Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 7, 2018

7
Mar

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 7, 2018

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On March 7, 1861, delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention reconvened in Savannah to adopt a new state Constitution. A resolution offering to host the Confederate Capitol did not pass.

On March 7, 1965, a group of marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr., met Alabama State Troopers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

“I was hit in the head by a state trooper with a nightstick… I thought I saw death.”

—John Lewis, SNCC leader

John Lewis, now the United States Congressman from the Fifth District was in the front row wearing a light-colored overcoat and backpack.

GaVoice talked to Lewis about what was in his backpack on that day.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Today is Legislative Day 31.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

7:00 AM HOUSE APPROP GENERAL GOVT 341 CAP

7:15 AM HOUSE APPROP HIGHER ED 341 CAP

7:30 AM HOUSE APPROP EDUCATION 341 CAP

7:45 AM HOUSE APPROP HUMAN RES 341 CAP

8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE – Public Policy Sub 328 CLOB

8:00 AM HOUSE AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER AFFAIRS 403 CAP

8:00 AM HOUSE APPROP ECON DEV 341 CAP

8:15 AM HOUSE APPROP TRANSPORTATION 341 CAP

8:30 AM HOUSE APPROP HEALTH 341 CAP

8:45 AM HOUSE APPROP PUBLIC SAFETY 341 CAP

9:00 AM HOUSE RULES 341 CAP

UPON ADJOURNMENT SENATE RULES 450 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY MEZZ 1

1:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Trans Sub 122 CAP

1:00 PM SENATE INSURANCE AND LABOR 310 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub on Academic Support 415 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE JUDY (NON-CIVIL) 606 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE DEFENSE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS 515 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE GOVTAL AFFAIRS 406 CLOB

1:00 PM HOUSE ECON DEV AND TOURISM 341 CAP

1:30 PM HOUSE Local Govt Sub Govt Affairs 406 CLOB

2:00 PM SENATE TRANS 310 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE Education Sub Academic Innovation 415 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS 506 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE RETIREMENT 515 CLOB

2:00 PM HOUSE INTERSTATE COOPERATION 132 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE EDUCATION AND YOUTH 450 CAP

3:00 PM SENATE FINANCE MEZZ 1

3:00 PM HOUSE Setzler Sub of Judy (Non-Civil) 606 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE PUBLIC SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY 415 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE INDUSTRY AND LABOR 506 CLOB

3:00 PM HOUSE HIGHER ED 403 CAP

4:00 PM SENATE JUDY 307 CLOB

4:00 PM SENATE APPROP – Education Sub 341 CAP

SENATE RULES CALENDAR

HB 275 – Game and fish; rules and regulations used to establish criminal violations; change provisions (Substitute) (NR&E-7th) Dubnik-29th
HB 354 – Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center; reconstitute and authorize Department of Economic Development to contract for certain projects (Substitute) (ED&T-1st) Stephens-164th
HB 448 – Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission; require certain postsecondary institutions to qualify for exemptions; provisions (Substitute) (H ED-9th) Williams-119th

HOUSE RULES CALENDAR

Modified Open Rule
HR 1225 – Congress; pass the Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act; urge (Trans-Prince-127th)

Structured Rule
HR 1089 – United States Congress; pass the federal Marketplace Fairness Act; urge (W&M-Powell-171st)

Georgia legislators will convene study committees to discuss improving school safety, according to the Associated Press.

Legislators announced Tuesday that they have introduced Republican-backed proposals in both the House and Senate to establish study committees on school security.

Each committee would be tasked with writing a report later this year on its findings.

House Speaker David Ralston has said the House version of the Fiscal Year 2019 budget will include $8 million in bond funding for school security.

Athens saw a musical parade as candidates walked to City Hall to qualify, according to the Red and Black.

Tim Denson, now a registered candidate for district 5 commission, was joined by several progressively minded Athenians for this memorable journey on March 5, the first day for candidates to qualify to put their names on the ballot for the local election.

Russell Edwards, district 7 candidate, and Patrick Davenport, district 1 candidate, were also present at the event and supported by those in attendance.

