; former state Sens. Bill Jackson and Jim Whitehead; and former state Rep. Ben Harbin. Cagle, a longtime state official, has gained national exposure in recent days.

Kemp greeted a standing-room only crowd gathered on the back patio of the restaurant. District 122 Representative Jodi Lott, R-Evans, introduced Kemp and reiterated her support of his campaign for governor.

“I’ve never met anyone in Atlanta that doesn’t love Brian Kemp,” she said.

Kemp also campaigned in Valdosta, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

Georgia Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp confirmed his stance on gun control during a Wednesday visit to Smok’n Pig BBQ.

“I don’t think that’s the answer,” he said. “The answer is we got a lot of crazy people that have been shooting our kids up, and that’s very disturbing, and I think we need to partner and work with our local school systems to address school security.”

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that there’s somebody pulling that trigger,” he said. “It’s a sickening thing, right now, but I don’t think gun control is the answer to that.”

“I don’t know that state government has the answer for every school because not every county’s like Lowndes, and not every school is the same, even within Lowndes County,” he said.

Megan Lane Connell announced she will run for an open Superior Court seat on the Pataula Judicial Circuit, which includes Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole and Terrell Counties in Southwest Georgia. From a press release:

“Judge Bishop has served with honor and integrity during his time on the bench as Superior Court Judge,” said the candidate. “I am committed to the law and will work tirelessly to serve all the people of the Pataula Circuit with the same professionalism as Judge Bishop. I am asking that everyone here place their trust in me as their next Superior Court Judge.”

Megan was raised in the Pataula Circuit and has over a decade of experience handling virtually every type of case that would come before the Superior Court. “I believe I am best qualified to serve the citizens of Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, and Terrell counties as Judge because of my experience as a trial attorney handling all types of criminal and civil cases.”

“I love Southwest Georgia, and I’ve had the privilege of serving my community and representing clients throughout this area,” she said. “After serving as a public defender, prosecutor, and private attorney; I’ve really come to appreciate how important it is for a community to have an accessible, responsive person as their Superior Court Judge. If you elect me to be your next Superior Court Judge, I will work tirelessly to ensure that all court proceedings within this circuit move more smoothly and efficiently. I will continue to ensure that the rights of all parties in every case are protected and respected.

Megan is the daughter of Harriet and Ronnie Joe Lane of Donalsonville. She, her husband, Edward, and their son, Eli reside in Seminole County.

Republican Herschel Smith announced he will run for the State House District 138 seat currently held by Democrat Bill McGowan. From the Albany Herald:

District 138 includes Chattahoochee, Marion, Schley and Sumter counties.

Smith, a native of Americus and a Republican, has a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and has master’s degrees in telecommunication systems, international relations, and national security and strategic studies. He retired from the Navy after 25 years of service and then spent 21 years as a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

House Bill 791 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) and others passed the State House with 177 yea votes and heads to the Senate. From The Brunswick News:

“This legislation was introduced following several years after court opinions that had been made about the right of citizens to file suit to make recovery against the government,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Chuck Efstration, R-Dacula, and Gov. Nathan Deal’s floor leader in the House. “And as you have heard Chairman (Wendell) Willard speak about before, unless the government, the state has consented to sue, then those suits might be prevented due to something called sovereign immunity. This seeks to address that.”

Deal vetoed similar legislation in 2016, saying the language in it was too broad. Willard combined his bill with Efstration’s bill this year with an eye toward creating legislation the governor would accept and still accomplish the bill’s original purpose.

House Bill 973 by State House President Pro Tem Jan Jones (R-Alpharetta) would bring lobbyists under the legislature’s sexual harassment policies. From the AJC:

Lobbyists would be required to sign an annual statement that they’ll comply with the sexual harassment policy, according to House Bill 973, which passed on a 171-0 vote.

Lobbyists who violate the harassment policy would face fines of up to $1,000 per violation and have their registration revoked by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The Legislative Services Committee already approved the policy to cover lawmakers and employees, but legislation was required for it to apply to lobbyists.

House Bill 764 by State Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) adds PTSD and intractable pain to the list of conditions for which low-THC cannabis oil is permissible under Georgia law. From the AJC:

State Rep. David Clark, the bill’s sponsor, said it will save lives by keeping veterans and others off harder drugs like opioids.

“I see cannabis not as a gateway drug, but as an exit path off opioids,” Clark, R-Buford, who served in the military in Afghanistan. “It’s a medicine that has very low risks, if any, and huge rewards.”

Atlanta-based SolAmerica has applied for permits to build a solar farm in Columbia County.

Savannah City Council voted to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Reduced penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession are set to go into effect in Savannah on July 1, following the adoption of a city ordinance that gives Savannah officers more discretion beyond state enforcement options.

The change is scheduled to be implemented following the Savannah City Council’s 8-1 vote on Thursday to adopt the ordinance that had been proposed by Alderman Van Johnson.

Under the ordinance, first-time offenders caught for simple possession can be issued a $150 citation rather than be arrested, while any subsequent citations would be determined by the court. Twenty percent of the fine revenue will be designated by the city toward a drug treatment facility or program.

Macon-Bibb County property tax payers could be facing additional tax hikes, according to the Macon Telegraph.

On Thursday, county leaders discussed what’s next for Macon-Bibb, which is facing its fourth consecutive shortfall, this time trending to about $3.7 million.

County officials said a wide variety of options on ways to curb costs and find new sources of revenue remain on the table. They include furloughs and hiring freezes, cutting back on recreation center hours, changing health care options and consolidating departments.

But the $64,000 question is this: Will property taxes go up again just one year after taxpayers got hit with a 3 mill increase?

Earlier this year, Mayor Robert Reichert said that another millage rate increase would be an option if the sales tax was not approved. During his State of the Community address, he said making additional cuts could affect the “bone and fiber” of the community.

 

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