Chris Dowd, Athens for Everyone operations coordinator, sang and played his guitar while Edwards played a flute pipe in harmony. The song, a self-written take on the conditions of the current Athens community, echoed Denson’s remarks as it called for a need for “change” in the local government.

The music continued as the walk began from City Hall to the Board of Regents so the candidates could fill out and turn in their paperwork.

U.S. Representative Karen Handel and State Rep. Betty Price both drew opponents in candidate qualifying this week, according to Patch.com.

Democrat Lucy McBath opted out of her previously announced campaign against State Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) and into the election for the Sixth Congressional District, according to the AJC.

Two Gwinnett County Commission seats currently held by Republicans will be contested by Democrats, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Locally, barring any surprise filings during the rest of the week, the Board of Commissioners District 2 field for both parties appeared to be set Monday. Two Democrats, Ben Ku and Desmond Nembhard, filed paperwork to have a shot at running against Commissioner Lynette Howard, who filed to run as a Republican, in the general election in November.

District 4 Commissioner John Heard has also qualified, and he has already drawn one opponent, Marlene Fosque, according to Gwinnett County Democratic Party Chairman Gabe Okoye.

The fields for two Gwinnett County Board of Education seats, in Districts 2 and 4, started to take shape as well, with a Republican in each race and Democrats starting to line up for each seat.

Hall County will see at least two contested Republican primary elections for the county Board of Education, according to the Gainesville Times.

Commission incumbents Kathy Cooper and Scott Gibbs have qualified to run in the May Republican primary. Cooper represents District 1 in South Hall.

A challenger to Gibbs, who represents Hall’s large District 3 covering North and East Hall, qualified on Tuesday: Shelly Echols.

Two Republicans have qualified to run for the open Hall County School Board Post 2 seat: Mark Pettitt and Gina Pilcher.

Fulton County Chief Magistrate Judge Cassandra Kirk will face an opponent in her reelection campaign, according to the Fulton Daily Report.

Louis Levenson, who spent 30 years as an appointed Fulton magistrate before he resigned shortly after Kirk’s appointment, announced Monday he will seek the position in the nonpartisan May 22 election.

Kirk’s appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal in 2015 was one of several changes authorized by the General Assembly under legislation that split the Magistrate Court off the State Court the year before.

A graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, Kirk joined the Georgia bar in 1992. Prior to her appointment, she spent four years as a Fulton County Juvenile Court judge and was with the county’s Child Attorney Office for three years before that.

“I’m proud of the work our court has accomplished over the last three years,” Kirk said. “My mission has been to empower litigants through innovation, efficiency and accessibility. To that end, we completed a much-needed website update and implemented a transparent, public selection process for new judges.

“Last, but not least, we implemented a mandatory e-filing system and helped clear the Court’s 30,000 small claims case backlog,” she added.

Cherokee County will host a Republican Primary for County Commission Chair, to replace Buzz Ahrens, who is not running for reelection.

The race to replace retiring Cherokee County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens will be a contested battle on the Republican side, with former District 1 Commissioner Harry Johnston tossing his hat in the ring and fellow challenger Stanley Townsend also entering the primary. No Democratic candidate has qualified as of Tuesday evening.

Cherokee County District 4 Commissioner Scott Gordon has also announced he will not seek re-election, and at least two challengers have stepped forward to succeed the Woodstock resident. Republicans Steve Divine and Corey Ragsdale have each qualified to run for the seat, which covers the southwest quadrant of Cherokee. Woodstock Planning Commissioner Renee Gable has also indicated she will seek the seat, but has not qualified as of Tuesday.

Four candidates for Richmond County Board of Education District Seven will meet in a March 20th Special Election, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

Betty Reece is running for Augusta City Commission District Four against incumbent Sammy Sias.

Bartow County School Board District 1 incumbent John Howard faces a GOP primary challenge from Tony Ross.

The LaGrange News covers Troup County Commission qualifying and local legislators.

Uptown Columbus, Inc. recommends allowing open containers of alcohol more frequently than the current ordinance, according to the Ledger-Enquirer.

The proposed ordinance is being recommended by Uptown Columbus Inc., a non-profit downtown redevelopment organization, to create what it terms an entertainment and restaurant district. The proposed ordinance would impact downtown businesses such as bars and restaurants that have an on-premise alcohol license and customers who want to carry an unfinished drink out of the establishment.

Currently, open containers are only allowed during permitted special events, such as Uptown Columbus Inc.’s spring and fall outdoor concert series and other events such as festivals that apply for permits. The proposed new law that could be under consideration by Columbus Council as early as next week would allow open containers every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“This gives you the opportunity to have a glass of wine and go down the street and enjoy the rest of uptown,” said Ross Horner, president and CEO of Uptown Columbus Inc.

Helen City Council will vote on March 20th whether to allow open alcohol containers in the downtown dining district, according to AccessWDUN.

Richard Miley and Chris Holloway of Catch 22 Gastropub both addressed the commission during Tuesday’s meeting to urge commissioners to vote to allow open containers in the city’s dining districts.

Miley and Holloway asserted that allowing open containers would boost business for the tourist town, citing Roswell, Gainesville, Smyrna and a section of Nashville where visitors are allowed to purchase alcohol at an eatery then walk around town with it.

Port Wentworth City Council found themselves in a pickle when their ethics ordinance prevented a majority of members from voting on a matter, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The ethics ordinance, passed last June, requires that any city officials who have received campaign contributions of $1,000 or more from an individual or entity recuse themselves from voting on any business related to that campaign donor. Council members voted unanimously to approve the ethics ordinance.

The question arose following a request from frequent campaign donor and developer Fred Williams, who came before council for approval of a subdivision application.

Williams’ campaign donations to four council members are all more than the $1,000 ethics limit. That leaves only two members able to vote. Four members are required for a quorum to conduct city business.

The Floyd County Board of Education voted to hire four new off-duty police officers to enhance school security, according to the Rome News-Tribune.

Three thousand Macon-Bibb County residents have signed a petition seeking repeal of the local garbage tax, according to the Macon Telegraph.

Oglethorpe County joined the national lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach helped deliver meals to elderly residents for “Meals on Wheels” with Senior Citizens, Inc.

The Georgia teachers union Association of Educators endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams for Governor.

Data, Data Everywhere

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that an announcement by Facebook of a new data center to be located in Newton County has been moved up two weeks to today.

Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) is expected to invest up to $42 billion over two decades in the server farm at Stanton Springs, a 1,620-acre master-planned development about 30 miles east of Atlanta.

Facebook, which will develop the campus in four phases, would invest nearly $2.5 billion in improvements and equipment through 2029, according to documents obtained by Atlanta Business Chronicle. This amount does not include land acquisition costs or periodic investments in equipment upgrades and replacements.

The social networking behemoth is expected to initially invest $750 million and create up to 100 tech jobs at the data center campus, which will be near biotech Shire’s $1.2 billion manufacturing plant.

Inexpensive power and real estate are major drivers for the data center industry. Georgia Power is selling power to data centers for 3.5 cents per kwh, down from 5.5 cents per kWh from year ago.

The cost of land in metro Atlanta is half of that in Northern Virginia, while the cost of living is about 30 percent lower.

Congressman Jody Hice will join Gov. Deal at a capitol announcement this afternoon, likely the Facebook development.

Atlanta is a hot market for data centers, including one of the world’s largest, according to WABE.

There are at least 50 data center facilities in Georgia, making it the eighth fastest-growing market in the U.S., according to Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center.[Wendy McArthur of JLL’s Data Center Solutions Group] said Georgia offers lots of land and cheap electricity as well as a good location.

Though data centers don’t employ many full-time staff members, state lawmakers want to lure more of them here through tax breaks on computer equipment purchased or leased by the data center.

During a recent House committee hearing, the bill’s main sponsor, state Rep. Trey Kelley, said Georgia needs tax breaks to stay competitive overall.

“The presence of data centers in our state will help us expand our connectivity to rural broadband and also be a tool used by our economic developers to help attract new business to our state,” Kelley said.

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